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"Thank you Madara. I knew I could reason with you."
Hi all and welcome to another review. I took last week off since a new reviewer (otomo20) started reviewing and I didn't have much to say about the chapter. I would have liked to see how Madara and Hashirama's fathers died and I had my doubts about whether Izuna was well and truly mortally wounded by Tobirama's strike rather than that being a ploy by a changed Madara. But outside of that, Naruto 624 mainly did what was necessary to show Hashirama and Madara coming to the forefront of that era and how Hashirama put more effort into maintaining their youthful ideals.
Before we get to 625, though, in my last review, I made a poll and asked you guys whether the fathers would die in 624 and the majority of you were right, though their deaths were implied, offscreen, and didn't happen in battle against one another as we thought might happen.
Naruto 625 The True Dream
The images in this review are credited to Mangastream.
The chapter picks up from 624 in which Madara gave Hashirama an ultimatum after being defeated. If he wants Madara's future cooperation, he must either kill himself or his brother. Tobirama objects to both options, but Hashirama views this as a breakthrough because Madara has given him an option that wouldn't make him betray his brotherly bonds. So Hashirama drops his armor and prepares to take his life. Before he goes, he makes the Senju swear not to kill Madara or any Uchiha who will become their allies. Then he's ready to die with a tear of happiness (?) in his eye. Madara, moved by his resolve, prevents Hashirama from following through, and so a new alliance is born.
Just like that a village is born, one with the weight of the fire nation behind it and which the Sarutobi and Shimura clans wish to join. Madara and Hashirama reminisce about the old days and make plans for the future. Hashirama coins a new term and title, Hokage, and offers it to Madara whom he hopes will view the villagers as his new brothers. Madara coins the name for their new village, Konoha, inspired by a worm eaten leaf he chanced upon from surrounding forests. The two rekindle their friendship, but in the midst of discussing the first Hokage statue carving, Tobirama interrupts...
After exchanging a tense glare with the man whose brother he recently slaughtered, Tobirama later chastises Hashirama. He argues that the village must be run democratically and points out that even if Hashirama nominates Madara for Hokage, everyone will vote for Hashirama because he's generally acknowledged as the true founder of the village, including by the Uchiha. Tobirama goes a step further and shares an ugly rumor he heard about the sharingan being directly correlated to the hate an Uchiha possesses. Hashirama objects to Tobirama's attitude towards the Uchiha but they're interrupted by an eavesdropper. Tobirama, the sensor, claims not to have been using his chakra, but it's implied that he is aware their visitor was Madara (which Hashirama deduces from a worm eaten leaf left behind) and his speech may have been more for Madara than his brother.
Hashirama becomes Hokage as predicted. Later, he meets with Madara in front of the secret Uchiha stone tablet, the first non-Uchiha to see it. Madara shares its wisdom.
A parable that can be read two ways. In the first, two opposing forces must cooperate to achieve true happiness. In the second, teased out at the chapter's end, only conflict brings process. Or rather, conflict is a necessary precursor to progress.Quote:
Madara isn't upset about Tobirama. He's uneasy about the shape of things to come. Even if he worked as the right-hand man of Hashirama, he believes when the time comes to choose a Second Hokage, that man will be Tobirama and the Uchiha's decline/subjugation will be all but guaranteed. To prevent that, Madara reached out to his clan and urged them to distance themselves from Konoha to no avail. He's not even trusted among his blood. He laments giving giving Hashirama two choices at the beginning of the chapter. If he had just one, kill Tobirama, who would Hashirama have chosen?
Even accounting for Hashirama's sincerity, Madara believes cooperation is just a subtler struggle. Unable to put aside pride and be open like they dreamed they could be as children, Madara resolves to leave Konoha. He will forge a path himself towards his true dream and cut down his only true equal when the time comes to do so.
