Gold Knight's Ten Comments (Naruto 303)

Gold Knight

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In case anybody wonders, I waited as late as Monday to submit my comments because I wanted to have a nice quick Edited Manga of the chapter for easy reference. So, I used Jinchuuriki's for this edition - thanks to them for doing a good job!

Hope you enjoy my comments on Naruto chapter 303 and feel free to comment as you wish :)

* * * Gold Knight's 10 Comments on Naruto Chapter 303: Sai's Betrayal * * *​

1. A Chip off the Old Block! - Figures - in a chapter where Yamato doesn't really do much new for a change, we get an awesome cover of him standing with possibly the most powerful Hokage that Konohagakure has ever known! Good to see Shodai again and also to see a bit of a visual comparison between him and his oft-impressive genetically-engineered descendent.

You know, for a clone of sorts, Yamato doesn't really resemble the First that much. Perhaps that by itself actually led Orochimaru to think that Yamato was a failure, thereby allowing the "guinea pig" to remain inconspicuous enough that an escape from his cage was possible?

Also, I must say that Shodai must have been one tall dude to tower over Yamato like that --- I had thought they were nearly the same height!

Interesting tidbit: The term clone is derived from κλων, the Greek word for "twig". Appropriate in this case, wouldn't you think?

2. Easy Confession. Sometimes I can't help but think we're supposed to look for the hidden meanings within the hidden meanings here - mostly due to Sai's confession being too smooth, too simple and way too straightforward. Still, I do think that his confession is for real, if just because it's extremely in character for him to be so impassive and nonchalant. And I wasn't surprised at all to see that Sai had also been ordered to (in conjuncture with working with Orochimaru) find out any weak points in order to report them back to Danzou via his ink-composed critters.

Okay, let's say that Sai hadn't been cornered by Yamato, Naruto, and Sakura. Would he have succeeded in gaining Orochimaru's trust and sending information back to Danzou? I can't help but think... no way.

First off, Orochimaru's suspicious even of his most loyal henchman, Kabuto (not that I blame him!). He likely wouldn't have even gone as far as to allow Sai out of his "guest room" for a very long while. And then there's the time when Orochimaru first met Sai... remember, Oro was savvy enough to recognize a bunshin and dispose of it right away. At some point, I believe that Orochimaru likely would have become aware of messengers of ink being deployed to reach Konohagakure, and used that information to his own advantage. Personally - I think Sai lucked out big time by being caught by Naruto's team first (of course that probably depends on whether Danzou gets to punish him or not.)

3. "I'm a Nobody." When Sai explained that he was simply a tool of Danzou-sama, I got flashbacks back to Haku and Zabuza. Still, there are differences. Haku, as we all know, genuinely cared for Zabuza and made it his life's mission to be a dependable "tool" for him. In this case, I honestly don't even think Sai cares at all if he fails Danzou or not. Sai strikes me as a guy who has lost his life's purpose and is just trying to meander on in spite of that. And in addition to losing his purpose, he also lost nearly all interest in an old life that no longer matters to him. Well... nearly.

4. Book of Old Memories. Okay, got my respect for Sakura back again. Last chapter I was amazed that she would just hand over Sai's book to him like that, but I also didn't expect her to completely expose it as the one chink in Sai's armor of imperturbability. Like anybody else, Sai is of course still human, and he continues to, even subconsciously, hang on to the one link to the past that he treasures. Good for Sakura to point that out to him and at least shake some of his belief that he no longer cares about verification of his own existence.

This time, the situation isn't too unlike Zabuza and Haku's situation. They both struggled against their own selves, thinking that to discard all emotion was the appropriate ninja's path. But abandonment of all emotion - as Sakura said here and as Zabuza once said - is impossible. "Say what we will, do what we will. In the end, we shinobi are still just people after all - with all-too-human feelings." Sai has denied these feelings, probably both because of his brother's death and as a result of the "Root's" teachings, but he couldn't completely dispose of them. For example...

5. "Please Explain, Sakura." If Sai was COMPLETELY uncaring about his past, he would have never asked Sakura to explain why the book would serve to prove his existence. His interest was definitely piqued. That's proof right there he did care.

