After the Naruto manga ended, there were some pretty big time gaps between the Fourth Great Ninja War, when Kakashi became Hokage, when Naruto became Hokage, and everyone got paired up with everyone else and had children. Many fans of the series wanted to know what happened in between points A, B, C, and D. While many hoped that -The Last- Naruto: The Movie would answer some of that, it ended up being a point E, per se, and never really filled in any of the gaps. So Masashi Kishimoto created several scenarios and decided to publish them as Light Novels. There will be several novels being released on a monthly basis, but up first we get one that centers around one of the most popular characters in the series aside from Naruto himself, Kakashi!
The story of Naruto: Kakashi’s Story takes place one year after the Fourth Great Ninja War. Tsunade is still the Hokage and Kakashi has accepted the offer of becoming the Sixth, however, he is having difficulty with agreeing to go through with the coronation ceremony. In typical Kakashi fashion, he doesn’t believe he is a good fit for the position. In fact, this isn’t the first time this has happened, either. When Danzo was killed by Sasuke in the series, Kakashi was asked to become the official Sixth Hokage and had reservations about doing it back then as well, so this really isn’t anything new with him.
Before we get to that indecision, however, we are given a prologue where Naruto is on a mission with Sai in the Land of Waves. He is hunting down a target named Garyo and ends up finding him running into a cave. When he’s about to capture him, a mysterious ninja clad in white with the ability to freeze the moisture in the air attacks Garyo. This ninja says that they wish to carry on Madara Uchiha’s ideals for a world filled with peace, but in order to obtain peace, pain must be had first. The ninja talks about the world being corrupted by money and how money is a status holder that hurts more people than it helps them. Naruto sympathizes with the ninja, but won’t let him go about bringing “peace” to the world in such a way. After a battle, Naruto takes Garyo and we get a time skip to where Naruto meets up with Inari from the Land of Waves where they have a discussion about Hozuki Castle (Where Garyo is being held) and that the Land of Waves is building a flying ship in which Konoha will be providing security for when it launches.
This bring us back to the present and Kakashi ends up attending the take-off ceremony. Kakashi spies a suspicious man boarding the ship, but it only turns out to be Rock Lee sneaking Gai on board. After the bit of comic relief, we are drawn into a conflict when the ship experiences a hostage situation. The person making the demands is Rahyou, a disciple of Garyo. He especially warns not to get Naruto involved in this, so it is up to Kakashi to save the ship and overcome his mentality that he’s not fit to protect Konoha.
I will refrain from spoiling the rest of the novel, but if you’ve followed the series, it’s pretty obvious what happens.
While the novel itself was a good read, I think the story was imbalanced. The prologue set up the conflict nicely, but the novel focused way too much on the hostage situation. The epilogue seemed a bit rushed and I felt that if the hostage situation was cut a bit shorter to focus more on the epilogue, there would have been a bit more meaning to it, but don’t take that as me not enjoying it, it was nice to see the story wrap up and it was a pretty good read after all.
As far as what fans were clamoring for… I don’t think it really did the main story justice. People wanted to see the events leading up to Kakashi becoming the Sixth Hokage… even if it was just the ceremony itself, it probably would have been fine. I don’t really think this side story was necessary to get Kakashi to that point and I felt a bit letdown that Kishimoto would choose something that seems like a filler adventure to elevate Kakashi’s character. The ceremony to crown him could have easily been handled in an OVA rather than a light novel, but that’s just my opinion.
While I don’t agree with the material, again, it doesn’t stop it from being a good read and if you’re a fan of the series and want to see (read) Kakashi in action and overcome the doubts in his mind about his abilities now that he lost his Sharingan, then it should satisfy you!
A copy of this light novel was provided for review.