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As a precursor, like many of you I carry disagreements with the manga. Over the years, I've contemplated on posting them but retracted each time since it somewhat forces me into writing a treatise rather than a news article. But I think I've waited long enough. In exchange, I have a little brain teaser for you guys. Even though it's still a lengthy post but please bear with me.
I think the main trouble with the manga is that a lot of the developments are too sudden. Oftentimes Kishi fails to build up many pieces of the set which often end up crumbling below further developments. We only need to look at the gap between recent techs versus standards set earlier in the manga.
This trait was most exemplified when Kishi decided to make world peace so prominent. I look at a character like Naruto and think, "this kid was given one evening to sweep clean a municipal park and the only tool he's got is a mile long raker".
For those living in tropical regions of the world, here's a picture of the type of scenery I'm referring to.
The leaves will continue to fall, there are pedestrians in the vicinity, and the time frame is short. If the kid does take it all up on his own, he's going to damage obstacles all over the place. The task isn't a fair one, or, he needs a lot of external help.
For Kishi, one way to do this may have been to been focus on the Uchiha and Senju rivalry. I know I'm speaking through hindsight now, but suppose he had his intentions outlined from the beginning (which places Naruto at a long list participants) this could translate into:
- Having more Uchiha and Senju (plus affiliates) at the beginning of the manga as starters, or
- Instead of an Uchiha massacre (violent method--should be uncharacteristic of Senju's village) have them banished from village for treason. They'll travel around the world as refugees and mercenaries, until the time is ripe for an ultimatum.
Yes this greatly modifies the story up to this point but I feel that using this approach he'd retain all the freedom necessary to preserve the fantasy elements (chakra beasts and techs) that make Naruto as we know it. The difference is that there's one advantage from doing this: it gives readers more reasons to care.
You ever wonder why some events lie closer to you than others? Isn't it somewhat peculiar why one reflects back on some more fondly than others? Chances are you took part in it and the bigger it was, the better. And think of it this way. I think Naruto as a story, due to its inherent combat elements, is at its absolute best when it resembles a sporting event (which I'll elaborate on).
From my point of view saving the world question isn't a good one, for a shōnen or a novel, even. Why? Because in order to address it thoroughly, you'd literally have to force readers from reality (bring forces into the abstract, say, in relations and magnitude). The scope is simply much too big and on top of all that it's merely a temporary condition (a status quo which somehow has to be convenient for everyone). Every point that it hits en route to the solution (if such a thing exists) will only distance readers because unfortunately when you tackle something so monolothic, all the little things suddenly seem unimportant.
This is a big no-no for the manga. In the past Kishi shared his story through his characters (introducing themes and challenges was effortless). Recall the Chuunin Exam arc where there was palpable struggle on all sides. Each participant has some reason for attending whether it's to advance, prove their own worth, simply to win, etc. I miss seeing slides like this:
He even went as far bringing in Konoha's will of fire. There's value in a strong sense of heritage and to pick up where your forebears left. I'll even say that if you look at real world advances, you'll notice that these milestones (stuff that people talk about) rested on the work of many men and women--it's a continuous process. The student-sensei impact to the story should have been tremendous (more than it is currently) as much as ancestry is tied to their respective villages. So instead focusing on select members of the cast trying to solve something so inconceivably large at an exceedingly local stage (the ongoing battle at Gedo Mazo's location), all that's needed was two acclaimed families at odds, and let the story flow from there. There's enough to work with...
Rivalries make for some of the most remarkable episodes since antiquity because  they tend to escalate and more importantly  each side has just as many reasons to better the other. The competition becomes apparent and folks want to see how it'll end. This isn't a comparison to anything in the current manga, but if I may draw from real life history:
You win some,
Celebration following Solskjær's goal during 1999 UEFA Champions League Final (Manchester United FC vs FC Bayern München) completing Man Utd's treble.
You lose some,
2007 University of Michigan (home) vs. Appalachian State (32-34)
And sometimes, you just have to fight tooth and nail to the end.
The 0.4 second shot by Derek Fisher during the 2004 Western Conference Semifinals (LA Lakers vs San Antonio Spurs).
