Naruto Chapter 669 Breakdown: That special kind of Gai…
It is one of the truly great tragedies of human creation that, in reality, is the cause of a great deal of anguish, suffering and, most of all, death. When it comes to manga, war is often portrayed in many different ways, sometimes with a lighter tone, and other times far darker, but one thing is always certain; when war occurs, death is sure to follow.
What truly inspires a reader in these moments of story telling are tales of human perseverance, where heroes, even in the face of death, rise up and fight on to protect what they believe in. Gai is one of those heroes and, although he won’t be the first casualty in this war should he meet his demise now, surely his death would be the most spectacular to behold.
For a long time now, I think many of us have been curious about the power unleashed when the final Death Gate is opened. Although it was stated early in the story that releasing the 8th gate would give an individual a power that would rival that of the Hokage, I think the relative idea of power balance has since evolved through the story’s telling, to the point where we, as readers, now understand that it cannot be measured by such simple, one-dimensional parameters.
When we understand the theory of the 8 gates, we know that they exist not only to limit an individual’s chakra flow to a level that their body can handle at any given time, but also to preserve what is essentially a finite and exhaustible energy source so as to increase one’s overall life span. By releasing those limiters, the user is not only shortening their life span by increasing the rate at which they use their body’s chakra reserves, but they are also essentially overcoming their normal limitations by breaking down the very wall that dictates them.
You could say that by opening all 8 gates at once, Gai is essentially unleashing a lifetime’s worth of potential in just a moment, and ascending to a level that cannot actually be measured by normal means. It’s for this very reason that he is able to go toe-to-toe with Madara, despite the latter having what could essentially be described as the power of a god.
Of course, releasing the 8 gates isn’t the only method one can use for overcoming the limits of their own chakra flow. We have seen other transformations that bend the rules, or find a way to bypass them. One such method is Sage Mode, where the user overcomes the limits of their own chakra flow by absorbing external natural energy, thereby increasing their maximum potential without actually affecting or releasing the seals on their own chakra pathways. You could say it’s almost like putting a second engine in a car to increase its performance, as opposed to pushing the first engine beyond its safe limits.
Another method is the Yin seal, used by the likes of Tsunade and Sakura, where the user stores up a large amount of chakra over a long period of time that they can then release all at once when needed, thus, once again, overcoming their natural limits by tapping into a separate chakra reservoir. You could say that the Yin Seal Release is similar to releasing the 8 gates, only in reverse. Instead releasing the potential of your future life in the present, you are storing up your present chakra flow to unleash when needed in the future.
But I doubt either of those transformations, even at the pinnacle of their power, can quite compare to the sheer magnitude of unleashing all 8 gates. Even Madara acknowledges the danger of Gai’s technique, although, the cost certainly reflects the gain.
All-in-all, I was quite happy with Gai’s display in this chapter. I think all of us were expecting something epic on his part, and I believe that it’s safe to say that he certainly delivered in terms of both flash and substance. Although at first I was a bit dismayed about the name of his third and most powerful animal themed Taijutsu technique – I was expecting something more along the lines of Evening Dragon, as opposed to Elephant – after seeing how it works, the name certainly makes sense and reflects the way the technique works.
Still, despite Gai clearly taking the center stage in this chapter, what I liked most about this chapter was that there was still a sense of camaraderie and teamwork, with the likes of Kakashi, Minato and Gaara supporting Gai to ensure that his attacks hit home, so that his sacrifice might not be in vain. One thing I see often in manga – something I’m sure many of us have witnessed – is that battles often tend to devolve into a comparison of power, where whoever is the strongest wins and where strategy gets thrown out the window, so I was pleased to see Kishi still incorporating teamwork and tactics into his battle sequences, as opposed to just having Gai overwhelm Madara with sheer power alone.
In the end, Gai’s efforts are such, that even Madara acknowledges him as a worthy opponent, even going as far as to compare him to Hashirama himself, which, if you ask me, is the highest compliment the king of emos could possibly pay to someone. It’s a testament to the level at which Gai is battling right now and a worthy end to a great hero, should this very well be his end.
Speaking of ends, the end of this chapter was just as engaging as the start, with Naruto revealed to be waking. What I did notice about what little we were shown of him, however, was that he appears to be lying in water. What all of us know by now is that usually water is present whenever Naruto enters his mindscape, so I think it’s safe to assume that Naruto is about to have an otherworldly visit with either Kurama’s other half, the Sage of the Six Paths, or perhaps the Bijuu who entrusted their chakra to him, maybe even all of the above. It wouldn’t even surprise me if Jiraiya appeared to have a pep talk with him, which would be full of all sorts of awesome in my books. All I can say is that whatever might be happening, its bound to be interesting, and I look forward to chapter 670 with a baited breath.
To end this chapter off, I decided to veer away from the usual battle debates and Bubbliton Contests, and instead propose another discussion/debate. I was thinking of doing this in a separate post, similar to top ten posts I did in the past (such as the top ten Jutsu, or top ten Taijutsu users posts), but seeing as how it relates more directly to this chapter, I decided to just present the idea here.
We all know that transformation techniques present a means for an individual ninja to overcome their limitations and enhance their power, but I wanted to ask everyone what they believe is the strongest transformation technique in Naruto, taking into account their strengths, weaknesses, unique benefits and costs.
I’d really be interested to see how people discuss or debate the finer points of each transformation technique and how they compare in usefulness and potential to one another. Hell, it would even be nice to see people post their own top ten lists.
Either way, that’s all from me fore now. I hope you all enjoyed the breakdown.
See you in the comments! ^ ^