Naruto Anime/Manga (Manga Spoilers Not Tagged) [WSJ]

AKA
The Engineer
you're saying that the point in the narrative isn't to excuse Itachi, it's to offer context and an 'ideology and trauma' theme that is common in Japanese storytelling
This comes up all over '90s manga (and even a lot of early 2000's manga).... As does the whole "the sins of the past generation need to be dealt with by the current generation". Berserk, Yu Yu Hakusho, Ruroni Kenshin, Trigun, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Inuyasha, Yu-Gi-Oh! (the manga), Hellsing, One Piece, Bleach, Full Metal Alchemist.... it's a *very* common theme that the current generation is traumatized by the decisions of the last generation. And now the last generation is mostly gone and the current generation needs to deal with it *somehow*. How well they deal with it... varies... a lot...

The *vast* majority of the Naruto cast is dealing with some form of "ideology and trauma". Even the "good guys". The difference is how they go about dealing with that and how much how they deal with ends up destroying or helping the people around them. The "good guys" are the people who manage to deal with their mental issues without dragging everyone else around them down with them. Oftentimes with the mentality of "I'm not going to let/make you go through the hell I did". The "bad guys" are the people who deal with their mental issues by making life worse for everyone around them. Usually because they think "my life sucked, so that means i can make *your* life suck".

That people are traumatized *at all* is always considered a tragic thing. Who was traumatized doesn't really matter. But what they do with that trauma... that's varies a lot. Itachi... got put through some of the *worst* trauma in the story... and he puts someone else through some of the worst trauma in the story. He also does it to make *damn sure* no one will ever be traumatized like he was again. Itatchi is a sacrifice to his own ideals in the end, not someone else's.
 
Last edited:

Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
It's been explained to you clearly. The entire act of espionage and being undercover within Akatsuki requires Itachi to play his role convincingly.

Why would he not use his full power if he's not carrying lingering attachments to his previous village and family? That would lead to questions of his allegiance and ability, especially when he's the one who killed the entire Uchiha clan himself. If he hates his brother, hates the village, and has no qualms with cruelty, he will fight accordingly. You think Kisame wasn't watching him? He says as much to Itachi when they first meet.

It makes perfect sense with the undercover role Itachi was saddled with and dedicated to perform.
 
Your entire argument rests on the idea that Itachi has to go all out or he will be suspected. I don't find that angle convincing -- using Amaterasu and Tsukiyomi are very high level techniques that tire him out and drain him significantly. You absoloutely don't need to use something like that against a Genin level opponent in Sasuke -- if anything, it's a daft move, considering that Jiraiya was watching and a huge threat. He was already beating him up and showing no mercy before that, and Kisame wasn't at all suspicious. Why should he be? Itachi has never given any reason for doubt, and is a full member of the Akatsuki. There are no questions over who killed the Uchiha at all -- it's accepted by everyone. You're acting like Itachi is some kind of fresh recruit on a trial basis, or that he has questionable history where some of the bad guys are a bit suspicious or wary. He's not Severus Snape.
 

Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
So when Kisame in chapter 508 warned Itachi he was aware of his past, that he'd be watching him and he better watch his back, you think Kisame was just lying?

Zetsu literally has the ability to be anywhere he places his spores and as shown by the final battle between Itachi and Sasuke, Zetsu spored Itachi, was watching every movement and ability Itachi used, all to gauge what his intentions were and if he were serious.

You really think Itachi was somehow freely able to move without surveillance and with complete trust from the group? Every member of Akatsuki is a missing nin who betrayed their village for their own ends. It's a group based on lies and those willing to deceive those that trusted them most. The group already just had a missing nin from Konoha betray Akatsuki with Orochimaru. So you think they'd just blindly trust Itachi, one of their newest members? Yeah, he was one of the newest members of Nagato's iteration of the group. So no, they wouldn't just trust the guy who's the youngest amongst them and just slaughtered a clan on their own.
 
AKA
The Engineer
Itachi has a death wish. He *wants* to die. In fact, he sets it up so that even if Sasuke doesn't *want* to kill him in the end, everyone will *think* Sasuke killed him because of how the timing of his death works out.

Itachi is purposely using himself up to make it beyond question that Sasuke killed him out of revenge for his clan's death. It has nothing to do with Sasuke and everthing to do with... Madara, Danzo, etc. They *need* to be convinced that Itachi is going all out against Sasuke. Sasuke needs to be pushed so that when he kills Itachi everyone knows he *could* do it and *wanted* to do it. So Itachi pushes himself as hard as he can because as far as he's concerned, his entire *role* is to be hated by everyone else.

He's *not* a nice guy and he's not trying to set himself up as one. He's the catalyst for Sasuke to become more powerful so that Sasuke can take on Madara and *win* in the end. If that means hurting Sasuke, so be it.

