This is my third Chapter Review.
I request that you read on with an open mind and ready sense of humor.
CHAPTER 500: "THE BIRTH OF NARUTO"
Happy Birthday! ...you sick bastard monsterchild!
It's April 4th, 1992. I couldn't sleep. Why? I'm not sure, anymore. It may have been the armageddon-sized swarm of locusts that decided our backyard pear tree would be its vessel of deliverance, trying to start a screamo band; perhaps it was my stupid fucking pajamas, which itched like a son of a bitch. I don't know why my parents made me wear those stupid things, particularly in the summer. Good call, parents. More likely, however, it was because this particular night fell into a very important date on the calendar. It was the day that I was going to get a Hungry, Hungry Hippo for my birthday! I loved the commercials as a kid, and always wanted to slap my hand on a plastic handle repeatedly to make my hippo eat the most plastic food, and by God I wouldn't let up until my hippo had type-2 diabetes!
As I scraped the bicycle-pattern wrapping paper off of an unusually tall package, I likely pondered to myself what the box could possibly have inside along with the board game. It had to have been some sort of Limited Collector's Edition (before Limited or Collector's Editions of anything were put into production), because, obviously, there is no way my parents could possibly not get me the right toy. I practically ate like a hippo in anticipation!
Look what the fuck I got instead...
We've all had at least one bad birthday experience in our lives at some point. If you haven't, trust me, it's coming. In fact, I highly suggest that you sabotage your own birthday in a significant enough way to make the balance of karma go, "Oh man, nevermind," when it's about to swoop down at you Lost-Smoke-Monster-Style and pass judgment that has exponentially increased throughout the years. Metaphysical chicken pox. Bad stuff.
Seriously though, those of you who didn't get your 4G 128GB iPhones, Playstation 3s, or that brand new car you were expecting for your birthday, and had the gall to fume about it, desperately need to consider Naruto's situation. This past chapter covers a number of different plot points, one of which starts into the details of the immediate events following Naruto's birth. Suffice it to say, Naruto would be happy to get a Mr. Bucket instead of a Hungry, Hungry Hippo, or even instead of a MacBook Pro if it meant his parents could give it to him...
Young Lily, angry that she didn't get her Barbie for Christmas, is stubbornly ignoring her father's affectionate attempts to make her happy. The girl, aged 4, clearly has a wonderfully preemptive head start on becoming a total fucking bitch.
Those of you to which this applies need to stop reading this chapter review right this second, go find your parents, and give them a loving hug. Then come back and finish reading the review. Make sure you do that second part, it's really important. In fact, if it's between the two, just finish reading the review -- chances are you won't lose your parents to sealing ninjutsu within the next hour.
So, readers, as the gravity of this chapter is particularly heavy on the hearts of Naruto's character, as well as us, the audience, I feel somewhat responsible for your well-being here. Thus, I feel a need to prepare you for what is presented in Chapter 500 (even though you've, hopefully, already read it).
Brace yourselves, folks.
There...are no words... except for the words used to declare that there...just aren't words.
Okay, so it's not as bad as the above image implies (as there is no Kyuubi-Kushina or Kyuubi-Kushina-Minato action actually going on here), but I would imagine that most people would join me in asserting how unbelievably disturbing the above sequence of panels actually is. While the above image does not depict any sort of sick threesome, or the Kyuubi finally losing his long-preserved virginity to a being capable of suppressing its chakra enough to allow for such an event (hey, there's always hope as long as Sasuke's around), it does, however, depict an unimaginable degree of pain that Kushina, like Mito before her (the first Kyuubi Jinchuuriki, who, like Kushina and Naruto, is also an Uzumaki) experienced during childbirth. Keep in mind here... Kushina is a kunoichi. A kunoichi who taught the Fourth Hokage one of his most notorious skills: sealing ninjutsu. It is obvious that the Bloody Habanero is no pushover to pain. We've seen nin move through near-severed limbs, impalement, and other forms of vicious violence that would cause unheard of amounts of pain.
It is Naruto's birth, however, that brings Kushina to such heightened distress.
Though us men are so adamant about pointing out to women that they can not possibly understand the pain of being kicked in the balls, we, in turn, have absolutely no measurable notion of what a woman has to go through in order to push an entire several-pound baby out of her netherparts. As if that weren't enough, Kushina, again like Mito, further suffered as her energy shifted from securing the seal to baby Naruto, leaving her seal at its weakest, allowing the Kyuubi to force his power against the caged walls of Kushina's secondary Kyuubi-Womb.
Hell, I was half-expecting her to deliver the damned Kyuubi itself given its shared distress with Kushina. Totally a mother-child connection going on there.
Naruto feels the same way sasuke does about Konoha now.
Many fans seem to think that Minato was downplayed a significant amount in this chapter, for a number of reasons, one of them being that Kushina revealed that it is she who taught Minato a repertoire of sealing ninjutsu from which the Four-Symbol Sealing method was derived. I don't know about that. Minato was a hailed genius, and whether his sealing jutsu were flat out given to him, or he altered them for his own purposes, Minato showed some pretty awesome characteristics this chapter, too.
Somehow able to suppress his worry for his dear wife, Minato kept her seal in-tact as she continued on in labor. Minato has got to be the best childbirth cheerleader, ever.
On second thought, the idea of Minato shooting a reptilian lizard-spear out of the palm of his hand and into Kushina to pull Naruto out of the womb is pretty damned barftastic.
