I don't own Naruto, and I don't think I ever will.
Chapter 153: The Power of a Name
"You want to talk to me?" Naruto asked slightly shocked, staring down the giant hachibi.
"Is that so Surprising? You have the same eyes as our father, and your chakra is also very similar, It stands to reason you are someone important to us Bijuu," the large Octopus like Ox said casually.
"Father? You mean the Rikudou Sennin?" Naruto queried.
The Hachibi seemed surprised by this question, "What!? Did you really tell the boy nothing!?" the Bijuu asked in shock while looking over at the rather bored looking fox.
"I saw no reason to tell the Gaki anything," said fox replied in a condescending tone.
Again the octo-ox took a step back in surprise. "You do know who this boy is right? To leave him in the dark because of your damnable pride, I thought your were better than that Kura-"
"Don't speak that Name!" The fox roared with all the authority of the strongest of the Bijuu.
"Kura? Is that your real name Kyuubi?" Naruto asked with a hopeful smile. This could be the next step in their rather tepid relationship. "So I know that the Ichibi is called Shukaku so I can guess the rest of you have your own names. Um, what about you... uh Hachibi?"
"Our Names are not given lightly Naruto." the Hachibi said calmly, almost as if he was trying to sympathise with his fellow Bijuu. "You see where chakra is involved names have power, they make certain things far easier to accomplish. You have a summoning contract correct?"
"Yeah I signed the Toad contract, though I can summon any creature through the Animal path if I want." Naruto replied.
"Then tell me, how many toads have you summoned that you do not know the name of?" Hachibi asked.
Naruto thought about this for a moment, his first successful summoning from the toad clan had been Gamakichi who had become his personal summons, after that it was only after the initial meeting of a specific type of toad he would only summon those who's names he knew. "It's far easier to summon a toad who's name I know, and if I'm after a specific type of toad I will usually summon one who name I know," the Yoinokuchi shinobi replied.
"That's right. But that is just one example of how knowing a name can make something more powerful. All Jutsu you humans perform become more powerful and easier to perform once the name is used, otherwise why would anyone ever say the name of a jutsu? It wastes time and lets your opponent know what they are going to be facing." The Kyuubi supplied lazily.
"But there is more, a ritual you humans have been using for quite awhile now, you know it don't you?" the Hachibi added.
The blond took a moment beofre slowing nodding his head. "The Sealing of a Bijuu," he sighed sadly. He honestly felt for the Bijuu, they had about as much desire to be sealed away as he did to be a host, it had been nothing but trouble for both himself and the fox. "It's harder to seal something if you don't know it's name, I know that while you can restrict anyones chakra flow with ease a simple suppression tag would do the trick. But... to completely seal someone's chakra you need an independent seal, and that requires their blood and their name."
"We are Chakra constructs Naruto, knowing our name makes sealing us away far easier, especially for the fox," Hachibi replied.
"Why is Kyuubi different?" Naruto asked.
"Because of the nature of my chakra, only those with exceptionally high life force can contain me, such as a Senju or an Uzumaki. You humans have been oh so kind in killing off those families, and even going so far as to wipe out the detestable Uchiha clan who can control our kind if their eyes are developed enough," The Fox answered.
"So if your name ever got out, then you could be sealed within anyone," Naruto realised.
"That's right, just look at the horrendous excuse of a seal that held Shukaku before the toad sage reinforced it. A seal as weak as that wouldn't last a second against any other Bijuu. But that crazy Tanuki let his name get out, probably by trusting someone that he shouldn't, stupid fool," The Kyuubi spat in disgust.
Naruto sat in contemplation, "Alright, I get it. I mean if our positions were reversed then I would certainly be hesitant to give anyone my name. In that case I will wait until you can trust me, I know that it may never happen, but I can only hope that one day you will allow me that honour."
The large Ox grinned. "I don't know about my rather temperamental brother, but I am willing to trust you to change how we the Bijuu are treated. For that reason I will trust you with my name. It is nice to meet you Naruto Uzuamki, heir to my father, I am the Hachibi, Gyuuki. And the Honour is mine."
"You foolish muscle headed idiot," The fox scowled, while he hadn't lived long with his fellow Bijuu after the death of their father, they were still family, and Gyuuki barely knew Naruto. It made no sense that he was so trusting his jinchuuriki, almost like it was second nature. Even if he was his fathers chosen successor, the risk was still there.
