Naruto 361: Sharingan vs. C4
1. Swallowed Alive – The TRUE Nature of Garuda
If it’s one think to be said about this arc, it’s that Kishimoto has really unveiled the true battle potential of resident artist and extremely popular character, Deidara. Whatever the reason he did not use these abilities before (whether it be due to arrogance, the lack of his arm(s), or simply because Kishimoto didn’t think of them yet), he has fluffed his feathers to such an extent that he has been able to really measure up to both the standards set by Akatsuki, and arguably one of the strongest characters of the series. Whether you love or hate Sasuke, it must be noted that his two and a half years of heavy training under Orochimaru have not gone to waste whatsoever, and his progress is so extremely evident in this battle. As a fun little comparison, Sasuke is completely aware of the different types of chakra and their weaknesses towards each other after his training, whereas Naruto had to wait for Kakashi to inform him. Orochimaru, even if he employed the use of evil techniques and medicines in order to strengthen Sasuke (as stated by Tsunade, I think), seems to have done a much better job in teaching Sasuke compared to Jiraiya’s training with Naruto.
Before I get off track, let’s review what happened in these panels. We were left last week with Sasuke held in place by a clay bunshin, created by Deidara on top of his bird. The real Deidara then emerges from the bird, and employs the same technique used in the previous chapter. However, this time Sasuke is in the center of the technique – there is absolutely no escaping. Aside from stating the obvious, I also want to point out just how incredible and well thought out this was. Deidara, despite being portrayed as extremely arrogant, had not underestimated his enemy enough to think that his last attempt to use C4 had been successful. So, even when he was employing the use of his strongest jutsu, he was still a precautionary step ahead of his enemy. He also knows the abilities of this jutsu. Last week, there were predictions that the clay bunshin Sasuke impaled would simply explode (a la Itachi), with Deidara still on the bird aside of it. I’m glad to see that Deidara is more cautious to let himself get caught by his own art, and instead use C4’s further ability, which seems to allow the balloon-like copy of Deidara to swallow everything in it’s path.
2. Deidara’s Escape – Furthering C4
I found this panel extremely informative. In the past chapter, we simply saw Deidara create a gigantic version of himself, and set it loose against Sasuke. With Deidara inside the very bird he trapped Sasuke on top of, at the end of last chapter I was not exactly sure what to think. Either the second Deidara was also clone, or he had something else planned for Sasuke besides blowing him up. As it turned out, it was the latter. C4 – Garuda seems to have a second ability. As it is formed, everything around it is absorbed into its innards. This can be compared to how a balloon is blown up. As you blow into it, and expands, it retains not only the air blown in, but whatever else was in that same air. The difference, of course, is that as Garuda expands, he simply forms around whatever is in the way.
It was also exciting to see Deidara not simply blow Sasuke up with the clone (that he is still attached to inside of the bubble). Since the Deidara holding Sasuke by the ankle been the real one, blowing himself up with the opponent doesn’t seem in his character. Deidara likes to live. He lives to see his art explode, and with death comes the removal of this pleasure. He has no real ambition in Akatsuki, he only exists in the organization to fight and pleasure himself at the thought of destruction. As such, I thought predictions of suicide bombing were extremely unlikely given Deidara’s character and his own goals. It’s good to see that he knew exactly what he was doing. Furthermore, it’s also nice to see that Deidara has complete control over his C4 technique. With it’s original usage, C4 was just a giant version of himself, however, this time he’s much smaller and balloon-like. Deidara has been seriously underestimated by both Sasuke and most members of this board – he was generally discredited as a one-trick pony.
3. Failure to Launch
In the last panel, we saw Deidara kick himself off from the explosive balloon containing a struggling Sasuke, and find himself in midair. His ambitions, as shown in this panel, were to create another bird and float to safety. However, for some reason, Deidara’s jutsu completely malfunctioned. There are two things that really attributed to it. The first was, as he stated, a lack of chakra. This battle has gone on for a very long time, and he has completely exhausted his resources. However, the second lies with the shuriken that Sasuke used to pin Deidara to the bird. It seems as if those wounds have taken their toll on Deidara’s bomb-making. Kazuku is also no longer among the living, so whatever happens to his arms, he’s going to have to deal with it for the rest of your life, unless he learns to make godlike use of an electric sewing machine. However, what needs to be noticed is that this is all going on in the air, this failure of his jutsu and the next Chidori thrust by Sasuke.