The art this chapter was mostly somber and meditative. The dialogue was particularly heavy so characters had to be convincingly wary, angry, proud, uncertain, suspicious, and compassionate. I'm happy to say Kishimoto pulled it all off gorgeously. Between the focus on subtle emotions, the dialogue, the backdrops, and the pacing, I found myself imagining how this might be paced. If Studio Pierrot is canny enough, they'll slow this bit down and treat it like classic chanbara were groups of warriors ponder heavy topics in a tense, thorough, meditative manner before the slow boil erupts in a flash of quick violence, which I think the end of this chapter is hinting towards.
There were other notable aspects to this week’s art. The landscapes were sweeping and as detailed as usual. Konoha has rarely looked better than it has in 625. And at times the landscape was used to signify shifts in time. One moment Madara and Hashirama are talking about the future Hokage. In the next, Hashirama’s face is plastered on a mountain.
But my favorite image was Madara playing with that leaf which is some on-the-nose symbolism. If Konoha is the leaf itself, still intact after some natural damage, what is the hole? Madara? His hatred? His suspicion? His pride? Discrimination against the Uchiha?
I don't why I found these latest chapter so surprising. I should have assumed when Hashirama began the flashback that Kishimoto would be giving us a signature firstlook into the makings of a future villain. I think because Hashirama was telling the tale from his persepective I didn't think we'd explore Madara that deeply, but in this chapter and the last we've seen Madara struggle with overcoming the very base desires he and Hashirama recognized in their childhood as holding back true progress.
There are shades to all of the three big characters here. Tobirama is distrustful and he's let rumors and the past enmity morph into a soft prejudice. His behavior helps destabilize an uncertain friendship, but it's easy to see where he's coming from.
Hashirama is a paragon of selflessness and ethics and fights valiantly to bring Madara into the fold, but he's clearly too close to the situation. He'd bypass the people and put Madara in charge which would prevent future tragedy on one hand, but not be the republic they dreamed of on the other. If he took his brother more seriously, Hashirama would realize he needs to do a lot of PR work to help the Uchiha become accepted by their society. Yet on the other hand, he did have the power to refuse appointment of Hokage unless Madara was co-Hokage or his second in command.
And then there's Madara. The outsider who is very aware of how he and his people are perceived. He didn't hold true to his ideals like Hashirama did and now pays the price in his maturation. Konoha won't elect him or see him as an influential figurehead despite his ninja prowess because he's only recently converted to Hashirama's way of thinking. And his clan won't give him the time of day because they're eager to move past the non-stop horror that engulfed generation upon generation of Uchiha. Madara is able to read the writing on the wall, yet his response is hard to parse.
Is his grievance legitimate? Does he have a sincere desire to unseat Hashirama and prove his superiority and legitimacy to lead? Or is there a deeper motive there? I almost feel as if he's pulling a Lelouch from Code Geass and providing a focal point of tyranny for the ninja world to unite behind. It would partially explain why he later crusaded in other nations (as seen in Onoki's flashback) and somewhat explain the situation of his old age. Perhaps he meant the Valley of the End bout to be the final curtain in this long con and thought to live into ripe old age as he watched the fruits of his labor mature.
It's an odd theory. But if it's true, consider what happened in reality? Hashirama died. Tobirama took over as Madara predicted. The Uchiha were further shunned as either an unfortunate side-effect of his plan or a brilliantly executed piece of strategy on his part. War continued. A tenuous peace was broken, taking the lives of a Hokage and Raikage. War continued on a larger scale. Nations regarded each other suspiciously. The Senju solidified their hold on the Village leadership.
After such failure, Madara, secluded and left to his own devices with no friends or companions to point out his errors, might have imagined a Moon Eye's Plan where he achieves peace through force. A massive global genjutsu. Or perhaps his actions were meant to force a situation in which the Uchiha fought back against the Senju and failing that, sought to create a world in which all people could live without strife, even if only illusory.
For a shonen, there is a surprising amount of subtlety at play in Naruto 625, and for that I give it a …
5 out of 5
Given the way this chapter ended, I expect we'll see the following: Madara campaign on his own while using Kurama to force other nations to bend the knee, Madara returning to challenge Hashirama, the start of that fateful battle, and perhaps a conclusion if we're lucky and Kishimoto manages to briskly walk us through all of this.
