Naruto Gaiden: The Seventh Hokage Chapter 1-3 Breakdown – It’s back!
Time. It’s a fickle thing, and often we don’t realise just how fickle, until we take the time (no pun intended) to actually look back and see just how much of it has slipped through our fingers.
Eighteen years; that is how much time has passed since Naruto first made its debut as a manga, and for many of us who have been following it over those many years, it has played an important role in the greater journey of our lives.
But, like all things that come and go from our lives over the course of years, there’s a time for beginnings, and a time for endings, regardless of how bitter or sweet they may be, and for Naruto this was no exception.
And so, after 18 years and 700 chapters of memories, both good and bad, Naruto as a series finally ended. In some ways it was a sad moment, but in a way I also felt a sense of relief about it, because I was glad to have been able to see this grand adventure through to its completion.
But even though Naruto as a manga series might have come to a close, Kishimoto has graced us with one last parting gift in the form of a short spin-off series, following the adventures of the new generation.
It goes without saying that this spin-off series most likely shows the events leading to the upcoming Naruto movie that features Boruto as its main protagonist, but part of me wonders if this might also be a case of both Kishimoto and Shonen Jump testing the waters so to speak, to see how well a new Naruto series would be received. Could this be a once-off fluke; a last goodbye gift? Or does it perhaps hold the hope (or dread) of something more to come?
I must admit, I personally found the prospects of seeing a new adventure featuring the next generation of Konoha quite interesting, irrespective of how long or short it might be. I was mostly interested in seeing how Naruto’s and Sasuke’s kids turned out in particular, and I must say that while some things were well within my expectations, there were a few surprises along the way as well.
For one thing, despite having the kind of family that Naruto had always gone without, Boruto is surprisingly similar to his father in the way he acts out to get attention. This is partly due to Naruto himself being otherwise preoccupied with his role as Hokage, and despite his best efforts to give Boruto the attention any growing child needs, he seems to fall short in many respects, at perhaps no true fault of his own.
But what surprised me the most was how Sarada was depicted. As an Uchiha, she seems much more attentive and compassionate than her rather stoic and seemingly cold forebears. Like Boruto, she also struggles with her feelings regarding the “neglect” of her father, though I’d be stating the rather obvious in saying that Sarada’s case is a bit more extreme, to the extent that she has no memory of ever meeting Sasuke at all.
In light of this, Sarada is very sensitive to the connections others have with their own loved ones, whether good or bad. She sympathizes with Boruto regarding his feelings towards his father, and she even tries to counsel her friend Chouchou into spending more time with her own father, Chouji, despite Chouchou’s apparent disdain with the parental figures in her life.
What’s more is that the possibility has been bought to Sarada’s attention that she may not even know who her real mother is, despite living under the belief that it was Sakura all these years.
I must admit, this is certainly an interesting development put forward on Kishimoto’s part. I can’t deny the startling resemblance Sarada has with Karin, and it certainly makes me wonder just what might have happened between Sasuke and Karin, if Sarada is indeed her daughter. Likewise, it makes me ponder on Sakura’s position in this whole mess, and why, if by chance she is not Sarada’s mother, she got swept up into playing the part for so many years. It also makes me wonder whether Sasuke’s mission, which has kept him away from Konoha and his family for so many years, might perhaps have something to do with Karin as well.
In this sense, it’s through this particularly intriguing plot development and the otherwise forbearing nature of her character, that Sarada has somewhat stolen the show so far regarding this new spin-off series. I’m not sure whether that was Kishimoto’s intention, given that Boruto is meant to be the main protagonist in the upcoming movie, but I suppose we’ll see how things develop from here, and how each character’s role develops going forward.
Sarada’s fate, however, is not only connected to her search for her father and possibly her true mother, but also to the fate of the Uchiha as a whole, as it is now clearly apparent that Sarada and Sasuke might not be the last of their kind after all.
As if we hadn’t had our fill of creepy Uchiha glares over these past 18 years, Kishi decided to give us a few more for good measure.
This development does, however, beg the question as to how or why there are other Uchiha who survived the massacre in Konoha. Were there perhaps other branches or sects that existed outside of Konoha, that eluded the awareness of the higher ups and Itachi? Or were they perhaps intentionally spared, like Sasuke, to ensure the future of the clan? Might they even be experiments created by Orochimaru, as suggested in chapter 2 itself?
A few points worth noting are that the cloaked figure is wearing what appears to be an Akatsuki cloak, and he seemingly has control over what appears to be Mokuton familiars with the Rinnegan, which is quite suggestive in itself. Whatever the case might be, it does seem as though these new “Uchiha” revere Itachi to some degree. However, their intentions beyond killing Sasuke, who they appear to deem a traitor to their clan, are not yet known.
All-in-all, I’m fairly happy with how things are progressing so far. The plot does seem young and fresh, if a bit light so far, but given how heavy and long the last war arc of Naruto was, a but of lightness is certainly not unwelcome. In particular, I was quite happy with the art in this spinoff. Taking a break seems to have done Kishimoto some good, and his drawings feel both fresh and refined.
His designs for the new characters are interesting, and in particular, I like his characterizations for Boruto, Sarada and even Chouchou, as strange as she seems. They all feel similar and yet different to their forebears. Indeed, Kishimoto has somehow managed to find a nice balance between novelty and nostalgia, somehow mixing with a good deal of tact both the comfort of the old, with the invigorating freshness of the new.
And of course, what Naruto chapter, spin-off or not, would be complete without the man himself?
All I’ll say for now is that I am really excited to see just how much Naruto has grown since he has attained the title of Hokage. What new skills has he developed? Just how strong is he? It looks like we might get a glimpse of the answer to those questions soon, and I can’t wait!
Well, that’s all from me for now. I hope you guys enjoyed this first breakdown for the new Naruto Gaiden. Of course, you can count on me t make it a triple breakdown, but oh well. I’m sorry for the delay as well, but things have just been very busy on my side, and I had to find a gap to squeeze this out of. It was difficult, but I’m glad I somehow managed it.
And, just for fun, here’s a Bubbliton Contest to keep you preoccupied until the next breakdown is out!
See you all in the comments! ^ ^