Chapter 537: Night Falls!
The chapter opens with the shinobi on the beach facing the Gedo Mazo that Madara summoned in the previous chapter. Choji and Choza, both still giant-sized, attack the statue, but are rebuffed.
The Gedo Mazo tosses the giant father and son aside.
Meanwhile, Naruto and Bee are rushing toward the battle. Naruto shifts into Rikudo Sennin form, and Bee warns him not to waste his chakra before they even arrive at the battle.
Naruto is anxious to make it to the battle in time.
At HQ, Ao and another sensor hooked into the ninjanet note the presence of a huge humanoid monster with massive chakra on the battlefield. They report that it’s being controlled by Madara. Another sensor ninja adds that Bee and Naruto are on the loose. The Raikage learns that his brother and Naruto teamed up to escape. Furious, he vows to stop the jinchuuriki himself, asking Tsunade to come with him. They leave Shikaku in charge at HQ.
Back at the battlefield, where Kakuzu and other Edos appear to be in the process of being sealed, Kitsuchi decides to attack the Gedo Mazo himself. He uses an impressive Earth technique to attempt to squash the statue between two large pieces of stone, but the statue resists.
Kitsuchi’s Mountain Sandwich also fails to stop the Gedo Mazo.
As shattered rock falls all around the battlefield, Madara teleports himself to Darui and the pot where the Kin-Gin brothers are sealed. Darui, remembering the Raikage’s report that Akatsuki was sealing tailed beasts into a statue, begins to understand what Madara is doing. He demands Madara stay away from the treasures—namely the sealing pot. Madara taunts that he only wants what is inside the treasures, so Darui can keep them for all he cares.
Shikamaru appears from behind Madara. He has also understood Madara’s plan and spells it out for the readers’ benefit: Madara put the Kin-Gin brothers on the front line so that they would end up being sealed early on. That way, he could use them to put the Kyuubi’s chakra into the statue. Madara compliments Shikamaru. Then, the statue attacks. Kitsuchi and Choji rescue Darui and Shikamaru, but in the confusion Madara vanishes with the treasures and the monstrous statue.
Kabuto, still monitoring the action from a remote location, criticizes Madara for bothering with the Kin-Gin brothers when he has only a drop of the Hachibi’s chakra. Apparently, Madara is in a rush. He plans to put the Moon’s Eye Plan into effect in one more day.
Madara’s special eyes shine as he anticipates putting his plan into action tomorrow.
Night falls on the battlefield. We see the various factions of the joint shinobi forces watching darkness fall. According to the narration, both sides have lost about half their troops. Meanwhile, Naruto presses on toward the battlefield.
Thoughts on the chapter
- I realize a lot of fans were tired of the battles with side characters, but I really wanted to see more of Hizashi, Dan, and the other Edos. So I hope that Naruto and Bee’s escape and the appearance of the Gedo Mazo don’t mean that those fights have been cut short. I am glad that Naruto is on his way to join the battle, but I don’t want him to completely take over the story yet. I hope it will continue to shift through the different battles as well as show us whatever Naruto ends up doing in the war.
- Just to clarify what is happening with the Gedo Mazo, for anyone who didn’t catch it: It seems Madara doesn’t really need Naruto and Bee to put his Moon’s Eye Plan into effect. Instead, he is going to use the severed octopus arm that Sasuke retrieved to provide Hachibi chakra and the Kin-Gin brothers to provide Kyuubi chakra. Or so it appears—whether or not this will be effective is questionable. I think this is a pretty smart move on Kishimoto’s part, as it will allow the villain’s plan to progress without Naruto and Bee having their tailed beasts extracted. (At least, not yet—capturing Naruto and Bee does still seem to be one of Madara’s goals.)
- Notable characters that still have not made an appearance in battle: the former jinchuuriki, Nagato, Itachi, and, of course, Sasuke. When and how do you think they will appear? I think we’ll see the jins soon, but Nagato, Itachi, and Sasuke won’t show up until late in the game. Sasuke, in particular, is like the trump cards that won’t be revealed until the final hand.