Naruto Chapters 624 – 625 Breakdown: The different paths to peace.
Greetings one and all and welcome to my latest double breakdown. I usually don’t like doing doubles, because they’re a pain and I don’t like skipping breakdowns, but life is life and sometimes living is more complicated than it ought to be.
Not that the Shinobi of Hashirama’s childhood had that problem. The living problem, I mean…
But I digress, enough with my personal story. Before I get on with the rest of the breakdown, I’d first like to wish everyone a belated happy Easter for those who celebrate it!
To start with the chapters themselves, I have to admit that as far as chapter 624 was concerned, I was somewhat disappointed with how it was delivered for the most part, mostly because of Madara’s sudden shift in personality for the worse and how his character as a whole was depicted as largely one-dimensional. But after thinking about it for a while, Madara’s change started to make more sense to me, so I decided to try and look at it with an open mind.
When it came to choosing between his bonds and dreams with Hashirama, and his family, it seems Madara’s ultimate choice was to protect his family, in particular, his brother. Although the reasons behind his decision are quite clear – especially when we consider that the blood of his brother’s is ultimately on Senju hands – ultimately, this choice once again shows the almost childish nature of Madara’s rebellion, and even that of the adults as well.
Madara’s decision will ultimately doom more Uchiha to death than it will save and one of those lives counted in these losses will be that of his younger brother. It’s an ironic twist to the tale and a sad turn of events that ultimately shows us that selfish decisions made for all the wrong reasons often cause us to lose more than we were trying to protect.
Still, when we look at the brief exchange between Senju Butsuma and Uchiha Tajima, it does give us some more insight into just how the minds of the adults worked at the time and how their actions have obscured and derailed the minds of their younger charges, particularly the way in which these two particular fathers opt to strike first at one another’s sons in an attempt to gain the upper hand.
This very attempt at a preemptive strike at two young children shows us that both adults in question have no sense of shame or remorse when it comes to taking whatever steps they deem are necessary to ensure their success in a battle with their enemies – even cowardly or underhanded ones – and that they value victory over their honor or pride as shinobi.
I believe this is something that Madara clearly takes note of in this brief exchange and its something that changes his resolve as far as creating peace is concerned. After all, in order for there to be any chance of peace between the clans, trust is a commodity that is paramount to its success. But if there is no honor amongst these shinobi, how can there be any hope of trust between them?
Ultimately, it is this mistrust that fuels the conflict between Senju and Uchiha. Their inability to see eye-to-eye leads to many battles where Uchiha is clearly the underdog and yet, even despite Hashirama’s numerous attempts to persuade Madara into forming an alliance for the sake of saving his clan from bloodshed, Madara deliberately and consistently refuses, though I have a feeling that was largely thanks to Izuna’s influence more than Madara’s own will.
If I were to put it one way, Izuna seems to be for Uchiha what Tobirama is for Senju. Both lack the broader perspectives of their older brothers and as such, both seem to insist on preventing their brothers from ever accepting the possibility of peace. If we were to look at the world through their eyes and consider each of their possible perspectives, it might make sense why they feel the way they do.
On Tobirama’s side, we have a man who is part of a clan that is overwhelmingly stronger than its opposition. Because of this, it makes sense that Tobirama sees no reason as to why Senju should consider creating peaceful relations with that opposition, because Senju itself will not necessarily benefit from this peace any more than it would benefit from simply destroying its enemies once and for all. If Senju eliminates any threat that opposes it entirely, then the risk of war would essentially come to an end.
It’s a more permanent and sure fire way to end conflict than a shaky alliance between clans that might crumble apart at any moment – especially when we consider that Senju clearly had the advantage and was in a position that practically guaranteed victory – and I’m sure that’s exactly how Tobirama saw it. To Tobirama, killing Madara was a necessary evil that would bring an end to a long-standing conflict and one he felt was completely justified. One death to end all deaths.
On the other hand, we have Izuna who is in a significantly different position as part of an underdog clan which suffers under the threat of annihilation. Given these circumstances, one would think that Izuna would be more open to a peace offer from Senju if it meant saving his clan, but when we take into consideration the pride of the Uchiha and the nature of the world as a whole, its understandable why he doesn’t see it that way.
As I mentioned in a comment earlier, “it’s one thing to accept a peace proposition when both sides are on equal terms and have an equal amount of power and influence, but when you are the lesser side accepting a peace offer from a clan that is overwhelmingly stronger than yours, you can’t help but feel as if you are simply submitting to their will and allowing them to take control of your people. After all, the stronger clan can naturally control the terms of peace and subject the weaker to whatever will they desire.”
Izuna is probably in a position where he feels that peace with Senju is simply a path that would lead to the total subjugation of the Uchiha. Because he cannot truly fathom Senju’s motives and because he knows Senju has no true need for an alliance considering their strength, it stands to reason that he would feel those motives are anything but honorable, especially given the bloody past between the two clans. In a sense, one could say that ultimately, Hashirama’s idealistic notions almost seem too good to be true, which forms part of the reason as to why it’s so hard for others to accept them as legitimate.