"All I'm hearing is you finally admitting that I am stronger than you," Gyuuki replied with a grin.
"Not a chance, while you are physical the strongest, you could never defeat me, I'm the fastest by far, my chakra is more potent and let's not forget I'm the smartest," The Kyuubi replied with a smirk.
"That is highly debatable," Gyuuki scoffed, "Besides you still haven't fully recovered from having half your chakra stollen."
While the two bijuu continued their argument, Naruto moved to join Kirabi. "did you know Gyuuki's name before now?" he asked.
"I'd always called him Hachi-yo, we're partners so I let the names go with the flow." Bee replied.
"Wow Gyuuki must really trust us then," Naruto reasoned, as the two Bijuu's argument began steadily descending into a childish bout of name calling.
"You stubborn fool, I'll turn you into a fur coat!" Gyuuki growled.
"You wouldn't be able to land tentacle on me before I make Sushi out of your tails, you failed science experiment," Kyuubi responded butting heads against his so called brother.
"I guess they really are just like us. They kind of remind me of a couple of competitive brothers." Naruto said with a smile on his face and trying to stop himself from laughing.
"You're just pouting because it's taken so long for the one father chose as his heir to arrive. Maybe he should have trusted Matabi with the task," Gyuuki scoffed using his head to push the large fox back.
"That perverted cat would have probably been spoon feeding the boy the moment she saw him awaken the Rinnegan. She couldn't be trusted, he needed to grow up strong and independent. Besides the first shiny object she saw would distract her anyway, she would catch her reflection in the bars of my seal and it would be all over," The fox scoffed lightly batting the ox aside.
Gyuuki picked himself up and charged the fox who elegantly leapt out of the way to avoid the charge. "Better to be distracted and caring than to completely ignore your responsibility, even Son Goku would have at least given the boy his name by now!"
"I didn't ignore it at all, I've helped Naruto where appropriate and made him work hard! If I had told him he was the chosen one, then it would have gone to his already oversized head!" the fox shot back. This argument was now getting out of hand, he had already given away far more than he had wanted.
"Oh what ever, you're just being hard on him because you became bitter and angry at the world," The Ox said a little sadly as it stopped it's attack. "I was the same until just a few years ago when Bee was able to wrestle control of my chakra from me and we became partners."
the Kyuubi relaxed slightly and averted his gaze knowing that his fellow Bijuu was right. "I can't stand humans," the fox admitted. "They show such anger for each other."
Both Naruto and Kirabi who had been sitting on the sidelines seemed confused by this, but the Hachibi wasn't. "But it was because he gave you the ability as an empath that you were chosen by father to find the one he had chosen as his successor, He thought you had the highest potential. Kami knows why."
"What a horrible gift to give someone," Naruto grumbled quietly shocking both Bijuu.
"What's that?" the fox asked.
"Well let's face it, humans by nature fear what we don't understand. So it's only natural that the Bijuu would be feared. Making you feel that fear from every human you meet must be terrible," Naruto admitted knowing how bad it was as a child growing up in Konoha when people would avert their gaze, he could only imagine how horrible it would be if he could feel what they had felt for him at the time. Even though he knew how useful of an ability it could be now, having the ability to sense negative emotions himself whilst using his Bijuu cloak. "To make matters worse you were sealed away inside Jinchuuriki who are treated terribly as well. If all you are shown is fear, hatred, or people wanting to control you, how could you expect us to be capable of anything else."
The fox was stunned, he had not expected that response, yet somehow Gyuuki had. The Hachibi had judged the boy's character and found it to be more than acceptable to be his fathers successor. But the large ox knew that Naruto was not there yet. It was as if there were still several things still missing before he could truly be called 'the chosen one'. Still despite this the Ox was sure that Naruto was the one.
"Every time I expect something of you, you blow my expectations out of the water," the fox said shaking his head in disbelief. 'I can tell he isn't lying, the kit truly means what he said, He understands, even father didn't understand what he was doing to me when he gave me my ability. Naruto you are the one, I know it!'
"Well it's like I said, I just want us to be friends, I know you agreed to be partners but that would be a lot easier if we could get along as well," Naruto replied grinning.
Once more the fox was taken aback by the response but soon a small smile crossed his usually scowling face. "I... approve. Naruto Uzumaki, I hope you live up to my fathers name and become the second Rikudou Sennin,"
The smile on the blonds face threatened to split his face in two it was so wide. "I'm honoured to call you a friend Kyuubi,"
"Kurama," the Kyuubi said in barely a whisper.
