Reaction Shots: Naruto 403

June 7, 2008 at 11:36 am (Animanga) (, , )

Spoilers beyond the cut!

1. Kind of meh, overall. It feels like filler–not much happens other than expanding on the previous chapter, which expanded on the previous, which means both are just kind of delving into “Itachi was not actually batshit insane.”

2. So uh, starting from the top…Itachi’s conversation with Naruto is kind of interesting. Itachi made a choice when he left, he chose his mission of protecting Konoha by massacring the Uchiha over Sasuke. Naruto, on the other hand, is determined to keep Sasuke and fulfill his mission of protecting Konoha. Augh, it’s so hard to read Itachi sometimes. That whole conversation has a feeling of probing, like Itachi is surprised by Naruto’s convictions and wants to learn more.

2a. Maybe he’s asking because…he wants Naruto to save Sasuke. He wants Sasuke to return to Konoha, to have as normal a ninja-ing life as possible. Which is weird, because previously he had seemed to generally despise the Uchiha (and by extension Konoha-nin?) for their, um, complacency? Sorry, mind’s not really on right now.

2b. It’s like he’s shoring up Naruto for the eventuality of saving Sasuke. By raising all these questions, he preparing Naruto and thus upping Naruto’s chances of succeeding…Itachi’s planning a way for the damage he did to Sasuke to at least be partially undone? I guess this means he really does care. Which we ALREADY KNOW from the previous chapter, but whatever. Hmm. Is this why Itachi was so reluctant to capture Naruto in the first place? People have pointed to his “meh, he can wait since he’s gotta be the last” attitude as evidence of Itachi’s desire to avoid fighting, of Itachi just being practical and avoiding any more contact with plebes than necessary, of…whatever. Maybe it was because he knew Naruto was gunning to save/protect Sasuke (did Naruto tell him when Itachi first returned to Konoha? I can’t remember.) and wanted to give him a better chance to do so when he’d have to–when Madara finally sank his hooks into Sasuke (like he did with Itachi!). I don’t think Itachi planned for Orochimaru.

2bi. So I guess in terms of Itachi’s characterizations, it means that he was manipulated (by Madara, by the Uchiha, by the village elders) but became aware of it. He is aware of people screwing with him, of why and how. He is determined that the same should not happen to Sasuke? At least on the scale that it happened to him, since by making Sasuke believe that he’d never loved him, Itachi is manipulating Sasuke too.

Maybe by making sure Sasuke hated him he hoped to give Sasuke enough conviction that he could resist any outside manipulation, because his belief in Itachi’s evil and need for revenge would sort of buffer him against it. With Itachi dead, Sasuke has no such buffer; as other people have pointed out, post-Itachi’s death his world has been seriously shaken. HIS LIFE IS A LIE. This makes him doubly susceptible to Madara’s words. I don’t think it’s coincidence that Madara waited until that moment to sweep Sasuke away, though admittedly I’m unsure where he’d have found the oppurtunity to do so before.

2bii. Funny how the name Tobi no longer exists. He’s MADARA everywhere, like he always has been. And yet, he looks exactly the same.

3. What the hell is up with Itachi’s eye-lines. They’re like superlong in this one panel and it’s like their length keeps fluctuating. How the fuck did he get them in the first place? WHAT ARE THEY? Make-up? Wrinkles? Skin discoloration? WHAT?

4. “I hope…the day never comes when you have to use it.” What? What does he MEAN? That he hopes Sasuke can resist Madara’s manipulation (which at this point he could only anticipate and speculate about) and thus isn’t turned against Konoha (why would he believe that Madara would want to turn Sasuke against Konoha in the first place?)? I revise my opinion: not so much meh as second-verse-same-as-the-first combined with a healthy dose of WTF.

4a. There’s a repeat of Itachi leaving Naruto. He excuses it by saying he’s got more important things to be doing. But why is he really? I don’t think at this point “he just wants to avoid fighting” is a good excuse. He stuffed a friggin’ raven down Naruto’s throat *insert deepthroat jokes here*.