By the way, I found it amusing that while Sakura was explaining why Sai's bond with his brother was important to him, at the same time Yamato was being overly calm even while pointing a kunai at Sai - I mean, he even had his left hand in his pocket! He looked almost bored. Not bad considering he's an unwanted visitor deep in the hideout of one of the most feared S-ranked criminals of all time.

6. Village of Bloody Leaf? Wow. No wonder the "Root" organization was terminated, if they advocated a practice like that of Kirigakure's forbidden kill-or-be-killed exam - the same one that made Zabuza into a self-proclaimed demon! That was a major surprise to me that something like that ever existed in the Fire Country.

Guess that just goes to show that every village, even peaceful Konohagakure, has its dirty secrets. I'm starting to wonder if Sandaime personally took care of Danzou himself upon finding out about that hideous ritual, and that's why Danzou is so maimed right now. Talk about a philosophical difference right there!

I'm convinced now that if Danzou took over Konohagakure, all the work Sandaime put into strengthening his people through love and compassion will all go to waste. Tsunade had better do something about Danzou when Yamato's team gets back.

(Sidenote: All this reminiscing about Zabuza and Haku makes me wonder if Kishimoto may be intending to draw a cover of Zabuza and Haku sometime in the near future. I hope so, it'd be good to see how he would draw them now, it's been a long time since they last appeared in the series.)

7. Brotherly Love. Just when you thought Sai and Naruto didn't have anything in common with each other, they both may have been a lot more similar than we all thought. Sai was unable to save his brother from illness, thus he possibly was never able to claim respect and acknowledgment from him through a battle as he had hoped to record in his book. Granted it's still all speculation, but if true... who does that remind you of, guys?

Yep - Naruto has been trying to do the same thing with Sasuke. Is Kishimoto trying to show us with the Sai character a reflection of what Naruto might become if he was unable to save Sasuke? Sai's refusal to acknowledge his existence seems a little bit like depression, after all. Wonder if Sai was actually aflame with passion at some point in his life, much like Naruto?

8. What a Red Herring! Well, so Kabuto didn't interrupt Sai's confession after all, and didn't even get there in time to discover Naruto and company. So much for my prediction last week about that.

What I'm wondering now is if Yamato discovered the envelope that was on Sai's bed and took it along with him, because I didn't see it anywhere on the bed when Kabuto arrived. Well, the biggest setback for Naruto's team at this point is now Kabuto definitely knows something's up - probably sooner than they expected.

9. Sai's Concern. Funny that after all this time of saying that he didn't care a whit about Naruto, he goes ahead and warns him about Sasuke's apparent disinterest in him.

10. Kick him where it hurts the most! Although, Naruto, I would advise you NOT to lose any limbs against Orochimaru, I would think that they'd probably hurt your chances of becoming Hokage!

Naruto's explanation to Sai about why he feels so strongly about saving Sasuke was pretty interesting. I also found this comment extremely curious - "He's the person that, more than anyone else, accepted me and my existence." So what is Iruka, chopped liver? ...but I suppose at the same time Iruka had never been entirely convinced that Naruto could handle himself, whereas Sasuke did finally accept him as being able to do that, as a result of working with him so much.

It's obvious that Naruto would feel that saving Sasuke is something he has to do first before he can fully believe that he's capable of becoming the Hokage. That's something of a stark contrast with Guts' relationship with Griffith in the manga Berserk. If you haven't read it, I'll explain without as many spoilers as possible: Griffith wanted to become King, but became distracted from his objective because of his fondness and concern for a warrior in his army - Guts. When Guts left his band, Griffith became so depressed that he virtually destroyed any chances of his dream coming true, and came to resent Guts for that and betrayed him.

Anyway, I wonder if Naruto isn't getting too far away from his dream of being Hokage because of Sasuke. In all of Part 2, to my recollection, Naruto's only mentioned becoming Hokage one time - when he made the promise to Kankurou that he would save Gaara.

RATING: 2.5 out of 5 Stars. I hate to give a Naruto chapter such a low rating but this one really was not all that exciting. This is one of these chapters I think would be better read within a volume with other chapters quickly following it. But at least the plot's moving and I'm pretty curious to see what Naruto team will do next.

Predictions for Chapter 304: Heck f I know what'll happen next, but I think Naruto and company will attempt to break into Orochimaru's hideout again, only to find out that traps have been set for them ( due to Kabuto's discovery of Sai being gone. )
 

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