I do have actual, vaguely coherent, humanish things to say. But first:
1. I like to analyze things, a lot, and to look for the logical consequences of anything that happens in a series. For some reason, I have this preoccupation with taking everything that happens, then translating it into a rl scenario and seeing how it comes across
Like how most of the main characters in this series are per se child soldiers. (Which I love because it's so blatant to the entire setup, and yet seems to get roundly ignored by both Kishi and most fans.) I mean seriously, I love that. I'm not being sarcastic, either; I really do love it. Because it's so fucked up, and yet the series presents the whole thing in such a happy light. Okay, granted, different cultures are going to have different ages at which things like that are going to seem acceptable. But 12 is awfully young, nonetheless. (Not counting the fact that some people, like Kakashi, started way younger.)
It amuses me, because the whole shinobi system makes an awful lot of the 'good' as well as the 'bad' characters culpable. Like the leadership of Konoha, for taking on assassination missions in the first place (or do they only assassinate 'bad' people?). Or Kakashi for, you know, training a bunch of twelve-year-olds to beat the shit out of people, even when he knows that
A. This could get them killed, and
B. Sasuke fully intends to use this knowledge to murder someone.
I'm pretty sure that irl that would make Kakashi A Very Bad Man . . . .
Kishi seems to have sort of realized what a messed up world he created at some point during the time when he was writing Pain's monologues, but it's a little too late, really.
Also, spellcheck, why do you recognize the word Konoha??? O.o
2. I felt a bit more sympathetic to Sasuke this time around. I mean, his behavior is absolutely ridiculous, right from the start, but looking at what he's been through in life. . . . Honestly, I think about half of the people in this series ought to have PTSD by now. Mostly I just feel bad for Sasuke, given how horribly fucked up he is. Also, I think that being seven years old and seeing your brother cutting up your parents with a sword would put an awful lot of people in the psych ward.
3. Otoh, Sasuke really has gotten to be the most ridiculous ninja train wreck ever. He's like, the Charlie Sheen of ninjas by now. Or maybe the Lindsay Lohan. I'm not quite sure which.
4. SASUKE COME HOMMMMME. DO IT NOWWWW. AND DON'T KILL ANYONE.
Kishi, I don't know how you've made me care about this. But sadly, I do.
5. Team 7 is now OT3 for me. I mean, I don't ship OT3s. But. Team 7 is an exception.
6. Every time I read Hinata and Neji's fight during the chuunin exams, I keep wondering throughout whether it's supposed to have occurred to either participant that (assuming she knows the hand seal that goes with his curse seal), she logically could have taken him out at any time. Seriously, Hinata's really nice. I think that if someone were attacking me severely enough that I could die from it, I would use the damn seal.
I always want to write fic on the premise that Neji's behavior during the exams represents him having a death wish. I mean, first he hurts someone who could(?) use the seal, to the point where most people would go ahead and do so if only to save their own lives. Then later, when he's fighting Naruto, he airs the Hyuugas' dirty laundry in front of a giant audience -- an action that could easily have made any Hyuuga audience members who were so inclined decide to use the seal on him. Wtf, Neji?
7. Of course, Gaara is still one of my absolute favorites.
8. Otoh, the recent chapters with Gaara and zombie!Sanddad annoyed me. Like seriously, Kishi, wtf was that just now? I really wish he would stop going back and fixing everything from all the characters' pasts. It's annoying. This one in particular left a bad taste in my mouth because it seems to have been implying that the fact that Gaara was abused isn't a big deal. Or something.
Plus, it completely ruins the fic I've been working on, which may be the real source of my annoyance. There's just too much in those couple chapters that wasn't compatible with my headcanon at all. . . . Although, said fic was getting very long and dry and annoying, so I guess it's maybe not that much of a loss. I'll probably make it a lot shorter and plot-different and find a way to salvage it somehow. >.>
9. SOOOO MANY ZOMBIES. GO AWAY. SERIOUSLY. KISHI, THIS SHIT IS THE MOST BORING PLOT ARC EVER; JUST STOP.
10. Otoh: Itachi! <3
11. No, seriously. Most of the recent chapters are about the most boring thing I've read in my life, in spite of Gaara and Itachi. Ugh. Just. Why.