"What was that?"
"My name... I will not have my host know Gyuuki's name but not my own. From what I can understand, friends are supposed to be equals, so you may call me Kurama," the newly named fox declared in a tone that threatened pain should he be forced to repeat himself again.
"Then it's great to finally officially meet you Kurama, Naruto declared holding out a hand before realising that it was too small for the fox to shake. He then closed his fist and held that out, Kurama didn't need to be told what his host wanted and with a slight smirk bumped fists with the blond to signify the start of their friendship.
"Yo that was quick it took me years to get hachi on my side ya dig," Bee rapped making his presence known again.
Naruto rubbed the back of his neck in embarrassment, "Well I guess I have always tried to rush ahead, with these sorts of things."
"Bee, Naruto, It's time. We have held this link between our minds for too long already, it will be dark outside by now," Gyuuki spoke calmly.
"Oh well I hope we can speak again Gyuuki. I really hope that I can eventually meet all of the Bijuu someday," Naruto replied his mood still joyous after finally breaking through Kurama's seemingly impenetrable shell.
"I would like that Naruto, but before we go..." Gyuuki held out his own fist to boy who without question bumped it.
Naruto's eyes widened as he felt a small increase in the potency of his chakra. "What tha?"
"I have given you some of my own chakra, I hope you use it well and help to save my brothers and sisters from the Akatsuki," Gyuuki said while the world became dark and Naruto felt the draw back to reality.
When Naruto opened his eyes both he and Bee were sitting across from each other in their training ground that was illuminated only by dim specks of moonlight that were filtered by the the tall trees of Turtle island.
"That was intense yo," Bee sighed breaking what had been a perfect silence, there had not been even the sound of an insect in the clearing, obviously having been driven off by the Bijuu's chakra.
"Yeah, I didn't expect that to happen when I heard Gyuuki wanted to speak with me. But I'm glad it did," Naruto beamed.
"Too right Nine-o the game will be easier tomorrow with the fox on your side ya dig," Bee rapped.
"Yeah, but I need to train even harder now, I can't let the Bijuu down, not when they believe in me," the blond said, a determined glint in his eye shining from the moonlight.
With that the two jinchuuriki returned to their temporary homes on Turtle island. In the excitement of all that had happened Naruto forgot to ask how the others went in conquering their inner darkness, but he made a mental note to ask the two other jinchuuriki when they returned to camp.
A few miles off the coast, the headquarters of the joint shinobi task force were now undergoing some final preparations. Shinobi from all over the elemental nations now filled the surrounding fields, while they were currently separated into camps with each village containing the shinobi from one of them.
This was only a temporary measure as currently in each camp the shinobi were being giving orders for their new living arrangements within their individual shinobi divisions that would be dependent on their specific skills.
At the edge of the large cliff that overlooked the mist covered bay that held Turtle Island, the tower had finished being repaired, and was now lit up like a beacon, with the flags of the five great villages proudly flying high.
At the very top of the tower the a large circular room was filled with a massive table, that had a three dimensional map of the elemental nations seemingly built into it. The intricate detail of the map included several movable pieces that represented both their armies and suspected enemy troops.
Around the desk sat the leaders of the Joint Shinobi Taskforce, along with their advisors, as well as main strategists. In fact Jiraiya had all but ordered the Konoha Jounin commander Shikaku Nara to be involved in their strategic planning. "So what are the total numbers?" Jiraiya asked while quietly restraining himself from moving the shogi like military pieces around the map in mock battles.
Knowing of his often childlike attitude and reading the legendary toad sage like a book led both Tsunade and Itachi to lightly smirk guessing just what was going though his mind. "Konoha has sent fifteen thousand shinobi ranked Chunin and higher. We also have sent twenty five veteran Genin to act as messenger runners. Six thousand shinobi are in reserve left to protect Konoha, not including the remaining Genin," Tsunade said in a business like tone.
"Suna has sent twelve thousand, with five thousand in reserve," the Kazekage added quickly.
"Add another fifteen thousand from Iwa, with five thousand in reserve," Oonoki grunted.
"Kiri has only been able to send eight thousand, we have not yet fully recovered from the bloodline purges. We have a little under four thousand in reserve," Mei said somewhat apologetically.
