Ehh...that felt pretty bland, uninspired, and misplaced. :/
I wasn't sure what to expect, given the escalating feel and pace of the manga so far, but this definitely wasn't it. Really? An update/expose right in the middle of what could arguably be one of the most important battles of the series? It felt like hitting a brick wall after the drop on a roller coaster. I mean, an update on another battle would've been forgivable, even expected, but this just seems to throw a wrench in the pacing.
Oddly enough, I was actually excited to see how Sasuke's developed since that last run-in with Naruto. While I've taken issue with Sasuke's progression in the past, it was only because I felt it came at the expense of the main character's. This time, however, I couldn't wait to see how far Sasuke had gone towards bridging that gap between himself and his rival. When that opportunity finally came (albeit, I still believe the timing is all wrong), the experience was underwhelming. When Naruto ran into his own pack of aloe vera-nins, we saw him utilize his new-found powers with the utmost creativity and command. I figured he'd use a mix of speed and a dash of Rasengan, but a Rasengan vacuum?! A chain-linked Rasengan AND a frog-summoned smash to seal the deal? Very nice.
Now, it's Sasuke's turn, and although I definitely expected eye lasers and other nonsense, I was hoping for some variety as well. Now, while those 'things' resembled Ameterasu shurikens, it was only just barely... Plus, Sasuke's all about agility and grace! What's with the stiffness? Didn't sit right with me.
Team Taka? Don't know. Don't care. I was hoping they'd be Sasuke's anchor to reality, keeping his feet firmly on the ground with the camaraderie that he knew he needed, but wouldn't admit...maybe even being the reason why he fully embraces hatred when they perish to protect him against the Leaf's (or any other village's) assassins. But, they seem to be the ones in need of a reality check, themselves; they're downright delusional!
I was honestly expecting the focus to return to the Kages and Madara, leading up to a surprise drop-in by Sasuke to facilitate the evolution of his EMS to a full-fledged Rinnegan before his meeting with Naruto. But now, Itachi is a possibility? I really hope not, considering he kinda made it clear that he passed the reins of his brother's salvation to Naruto.