Naruto Chapter 646 – 647 Breakdown: The pain of regret…
I think we could all safely agree that these past few chapters of Naruto have been really epic, but 646 and 647 in particular have really driven the emotion and intensity of this battle home in a big way. While Obito continues to vie for the top spot as the biggest ass of a villain ever, I think one thing that did catch us all a little by surprise, was the fact that the Juubu’s true and final form was actually that of an overgrown tree.
However, despite the fact that this development might seem somewhat odd or even contrived, in a way, it does make a lot of sense. We always knew that the Juubi had a strong link to Mokuton from the start and in addition to that, we’ve seen signs of its true and final form in the earlier moments of this war, when Naruto first went head-to-head with a small White Zetsu ambush force.
When we consider that the White Zetsu clones themselves were made using the body of the Juubi – which itself seemed to be made out of Mokuton – and that they turned into trees when coming into direct contact with Naruto’s chakra, it only seems logical that this was their original and natural state and that the Juubi’s own true form was the same.
However, I don’t think anyone was left thinking that the tree was in any way a sap post transformation (pun might be intended), as it proved without any room for doubt that it was just as dangerous, if not even more so, then all the Juubi’s forms prior to it.
What followed has to be, in my eyes, the most devastating attack against the Shinobi Alliance to date, leading to what seems to be thousands of casualties in mere moments as the aptly named “God Tree” absorbed the chakra of anyone it came into contact with, once again replicating a technique we’ve already seen the White Zetsu clones use before, only on a much larger and more potent scale.
I think the most heart-breaking part about this scene is that despite Naruto’s efforts to protect everyone, even the chakra cloak he shared with the alliance did nothing to stem the death and bloodshed that followed, which just goes to show that no matter how strong you become, you can’t always save everyone.
Despite the tragedy, one thing I have to say was a highlight of this chapter was that we finally got a glimpse into the true story of how the world was in the past and how the Sage of the Six Paths came into being.
As it turns out, human beings never used to have chakra before and the only living being in the world that possessed such power, was the God Tree itself. However, that power was stolen by a frisky lady named Ootsutsuki Kaguya (what a mouthful) who ate a fruit that was only born by the tree once every millennium. Having attained the power of “god” this lady then went on to end all wars using her new found power, and eventually gave birth to a son named Ootsutsuki Bagoromo (an even bigger mouthful), otherwise known to us as the Rikkudou Sennin.
While it’s understandable that many readers would automatically find similarities between this story and the story of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis, who took and ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge, in truth, there are a lot of religions and mythologies that depict trees as places of origin or power, with many depicting them as massive “world trees” that link the heavens, the earth and even the underworld. One such example is the tree “Yggdrasil” from Norse Mythology which even the gods themselves visited as a holy place and a central existence that connected all other worlds together.
Trees even play some relevance in Japanese mythology in relation to its deities, with one such myth portraying a demonic vampire tree known as a Jubboko (a name that is somewhat phonetically similar to the name “Juubi”) that often grew on battlefields of war, where it would suck the life out of any victim unfortunate enough to come within its grasp, which it would then use to vitalize itself for growth and nourishment.
I also felt this back-story when a long way in trying up a lot of loose ends, such as the origins of both the Sage’s own power and even that of his sons. If we take into consideration that this power originally belonged to the Juubi itself and that the Juubi’s eye has the appearance of the Rinnegan and Sharingan, while its body replicates the power of Mokuton, then it’s only logical that the Sage himself inherited this power directly in the form of the Juubi’s own life force and spiritual energy. When the Sage split this power between his sons, it can be said that each son really inherited either the Juubi’s spiritual energy and thus its eyes (which explains why the Sharingan and Rinnegan share aesthetic features with the Juubi’s own eye and why the Juubi can use Tsukiyomi) or its physical body and vitality (which explains where Hashirama’s Mokuton comes from and how it is directly linked to the Juubi or God Tree itself).