"That's fine, Kumo's twenty two thousand shinobi will make up the numbers that Kiri might be lacking. With the joint shinobi head quarters so close only three thousand will be left to defend the village," A said forcefully with a bit of pride that his shinobi made up the largest number of the main military force.
"The Samurai will provide thirteen thousand primary force with four thousand in reserve," Mifune added as the last to supply their force numbers.
"So eighty five thousand troops make up the main military force with, twenty seven thousand in reserve, not including Genin," Shikaku mused.
"So how do we divide the shinobi into their divisions? Placing even numbers would be a waste as some divisions require larger troop numbers," Mei queried.
"Hm it's troublesome, but shinobi with unique and rare skills need to be singled out, possibly removed from direct combat. Medic's, Fuinjutsu experts for barriers, certain members of the Yamanaka clan capable of the long distance telepathic communication technique, for example. They would be wasted in one of the direct combat divisions," the lazy Nara said.
"That's true," Tsunade agreed. "However, those not suited for direct combat rolls will also need at least some combat specific soldiers to keep them safe while they perform their duties. Then there is the matter of the Daimyos, it's doubtful that any of their current guards will be able to hold off a direct attack from the Akatsuki."
"Well I'm not sure of the other countries but I can say that the current members of the twelve guardians are... lacking," Itachi said darkly.
"Trust a professional assassin and mass murderer to know," The Kazekage scoffed.
"I was under the impression that was in our job description?" Itachi replied stoically earning a small laugh from Oonoki and A.
"So, so far we need a Barrier team, Medic's, communication, and defence squads outside the main military divisions," Jiraiya sighed, he knew all of this before hand he had been a major contributor to the war effort in the third shinobi war with the Sannin in charge of Konoha shinobi within Ame, at least until he found three interesting orphans. "We are ignoring one crucial factor though."
"And what would that be?" Oonoki asked rather impatiently.
"Nagato and Ame, he is not sending shinobi here at the moment, Ame will be part of the war. With Ame to the east of the land of fire in between the lands of wind, and earth, we essentially control the middle ground of the Elemental Nations. It will be difficult for the Akatsuki to move their forces around while Ame stands, I expect that to be a major front in the war, if we add Nagato's forces then I would say there is another eight or nine thousand shinobi we can call allies on that battleground," Jiraiya explained pointing to the easily traversable land that held Ame on the map.
"I was thinking the same thing. If we use standard shinobi war time procedure, there will be three main battle regiments split into various divisions. I agree with your logic Jiraiya-sama, Ame will likely be one of the Akatsuki's first targets, so that should be a staging area for one of these regiments. This will also allow us to target the rebellious villages to the east of the continent that have for some reason sided with the Akatsuki," Shikaku said moving several pieces around the large map.
"I concur. In fact I would go so far as to say that the Land of Tea or to be more specific Yugakure should be our first target," Mifune said looking over the map.
The commander of the Samurai was in his own right a highly analytical and strategic thinker he knew that this village would be a major threat if left alone, being on one of the major supply lines between the land of fire and lightning.
"That sounds reasonable, the Akatsuki will attack Ame, which we will need to hold, while another division will be needed to attack Yugakure," Jiraiya said dragging a second shinobi army piece into position near the targeted village only a short distance from the wolf like mountain that was home of the Samurai.
"That leaves a final major military division, we could move to capture Tanigakure in the land of rivers, control the southern part of the board," A suggested.
"No that would be brash foolish, then again that is really you summed up to a tee." Oonoki replied with a smirk before elaborating. "We don't want to open up too many fronts all at once, that third division should be used to reinforce the other two as required," Shikaku, Jiraiya, Tsunade, and The Kazekage Asahi all nodded their agreement. Mei had only really thought in a gorilla war before so she did not have the same experience, as the other shinobi.
"Then for now that just leaves us with one final thing to be sorted, The special task force. Once they are ready the Jinchuuriki will be joining them, with Naruto-kun taking charge of operations." Itachi said flatly.
"Why bring this up, the decision is ultimately not up to us," Oonoki grumbled.
"You're right, it's mine," Itachi replied, bringing out several folders. "Most of you submitted the majority of your elite shinobi, but I picked two from each village to join with the other members of the Yoinokuchi, however I will allow you to Veto my decisions should you object to my choice."