The big difference between Sephiroth and Itachi is their goal. Sephiroth wants to use up Cloud and make Cloud be the instigator of the world's doom even though Cloud will hate himself while doing so. Itachi needs to make Sasuke strong enough to survive *Madara* so Madara won't be able to take over the world. And if Sasuke isn't strong enough to defeat Itachi, he definetly won't be strong enough to defeat Madara...

Itachi's meathods might be similar to Sephiroth's but his role in the story is very different. He's a gear/skill check for the final boss rather than being the final boss himself.
 

Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
I mean, it goes without saying Itachi and Sephiroth are totally different. One is motivated by a love and hope for a future without them, even though their hands are stained in blood to achieve this. While the other one is motivated by hatred and a narcissistic wish for a future where only they achieve their goal at the expense of all others. And they relish the bloodshed they cause.

Like, they're total opposites.
 
Mako, I checked that chapter you referenced, and I don't see an implication of Kisame being suspicious of Itachi's Uchiha massacre. On the contrary, he notes that he is from a similar background, and that is why he wanted to work as a partner with Itachi. As the conversation continues, Kisame does tell Itachi to be wary/watch his back, sure, but he also continues to act as if what Itachi did actually did happen. He doesn't seem suspicious of that...more so there is a 'we're both working together for now but don't get too comfortable' vibe.

Obs, I never thought that Itachi regarded himself as a nice guy -- it's more that the narrative presents him as a tragic hero, and I don't buy it. I think people are forgetting here that Sasuke was a Genin at this point. A Genin. The lowest level, a joke. (But yes, to be fair, his skill level is chuunin, but that's not exactly impressive either.) Itachi is one of the most powerful Shinobi in the world, more on the level of the Hokage or the Sannin. No one is expecting him to go 'all out' against Sasuke...if he did that Sasuke should be dead within a second. What he did was already enough -- he beat him, broke his wrist, bloodied him, taunted him, and even Kisame is like 'he's not holding back, is he?'.

In fact the exact thing was 'no mercy, eh?'. So even Kisame the sadist is convinced at that point. When Itachi is done Sasuke is slumped on the floor and emotionally crushed...and then Itachi decides to go even further.

Tsukiyomi is waaaaaaay overboard.
 

Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
The threat of watching his back and them being each other's final opponent doesn't imply suspicion to you? You don't think that's a thinly veiled threat meant to intimidate?

Kisame is literally warning Itachi that he'll be watching him and ready to stab him in the back at short notice, just like he did his own clan. The previous chapter showcases how Kisame easily eliminates teammates who are traitors or assets who could fall into the hands of the enemy. So I don't understand how you don't think there's suspicion there. You think they were just jaw-jacking to break the ice? All of Akatsuki operate under a veil of suspicion. They work in pairs for a reason.

You don't seem to get (or perhaps wish to not get), the extenuating circumstances of the overall story that have Itachi in the place within his life he is at that point. You keep making this about how Itachi just cruelly bullied his brother for no reason other than to sadistically torment him while ignoring the entire situation which surrounded him and motivated the entire confrontation in the first place. Yeah, Kisame was convinced because Itachi unleashed the Tsukuyomi and clearly beat the crap out of Sasuke. That's the point.

Like, you want to take some reductionist moralistic perspective of how Itachi is a "bad person" for doing a "bad thing" towards his brother while completely removing it from the context and overall meaning of the story itself. Does it feel good to make such a nuanced story a simplistic black and white, good vs evil morality tale? Is it easier to swallow that Itachi is a "bad guy" who did "bad things" for "bad reasons?" To just strip Itachi of all dimension and motivation aside from doing things for "teh evilz?" I don't understand your insistence on removing the tragedy, nuance, espionage and geopolitical undercurrent that motivates the scenarios which clearly exist, purposefully, within Naruto. Like, why dumb it down like that?
 

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
One of the key parts of Tsukuyomi when Itachi uses it is that he's making Sasuke relive the psychological experience that drives Sasuke's core motives. Itachi is making sure that time won't dull the in-moment reality of the horror of what he experience when Itachi murdered their clan. One of the biggest issues is that time dulls memory of tragedy – and Japan experienced a lot of that in how it grappled with the aftermath of the atomic bombings, and when and how people were left struggling with them while others were quick to move on and try to forget the horrors.

When it comes to Itachi's underlying motive of making sure that Sasuke will NEVER forget how absolutely fucking awful that is, him constantly putting Sasuke back into that experience is central to what he's attempting to accomplish. It's the way that Itachi's making sure that his brother hates him for doing it, and won't ever be able to just numb the pain of the experience. That's connected to the same part of the underlying concerns that Shisui had about the misuse of his own Sharingan which he was going to attempt to use to stop his clan from executing a Coup, and how he trusted that task to Itachi in his absence, and the whole cycle of development that's built off of that.

