Naruto 623/624 The Competition Begins

Kishimoto uses Chapter 623 and 624 to develop the two founders of the village. He shows how their competition that would span lifetimes began very innocently. The boys are competing in boyish activities like throwing stones and climbing cliffs. In these competitions, Hashirama seems to have the upper hand. He can skip the rock across the river and beats Madara to the top of the cliff(though he cheats and takes off first).

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This chapter also begins to show how deeply the Uchiha clan loves their family. In past chapters the Second Hokage believes that the Uchiha's problem is that they love too much and that is why they are prone tobe pushed into evil. Here when the boys are looking over the forrest that would someday be the Hidden Leaf Village, Hashiramadeclares his desire that all childrenshould have a safe place to grow up as children not as soldiers, but Madara states that from there he could watch over and protect his final remaining brother. This shows where their divide begins. One wants to protect all people and one wants only to protect his brother.

This dynamic has been playing out through Sasuke and Naruto as well. While Sasuke was trying to avenge his family by killing his brother, before changing to avenging his brother's memory by killing those who have manipulating him, Naruto has been at the vanguard of the Ninja protecting all the Hidden Leaf Village. Like the founders, Naruto and Sasuke come from similar back grounds and are presented with the same choices. They we're orphans who both could have chose individual paths to power, but Naruto(like Hashirama) chooses to unite with all the people of the Hidden Leaf Village and accept them as his family. Sasuke chose deny any connection to the village, like Madara.

Kishimoto uses one scene in which the boys throw their stones across the river to each other. This signifies that though the come from opposite sides of the river(showing that they are different) they are equals and literary foils of each other.

The plot then begins to take a sinister turn. Hashirama's brother has been spying on him and reports that he has been meeting with Madara to his father. His father is a hard militaristic man with no patience for children or idealistic beliefs. He orders Hasharama to spy on his friend and kill him if necessary. What a horrible position to put his son in. Throughout the story, the reader has been lead to believe that the Senju we're the clan of love, but this plot twist seems to contradict that idea. How could a loving father order his son to kill his friend. It seems like something Danzo, a heartless military hawk, would do.

Kishimoto illustrates how very revolutionary and different Hasharama is. He defies his father and warns Madara to run away when they next meet on the river. At this point we learn that the Uchiha's have the same plan. The two young ninja are on a parallel course. Neither wants to fight the other, but neither seems to have the power to stop it. When they try to walk away the adults and the brothers enter the fray and it seems like an inevitable fight between Senju and Uchiha will occur. It does not because Madara admits he cannot win against Hashirama. Still the conflict is important because Madara's sharingan is awakened in the process.

Once their destinies seem to split, the two warriors are pitted against each other in war continuously as they grow. Soon the become the leaders of their respective clans. The strongest warriors in the strongest clans, as well all knew they would. Their dream of a combined village seems out of reach yet and yet the audience knows that somehow it has to come together. During the battles, Madara's brother dies and Madara takes his eyes. He re-emerges from with the Eternal Magekyo Sharingan and the Susano makes an appearance. Even with this new found power, Madara is defeated.

At this point, Kashimoto reveals how Tobirama inherited his father's hardmilitaristic manner. He desires to end Madara's life, but Hashirama stays his hand. He still cares about Madara. Madara lays down the conditions for his surrender and joining the Senju. Hashirama must either kill his brother or himself. Madara is looking for vengence for the death of his last brother. The chapter ends this way leaving the reader wondering what decision Hashirama will make.

It is interesting that this chapter seems to show how the children we're on a paralell course throughout their developing years, and yet the opening color cell shows something completely different. I love the open color cells and wish that the entire chapter could be illustrated in color. This particular shows the faces of the adult Hashirama and Madara during their fight. The expressions on the faces are wonderful in revealing the inner emotions of the characters. Madara's face illumininates some manic anger that seems to be driving him, while Hashirama's face shows a grim determination to do what must be done. The reader really wonders how the children went from being innocent rivals to angry warriors. One is being driven to fight by anger, and one is being forced to fight. I find myself interested in what comes next, which the point of this weekly/biweekly cerials. They keep us interested and keep reading.

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Posted in Home Post Date 06/08/2019


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