Naruto Chapter 686 Breakdown: With friends like these, who needs enemies?
To be honest, I’ve been writing breakdowns for a long time now, and I’ve seen just about every kind of chapter there is to be seen as far as Naruto goes, from the mysterious, to the dialogue heavy, to the pure and simple battle chapters.
But every now and then, I come across a chapter that sends my mind reeling, as if lost in a tempest of thoughts, theories and ideas. It’s the kind chapter that drops what, from the offset, seems like the most subtle of hints, but that often only serves as a key to open a door to a vast world of endless conjecture and self-conflicting debate.
Chapter 686 was one of those chapters.
Chapter 686 is the kind of chapter I could easily write an essay about and still fail to cover all the thoughts and ideas running rampant throughout my mind, but in the interests of saving time – and perhaps through some instinctive sense of self-preservation – I’ll try to keep the conjecture to a minimal and let all our readers come up with their own theories or ideas thereafter.
Looking at the first colour page above, the first thing that hit me, aside from my computer screen, was Hagoromo’s words in the middle-right panel. At first, he credits the combination of they Juubi’s, Hashirama’s and supposedly Madara’s chakra as the reason he was able to appear, but then, half way corrects himself by changing it to Indra’s, Ashura’s and Kurama’s chakra.
Now, I found this line of dialogue particularly interesting, because although I can understand why Hagoromo mentioned Indra’s and Ashura’s chakra in particular, seeing as how their spirits reincarnated into Madara and Hashirama respectively, what really threw me was how he corrected the Juubi to Kurama in particular. We all know that the Juubi, among other things, is also a combination of the chakra of all nine Bijuu, so why would Hagoromo only mention Kurama specifically without referencing the others?
This got me thinking, what if Kurama is unique among the nine Bijuu? What if he is not just a part of the Juubi’s chakra like his siblings, but is rather, something else altogether? If we consider that Indra’s and Ashura’s spirits continued to live on even long after their original deaths, could we perhaps surmise that Kurama might be the same, and that he embodies the true form of the soul or spirit of the Juubi that continues to live on even after its physical body ceased to exist in the world?
Hell, if we consider Kaguya and the Juubi to be the one and the same being, then it might even be said that Kurama might be related directly to her in some way. He does have big, rabbit-like ears, after all, so it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to liken his image to both a rabbit as well as a fox. It might even be said that Kurama might represent a form that existed before the being we now know as the Juubi came into existence.
Of course, it was at this stage in my thought process that my brain started to experience a critical failure and proceeded to melt down. My mind was continually jumping from one possibility to the next, trying to comprehend Hagoromo’s words and all the possibilities they implied, so I decided it would be best to withdraw from that area of thought for the time-being, under the hopes that the truth would be revealed to us sooner rather than later. In the meantime, however, I did find an interesting story from Japanese folklore that might give us some clues as to the nature of Kaguya and perhaps even Kurama. We all know how Kishi has often used inspiration from Japanese folklore as inspiration for his own story, so I couldn’t help but notice the resemblance of this particular tale and how it might pertain to Kaguya.
Moving on from the deliberation regarding Kurama’s true nature, part of the focus of this chapter seemed to linger somewhat on Kakashi. It’s understandable that in his position, he might have some difficulty comping to terms with what he could possibly do to contribute to Team 7’s efforts in a push for victory, but honestly, I haven’t seen Kakashi at this much of a loss… well, since ever really.
Even after Obito’s death, Kakashi still had the drive to keep fighting and move on in life, partly because I think no matter how hopeless things got, he could always see a way forward. I think this is the first time in Kakashi’s life where the path hasn’t been clear for him, to the extent that he truly believed all he had left to contribute to his team was his own life for the sake of saving Sasuke’s. While I can understand Obito throwing his life away to save Naruto, considering he was living on borrowed time in either case, seeing Kakashi run to his death was a bit jarring.
What was even more surprising was that both of them had a bit of help in that regard…
In a way, the scene above was both touching and amusing, all at the same time. While I can see the symbolic significance of Rin pulling her two teammates forward, showing that even in death she is always watching over them, the fact that she is ultimately leading them to their own deaths with such a determined look on her face left my head spinning a bit.
I wasn’t entirely sure whether I should laugh or cry… so I did neither. @__@
This scene was also symbolic in more ways than might directly be perceived as well. Aside from Rin’s appearance and the fact that Obito ultimately sacrificed himself for Kakashi again, much like he did in the past, I also found that Kishi seems to have intentionally placed Obito in front of Naruto and Kakashi in front of Sasuke. In a way, it once again plays in the idea that Team 7 is a reflection of the former Team Minato, with Kakashi mirroring Sasuke as the prodigy, Obito mirroring Naruto as the klutz who wanted to be Hokage, and Rin representing Sakura, who wants to be a pillar of support for them both.
All drama aside, for now we’ll just ignore the fact that Kakashi and Obito can suddenly stand, despite the fact that everyone else is being flattened by Kaguya’s gravity no jutsu, including Kaguya herself. We’ll also ignore the fact that, judging by the angle and height of Kaguya’s Suicide Ash Bone projectiles, they would have both – in all likelihood – gone right over Naruto and Sasuke, who are almost completely flush with the ground.
I’ll just write that off to Art Kai no Kutsu…
One thing I will say, however, is that I truly hope this incident will serve as a wake up call for Kakashi and make him realize that he still has an important role to fill in the world of the living. I want to see him go all out and see what he’s capable of, even without one of Obito’s eyes, so hopefully he’ll honor Obito’s death and open a can of whoop-ass.
In any case, that’s all from me for now. Here are the winner’s of last week’s Bubbliton Contest:
Sakura: How the hell are you so tense?
Caption: Tears for the worst back massage ever.
Sakura: You will apologize immediately for saying my looks make your eyes bleed or I’ll strangle you right here and now!
Well done to Pavo for a very funny Bubbliton Entry!
There weren’t any really good panels to use for this week, so instead I’ll just leave you all with some info about the new Naruto movie which is apparently titled “The Last”. Apparently, it comes out on the 6th of December, and will mark both the 15th anniversary of the Naruto series, as well as its end.
Though honestly I’m not sure we’re well go from there if and when the series does in fact end at the time predicted, I hope that we can keep WRA going with an awesome new series that all of us can follow together.
Until then, I’ll do my best to keep these breakdowns going until Naruto ends, at the very least. Well, I’ll see you in the comments! ^ ^