Had the Senju and Uchiha rivalry been thoroughly examined, there would be complete justification of characters like Uchiha Madara (his demeanor, his skills, and his refusal to die). I feel it's a sturdy enough foundation to build this manga because it makes it abundantly clear that there's real politics at work. The Akatsuki organization and its members (defectors) would've held the mercenary niche that Ōnoki commented on (rather than a collection of individuals assembled by an unknown behind the scenes for world domination!). Those lying towards neutral like Jiraiya (his travelling, authorship) could potentially become more interesting. He may have been one of those people major players sought for advice, rather than a pawn of an ambiguous prophecy.
There should be a coherent flow amidst these events, such that remarks of this nature doesn't come off as abrupt or dramatic in the slightest.
For my last notes, I've typed all the above while keeping in mind that the series was going to be a long running one. The Uchiha-Senju relationship should've provided for the sturdy foundation Kishi needed to explore his story and drawing from this, I think it would've made more sense. It isn't about what's good or evil, right or wrong, or saving the world. It is given that there will be problems along the way, though the ways different characters manage through it completes them.
But I might be entirely wrong though. Knowing Naruto, he'd probably cry on the spot, grabbing a few people's attention and somehow end up with everyone at the park helping him out on his chore. Better be lucky than good, huh...
p.s. I apologize I don't have a tl;dr version of this post. It's meant as a summary of a line of thought I've had for years now. I sincerely hope it makes sense.
Last edited by Akabeth; October 16, 2012 at 06:27 PM.
This is a shameless bump. I read through my post and did a little revision so if it ought to make any sense it should do so pretty soon. I don't think I've left any major parts out or included any esoteric details. If you have suggestions for parts where I could improve upon and don't feel like posting, please send me a quick pm.
I'm not going to delete what I wrote though. If nothing else, it's another perspective of a jaded shōnen reader and hopefully useful to someone out there.
Naruto would use 1000 Kage Bunshins and clean up that park like a boss. Besides, he has enough help as-is. The shinobi alliance is exactly the people to help him sweep.
I pretty much agree with everything you've posted. The "hatred vs. will of fire" deal seems so forced and unnatural. If Kishimoto wanted more people to feel sorry for the Uchiha he would've took the time to develop a more believable rivalry between the two clans. Not to mention alot of what Kishi springs on us has to be taken at face value rather than thought about too much. Which causes for alot of confusion. Namely:
Is the curse of hatred an ACTUAL curse that mystically pre-disposes all Uchiha to a life of anger and hatred?
I believe the will of fire is forced more upon the reader and they lap it up without consideration due to the general brain washing of masses into liking patriotism and Jingoism. Hashirama pretty much started an arms race by handing out gift wrapped Bijus to several nations. Ultimately, he is the sole reason behind the race towards the nations' infinite desire to expand, gain superiority, and wage wars to claim beasts. Tobirmama only expanded upon his policy and began the clan segregation just to keep the power in the hands of Senju clan and their supporters.
You can't blame Kishimoto just because the readers believe it is alright for Nations to commit genocides for their people, and deprive others of rights as they see fit. The readers' general infatuation with the concept of country has a lot to do with why many western readers believe the Uchihas got what they deserved.
From a publisher's stand point, it would be hard to criticize the author as the changes he made did made Naruto super popular. I really like the idea presented here, about making the rivalry between Uchiha and Senju clear right from the start. Though I might say it's not an easy task to foresee what will get reader's attention from day 1. I can imagine the author adding tweaks to the story as he went along.
Personally I gave up taking Naruto seriously after the Land of Waves arc (where team 7 confronted Zabuza & Haku). This is the point when I felt the story was going off track for me. Though I still enjoy following its development just for fun
High five to the OP for this interesting read. I enjoyed the pictures!
if u ask me hashirama should have kept all of the bijuus and forced the other nations into keeping peace.
its not perfect but any peace is better than any war.
nobody said that the uchihas got what they deserved.
a democratic government could have handled the situation differently, but sadly konoha is a military dictatorship.
---------- Post added at 08:22 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:36 PM ----------
its one man vs another man ,one idea vs another idea ,u dont need 100 of them distracting the reader (or more explanations over their motives and conflict).
besides u would destroy itachi, the most awesome character
Last edited by env; October 25, 2012 at 08:56 AM.
Last edited by shahdan; October 25, 2012 at 04:53 PM.