Sasuke Retsuden issue 4 ended up being very Sakura-heavy as the story had her showcase her smarts to help her and Sasuke progress in their mission to save Naruto.
After Sasuke and Sakura realized they needed Penzila’s help to find the ‘Map of the Heavens’ book, the current chapter opened with the two ninjas getting to work. Sasuke went first. He struck up a conversation with Penzila and got to learn that the inmate was fond of reading books (or at least, going through the pictures) about extinct creatures. Penzila called the creatures dragons. But we all know that the titans mentioned in the book were dinosaurs. I’m looking forward to seeing how the manga will explain a velociraptor being used as prison security.
Penzila gave Sasuke access to the library catalog which showed a bunch of books being stored in the basement. According to Penzila, no one was allowed to go down there. And if someone was found snooping around in the basement they would be hanged without question. So, it made sense that Penzila was hesitant to hand over the key to the basement to Sasuke or Sakura because he didn’t want to get into trouble.
Penzila also mentioned how some of the books in the basement went missing when the Tatar observatory was being fixed. Folks from the palace were in charge of the book collection. But they didn’t realize the value of said collection. The missing books could relate to certain events that occurred during the Kakashi Retsuden novel. But I could be wrong.
One of the reasons I was excited to read Sasuke Retsuden issue 4 was because there was a likelihood of it featuring at least one of two awesome Sakura-centric scenes from the novel. The latest chapter visualized both of them!
The first scene involved Sakura agreeing to play a card game called ‘Star Lines’ with Penzlia. A bunch of inmates found the game while they were tidying up the library shelves a few months back. If Sakura won, Penzlia would hand over the key. Even though ‘Star Lines’ was completely new to Sakura, she was still able to hold her own against Penzlia because of how smart she was. She even refused Sasuke’s help to put Penzila under Genjutsu. Sakura was adamant to handle the situation on her own. And she did it.
From what I could understand, ‘Star Lines’ involved two players going through a 60-card deck to try and create the most powerful arrangement of cards. However, Sakura’s goal wasn’t to win. She had planned to deal with Penzlia, who had a gambling problem, in a similar manner she had learned to deal with Lady Tsunade. It was fun to see Sakura make Penzila grow bored of their game because Sakura was making them tie during every match. Penzila gave up after five rounds and agreed to give the key to Sakura.
The scene showcased how quickly Sakura’s brain worked when it came to memorizing details. In just the couple of minutes that she had before their game, Sakura had noticed and memorized all of the scratches and nicks present on the 60 cards to make sure she knew how to tie with Penzila. During her explanation to Sasuke, Sakura shared how she used to do the same thing to make her teacher Tsunade bored and have the ex-Hokage quit because Tsunade was a sore loser.
Sakura’s aptitude for noticing details made me remember her fight with Sasori, during the Naruto Shippuden days, when a teen Sakura was able to analyze Sasori’s finger movements to avoid and counter his attacks as he controlled his deadly puppets.
With Sasuke and Sakura making their way to the forbidden basement, we got another Sakura-centric scene. I still remember how amazing it was to learn that Sakura had created a Sensory-Type Jutsu when the information was shared in the novel. I was excited to see that particular scene be visualized in manga form. And while we did get to see it happen, I felt a bit disappointed.
The panels had Sakura place her hand on the wall and then release chakra to map her surroundings and find a hidden staircase going all the way to the fourth floor to Zanzul’s office. However, we got no explanation for how Sakura was able to manage such a feat. From what I can remember, the novel made it clear that such a Sensory-Type Jutsu was only specific to Sakura because she had perfect Chakra Control. In a sense, Sakura had basically created her own version of the coveted Byakugan. But we got no such details in the manga adaptation. Not even a panel that had Sakura sharing an inner monologue about how and when she was able to create such an impressive Jutsu. Sigh!
I’m not even sure if someone who hadn’t read the novel was able to fully understand what Sakura had managed to do.
Anyway, Sasuke and Sakura did find the ‘Map of the Heavens’ book and realized how the illustrations in the book resembled the ones found on the cards used in the ‘Star Lines’ games. With Sakura theorizing that the illustrations related to the constellations and how she should be able to properly arrange the illustrations in two days, you could tell that Sasuke had something else on his mind. This is a team mission. So, I’m looking forward to seeing Sasuke sharing his two cents and working together with Sakura to crack the riddle with the illustrations.
Sakura also theorized that the illustrations were likely drawn by the Sage of the Six Paths because she recognized the art style being used by Sai and how such an art technique, a tradition in the Land of Fire, wasn’t used in the Land of Redaku.
As far as the relationship department’s concerned, while on their way to the basement, Sakura mentioned how Jiji had been coming to the infirmary a lot. Sakura was worried about Jiji’s well-being. I liked how Sasuke immediately went on the defensive and said that Jiji was faking it. You could tell that Sasuke felt annoyed by Jiji visiting the infirmary, especially when Jiji had recently told Sasuke about how a flirt could make the moves on Sakura because she wasn’t wearing a wedding ring.
Wedding rings have been a big part of the current narrative due to Sasuke learning about how they were used to identify people who were married in the Land of Redaku. So, of course, Sasuke finally decided to give Sakura a wedding ring. He only told Sakura to wear the ring he created for her (using Earth-style Jutsu) and gave no further explanation. It was such a Sasuke thing to do. I laughed seeing how being given a wedding ring made Sakura lose it during their mission. She was blushing like crazy in every panel after that scene. My heart!
Sasuke and Sakura are slowly making progress in their mission. They have a bunch of mysteries to uncover. And they will also strengthen their relationship along the way. I’m here for all of it!
What did you think of Sasuke Retsuden issue 4?
Let us know.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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