As Naruto arrived into the arms of Kushina's caretakers, Minato stood almost dumbfounded at the birth. Kushina, now in tears, glanced over at her infant son, euphoric that she was now able to see him.
Even though Kushina and Minato have both seen Naruto in the present, it is a satisfying feeling, knowing that both of them were still alive and well to see Naruto's face during his birth, rather than the highly-discussed theory that Kushina met her fate during the childbirth itself. At least, for a few moments in time, they were a family. Shame there wasn't some fanservice picture of Minato and Kushina together, cuddling Naruto in their arms.
But then, I suppose if that were the case, they likely wouldn't have let their son go on-sale for a five-finger discount.
The Senju and the Uzumaki are blood relatives.
Kushina explains Naruto's heritage, belonging to the Uzumaki clan of the "Eddys" village, one with close ties to those of the Leaf. It is here that sealing techniques were most prominent. In fact, they were so prominent that the entire village was destroyed for it.
Remember Madara's comparison of Sasuke and Naruto as Senju and Uchiha... and furthermore, the two sons of the Rikudou Sennin? Apparently, it was literal. Naruto being blood-related to the Senju means that he is also a descendant of the Rikudou Sennin, which furthermore makes Naruto's little Rikudou-dressup fit during his sealing of the Kyuubi all the more mysterious.
It will be interesting to see how this link develops as the manga goes on. We've seen Naruto representing the character of the Rikudou Sennin in the past, rather than, particularly, one of the sons... so it is hard to truly say what all of these new revelations of Naruto's use of the Rikudou's sealing method and the chakra jumpsuit actually means in relation to these history lessons, if there really is a significant development coming at all (after all, Naruto has always been a "Fuck Destiny" kind of manga).
Additionally, however, it kickstarted the question of how much "Madara" actually knew. Did he know that Naruto was a blood relative of the Senju / Rikudou Sennin when he told him his little tale? How could he? This is further questioned as the chapter continues.
Tobi, the masked man, knows more than we thought...
Kushina begins to explain to Naruto what actually happened that resulted in the Kyuubi's release and subsequent rampage, and it is this particular detail that gives us readers a lot to think about regarding the character of Tobi, the masked man.
Somehow, Tobi, a purported former Mizukage, the purported Uchiha legend, Uchiha Madara, the man whose body seems reparable with Zetsu-goo, the man who manipulates rather than battles himself, somehow knew about Kushina being the jinchuuriki. What's more, he knew where Kushina would be during childbirth, and most of all, he somehow knew that they were protecting her in this location because her Uzu-borne sealing technique held a significant weakness during childbirth, a detail that is very likely incredibly secret to practitioners of Whirlpool and few relational nin of Konohagakure, given how dumbfounded Kushina seems to be about how he knew.
Altogether, Mr. Tobi-san up there has had some interesting responses from the community regarding his identity in lieu of the explanation of the Uzumaki clan, the Eddy Village, and Uzu Shi Gakure no Sato. One of the biggest points of discussion right now is the apparent "age" of Tobi / Madara. Somehow, he is able to recall an uncanny and accurate account of incredibly old events. His face is at least partially wrinkled. If he truly is the actual, or an incarnation of Uchiha Madara, he is an entity that spans over one hundred years.
What sort of explanation fits both his lengthy existence as well as his knowledge of an apparently secret detail regarding the Whirlpool jinchuuriki seal? Members of the Whirlpool Country are blessed with longevity in life, and likely, as well, the knowledge of the ins and outs of their sealing techniques. Because of this, many seem to be subscribing to this notion that Tobi may very well be a nin from Whirlpool himself. After all, what is the importance of Kushina explaining the longevity if Kishi didn't find it at least somewhat significant to the story? Perhaps it is simply foreshadowing that Naruto will live for a long time. In a way, it would sort of fit the ideal perception of him being the "new Rikudou Sennin".
Regardless, I feel that Kushina's expression of how it was odd that Tobi knew, and about the Eddy nin having long lifespans will likely be expounded upon at some point in the future, whether they wind up being related or not.
This would have been a cool way for Naruto to have gotten his "whiskers".
It is interesting how synonymous Naruto and Sasuke's histories (and current events) are becoming. Sasuke had a family, and then lost them. Naruto lost his family before having the chance to have it, and then gains that feeling later on.
Sasuke's family is abused by Konoha. Naruto's family is used by Konoha as "sacrifices" for jinchuuriki hosts. Sasuke is delving further into hate, and Naruto is delving further into peace. The big thing in common at the end of the list?
Madara is, in some fashion, directly responsible for the deaths of both Naruto's and Sasuke's families.
While there would certainly be a significant amount of redemption between the two of them for this to happen... I feel like this might be the factor that brings Sasuke and Naruto together in a joint effort in the end. That is, of course, assuming Naruto shares all of this with Sasuke at some point; I'll admit it seems to be wishful thinking.
On that note, however, it has become increasingly obvious throughout these revelations regarding Konohagakure that much of the village's practices are incredibly questionable. I don't think Naruto has quite yet realize just how much he's going to have to / want to change regarding Konoha in order to make things peaceful and "fair" for everyone.
It is because of this that I am still holding the hope in my heart that Naruto will leave Konoha, effectively becoming a missing-nin, in his own quest to seek out justice and peace. I can dream!
So, while this chapter touched on a number of different plot devices, many of which have plagued the minds of Narutards for years, I feel that it served as an opener for what will hopefully be next week's elaboration on the full events that transpired that night.
Needless to say, Naruto had a pretty shitty birthday... and I don't think he's celebrated since.