Naruto Chapter 631 Breakdown: Epic isn’t just a word, it’s a state of being.
If there’s one word I could use to describe these past few Naruto chapters, “epic” is one of the first few that comes to mind. I mean, let’s face it, the scale of this battle against Madara and the Juubi has only been climbing higher and higher as we go, and now with the arrival of Minato onto the field, I’d say the epic ship has officially just set sail with the wind pushing briskly at its back.
It only seems natural that Minato’s first act as he arrives would be to cut the Juubi’s big balls down to size.
One fact we are alerted to from the get go is that the reason Naruto wasn’t surprised to see his father was because he had already sensed him approaching them while in his Sennin Chakra mode. While I can understand that, one thing I will say is that I was a bit disappointed that Minato’s entrance was treated with less shock and awe than it could have been regarding the reactions of Naruto’s peers, especially given our own excitement as readers.
It would have been really cool to see how the other rookies would have responded after learning that Naruto was the son of the Fourth Hokage, but going by Sakura’s reaction, they didn’t even seem to know who Minato was in the first place, although maybe that’s a given considering he died before most of them were old enough to walk.
Still, Minato’s entrance still managed to remain awe-inspiring regardless and after asking whether Sakura was Naruto’s girlfriend, it helped inject some comedic relief as well.
Now, this scene above holds a lot of implications, some that NaruHina fans in particular may not be happy about. Firstly, when Minato asks whether Sakura is Naruto’s girlfriend, Naruto is the one who awkwardly tries to give him a positive confirmation of that very sentiment. Now, this in itself suggests that Naruto still has feelings for Sakura and thus, still holds true to the idea that a relationship might be possible between them. Of course, it may also be a case where Naruto was just saying it to tease Sakura or as a joke, but you can never be sure with him because of how sincere he usually is with his words.
The other implication that suggests that Kishi may be steering towards a NaruSaku relationship is the fact that even Minato likens Sakura to Kushina, which brings us back to a scene from a number of chapters ago, where Kushina tells Naruto to find a girl like his mom (Sakura) and not some weird or awkward girl (Hinata?).
At the end of the day, I really think Kishi is confusing the whole love pentagon that he has now created. I mean, as it stands right now, the current chain is as follows…
Hinata loves Naruto > Naruto loves Sakura > Sakura loves Sasuke > and Sasuke loves being Emo.
Right now, I’d say that after Hinata’s love confession, Sakura’s fake love confession and Naruto’s half love confession that wasn’t really a confession even though it was trying to be one, it’s now anyone’s guess as to where the hell Kishi is going with the romance side of his story (which, admittedly, is a very, very small side to it). What do you guys think?
Moving along from the relationship woes, we get back to Minato and the other three Hokage. Obviously the heat is really turned up when Minato reveals the fact that he can also use Kurama’s chakra and achieve a similar transformation to Naruto, and I think I can speak for many of us when I say that his version of the transformation is also pretty badass.
Oddly enough, even though Minato’s version of the transformation is really cool, I still personally prefer Naruto’s version. I think this is because when Kishi designed the chakra mode, he had Naruto in mind and so designed it around his character’s aesthetics. Because of this, we see his features enhanced accordingly, such as the slit eyes and the marks on his cheeks becoming more prominent, etc. On Minato, the transformation seems oddly out-of-place and even his eyes lack the slits that would have otherwise added a bit more towards the overall cool factor.
In saying that, the fact that Minato’s transformation does look similar to Naruto’s holds a few implications in itself, because both bear the likeness of the Sage of the Six Paths in this form, including the tomoe marks around the neck and the similarities in the two long spikes in their hair styles. I discussed a few theories in the last breakdown about how Naruto might be related to the Rikudou Sennin himself and a chance of direct lineage on Minato’s side was one of the possibilities that came up, but this latest chapter seems to suggest that the possibility of Minato being the primary link is there.
Still, with Minato and the other Kage using their energy to hold up the barrier to contain the Juubi, we may not actually get to see his transformation in action, at least, not right away. For now, the manga seems to have shifted focus onto another reunion, one that’s just as dramatic as the one between a long-lost father and son and perhaps, in some respects, even more exciting.
The first thing I noticed regarding Sasuke’s arrival was that he didn’t acknowledge Naruto’s presence even once during the entire exchange, even though he made a direct reference to Sakura. Naruto, on the other hand, did acknowledge Sasuke’s arrival. You’d swear with the way Sasuke acted that Naruto was invisible.
This makes me wonder if part of Sasuke still rejects Naruto in some way or another, in a similar manner to how Madara still rejected Hashirama and what he stood for even despite Hashirama’s efforts to forge peace and friendship between the two of them. This sentiment was even further reinforced by what Sasuke says next, which were words that I believe felt like a slap in the face for both Naruto and possibly for many of our readers as well.
Now, to me this was the most interesting part of the chapter and not just because it was the first time Shino has ever shown an actual facial expression. At first, it was one of those moments where I was just about ready to faceplant after Sasuke’s announcement – even though I think its good of him to want to protect Konoha – however, after reading the chapter a second time, I found that there was a lot more meaning in Sasuke’s words and behavior than what appears at face value.
However, to explain, first I’d like to take a look at the reaction to Sasuke’s announcement by his peers.
We have shock and awe from Sakura, rage from Kiba and what could be called a logically thought out dispute from Shikamaru and Shino. To put it quite flatly, Sasuke’s proposal was categorically rejected in just about every way possible and even Naruto seems to be bothered by it in some way.
