The mere fact that Kabuto’s flashback has continued into this chapter is absurd. It was bad enough that
Sasuke’s return took the focus away from Naruto, whose impending fight with Tobi showed great promise.
Featuring a flashback of Kabuto last week was even more upsetting, considering its horrendous timing, so
under no circumstances should that flashback have been extended. Worst of all, though, is the fact that this
flashback isn’t revealing anything immediately relevant or important, thus rendering its placement in the
middle of a fight completely useless.
… and the audience drifts off to sleep
Observing the original meeting between Kabuto and Orochimaru does nothing to benefit Kabuto’s character
or his current confrontation with the Uchiha brothers, nor does displaying Danzou’s cruelty. While
Orochimaru is still somewhat notable thanks to his presence within Kabuto, Danzou has no place in the
current story whatsoever, and such irrelevance is compounded by the lack of any new development for
either of these two. If this examination of Kabuto’s past was at least conveying valuable information to the
audience, its placement here in the story could be more justifiable.
Instead, this flashback being used to portray Orochimaru as evil and Danzou as ruthless, both of which
have been established for hundreds of chapters. Kishimoto is senselessly trying to make his readers care
about unrelated plot, which would be frustrating at any point in the story, but is especially so when his
rehashed characterization comes at the expense of significant current events. The determination with which
the author is presenting Kabuto’s past should have been used to concentrate on making the standoff
between the Uchihas and Kabuto into an actual battle.
The most memorable villain of the series being evil is not news
Embarrassingly, Kishimoto even fails in his aims to evoke sympathy for Kabuto, which is the entire point of
this flashback. First, the child that calls out to Kabuto as he leaves reveals that he was at the orphanage for
three years, which hardly makes it a disaster that he’s leaving. While the conditions of his departure are
shady, living peacefully for three years is a luxury compared to other tragic pasts in this series.
Also, although Kabuto’s progression into a young man is kept mercifully short, the scene of him lamenting
his misguided life is counterproductive. By emphasizing how five entire years have passed since he left the
orphanage, this scene only highlights how Kabuto lacked the willpower to take charge of his own life.
Rather than making him into a sympathetic figure, Kabuto’s inability to find a place for himself further
weakens him as a character because he only has himself to blame.
Such hollow regret only showcases Kabuto's ineptitude
Sadly, the rest of the chapter is no better. Kabuto fighting his own adoptive mother is just as overly
convenient as the awful fights throughout the Shinobi War arc, and far too much is made of his mother not
being able to recognize him. The feeling of shock and rejection that Kabuto experiences is self-centered, as
it neglects to account for the fact that his mother could be unable to identify him because she is dying.
Combine all the above missteps with the unintentional hilarity of Orochimaru creepily surfacing from the
lake into which Kabuto is crying, and the result is a flashback that is terrible both on its own merit and in
comparison to any other flashback in Naruto.
Final Flash: A thoroughly pointless chapter. It’s no coincidence that this series has lost direction since the
return of Sasuke.