Additionally, if you want a SHITTON of information on what's going on with Sasuke & the Uchiha clan, watch/read Tekkonkinkreet. Black has an alternate personality of a minotaur who embodies embracing the power of darkness, madness, revenge, vengeance, and violence over the possessive ownership of the part of the city that he protects – and the minotaur's name is Itachi. He starts to appear when they take his little brother White away from him, and in the scene where they are separated Black is depicted standing in top of a telephone pole, with a crow circling around with him – both of which are critical pieces of Itachi's own iconography in Naruto, with the telephone pole being the thing Sasuke sees on his way home just at the start of the Uchiha massacre. It's following those exact same underlying motivations in attempting to create someone strong enough to do what's necessary to protect their village.


Also, FWIW Remake intentionally introduced the pronoun differentiation in Sephiroth's speech patterns to help emphasize things about his psychological state, that's why Remake's use of Sephiroth using "ore" as his pronoun for his pre-Nibelheim self and also the self who talks to Cloud about wanting to work together at the Edge of Creation is narratively worth thinking about in this sort of a context, because that's not the same as the "watashi" pronoun that he uses whenever he's being the insane object of hatred that Cloud is seeking vengeance against who annihilated all of Nibelheim. One of the more interesting underlying questions to look at in the game is how Sephiroth exists in a way that always serves as a motivator for Cloud to force him to be the things that Cloud never accomplished – which is being a SOLDIER first and foremost. In Remake it's really important to look at all of the dialogue that Sephiroth has with Cloud in the little memory glitches. It all focuses on making Cloud relive all of his weaknesses when his mom was killed, and gaining the strength to stop being too weak to save the people that he cares about.

This is ultimately rooted in the core reason Cloud wanted to join SOLDIER, which was so that he would never be too weak to prevent Tifa from getting hurt again like she did out at the bridge on Mt. Nibel when they were kids after Tifa's mom died, and Cloud was blamed for her getting hurt and slipping into a coma for a week. Throughout the game, Sephiroth is constantly forcing Cloud into a situation where Cloud is tempted to hide who he really is just like he did back when he returned to Nibelheim, and then slowly HAS to come to terms with who he actually is and define is real self against the version of himself that Sephiroth is using to achieve his own ends. On top of that, Sephiroth is constantly putting Cloud in situations where the thing(s) that he cares most about in the entire world are the things that he is utterly powerless to protect. That's why after defeating Sephiroth at the very end of the game, Cloud leaps up to prevent Tifa from falling off of the cliff ledge. It's why he explicitly asks Cloud what he treasures most, so that he can take it away from him in Advent Children because he's making Cloud regain that strength.

The point here is that from a narrative perspective – Sephiroth and Itachi serve EXACTLY the same purpose to Cloud & Sasuke respectively. In Itachi's case, you just got to see more about the sociopolitical game that he's a part of attempting to overcome from his own point of view, whereas he have literally NEVER seen the narrative of events from Sephiroth's point of view – only from the narrative that he openly provides to the main character. The closest thing we have to that motive are the things that Kadaj talks about with Rufus in ACC, where they are beings existing on a Planet that is constantly attempting to erase them, so they hate it and want to destroy it – which is just the exact same reason that the Planet wants to destroy them. It's the inherent tragedy of creating a character who's role is designed to be that of a monster.

Whether or not they are intentional or incidental motivators for the hero to overcome depends on the story, but that's why in the Japanese narrative the most important part of that is pushing to emphasize how the two opposed forces are close to identical to one another, which is why the motivations that they give work – they are a perfect dark reflection designed for the hero to recognize themselves in and to surpass in a way that the dark individual isn't able to. That's why Japanese stories usually provide all of the careful psychological motivation and allow them to exist as an ambiguous motivator, while the end is effectively achieved ONLY when they are exclusively seen as an absolute monster.





X :neo:
 
Mako, you.....really have a winning personality when it comes to debates XD. I would say 'there is no need for your tone here' but I suspect you wouldn't see where I'm coming from. I suppose I'll just point to Obs and SOLDIER and...well, most of the forum members...as good examples of being able to debate without getting weird.

My point was that Kisame was convinced -before- the Tsukiyomi. Go back and check the scene. And yes, I agree that there is a threat to their interaction, a kind of intimidation, but I disagree that it necessarily stems from suspicion over the massacre. As for the moral angle -- I'm not complaining that Itachi did a bad thing, or that moral greyness is bad. Moral complexity is awesome. That's why I referenced Zuko a while back, because that actually grappled with this approach successfully. FF7 grapples with it mostly successfully, with the actions of AVALANCHE. I just find that it wasn't written as convincingly in this case, with Itachi.

