You know, I don't get people who say that Naruto's plot's gone downhill. There have been moments where things have spiraled out of control, been ridiculous. I'll be the first to point those out. But you get a chapter like this one, it ties everything together so smoothly, so well, sets things up in a way that is eminently logical and good, that I can easily forgive any occasional lapses. Or occasional shoddy endings to fights (Cool as it was, Kisame went down like an absolute chump. His player probably flipped the damn table over when that happened (I've seen lots of folks make reference to various characters as being played by people in Tabletop RPGs, and I like the metaphor). He got screwed over. Though it does seem appropriate, given how damn broken Samehada is.)
I'm off-topic. Naruto is having a total character moment here, and I'm flipping out. It's actually getting through to him! Sasuke's a tool! He's a douchebag! He's Fucking evil! He's not worthy of your support. What he is worthy of is a Rasenshuriken so far up his ass his mother feels it. Because Naruto, even knowing the truth you do, that Itachi was a "good guy", that doesn't change what Sasuke's done. Most of Konoha realized that Sasuke's a tool when he, you know, shoved his hand through your lung. And now Naruto's illusion that he can bring Sasuke back and they can all be one big happy Team 7 family has been shattered- literally, on one of the pages, a picture of the team before the timeskip shatters. He's gotten it, he's finally gotten it! And there's going to be a fight! They're going to fight, and it'll be the climax of the manga! Kishimoto's got it planned out, this is going to make sense! Whee!
Sorry. But I'm not done yet. Because the guy who helped him come to this relevation? Mainly? Gaara. Just when I thought the guy couldn't get any cooler, he goes and does this. He helps Naruto realize something we've all been praying he'll see for years now. With a few solid words, he makes Naruto get it. And now he might just possibly be my favorite character. That's right, he may have just passed Shikamaru. One of my favorite characters ever.
Oh! And we finally see Madara and Danzou in the same place, finally putting to rest that retarded theory (and in all honesty I was kind of scared Kishimoto'd do it) that they were the same person. Villain fight! Whoever loses, we win! Well, I mean, it's obviously going to be Madara, but this might take care of a major problem- Danzou's technically the Hokage. I mean, since Gaara contacted Kakashi, it's not as much of a problem as it could be, but it'll be nice if we don't have to deal with an organized Root.
Naruto's gotten so much better since I first caught up on the manga and I thought it was terrible. God, I love all these characters so much.
And Negima! Just as good! Jack Rakan will not listen to your puny "ability to rewrite reality", he'll still punch you in the face as though he were the hand of god. And apparently Fate manifested that whole "reality-warping" thing from doing something to Asuna. He. Will. Pay.
And Negi just goes and completely destroyes Godel with a few well-placed questions that finally uncover that Godel has an agenda that is very much not good. There's not a great deal to say about this chapter, except that it was awesome. Round 2...FIGHT!