I also wanted to put attention to the fact that only his left eye is open, again. This is the sharingan-countering eye, so whether it be necessary for his precautions, or just a nervous habit, it makes casting a genjutsu on him impossible. This is what confuses me about this chapter. In the next few pages, Sasuke manages to cast a genjutsu on Deidara, with only his left eye open, while he’s flying at him. Deidara has his left eye open for the whole time, and yet he falls for the fake Sasuke disintegrating. Unless that was a bunshin of some sort, I have no clue how he did that. It’s possible that Deidara’s fatigue has an effect on this genjutsu-proof eye, which would make sense. Perhaps, to use it’s ability to dispel genjutsu, a certain amount of chakra is necessary. So, it would make sense that, since Deidara is both falling in midair and almost out of chakra, that the eye doesn’t work. But then, if he knew that he couldn’t dispel any more genjutsu, why keep only the left eye open? Why didn’t he just open both eyes if he knew that his left eye would no longer dispel genjutsu. The only explanation is that he didn’t know. It wasn’t possible that it was cast while Deidara was using C4 on the bird, because, there too, only his left eye was open.
4. A Cellular Look – The Horror of C4
I don’t know about you, but personally, this is really one of the scariest jutsu I’ve ever see in this series. Kimimaro’s kekkei genkai to mold his skeleton at will was the freakiest for a long time, but personally, this really beats it. He’s created bombs so small that in just a couple of seconds, they traverse the entirety of his blood stream. With Sharingan, he is able to see the color and form of chakra, so this inside look is through the eyes of Sasuke, obviously. The way that the person dies, by perpetual internal explosion, is just horrifying to think about, and it’s a very lucky thing that Sasuke escaped (twice). However, I’m somewhat confused as to how Sasuke actually looked into it using the Sharingan. I was under the impression that the Sharingan can’t look into the body, but simply see the color of chakra. So, if this were true, then wouldn’t he just see colored specs of chakra emanating through his arm, but not see the actual form of it? I think we’ve seen this before, when Obito looked at Rin and noticed that her chakra was jumbled up. Kishimoto explained the abilities of Sharingan, and the level of insight that this allows was not originally explained to us. Another unexplained incident is when Kakashi saw the muscles of Rock Lee breaking during his Lotus. But, that’s off topic. It seems that Kishimoto will prop up Sharingan to an almost godlike ability, so that when Naruto, or whomever, defeats Sasuke and finds the secret to beating Sharingan, it will transfer all of that prestige to him.
Here we see the second time Deidara gets caught in the same exact genjutsu. Sasuke disintegrates, seemingly, only to find out later that, once again, Sasuke faked his own death to get close to Deidara. This all occurred in midair, since Deidara had absolutely no way to stay afloat with the failure of his jutsu. The only question is, how exactly did Sasuke cast the genjutsu over Deidara? As we were already told, that eye is supposed to ward off genjutsu, and yet, as we can plainly see, the left eye is open, and the right eye is not. So, the question remains, how exactly did he do this? The one option that I can come up with, is that the jutsu really did go through, and though he was able to save his body, the extra parts of him provided by CS2 were lost as well as the snakes, so that's what he saw disintegrating. But, the whole performance seems exactly the same as the genjutsu performed in 360, so I'm going to assume that it is. If it looks and smells like a pig...
This panel also answers another question for good. Sasuke can use these wings to fly. He completely changed the direction in which he was going with his wings, and flew high-speed at Deidara with a Chidori in his hand. This has been argued about a lot since Sasuke first unveiled his wings at the Valley of the End. We can see him clearly change his direction with the wings, and fly at Deidara with Chidori.
