Manga Review: Naruto Volume 43

Naruto Volume 43 focuses on Sasuke and Itachi Uchiha, and this is a longer volume than usual for the Naruto franchise.

Naruto Volume 43
Written by: Masashi Kishimoto
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: April 7, 2009

Early in the series, Sasuke declared that there was a certain man that he wanted to kill. As time went on, it was revealed that the man in question is his older brother, Itachi. Volume 43 is the culmination of Sasuke’s desire for revenge against his brother for killing the Uchiha clan. While the battle that takes place here began in Volume 42, it reaches its dramatic conclusion within the first 100 pages.

But what we see in this volume shows the techniques that the brothers use getting stronger and stronger, with times where it looked like either one or the other was victorious. There were several twists in the battle, but the biggest twist happens at the conclusion. Sasuke wins, but it turns out that there was something going on with Itachi that neither Sasuke nor the audience knew about until Zetsu (who has been watching the fight) comments on it. I’ve always kind of wondered why there hadn’t really been any real hints dropped before this battle about what is revealed here.

Even though Sasuke has defeated Itachi, he’s rather beat up himself. Tobi disappears from the one of the few scenes where Naruto and the others are featured in this volume, so he can retrieve Sasuke and help him heal from his injuries. Tobi reveals his identity to Sasuke and shares the truth about Itachi and the slaughter of the Uchiha clan. Back when I saw this section of the anime, and even reading it now, getting this information about Itachi and learning the truth about him made me realize that Itachi was actually a great guy and not the villain that Kishimoto had portrayed him to be up until this point. It’s this section of the story that makes Itachi a sympathetic character, and as both a viewer and a reader, I felt bad that I had thought of him as being such an evil villain.

Naruto Volume 43 is a pivotal volume in the franchise. Sasuke’s revenge plot is wrapped up, and important truths are revealed to the reader that are going to lay the foundation for the next part of the story. Not only that, these truths also make the reader start to question what they have believed about the world depicted in the series up to this point. This may be a longer volume, but it’s a very important one. It needed to be this long in order to progress Sasuke’s story arc.

If you’re a fan of Naruto and are reading the manga, then Volume 43 is a must read.

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