Reaction Shots: Naruto 402

June 2, 2008 at 9:30 pm (Animanga) (, , )

I actually read meta for this chapter (as based on leaked translations), so I kind of know what happened, in a vague way. But now I’m reading the actual chapter for the first time, so let’s see what comes up.

Spoilers under the cut.

1. Oh god the sight of Chibisuke just sitting there, playing with toys like a normal kid–compared to his current loss of innocence and joy and family–ohhhhh Sasuke. ;___; Though I note that he does have toy shuriken on the floor with him; the Uchihas believing in starting them young, eh?

I am reminded of the Aiel in the Wheel of Time–particularly of the first time Rand visits one of their settlements in…the fourth book? And he spots little kids running around with spears. Not toy spears, but like the Uchiha (and I guess all ninjas) they are a warrior culture who start training their kids to fight early, because otherwise they wouldn’t be able to survive or learn all they needed to know? Something, anyway.

2. The way Kishimoto is drawing Itachi’s fringe in this flashback is very similar to how he’s drawing Sasuke’s in the present bookending the flashback. Perhaps a subtle hint at how Sasuke is attempting to emulate instead of eradicate Itachi now?

3. Kishimoto’s style of drawing Uchiha hair feels really…different in this flashback. Smoother or wispier or something. I guess because his style’s evolved? Or perhaps this is set earlier in time than other flashbacks (Itachi hasn’t graduated from the academy yet, that makes him less than ten years old…I can’t remember when he actually graduated. And Sasuke around 4-5). The different hair could be to denote time differences; If you look at all of Itachi’s various appearances in the manga, the difference in style and length of his fringe can help denote time passage between them (SHUT UP he’s my favorite character and yes, I really do look at this stuff. >___>;;)

4. FAIL Kishimoto, reusing art from previous flashbacks.

5. SmilItachi is kind of really freaky but also makes me so sad. Just…I think if anything proves he really did care about Sasuke, it was that reminder of the youth and innocence that both of them had once upon a time.

Itachi’s lack of full explanations to Sasuke about his explanations could be explained as either: a) Itachi wanted Sasuke to keep thinking of him as evil, as b) he ran out of time, as c) he didn’t think Sasuke mattered enough to deserve it.

Or d) he didn’t think Sasuke would believe him and wanted to preserve the illusion of his True Evil, so his last words were for a recollection of happier times for both of them, alluding to and confessing his true feelings without actually doing it, before dying with happy memories on his mind.

I don’t know what I’m trying to say here.

6. Really not a lot happens in this chapter. I don’t know how much I believe Sasuke’s declaration–I mean, he was just put through the emotional wringer by Manipulator Extraordinaire, the One, the Only UCHIHA MADARAAA so obviously he’s not thinking quite straight. It’s very like what he said when Itachi first massacred the clan, he promised to revive the clan somehow but did he even know how babies were made then? And now…does he even know what destroying Konoha would entail?

7. Sasuke’s new clothes have a zipper on front. Thematic similarity to Naruto? Trying to honor and earn the respect of your progenitors–for Naruto, that means all of Konoha (and the Yondaime?). For Sasuke, all of his dead kinsmen and specifically, Itachi.

Am I reading too much into this?

Really this whole chapter felt kind of “eh” in terms of art and stuff, though seeing a little more of Sasuke’s family interactions was nice (Chibisuke is so. freaking. adorable. Also, proof that Itachi reciprocated the brotherly love!), and kind of underscores exactly how much he and Itachi lost, when Itachi was manipulated into choosing to massacre the Uchiha clan.

If Itachi hadn’t been pushed so hard so fast, if Itachi hadn’t felt so used, if the Uchiha hadn’t been so duplicitous…would that young, innocent Itachi have endured? Probably not. But it’s nice to dream.

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