Thursday, March 28, 2013

Naruto: Chapter 625: The True Dream

Synopsis: Hashirama's comrades freak out at Madara's suggestion, as does Tobirama, but Hashirama shushes them. Tobirama asks him if he's really going to kill either himself or his own brother to appease Madara, and Hashirama thanks Madara, saying he knew he could reason with him. Hashirama takes off his armor and pulls out a kunai, saying that out of Madara's options, his choice is clear, and that Madara probably knew what he'd choose, knowing all too well about brotherly bonds. Hashirama holds the kunai in front of his chest, and tells everyone to listen to his final words. After he dies, everyone in the clan is forbidden to kill Madara, and that no more fighting will be permitted between the Senju and Uchiha clans. He tells them to swear this on the names of their fathers and their unborn children, and then bids them farewell.

A teardrop leaks out of Hashirama's eyes as memories of a skipping stone flood through his mind as his kunai approaches his chest. At the last second, Madara reaches out and stops Hashirama from killing himself. Madara says that he doesn't have to do it, having seen Hashirama's true resolve now, and shakes hands with Hashirama. The time switches to an official ceremony between the two clans, where they shake hands yet again, and Hashirama is thrilled that the war is over.

With the two clans at peace, Hashirama and Madara build the village of their dreams, and join hands with the country of Fire, slowly turning the village into a force for protecting the peace. Time passes still, and from atop the rock where they once talked about their dreams, the two look out onto the village. Hashirama asks Madara if he remembers those talks, and Madara concedes he does. Catching a passing leaf, Madara says it was just wishful thinking back then, he never truly believed it was possible, but Hashirama says that they'll turn it into reality even more. He proposes that there should be a leader for the village, which protects the country of 'Fire' from the 'shadows' - hence the name 'Hokage' (Ho meaning Fire and Kage meaning Shadow, so 'Fire Shadow'). Hashirama explains the functions he imagines for such a role, and suggests that it should be Madara who becomes Hokage, so that he can look after the entire village as his new 'siblings'. Madara says he wants to watch over everyone, but he couldn't protect his own siblings...Hashirama tells him to stop acting depressed, and reveals that in addition to their clans of Senju and Uchiha, it seems like the Sarutobi and Shimura clans also want to join the village. Madara is shocked, but Hashirama says it doesn't stop there, and that the village will continue to grow larger. Hashirama then asks Madara if he has any ideas for the name of the village, and Madara looks down at it through a hole in the leaf, and suggests 'Konoha', the 'Village Hidden in the Leaves'. Hashirama is depressed at such a simple suggestion, and Madara chews him out saying that 'Hokage' isn't any better, and for not being cured of his random bouts of depression yet.

Hashirama notes that the two began to rekindle their friendship slowly, and Madara asks if this 'Hokage' would have to stay in the village to watch over everyone. Hashirama says that the role would also be in handling construction and enlargement of the village, and suggests having a huge head carved into the shape of the Hokage's face on the side of the rock that they stand on, as a 'symbol' of protection for the village. Madara thinks he must be joking, but Hashirama says he's serious - though they'll have to give the sculptor some leeway since Madara has such an ugly mug. Tobirama rushes towards them and asks why they're goofing off when the meeting with the heads of the country are about to start, and he and Madara exchange distrusting looks.

Later, Hashirama informs Tobirama of his ideas for the Hokage, and Tobirama balks, saying that the decision of who should fill that role should be made by the people of the village. Tobirama says that clearly they'll choose Hashirama, as it was he who built the village rather than Madara, and follows this up by saying there's an ugly rumor going on about the Uchiha. He says that the power of their Sharingan is directly linked to the amount of hatred they harbor, and that this is such an unpredictable variable, so perhaps they should be removed from the village. Hashirama doesn't like Tobirama's tone, when suddenly he hears a noise from outside. He thinks that someone was listening in, and asks Tobirama if he sensed anyone, but Tobirama says he wasn't using his chakra at the time. Hashirama spies the leaf with the hole through it that Madara was using before just outside the window. Hashirama picks it up, and the top half of it falls off. Tobirama says they're going to decide things democratically, and Hashirama says that's fine with him. The decision apparently did end with the village choosing Hashirama, as his face is shown carved into the mountain face.

In a hidden Uchiha room, Madara shows a plaque to Hashirama (now in the Hokage robes), saying that never before has a non-Uchiha seen it. A special eye technique is needed to decipher the text on it, and so far Madara has only decoded part of it - 'IN the quest for peace, God divided things into Yin and Yang. The opposing forces worked with each other and, in turn, gave us the universe.' Madara calls this a wise but generic principle, that essentially means that if two opposing forces cooperate, true happiness can be achieved. It can however be interpreted another way... Hashirama feigns misunderstanding, and Madara calls him on it, asking if he thinks he's naive. Hashirama says that if this is about Tobirama, he'll set things right between them, and begs Madara to stand beside him as his right hand man and 'brother'. He says the villagers will eventually realize how good Madara is, and that when that time comes, the second Hokage will probably be - Madara interrupts him and says that it would be Tobirama, and at that point, the Uchiha's days are numbered. Fearing the day that happens, Madara reached out to his fellow Uchihas and recommended they seperate from the village, but no one but him felt the same way.

Madara says that he failed to protect his brother, and now his clan too, as they don't even trust him anymore. Madara says that back then he should have only given Hashirama the option of killing his brother, and asks that though Hashirama claims that he (Madara) is like a brother too, between he and Tobirama, who would Hashirama cut down? Madara says he knows the type of person Hashirama truly is, but he can't do this anymore, and will leave the village to follow his own path. He claims that their cooperation is a struggle in futility, which Hashirama rebutes, but Madara won't listen. He says that he will view the world as nothing but excess, and as he's the only one who can fight with Madara on equal ground, he will look forward to going for Hashirama's juggular on his path to the 'true dream'.

Thoughts: This was definitely a dialogue heavy chapter, and though we didn't really learn anything we didn't already know, I for one really enjoyed it.

I was wondering how Hashirama was going to get around Madara's demand that he had to kill either himself or his brother, and I actually wasn't expecting Hashirama to be willing to commit suicide at all. He's even cooler than we already knew.

I did like how Hashirama's dedication turned Madara around too. Perhaps Madara hadn't really thrown away his friendship towards Hashirama at all.

It's really cool seeing the conventions of the series that we've had since the beginning come into being too, such as the name of the village and the Hokage title. I actually really liked how Madara came up with the name too, so I don't know what Hashirama had against it - though his reaction was likely only there for humor, as well as to show the two being friendlier now.

The worst part of this whole backstory is that pretty much every bad thing that's happening in the series now because of the Uchiha deal, is that it could have all been easily avoided if Tobirama had just stopped being such a collosal DOUCHE. I mean, dear god, the village is at peace, the Uchiha seem reformed (and definitely seem to be more reformed than Madara is), so why is he still holding such a huge grudge? It makes his words towards Hashirama about doing things differently now feel really hollow, when he's not doing the same himself.

And now, the 'war' will be back on I believe, with Madara leaving the village to go his own way. Good job there too Tobirama. I hope his reign as Hokage is a short one.

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