Naruto Chapter 691 – 692 Breakdown: The final test of brotherhood.
For a few days now, I’ve been contemplating things a bit. Dangerous, I know, but I suppose it’s necessary all the same. I’ve thought about Naruto as a series and how, over the years, it has bought me and many other readers times of both enjoyment and laughter, as well as times of sadness or frustration. It has been a journey with many ups and downs, and many twists and turns, but for me personally, it has always been a journey well worth taking, to the point where I almost don’t care what the destination is anymore, or whether that destination even exists at all.
Now that we’re nearing what could be the end of that journey, I cannot help but feel somewhat bittersweet, and perhaps there’s no irony in the fact that this was precisely the kind of sentiment that chapter 691 exuded in waves.
You could say that chapter 691 was a chapter of endings, and perhaps a chapter of new beginnings as well. It represents a transition in the world, as if the responsibility for its fate is passing hands from one friend to another, or, more pertinently, from one generation to the next.
But it isn’t just the fate of the world being exchanged here, it’s also dreams and ambitions, goals and desires. One particular topic Kishi explores here in earnest, is something akin to Hashirama’s philosophy regarding the Will of Fire. It’s the idea that dreams can live on so long as there’s someone to inherit them. Even if you aren’t able to fulfil your wishes in your own lifetime, they do not simply die with you, but rather continue to exist in the future generations that have inherited your will.
In this manner, it’s possible for many to achieve what might be impossible for anyone individually. It’s somewhat like passing on a beacon of hope, a fire that lights the path no matter how long or dark the road of life becomes, a light that never dies so long as someone is left to kindle the flames.
In a way, you could say that in Naruto, there are a lot of prevalent themes that tend to carry across the series, and one of the strongest themes is that of brotherhood. However, we’re not just talking about brothers in a physical or biological sense, but also, in a spiritual sense as well. Whether it’s A and Bee, Sasuke and Itachi, Hashirama and Madara, or even Obito and Kakashi, this war arc really has thrust the concept of brotherhood into the fore, and here, at this moment, we see a lot of final words being shared between those who in all likelihood, consider each other brothers to some degree.
However, what stands out in all this, are the final words between a parent and a child, or in this case, the final words between Naruto and Minato, and it was in this moment that I felt that chapter 691 was able to truly shine. There are few moments in any manga that have ever bought a lot of emotion out of me, but this was one of those few.
One thing I have to give credit to Kishi for here, is the way he managed to capture emotion through facial expressions. In a way, you could just see how tremulous this moment was for Naruto just by looking at his face in panel 4 above, with that uncertain mix of both anxiousness and longing in his eyes. It’s as if this moment for him was both joyous and painful at the same time, and to be honest, I couldn’t personally imagine it being any other way, especially considering that Naruto knew that this was the last moment he’d share with his father.
It also makes me wonder what was going through the minds of everyone else present, witnessing this scene. It’s the first time any of them had really ever seen Naruto interacting with is father and it’s a side to him that had never been shown to them before. In a way, it gave them a glimpse of Naruto’s more vulnerable side, and in particular, I wonder what Sasuke felt knowing that much like him, Naruto also had parents that he ultimately loved and lost. Did it remind Sasuke of his own parents, when he heard Naruto pour his heart into his final goodbyes? Did part of Sasuke pity Naruto, or did he at the very least relate to his former friend’s plight?
I guess it’s hard to tell what Sasuke is thinking at any given time, but I know I was certainly moved by Naruto’s final goodbyes. I decided to post the entire scene here, despite its length, because I truly do think it was one of those defining moments for him in this series.
I wonder if Naruto’s mention that he hasn’t found a woman like his mother is a hint at a NaruHina future…
Moving onto chapter 692, I’ll have to admit that my coverage of this particular chapter won’t be as thorough as the last, mostly because it’s a lot more straight forward. One thing I can say is that despite the rather emotional chapter that preceded it, the story takes a rather dark and sinister turn at this point.
What is the source of this sudden wave of emoness, you ask? Why, what else could it be?
I spoke about Kishi’s great use of facial expressions to convey emotions earlier, and so it goes without saying that Sasuke’s expression above certainly achieves results, at least if the aim was to creep the hell out of me. If ever there was a poster child for unadulterated emoness, Sasuke would certainly be a prime candidate for the position.
However, I must say that I’m actually very pleased that the story has progressed in this particular direction. Ever since Naruto’s and Sasuke’s first battle at the Valley of the End, I think many of us had been waiting for the moment when the two of them would finally clash again and bring an end to the rivalry and conflict between them, and for a moment I was even afraid that Kishi would bypass it altogether and leave us hanging. However, it seems as if he’s finally going to pull through and give us the battle we’ve all been waiting for, and it’s about time too.
One thing I would like to point out though, is that Sasuke’s reasons for Naruto have changed, as many of us originally suspected they might. Rather than revenge, Sasuke uses the term “revolution” to justify his actions, and although it seems blatantly cold of him to attack Naruto after having just witnessed his heartfelt last words to his father, it seems that Sasuke is certainly out for blood, Naruto’s blood.
And, in keeping with the theme of brotherhood, it seems this battle will indeed be the one to end the age-old strife between Ashura and Indra, one way or another.
Well, that’s it from me for now. I hope you all enjoyed the breakdown!
Instead of having a Bubbliton Contest or anything of the like this week, I’d instead like to propose a battle debate of sorts, and what better contestants than Naruto and Sasuke? I’d like to hear your thoughts on who you believe has the upper hand in this battle and why. It doesn’t necessarily have to do anything with who you believe would win, as it is often proved that the underdog pulls through in this series, but rather, it pertains particularly to whom you believe is currently the strongest between Naruto and Sasuke from a holistic perspective.
Unfortunately, I can’t add a poll for the sake of gauging the general consensus, so I’ll be going strictly by your debates in the comments section.
I’ll see you in the comments! ^ ^