Naruto Chapter 687 – 688 Breakdown: Hax to the max!
I know this breakdown has been a while coming, but I’ve just been quite busy these past few weeks, so sorry for that. In a way, I was somewhat lucky that a new chapter never came out last week, because it ended up saving me from doing a triple breakdown.
I’m still in for a nice, long double though, so let’s get this show on the road!
To be honest, if I were to put it as plainly as possible, chapter 687 was really just one long death scene and mostly involved a fair amount of pre-death dialogue. It also involved a bit of Kakashi feeling bad about how weak he apparently is, which I’m sure Ahsan found very entertaining, but aside from that, there wasn’t much else to it.
With that in mind, I won’t spend too much time writing an unnecessarily long breakdown on a chapter that was, for all intents and purposes, about as straightforward as a chapter can get, though that doesn’t mean it was without some sense of poignancy.
Looking at the quality of the chapter itself, you can tell Kishi went through extra lengths to make it shine, and in particular, it’s the artwork that really stands out here. While Kishi has always been good with his art throughout Naruto’s lifespan, it isn’t always completely consistent and there have been a few odd chapters where we’ve been left wanting. This time around though, the art really stood front and center in all its brilliance, and in particular, I found the pages with Obito’s last words of encouragement to Naruto, to be really good.
There was also the matter of Naruto proclaiming that Obito was awesome after Black Zetsu tried to speak ill of him, and this didn’t really fly well with some of our readers. However, if I were to say one thing on that matter, it is simply that this is Naruto’s nature and it has been since the beginning of the series. He has never, ever truly hated his enemies, save for the brief moment he got caught up in taking revenge on Nagato for Jiraiya’s death, but even that was short-lived and Naruto chose to walk a different path, one of acceptance and peace.
This was Naruto’s resolve right from the start of the series, and it showed even when he fought his first true opponents, Zabusa and Haku. From then on, with every opponent from Neji, to Gaara, to Nagato and finally, Obito, Naruto has always opted to change others rather than simply destroy them, even to the extent where he’d ultimately offer his hand and accept his former enemies as friends and comrades.
In the end, we can at the very least surmise that Naruto’s behavior in this chapter, while perhaps not to everyone’s liking, was certainly not out of character as far as his demeanor is concerned. Whether or not you like him for it, is another matter entirely.
Chapter 688 pretty much carried through the sentiment born through its predecessor, but only this time, rather than the focusing on the relationship between Naruto and Obito, it focused more on the relationship between Kakashi and Obito.
But before that, it starts with a brief scene showing Obito and Rin together again. What makes this scene stand out is that Obito has returned to his form as a child before he was caught in the rock slide and had given Kakashi his Sharingan eye. The return to that youthful form – despite being something that would no doubt make Gai and Lee shed tears, while embracing in the backdrop of a fiery sunset – is also symbolic in a way. You could say that it’s a way of showing that Obito had found his true self again, as if he’s returning to that time of innocence before he had lost his heart to darkness. It could also be a way of making him seem less like a pedophile after returning to a younger Rin, but that’s another matter.
Overall, I did find this scene to be quite sentimental, nostalgic and, dare I say it, cute. I guess that can only mean that a therapy session with Kantonkage is in order.
If we go by the premise that everything eventually comes around full circle, I guess that would apply in this case as well, because much like he did in the past, Obito once again leaves Kakashi with a very special parting gift, one that would make any reader either squeal with delight, or groan in dismay.
That gift is, of course, the Sharingan.
Personally, as I mentioned in a comment on the previous breakdown, I have mixed feelings on this particular development. On the one hand, I think it does make sense for Kakashi to live up to his moniker as “Kakashi of the Sharingan” and it is quite exciting to see him use it in both eyes now instead of just one. However, on the other hand, I was also kinda hoping to see what kind of powerhouse he could be without the Sharingan, where his own inherent skill came to the fore.
In saying that, this development does beg the question as to whether this power-up is temporary or permanent, because the dialogue in the chapter itself seems a bit contradictory in this regard.
As you can see in the two panels above, in the first (yes, we read from right to left) Obito mentions that it wouldn’t be right if Kakashi returns the Sharingan too soon, which implies that it’s a long-term gift. But in the left panel, Obito says “it may only be temporary, but it’s far from useless”, which implies that it won’t last long after all. Perhaps these little discrepancies can be written of to translation woes, but I guess time will tell one way or the other.