In the end Itachi chose, Temari and a Chunin named Matsuri from Suna. From Kiri a sensor by the name of Kussaku was chosen along with Chojirou. Samui and her brother Atsui were the Kumo picks along with Shikamaru and Anko from Konoha, and finally from Iwa, Kurotsuchi and Akatsuchi.
"Any objections?" Itachi asked casually. After a few moments each of the leaders shook their heads.
"I must ask why you, didn't you chose any of my samurai?" Mifune queried.
"With no disrespect Mifune-sama, Samurai will not be suited for the types of missions required in this particular division. Samurai tend to be too honourable for our underhanded tactics,"Itachi answered honestly.
"I see," Mifune replied, pausing for a moment before smiling slightly. "I thank you for your honest response, I believe my men will accept that answer."
"If that is all, I should really head back to Ame. If Ame is the Akatsuki's first target I should return to help support Nagato and Konan," Itachi inquired.
"Alright Itachi, you can go. It's getting late anyway, and we will probably be doing this all day tomorrow anyway," Jiraiya answered before he himself stretched and began to stand.
"Yeah all this talking is taking it's toll on me I'm tired," A sighed, the usually irritable Raikage also seemed more than eager to end their discussion, he was a man of action and talking just bored the muscular Kage.
One by one the village leaders left heading to their respective camps. The command tower, whilst being large enough was not set up for any accommodation, if all the leaders of the Joint Shinobi Alliance were in one place it would be too easy to target them. The fact would be that a single talented assassin could leave their armies in disarray, not to mention the potential internal power struggles that could arrive should all the villages loose their leaders.
(Later That Night)
Naruto sat in front of a camp fire with the group from Konoha that was acting as their bodyguards. Gai having overcome his motion sickness was doing one armed pushups, alternating arms with each successful rep. The others were far more relaxed almost lax in their duties with nobody acting as a lookout.
Naruto had noticed that neither Fuu nor Gaara seemed to be in the talking mood, both had turned in early straight after dinner. 'So I guess they didn't even come close to defeating their inner darkness huh?' he thought, while gazing over at the cabins being occupied by his fellow jinchuuriki.
'It is not an easy task to defeat the darkness inside oneself Naruto. You may have succeeded on your first attempt, but for others being able to accept certain parts of themselves is simply not possible,' Kurama reasoned through their mental link.
Naruto nodded, he knew that this was a difficult task, and one that not just anyone could accomplish. 'I guess you're right, but I have never felt any negative emotions from Gaara while using my cloak he should be able to pass the training and even best Shukaku.'
'True, I doubt he will have any trouble in besting Shukaku. But you never sense any negative emotions from him because he rejects them.' Kurama said in a mater of fact tone.
Naruto frowned at the thought, he had rejected certain thoughts in the past, that had been the basis for his own inner darkness, but completely reject all darker emotions, he didn't even think that was possible, everyone becomes angry from time to time, that was just part of being human. 'I don't understand,' he eventually admitted.
'It's quite simply really,' Kurama offered smuggly enjoying the fact that he could for the moment hold something over his partners head like a prize that was just out of reach. The fox could feel the frustration in the blond building and just as Naruto was about to reply he decided to continue. 'It's fear Naruto. Remember how Shukaku's host was when you first met him?'
Naruto nodded his eyes widening slightly in understanding. 'I do, he was... well for a lack of a better word, crazy.'
'That's right, you helped change him, but that made him afraid that he would someday end up the same as he was. If he is to succeed in this task he needs to come to terms with the side of him that is a ruthless killer. Not exactly the easiest thing to ask someone to do is it?' The Kyuubi queried rhetorically,
Naruto shook his head, he had to admit that Gaara was probably going to have a hard time accepting his inner self. 'That's gotta be tough, but if Gaara actually completes this training he will probably come out of it much stronger as a result. I mean it sounds like he has been suppressing his killer instinct. That's not good for a shinobi,' he contemplated, his face showwing a little sadness and even pity for his red headed friend.
The look on his face caught the attention of the Konoha shinobi sitting around the fire with him, not knowing of his inner dialogue with his Bijuu. "Is something the matter Naruto-kun?" Gai asked having stopped himself in the middle of a one armed pushup.
The question shocked the blond back to reality and shook the thoughts from his mind. "Oh sorry I was just taking with the Kyuubi, there is nothing wrong," he answered calmly.
"Yosh, it must have been a rather serious conversation to make you seem so worried," Gai pressed, he along with most of the shinobi of Konoha did not exactly like the Kyuubi. Whilst Gai trusted in the blond's judgement, he wanted to make sure that nothing was wrong.