This back story might also hold an explanation as to why animal summons use senjutsu through natural energy instead of ninjutsu. Perhaps it is because only humans ever stole chakra from the tree and thus, animals don’t have chakra of their own and thus had to learn the secrets of absorbing and controlling natural energy to perform their jutsu, a secret they would later go on to share with humans proven worthy enough to learn it. It may also be a case where the only way to destroy the Shinobi system that creates hatred, is to return everyone to their natural state before they came to posses chakra.
Still, despite the fact that a lot of answers have been indirectly given to us, there are still many more questions that remain unanswered, such as where the Uzumaki clan falls into this whole mess, or, in particular, Naruto himself. It might have been a question we’d never see answered if it wasn’t for the timely rescue efforts of Hiruzen Sarutobi, who seems to have finally recovered from his facepalm of death.
I actually found this scene to be strangely touching, because as one of the few people who actually cared for Naruto in his younger years – when he was still hated by most of Konoha – it only seems fitting that Hiruzen would be the one to rescue him in such a desperate moment. Even the look on Naruto’s face seemed to be one of familiarity and acknowledgment, as if the mere sight of the “old man” was enough to momentarily put him at ease.
At the very least, this scene served as a momentary reprieve from the tragedy to follow, as Naruto witnessed the horror of Obito’s destructive and relentless assault on the Shinobi Alliance. When we consider that even Shikamaru seems to have fallen as a victim to this indiscriminate attack, I think it’s safe to say that even some of us readers were shaken by the impact of these passing moments, plagued with the uncertainty of who might live and who would die.
One thing that really rustled my feathers, however, was how through all of this death and grief, Obito tried to present himself as some sort of savior who would ease everyone’s suffering.
He even seems to act as if none of this destruction was his own doing, but rather was merely the result of the foolish actions of those who tried to oppose his questionable ideals. Even when he had presented a peaceful end to those who refrained from opposing him, his dark intentions were still betrayed by the fact that even given that ultimatum, he was still willing to sacrifice more lives to hasten the activation of the Infinite Tsukiyomi, showing, without a doubt, that he didn’t care at all for the feelings or well being of any living person.
But even despite his intentions, Obito’s words undoubtedly cut deeply into the hearts of every person who heard them, to the point where we see the Shinobi Alliance beginning to waver and lose hope and where even Hashirama’s words of encouragement cannot spur them on. It’s that feeling of intense, utter defeat that is so strong, that even death almost seems like some sort of comfort worth embracing.
Even Naruto seems to have lost hope for a moment and it stands to reason that seeing so much death, especially the deaths of people he was trying so hard to protect, would have a very profound effect on his will. It’s only after seeing some flashy moves from Sasuke, who finally decided to make himself useful rather than sitting on the sidelines, that Naruto remembers why he had come this far and why, despite all that’s happened, he has to continue it through to the end.
What follows, is probably one of the most emotional scenes I’ve seen in any manga, one that is so profound that I felt it was only best that I had to paste the whole thing here in one go.
Yeah, I know, this just makes scrolling to the comments section take that much longer, but I felt this entire scene deserved some special treatment. I think all of us can relate to the feeling of having regrets in our lives and I think at some point, all of us wish we could go back and change something, whether it’s to right a wrong, to do something we were afraid to before or even to say the right words to someone we loved and lost.
I think in a world of shinobi, loss must be prevalent, so I’m sure many of the people on this very battlefield being touched by Naruto’s emotions, can understand and relate to what he is expressing. Still, there are some hardships only a Jinchuuriki can really understand, like isolation, loneliness and rejections from the world, so it made me wonder how the people from his village must have felt when they looked back on his life and what he had to go through, knowing that at some point they had contributed to those hardships. It even makes me wonder what Sasuke thinks, knowing what his friend went through, or what Minato thinks, knowing the life his son has had to live.
Still, rather than to destroy with despair, I think Naruto’s feelings only helped reinforce everyone’s resolve by reminding them all what they had been through and how far they had come. It reminded them that no matter how hopeless things seem, to throw away that life and all the hardships they had been through, and all the achievements they had made, would be to give into regret once more and to truly die in the purest sense of the word.
Well, I think that’s all from me for now. I hope you all enjoyed the breakdown, despite its length and I’ll see you in the comments! ^ ^