The plot is shaping up more and more! After this latest chapter, I am anticipating the unfolding of plot events more and more. Here's a review of the major plotlines so far, in no particular order. I. Naruto and Sakura's rescue mission of Sasuke: The entire part 1 built up to Sasuke leaving, and now the major goal in part 2 is for Naruto and Sakura to retrieve their teammate. Most other major plotlines pose an obstacle to this. II. Akatsuki's agenda. Also built up from part 1. It represent an obstacle to Naruto's goals since it means capturing Naruto, but it is not limited to Naruto. Tied to this are everything related to jinchuurikis. II.2. Gaara's kidnapping: resolved arc. It is a direct consequence of Akatsuki's agenda, and has been used to further plotline I. III. Orochimaru's agenda. "I like to see things move". Orochimaru had already set up the war between Sand/Sound and Leaf, and is tied to the main storyline because of Sasuke. Orochimaru has been set up since part 1 as one of the main villains, so might have even more major plots up his sleaves. He also conflicts somewhat with Akatsuki's agenda. IV. Sasuke's revenge. It is tied to III. since Orochimaru is training Sasuke. V. The most recent one: Konoha's internal political conflicts. Think Sunagakure's political conflicts were something? Those were apparently a mere foretaste of the bigger political conflicts in Konoha. The main actors are Danzou and Sai. It might pose a further obstacle to Naruto, and might show something to do with Orochimaru (since Orochimaru's assassination has been mentioned). This might be a one-arc intrigue (as Gaara's kidnapping was) and get resolved by the end of this arc, but it also has the potential to develop into more and posing a bigger long-term obstacle. It might also pose further complications where Sasuke is concerned (what Danzou wants done with Sasuke is not necessarily the mere rescuing Naruto and Sakura want) Did I miss any? Here's a graph: How the characters are tied into the plotlines: Naruto: obviously tied to I. He's at the intersection of most of the plotlines because he's the Kyuubi container. Sakura: She is tied somewhat to all of the plotlines because of her role as Naruto and Sasuke's teammates. It also seems that she's become an agent of Tsunade ater the latest chapter: notice how she keeps reporting to Tsunade, besides Tsunade did say that she is one of the few she trusts. Sasuke: tied to the revenge plot, obviously, and might pose an extra element (obstacle?) in Akatsuki's agenda as things unfold (not only because he's after an Akatsuki, but also because he might later do something about the fact that Akatsuki is after Naruto. Might, in any case) Jiraiya: he researches into Akatsuki and Orochimaru's whereabouts. Tsunade: As the Hokage, she can't directly seek out Orochimaru or Akatsuki. However, she might have a direct role with the political intrigues at home. Sai: Sai is currently the center of plotline V. This means that even if many people don't like him (I don't) and would rather if other characters are developed... Sai is necessary to the current plot. His importance lies not in himself, but as the major element that would allow plotline V. to unfold. Further analysis of the current situation of plotlines though, led me to this unfortunate (maybe false, but I don't think so) conclusion: the other ex-genins, because they have no deep ties to any of the major plotlines, will thus NOT be the focus of any of the upcoming arcs. Even Gaara, who as a jinchuuriki had the most ties to the major plotlines, only got a few chapters then got to play possum for the rest of the arc while the arc couldn't even just focus on him, it had to be used as a way to further plotline I. as well. The other ex-genins will thus probably just be tag-alongs on the bigger plotlines. During those, they might get developed (just like the ones who went on the rescue mission were developed), but they won't be the focus of any arc. Well damn. That said, the set plotlines and the complex ways they interact is promising. I can't wait to see things unfold, it seems that things were a bit slow in the past arc to build things up much faster right after.