6. Human After All
I wanted to make a quick note on this panel, nothing large. Look at the condition that Sasuke’s in. Ever since part 2, we have not seen Sasuke get really injured whatsoever, which contributed to the invincible image that he had. He was able to take out most of his enemies without a scratch, and hasn’t really gotten hurt since Valley of the End. It’s quite refreshing to see Sasuke really roughing it again, as it strips him of his invincible image. However, this outcome really shows us exactly how outmatched by Itachi he will be. We were shown Itachi’s fight with Deidara for two reasons. The first was to explain Deidara’s prejudice against Sharingan users. The second is to give us an enemy both Itachi and Sasuke have fought to give some sort of comparison between the two. Sasuke did a great job against Deidara (how great, we will see in the next panel), but Itachi walked away from that fight without so much as a scratch. Another note, look at the electricity surrounding Sasuke. That will be explained in the next panel.
7. Deidara’s Natural Enemy
Sasuke did an almost Shikamaru-like analysis of Deidara and came up with an accurate way to incapacitate his bombs. It took me a few reads to completely understand his plan, so I’ll save you the trouble with a quick review: the last Chidori he seemingly used against Deidara in the air was first used against himself to diffuse the bombs in his body. Since earth jutsu are weak to electricity, Chidori was able to deactivate the bombs in his body. It’s plausible that he activated the Chidori while still in the Deidara-bubble, destroyed the remaining nanobombs in the air around him, then used Chidori on himself, busted out of the bubble, and attempted to fly at Deidara. But, the process of actually finding out that it would work was much harder. Sasuke noticed that some bombs exploded when hit by his first chidori-needles, and some didn’t. He concluded correctly that Deidara chose when his explosives were initialized, and thus, could not be sure if his Chidori was actually the cause of the duds. However, he realized that the land mines would explode on contact, no matter what. So, he threw his Kusanagi katana, charged with Chidori, onto the mine, to see if it exploded or not. He was able to pinpoint where the mine was due to Sharingan’s ability to see the color of chakra.
I wanted to quickly point out how perfect of an opponent Sasuke was for Deidara. He had Sharingan to pin-point hidden bombs and to predict some of his movements, a slew of electric jutsu to deactivate his bombs including several long-range attacks, and wings to attack Deidara while he was in the air. Sasuke is also a proficient user of Genjutsu, which helped him get close to Deidara. Deidara had absolutely no clue what he was getting himself into – his goal was to prove himself against Orochimaru’s killer, and in many ways he did. However, he severely underestimated Sasuke going into this battle. Kishimoto was also able to show Sasuke’s full growth, and yet he still portrayed him as human due to the amount of injuries that he sustained from hitting himself with Chidori. Still, had Sasuke not known Chidori, this would have been his last battle. Props to Deidara for the amount of growth he has shown in this battle.
There are a couple loose ends in this chapter. How exactly did Sasuke cast a genjutsu on Deidara when the only eye he had open was the eye that was supposed to counter Sharingan? Where is Tobi, and for that matter, where are the Konoha ninja and Hebi during all of these explosions? Still, the action was good and the outcome of this battle, though predictable, was extremely satisfying. This chapter was hard to dig into since everything was relatively straight forward.
Well, Tobi has to do something, doesn’t he? There is no doubt in my mind that he will have to come in and intervene. I predict that he will do one of three things:
1. Come in and save Deidara before Sasuke can deal the finishing blow or extract any information involving Itachi
2. Begin to fight Sasuke while his chakra is low, resulting in either Sasuke’s whooping or Sasuke tagging out for another member of Hebi (perhaps Juugo, who’s curse seal activated a couple of chapters ago), or being saved by a member of the Konoha 8.
3. Comes in, kills Deidara before he can give information (which would be surprising for his character), and then begins to fight Sasuke. This would be the biggest surprise for his character, and I think it would be within Kishimoto’s style to do this.
The other option is a Deidara-style final explosion, but there is no way that he has enough chakra to create a clay clone of him, and I don't think he has the strength either. I don't think it is in the style of Deidara's character to commit suicide using the explosion that was used on Kakashi and the gang during the Save Gaara arc, but I think he might justify it as a "final explosion of true art" type of thing. If it's between committing suicide and taking the enemy with him, or just getting killed, i'm pretty sure he'll take the former. We'll see - Naruto is rather hard to predict.