One Line Reviews
- Gantz 379 is unfortunately not much of a surprise, which isn't to say it's not a solid chapter. It's just the fight shapes up how you would expect.
- One Piece 702 has some typically strong character work but the manga is clearly back in "major event set-up" mode as chess pieces are maneuvered around the board that is Dressrosa.
- The Bet arc ends in Tower of God S02 Ch55 and the Workshop Battle begins in 56, both of which ramp up anticipation for this new story. With all the shifting allegiances already happening, the new arc promises to throw in a few new characters and sides and add some tests (which have been missing for a few months now) back into the mix.
- Bleach 530 continues its intriguing look back on Captain Shiba's encounter with Masaki Kurasaki as the two are pushed ever closer together in a fairly interesting mystery whose cliffhanger promises major mythology reveals.
- Best of the Week, though, would have to go to Naruto 625 hands down for the thoughtful way that Kishimoto handled Madara's conflict.
Last edited by blackjack612; March 30, 2013 at 02:33 PM. Reason: fixed chapter numbers
Now thats quite the long review, but I like how you rolled that all up and analyzed the characters and so on.
You often wrote 525 instead of 625 though.
Thank god, for a moment I thought maybe you were done with reviews. The other member who started reviewing basically gives his personal opinion in a argumentative kinda way and seems somewhat negative rather than simplify the chapter and talk about it in an open way like you do.
Also I don't know if it's just me who is seeing this but you've substituted Madara's name for Kyuubi, Tobirama for Sarutobi, Konoha for Akatsuki, hashirama for Tobirama, and Naruto for Hashirama which at first was a bit confusing but rather smart and funny after a bit. lol
EDIT: see even in my post they change
Madura for Kyuubi
Tobiierama for Sarutobi
Kunoha for Akatsuki
Naroto for Hashirama
and I think a few more. I spelled them incorrectly so you can see what I'm actually typing.
Last edited by Jabman; March 31, 2013 at 07:26 PM.
WTF is with that autocorrection? I don't get it.
Ahh, happy fool's day, lol.
haha, these guys. I thought you were of your rocker Blackjack. I love your reviews, I read them every time. This one, even with Kyuubi in it is a good one. A solid 5/5.
I actually do sumpatize a bit more with Madara but the dude kind of did it to himself, how many times do you need an olive branch before you lay of. It's not like he didn't have a chance to gain peoples trust to begin with but once again the path of revenge is a poor mans choice.
Your review is good as always.
Keep on doing them
However, that last offer came on the heals of his brother's death, and following his clan's under-performance against the Senju. As the head of the Uchiha, I can sort of understand that such a burden would be large and color his perspective from then on out. He was reluctant to accept the Senju's truce, but he respected Hashirama. He lost the last of his brothers, but moved on for a short time. The man who killed his brother, Tobirama, was in a position of power as the second eldest Senju and this man was perpetuating discrimination against the Senju that, however rooted in fact or not, would surely be detrimental to his clan's survival. And thus Madara lost his makeshift brothers after his real brothers, because they were unable to see how the power structure of this new, experimental village was being set up and already poisoned from within.
So is Madara culpable? Yes. But I can't say that Tobirama is without blame. He at least partially fanned the flames of that conflict, and I'm unsure how much of that was legitimate worry rather than personal worry about possible retribution for Izuna and a personal grudge for almost having his brother commit suicide.
Haven't read the reviews for a while so it was a great pleasure to read such great review after a fairly long break. I particularly liked how you avoided taking everything only at face value and then the subsequent complaints of supposed lack of build up and rushing off. Kudos to you for illustrating the continuity in the chapter both in pacing and in content with enough substance to actually provide the reasons why the things came to happen, happened; without being explicit.
Awesome review black (much like jabman i'm quite relieved that your not stopping the reviews), i liked how you expressed your thoughts about this chapter. In regards to sympathizing with madara...can't say i could.
That guy still has a misguided sense of peace. In retrospect, if i should look at madara's character, he's almost like sasuke and itachi in 1 person. Like itachi cares about his brother more than anything else, saving hashirama from ending his life out of past friendship and much like sasuke hell-bent on revenge.