Going beyond just the discussion about the Sharingan, Obito also leaves something else behind, and that is the suggestion that Kakashi whould become the sixth Hokage.
This was the one part in this chapter that really threw me for a loop, because it felt a bit sudden and out of place. I mean, it was never really Kakashi’s dream to become Hokage. He’s never mentioned wanting to do so and he even seem relieved when he managed to abstain from taking the position after Pain’s attack on Konoha, when Tsunade had awakened from her coma.
Given all that, I couldn’t help but wonder why Kishi would have suddenly motioned for this abrupt and rather startling revelation. I mean, Tsunade’s no spring chicken, but she could easily remain as Hokage for the next ten or so years before handing the title to Naruto, so why would Kishi suddenly want to make Kakashi Hokage first? Some of you have suggested that it may be due to the fact that he wants to find a way to extend the series for a longer duration, and Naruto being Hokage too early means he’d be stuck in an office, unable to fill the adventurous role a protagonist usually upholds, but I was personally under the impression that Kishi intended to end the series soon, given that the new Naruto movie announced called “The Last” was meant to mark the end of the series as a whole.
I decided to do a bit more research to see if I could find more information on the movie. Though information is still vague at this point, one thing that is certain is that it seems to take place after a time skip – as you might be able to tell by the trailer above – and features somewhat older iterations of Naruto and his friends, though how much older I can’t be certain. One particularly interesting piece of information, however, suggests that the movie will go beyond the manga and “connect with the next generation”. Even the dialogue in the trailer above alludes to a similar point.
Once again, it seems we’re at the mercy of translation nuances and vague information sources, but nevertheless, I’m now wondering if “The Last” really does mark the true end of Naruto as a series, or whether it simply marks the end of this current chapter in the series. Could “The Last” be a bridge that connects the end of the current Naruto story arc, to the beginning of a new story set in the same universe, that follows a protagonist from the next generation? I guess we won’t know until more solid information comes out, but given Kakashi’s recent promotion to Hokage candidate, it would no longer surprise me if Kishi does indeed have plans to extend the series in some way, or do a spin-off series.
For me personally, it’s difficult to see how this series would continue with Naruto as the protagonist after Kaguya’s defeat. I mean, Kaguya is basically the ultimate power in this world, so after overcoming such a threat, what challenge left would there be for Naruto? You can’t very well introduce a new, less imposing threat to succeed Kaguya, so you’d either need to expand the universe altogether, or introduce a new protagonist who starts at ground level again, so that the series can work its way up from there.
Speaking of Kaguya, it was mentioned that she came from a far off land, so it is possible that Kishi could even explore that idea and expose the elemental nations to other countries that inhabit corners of the globe, separated by vast oceans. We might even see more westernized themes coming through (perhaps something Kishi was alluding to in his recent colour pages), so the possibilities really are endless.
Before any of that can happen (if it happens), first Naruto and his friends need to overcome the real threat at hand, and let’s just say it’s looking more… bizarre than ever.
This was a very interesting development for me, because in my previous breakdown, I actually bought up the question as to whether there was more to Kurama than we originally knew about, and whether he was perhaps the spiritual embodiment of the Juubi’s true form. I even suggested that his ears do look somewhat like rabbit ears.
Now we have a situation where a giant rabbit form of the Juubi has quite literally manifested after Naruto’s combination Bijuu chakra attack and I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that Naruto’s first question after seeing it is whether it’s a fox, which even further implicates that there’s a deeper connection between Kurama and the Juubi’s true form. It’s also worth noting the somewhat spherical form this shape has taken on, which might be a reference to the moon, which the Juubi was originally sealed within.
Whatever the case, I think the one part of this chapter that really got everyone talking was Kakashi acquiring the Sharingan, so what better way to end the chapter than for him to fly in and save the day with his own version of the perfect Susanoo?
Well guys, that’s all from me for now. I hope you enjoyed the breakdown.
In light of the theme of the new Naruto movie, I’ll paste some of the new character design sketches below for you to all check out. See you in the comments! ^ ^