ETA: I thought of more things, so sure, why not make this post even MOAR tl;dr than it was before?
12. Have I mentioned that Itachi's death makes me cry every single time I read it? Yeah. So I'm probably pathetic, but it's the truth.
13. I still like Pain and Konan as well. I feel a little disappointed that they're not around to be the Big Bad anymore, because I liked them a lot for that role. I enjoyed having bad guys who were doing really awful things (like killing Gaara ;;), but who had coherent reasons for doing so and weren't just being . . . whatever it is that Madara's being.
Speaking of which: despite the whole Standard Villain Monologue (TM) feeling of the whole thing, I did sort of like the stuff Pain says when he attacks Konoha, and especially when he's talking to Naruto. It's interesting because really, his position was a lot better thought-out than Naruto's was, and a lot more coherent, and it seemed like even Naruto knew it. It also seems to be the first time that somebody says something bad about Konoha and the narrative implies that they may not actually be completely wrong . . . . It's great to see the bad guys argue for their position better than the good guys can.
. . . Of course then, it still IRRITATES THE FUCK OUT OF ME when Naruto gets to be like, "Oh, well I'm named after this dude in one of Jiraiya's novels, and I'm going to save the world in some unspecified way," and have Nagato do a complete 180-degree turn and go, "Oh hey, well since you put it that way, I guess I've been wrong about everything, lol." Like, wtf.
When it first came out, that chapter was the point at which I decided that this series had finally jumped
14. I suddenly really like Kabuto. Kabutomaru or old-fashioned normal(?) Kabuto, it doesn't matter. I keep picturing him being the one who actually runs Orochimaru's weird little household, because somehow I can't picture Oro being capable of doing it himself. Inventing weird new jutsus? Sure. But being able to do laundry without barfing up snakes into the washing machine? No way. Kabuto's got to be the one who handles all that. I keep picturing him going around with a day book, scheduling Orochimaru's time.
I am so writing fanfic like that. Go, Kabuto!
15. Aside from Kabuto, though, I don't really think much of the bad guys of the now. I miss Akatsuki. The whole Madara + Zetsus + zombies business is just awful; they're all totally unsympathetic (except for the zombies, but they aren't fighting willingly anyway). It's like Kishi's trying to make sure that ABSOLUTELY NO ONE WILL LIKE THE BAD GUYS. Akatsuki was brilliant in comparison to this, because while a lot of them were pretty much complete asshole people, at least they were likable characters. There's nothing much to like about the OVER 9000 white Zetsus; they don't really get treated like individuals anyway. -.-
16. Why doesn't Kabuto do something about the fact that an awful lot of his zombies are actively working against him? It's clear that he's monitoring their activities, so . . . Plot holes! Plot holes!
I just don't get it anymore. My brain is broken, I think.
17. Also not digging the idea that apparently goodness and evilness are genetically inherited. Or whatever exactly it is that Kishi's trying to imply here. Nagato being related to the Uzumaki clan annoyed me; it's like Kishi's saying, "Well, he was misguided, but he did end up wanting peace in the end, and that's because he's related to the ~*~good people~*~." Meanwhile, Madara (and now Sasuke's approaching that point as well) is just a jerk with no real redeeming features because he's an Uchiha, and the Uchihas are descended from That One Guy Who Was Power-Hungry Way Back When. You would think the family would have gotten it out of their system by now. It looks like Itachi and Shisui were the only good Uchihas ever. Or something.
Of course all of the people we've seen connected with the good brother are good people. (Except for the white Zetsus made from Hashirama's genetic material. But they're not really related in a normal way anyway, and I'm unclear on how much free will they're meant to have to begin with.) I don't even know what to do with that entire plot line, except to point out that genetics don't actually work like that. >.>