Basically, what could be said here is that none of the Konoha 11 acknowledge Sasuke anymore, nor do they feel he has a right to put himself forward as Hokage. This is to be expected after all he has done, but Sasuke himself doesn’t seem to care what they think.
Reading this scene a second time, I realized exactly what was happening here and it bought me back to the discussion Naruto had with Itachi a few chapters back.
When Naruto was trying to do everything on his own rather than trusting in his friends, Itachi warned him about the dangers of doing so and how it can lead to disaster. Itachi reiterated that it’s not if you become Hokage that you’ll be acknowledged, but rather that only those who are acknowledged can become Hokage.
Basically, the bottom line is that you cannot use the title of Hokage to gain the acknowledgment of others and that you first have to gain their approval before becoming Hokage. The second step cannot precede the first, but Sasuke seems to believe that he can become Hokage without being acknowledged, even though this sentiment has been proven false, as Itachi described above.
Ultimately, this was when I realized that despite Sasuke’s apparent change of heart, he is still walking down the wrong path at the end of the day – the exact same path Madara walked down before and one that would ultimately cause Sasuke to become exactly like Madara.
In the end, this is why I believe that there will still be some form of conflict between Naruto and Sasuke, just like there was one between Hashirama and Madara even after they had once united to form Konoha together. We’ve already seen before that even those who share the exact same goal might still clash if the paths they choose to get to that goal are different and I believe that this is what will happen here with Naruto and Sasuke, both of whose paths are now on a collision course with one another.
Even Naruto seems to be aware of the threat that Sasuke’s current path implies, because he himself reflects on Itachi’s words, as well as his promise to take care of Sasuke.
At the end of the day, I think the reason Naruto announced that he would become Hokage despite Sasuke’s declaration, is because he aims to reject the path Sasuke has chosen and to save his friend from the darkness he is creating for himself. Naruto understands that by choosing to walk the lonely path towards becoming Hokage, Sasuke will ultimately end up becoming the same as Madara and Obito did.
Out of the two, Naruto is also currently the better candidate either way, simply because he has already been acknowledged by everyone in a similar manner to how Hashirama was acknowledged as the first Hokage while Madara was rejected. In saying that though, I also do believe that Naruto will try to help Sasuke find his feet and show him how to gain the acknowledgement of others again. This, however, might ultimately lead Naruto to a crossroad where he’ll have to make a decision and choose between his own dreams of becoming Hokage and stepping back to give Sasuke the pedestal instead in an effort to destroy the hatred associated with the Uchiha name.
It’s a real dilemma, one that even Hashirama failed to deal with in the past, however, before any of that can happen, our freshly reunited Team 7 has other matters to take care of first.
And here it is folks, the moment we’ve all been waiting for! I have to say, I think many of us have been anticipating the reunion of Team 7 for many years now, so one can only guess what epicness will come from such an occasion.
The fact that we’ll see these three former teammates fight together is one thing, but what excites me even more is that for the first time since we saw her battle Sasori, Sakura sounds like she’s actually going to bring out the “kickass” again. It sounds like she may have learned the Yin Seal Release from Tsunade if her words are anything to go by, so that makes me think that she’ll at least show her true power now and hopefully not be completely outshone by Naruto and Sasuke. These are the students of the three Sanin after all, so at the very least, I’m expecting a lot from all of them. I’m just hoping that they get to fight Madara on their own without any interference so we can see just how awesome they are together.
In any case, that’s all from me for now. Oddly enough, this breakdown was even longer than the previous double, so I think it’s best if I cut it off now and move straight onto the Bubbliton Contest winners from our previous breakdown. But first, to rehash, here is the latest chapter in a nutshell.
Last week’s Bubbliton Winners (as Chosen by Gavin):
Obito : “Ha-ha, yo think this will stop me”
Kakashi “Obito, stop acting so tough, you’re almost dead”
Obito “No, how did you know I was acting”
Kakashi “I can see right through you..”
Caption “Kakashi, Master of the double entendre”.
Points for double entendre – fifth place.
Obito: “The ass was fat”
kakashi: “I concur”
Points for ‘the ass was fat’- but why? – fourth place.
Bubble 1 (Top left): I was showing off my new clothes to Tenrai Senshi.
Bubble 2: (Top right): But when I told him, “Eat your heart out!”
Bubble 3: (Lower left): I didn’t expect him to take it literally!
Bubble 4: (Lower right): You see what that mad man did to me?!
Caption: Obito discussing his “flesh wound” to his health insurance agent.
Points for ‘eat your heart out’ – third place.
Shot in the heart and you’re too late.
You give love a bad name.
Was this very line use in a previous caption. Plus I don’t love you.
Caption: Originality is hard to come up with these days.
Points for a very fitting song choice – second place.
Points for surprise plot ‘twist’ – first place.
Note from Gavin: Hey guys, just wanted everyone to know that I’ll be doing these bubblitions for a while. Make me laugh!
Well done to everyone who entered. Here is this week’s Bubbliton.
Good luck, and I’ll see you in the comments! ^ ^
~ by Tenrai Senshi on May 28, 2013.
Posted in Mangas, Naruto, Naruto Manga Breakdown, weareawesomeness
Tags: 631, Bijuu Bomb, Breakdown, Bubbliton, Discussion, Hashirama, Hokage, Juubi, Kyuubi Chakra Mode, Madara, Minato, Namikaze, Naruto, Naruto Chapter 631 Breakdown, Reunited, Review, Sakura, Sasuke, Seal, Senju, Summary, Team Seven, Theory, Tobirama, uchiha, weareawesomeness, WRA, Yin Seal Release