Friday, November 07, 2014

The Last Naruto: The End of an Era




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This week, we witnessed the end of nearly two decade’s worth of love and hard work. Last Monday, Masashi Kishimoto released the last chapter of a manga that has managed to win its way into the hearts of multitudes, the likes of which had not been seen ever since Akira Toriyama started working on Dragon Ball. I speak, of course, of Naruto. For those of you who have yet to read the last chapters, or those of you following the anime instead of the manga, avert your eyes! Close your browsers! Don’t read this post up until you’ve finished watching the show. Because I will tell you now: spoilers follow.

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Kishimoto-sensei ended the series in a manner that would have made J.K. Rowling proud; Madara’s Eye of the Moon plan, although successfully pulled off, is defeated by Sasuke. Hagoromo Otsutsuki’s mother, Kaguya Otsutsuki, is defeated by no less than the original Team 7. And finally, there is a land-disfiguring final battle between Naruto and Sasuke, which even I had to admit felt so satisfying.

I mean, there was a moment there where I was afraid that the two weren’t going to have their final showdown. Thankfully, Kishimoto-sensei delivered.

And then there’s a single chapter devoted to the epilogue—something that Kishimoto did Rowling one better. He spends nearly twenty-one pages outlining the futures of everybody he could think of. I admit, some of the pairings were odd; Ino and Sai were a given, since Ino couldn’t get to Sasuke, and Sai was an acceptable replacement. But Chouji and that dark girl from Kumogakure? Sure. I feel sorry for the kid. Good thing she seems to have a chipper attitude about her genetic inheritances.

I can’t say that I loved how Sakura and Sasuke ended up with a kid who seems to have combined both of their elitist attitudes. But if she learns her mother’s strength of a hundred seal, and awakens her sharingan, then she’s going to be a living battery with the ability to spam eye techniques left and right.

Speaking of eye techniques, the one thing about the whole story I’ve been curious about is the heritage of Homura Otsutsuki. There’s been plenty said about the descendants of Hagoromo, otherwise known as the Sage of the Six Paths; the Uchiha and the Senju (and by association, the Uzumaki) clans are the living legacies of his will. But what about Homura? After seeing how Kaguya had a whole host of bloodline limits, including Kimimaro’s shikotsumyaku, it’s easy to assume that while Hagoromo received the sharingan and rinnegan (as well as the undying levels of chakra), Homura received the bone technique and the byakugan.

So think of this: if Naruto is the descendant of Hagoromo, and Hinata is the descendant of Homura, doesn’t that mean Boruto and Himawari Uzamaki (their children) have all the genetic traits necessary to become Kaguya? I don’t know how solid this theory is, but given how the story of the upcoming The Last: Naruto the Movie is shaping up, I don’t think I’m that far off.

In any case: here’s to the last fifteen years, Naruto. I’m going to miss your ugly mug, ‘ttebayo!

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