4b. If only this conversation had happened during the actual fight between them. How awesome would that be as foreshadowing? Maybe leave out Itachi outright saying he gave the power and just have the shot of Naruto swallowing a whole friggin’ raven instead. Now that would have been cool.

5. Some people say that Sasuke suddenly remembering all these things is bad, but I actually kind of like it. What I mean is, the massacre was an intensely traumatic experience, and immediately afterwards Sasuke forced his entire mind and being to focus only on a) gaining power in order to b) kill Itachi. Is it any surprise that he’d scab over bits of his memories that he couldn’t deal with (the “run, run, and cling to life” bit, I think)? Or that he’d scab over the bits that clashed with his new view that Itachi = evil (like the crying)? Sasuke’s quest to kill Itachi does eventually becomes his sole reason and purpose for living. The crying would invalidate that and thus, his whole life post-massacre.

That having been said, I’m not sure I can all out disagree that Kishimoto is just shoehorning this extra bits in rather than using the gradual revelation of layers to the incident as a way of expanding on just how much the massacre affected Sasuke young, impressionable mind.

6. It’s kind of telling how Sasuke uses a kunai on Itachi. I mean…obviously he isn’t good enough to actually kill Itachi with one shot. But kunai practice was where we first (in terms of storyline, not chronologically) saw them interacting as brothers. Sasuke attempting to use a kunai on Itachi (and hitting his hitai-ate!) tells us two things: they are no longer brothers, and Sasuke really is a genius in his way (he’s only eight years old, after all).

7. Okay, Itachi putting his hitai-ate back on confuses me. We’ve seen other characters wear them like that, like a bandanna with an extra metal bit sewn on. BUT WHERE IS ALL THAT EXTRA CLOTH COMING FROM? Because before Itachi had been wearing it like Naruto, just across the forehead, and recalling when Naruto received his first one from Iruka, it looked like just a strip of cloth with the metal attached. I don’t get it!

7a. Itachi with his protector like that is hot. I feel dirty.

8. Ahhhh, the crying! What to say, what to say. It’s in line with what Madara’s been saying, but it’s such a departure from Itachi’s character until now (actually, maybe not–he was pretty free with the happy in that earliest flashback last chapter). I guess it just underlines that he really did care for Sasuke. Did he intend to turn Sasuke against him? Or did Itachi anticipate it and cried for that lost bond when Sasuke finally attacked him?

8a. Go Sasuke! Resilient little boy–he’d have had to leap over that building and attack Itachi’s forehead protector with the kunai after he’d been Tsukiyomi’d. Damn. Is he strong, or was Itachi’s Tsukiyomi just weak?

9. Despite Naruto’s conviction when facing Itachi, I think that last page, at least, shows that that Itachi’s words have really shaken him. Obviously he hopes Sasuke won’t turn against Konoha, and perhaps still believes it–but doubt has been cast in his heart, and Itachi’s words are weighing on him heavily. I don’t think he believes him, but they’re making his mind wander to places and consider scenarios he wouldn’t necessarily have done so if Itachi hadn’t said anything to him.

10. SASUKE I JUST DON’T GET YOU. I mean, I kind of do, but I’m not sure what you mean by reviving the clan your own way. I mean…I’m assuming he doesn’t mean by making numerous babies. I guess he means that by removing the village leadership he can remove those ultimately responsible for his clan’s doom and thus avenge the clan’s honor and restore them to a place of…honor. Um. Okay.

11. So all in all? It’s still kind of a meh, filler chapter, almost a repeat of what happened last time. Naruto’s stuff was interesting, because it shows him showing more doubt that Naruto is normally wont to do (and he’s doubting about his quest for Sasuke which just makes it all more interesting! *plugs essay*). But really all those new revelations could have been put in earlier as foreshadowing. But then we’d lose Naruto being doubtful and uncertain about Sasuke? But then there could have been MORE of that! So, tough call. I guess.


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