Ultimately, this distrust also filters down to Madara who might have otherwise considered Hashirama’s proposals but who ultimately chose to heed the words of his brother instead. It’s only in the end when Uchiha is all but doomed that Madara finally accepts defeat and puts Hashirama’s honor and resolve to the ultimate test, knowing that the only alternative was the complete destruction of the clan his brother died to protect.
With the transition from chapter 624, we move onto what I feel was a truly magnificent entry into this story as a whole. What I liked about it most was that it brought back that third dimension to Madara’s character and showed him to be something more than just a warmonger who only desired battle above all else.
The first sign of this deeper side to him was the fact that Madara gave Hashirama a choice between two options – one which would result in his brother’s death and another that resulted in his own. This is a gesture that Hashirama appreciates, because he realizes that Madara understands the pain of losing a brother and how Madara has given him a way to avoid that dark path while still proving his sincerity. Hashirama chooses to kill himself rather than Tobirama, but before he can, Madara stops him and proclaims that he has seen his true resolve.
The odd thing – and this is something that Madara reflects on later – is that Hashirama’s choice is also one that will ultimately lead to more death than he might have hoped. Much like Madara’s earlier choice of family over friendship or peace, Hashirama’s choice to spare his brother – who distrusts the Uchiha – over himself is what leads to the eventual destruction of the peace with the Uchiha clan that he fought so long and hard to create.
In the end, it was Tobirama’s meddling that led to Madara’s abandonment of Konoha. We also know that further along this timeline – after Tobirama becomes Hokage himself – he would later make decisions that would lead to the segregation of the Uchiha from the rest of Konoha as a whole, a move that would also fuel their discontent and desire to rebel and then, ultimately one that would lead to their destruction at the hands of one of their own.
It just goes to show that even within Hashirama’s dream, there was a sense of childish idealism that lead him to believe he would be able to achieve that dream without needing to make the ultimate sacrifice. Had he chosen to kill his brother rather than himself, there’s a chance that unrest may have never arisen in Madara or the Uchiha clan as a whole. The only question remaining given these prospects is whether killing one’s own brother for the sake of peace is a path a leader should ever be willing to take. Can the act of saving lives ever be used as a justification for taking them in cold blood?
With the theme of brotherhood aside, another theme this chapter brought us back to was the black and white, or Yin and Yang theme that has also been long-running in this series and one that I’ve brought up just recently as well. However, this time, it was not only presented as a contrast between Hashirama and Madara, but rather, between the Senju and Uchiha as a whole.
This time, the theme was presented in an interesting manner, because of the subject matter at hand. Considering the political turmoil and Tobirama’s distrust of the Uchiha, one could say that the representation of black and white between Uchiha and Senju, is symbolic of the discrimination between the two clans by some members of both sides. They are essentially labelled much in the way one would label a colour. We see black as black and nothing else, just as we see white as white and its this uni-dimensional way of thinking that, ironically, gives birth to disparity between the clans.
However, Madara takes the theme a bit further and presents another unique outlook on the tension between Uchiha and Senju, one that depicts it as a necessary balance of opposing forces that creates rather than destroys.
Basically, it once again comes down to Yin and Yang and seeing these two opposing forces as a form of harmony rather than as a violent or destructive clash. In the end, it takes both black and white pieces in order to complete a chess board, just as it takes both rain and sunshine to create life.
In the end, following this philosophy, Madara creates a rivalry between himself and Hashirama and almost seems to promote Hashirama into coming into conflict with him, citing that he is the only one who can. It makes me wonder if Madara perhaps saw their rivalry much in the same light he sees the concept of Yin and Yang, as a necessary struggle between opposing forces needed to create life. In a sense, one could say that this gesture might be correct, after all it was this very battle between Madara and Hashirama that ultimately allowed Madara to attain the cells required to awaken the Rinnegan within himself and bring him one step closer to his goal of creating a new world.
Even Danzou, who lead an organization that remained hidden within the shadows, seemed to revere this balance between dark and light, knowing that he had to control both in order to achieve his goals.
Well, that’s about all from me this week. I would mention how Hashirama chose Madara to be Hokage first and yada yada fishpaste, but that would just be stating the glaringly obvious. I’m sorry the breakdown is late as well. I had half of it done on Thursday but then the Easter Weekend ate all my time and energy.
In any case, here is last week’s Bubbliton Contest winner.
Well done to Pepe for his entry. There won’t be any bubbliton this week, because none of the panels seemed suitable, so instead, I hope there will be enough to discuss from the breakdown to keep everyone busy.
In particular, I’m curious to see what everyone’s opinions on the idea of killing one’s own brother or family for the sake of peace are.
See you all in the comments! ^ ^
~ by Tenrai Senshi on April 2, 2013.
Posted in Mangas, Naruto, Naruto Manga Breakdown, weareawesomeness
Tags: 624, 625, 626, Black and White, Breakdown, death, Discussion, Hashirama, Konoha, Madara, Naruto, Naruto chapter 624 - 625 breakdown, Peace, Raw, Review, Sage of the Six Paths, Senju, Spoiler, Summary, Tobirama, uchiha, Uchiha Shrine, Yin and Yang