"We were talking about Gaara and Fuu's chances at successfully defeating their inner darkness," Naruto answered causing Gai and the other Shinobi to both relax and become intrigued at the outcome of the conversation.
It was Tenzo who finally asked what all the others were thinking. "What did you decide?"
"Well we didn't really get into any great detail on Fuu's chances, but it could be tough for Gaara," he admitted.
"I see," Yugao sighed, she was torn on the issue, the longer they stayed on the island the more they were allowed to rest. However she knew that even at this very moment a war could be being fought and her comrades could be dying. She didn't want to sit around enjoying a holiday and risk losing her friends and family. "If I may Naruto-san, how does one actually defeat their own darkness? You were able to do it and so was Bee-san," she asked.
"Hm, it's not easy, in fact the more you know about how to do it, the harder it would become," Naruto answered thoroughly confusing the Konoha shinobi. Naruto saw this confusion and tried to explain. "It's like if the only way to perform a jutsu was to do it instinctively without thinking, the more you think about it, the harder it becomes. Kami that's a bad explanation," he sighed, shoulders slumping in defeat.
"Yosh, I think I get it, to complete the task you cannot be focusing on any aspect, in fact you must be entirely unfocused so your answer is unbiased and youthful!" Gai cheered., while the others just dead panned.
"I still don't get it," Aoba shrugged.
They talked for awhile after that each person with their own theory about why Naruto and Bee had refused to give a direct answer to how the training was to be completed. Naruto smiled as some theories had been rather close to accurate, while others had been so far off that they were laughable. Gai had presented the possibility that if anyone who succeeds in passing the test must take an oath to never speak of it or they will be branded as unyouthful and their flames of youth would diminish. After that everyone had looked at the spandex wearing ninja as though he was suffering from a genuine mental condition and not just the 'uniqueness' that all the elite shinobi tend to show as a comping mechanism for their profession.
After a few hours Naruto had finally decided that it was time to turn in for the night, he knew he had another long day ahead of him and Bee would probably up his training the more he improved. 'I might not be able to help Gaara or Fuu with their inner darkness, but if they need to wrestle the chakra away from their Bijuu I'm sure I can help. I mean Bee was able to enter my mindscape, so we should be able to enter theirs right?' he thought expecting Kurama to answer, but strangely there was no response, either the Bijuu had ignored the question or it was already asleep.
Naruto sighed guessing that for whatever reason he wasn't going to get an answer at the moment. Finally feeling the fatigue of the day he shrugged out of his Yoinokuchi cloak and collapsed onto the bed. "Fine I'll ask about it later... goodnight Kurama."
Another chapter down, maybe one more chapter or so before the first arc of the war will start. I've already set it up so that it will be different from the established Cannon so from this point I will probably ignore what happened, mostly because the Manga was on a downhill run from the moment Danzou was made Hokage. (Lets face it he was supposedly a cripple, why would they choose him? Even if he wasn't a cripple shouldn't someone have questioned why he did nothing to stop Pein himself, especially if he was a candidate for Hokage? Everyone else fought, yet someone who hasn't lifted a finger for the past who knows how long is just chosen like that... You can say it was his Sharingan but even then it's pretty weak... never mind, plothole no jutsu eyes.)
I seem at a loss for decent new Manga series to read, I figured with the ending of Naruto a new series would maybe take over for it. I like The Gamer. That has a great premise and thoroughly enjoyable characters. Fairy Tale is still going strong, although the pacing seems a little fast at the moment, there are no breaks to let anything sit in or character development like earlier in the series. Bleach... well I read it, but I'm not finding this arc enjoyable.. but it's better than the Fulbringers... Maybe it's just because I've been waiting for Ichigo to actually fight, and getting nothing, that I'm finding it annoying. As for One Piece... never really got into it, maybe it was the art style but I never got past the first few episodes.
Still all of those (aside from the Gamer) are close to the end of their life cycle, but problem is... and it's a big one with Manga, they draw out the endings to much that it's like they are one of the final boss battles from a 90's RPG and take hours at a time when all you want to do is kill them so you can go to sleep. And being drawn out leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth and annoyed at any plot holes that are left unanswered when time is wasted on pointless things.
The question of what has come out to fill the void left when they finally end. Nothing seems up to standard just yet.