I'll admit that I might be a bit hard on him considering his position -- I suppose I'm not as annoyed at him as much as I am annoyed at Kishimoto's writing, which doesn't feel as thoughtful as I think you percieve it to be.

Soldier, I'll read your post now...
 

Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
There's nothing "weird" about what I'm saying, you're just trying to claim Itachi is somehow malevolent and sadistic in his treatment of Sasuke while totally ignoring the nuance and motivation of his character, saying its inconsistent and/or forced.

It's not inconsistent, if you just follow the narrative and I'm not budging in terms of shoehorning him into this straight supervillain role you seem to think he inhabited and was then 180'd from. The story wasn't trying to "paint Itachi as a tragic hero." He isn't even a hero. No one knows the truth about what he did, he lived and died in the shadows. His single selfish wish, was for Sasuke to live and be better than him and the system that created him and his fucked up life. So what is weird is how you wish to simplify that and make a nuanced story about the greys of the ninja system, a simple straightforward "good vs evil" thing based on how much Itachi hurt his brother with a genjutsu. That's not what the story's about at all. If you're trying to not make this about some moralistic angle, then why are you constantly going back to how much he "hurt" Sasuke as a poor innocent genin? Yeah, of course he hurt him. That's the point. He's not playing the role of the loving brother anymore. That's intentional for a greater purpose.
 
I'll say this much -- you and the others have convinced me to look at this area of the manga and reconsider my stance. I think he went too far, yes, even considering the morally grey situation, but I'm open to changing my mind upon rereading/rewatching. (As for your point, the narrative can treat him as a hero without it being public to most characters.) But yes, the situation is a complex one, and shouldn't be simplified, sure. On that area I can accept this and agree.
 

Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
I mean, you could literally say everything Itachi did in his life was "too far," given the severity of the sins he committed. :monster:

He murdered his family except for his younger brother. He massacred his clan. He helped conspire against the village as a missing nin. He helped capture biju which in turn killed the jinchuriki they were tied to. He traumatized his younger brother. He beat the shit out of his younger brother. He mentally tormented his younger brother. And he made his younger brother commit fratricide.

Yeah, everything Itachi did went far. He lived and died as one of the greatest undercover ninjas ever known. He was a genius manipulator, and he was able to lie to everyone for his purposes.

And his purposes were to help the village, protect his brother and ensure there was a future for him better than his own. He did fucked up, horrible things for that selfless and hopeful purpose. So of course he went too far, he wanted to remove all shreds of doubts and deceive everyone around him. There's a reason why Itachi was able to see himself in Kabuto, another deceptive and cruel ninja who was a lost child in the world of ninja. They both do anything to achieve their ends. For better or worst, that's what the ninja world demanded.
 

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
I'll say this much -- you and the others have convinced me to look at this area of the manga and reconsider my stance. I think he went too far, yes, even considering the morally grey situation, but I'm open to changing my mind upon rereading/rewatching. (As for your point, the narrative can treat him as a hero without it being public to most characters.) But yes, the situation is a complex one, and shouldn't be simplified, sure. On that area I can accept this and agree.
It's a particular reexamination where I think you'll end up finding some of the most rewarding pieces of narratives in Japanese stories, because it makes you look REALLY hard into just how utterly horrible people can be when they're attempting to ensure that something they believe in is protected. Japan has one of the most openly honest portrayal of those things largely because of not only the existential pain of WWII in seeing the lengths that people will go to in order to become something or someone else entirely so long as they know that it achieves the ends that they believe in with the entirety of their being, as well as what it means to have to completely turn your entire world-view around and grapple with that existential dread and how to proceed with it.

It's interesting to think that Sasuke might have become the hero if the truth about Itachi was never revealed, but at the same time that would also have just established those actions and atrocities as an effective totalitarian means of achieving effective propaganda that others within the Ninja world would utilize in order to prevent being overthrown. That's the issue about creating a hero by means of a system of control that they don't see – even if the intention and ends will bring about justice, it's just ensuring that there IS still a way by which it could be exploited in reverse. That's exactly why Madara is able to use truth to mask his own motives and just allow Sasuke to instantly align with the ends he already wants to achieve.



X :neo:
 

Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
How is the anime doing this storyline so much more justice than the fucking manga?

LOL like holy shit, the manga's rendition of this was so trash in how they just suddenly presented the sudden loss and moved on from it like it was just, whatever.

At least the anime gave it the respect such a moment deserves. In fact, the entire confrontation against Isshiki Otsutsuki was a 100x better in the anime too. Damn, the manga really just sorta farts it out and leaves the anime to flesh out the plot in a presentable way.
 
Top Bottom