1. Fancy yourself a sleuth, evil mastermind, debating pro, and/or just plain love One Punch Man? If so, sign up for Akihabara Lounge's first Mafia game, themed on One Punch Man.

    LINK
  2. Hey you

    Yeah you!


    Have you always wanted to impress Gordon Ramsey with your culinary skills?

    Well you can't...

    But you can impress the NF community by joining the Cooking Contest in the Bento Box!

    And we promise we won't make you cry like him.
  3. Throwback Naruto : Hidden Village of Art has launched a new contest related to Naruto where Love and Spring is in the air, until next June 21.
    To know more click on the link: Spring Canon Pairings Drawing contest !!
  4. The latest NF Newsletter is out (June), read it here

For Once Kishimoto Addresses the Elephant in the Room

Discussion in 'Konoha Library' started by Kuromaku, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. Kuromaku Shiftless Loser

    Messages:
    3,213
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Reputation:
    One of the more subtle horrors of the Narutoverse is the presence of child soldiers. From a young age, children are indoctrinated into a mindset emphasizing the protection of the homeland at the cost of all those who would oppose it. We've seen six year olds entering the academy to learn the proper ways in which to take a life. The fact that even a newly minted academy graduate is capable of killing a person in many different ways is a basic part of the story's premise, and yet this fact insinuates much darker themes, themes that have been explored to varying degrees of success as the manga progressed.

    In Part I of the manga, we had multiple enemies who were around the main cast's ages, that is, kids, and yet readers thought little of the fact that these kids were so mentally and emotionally damaged. They were less children and young adults than they were killing machines. Where Haku might have otherwise been seen as an anomaly of sorts given his unorthodox upbringing, the attitudes taken by the main characters illustrates just how 'normal' the existence of child soldiers is within the story's context.

    While it is a shame that this was not explored all that much during the majority of the manga, this most recent chapter does succeed at highlighting the inherent depravity of the shinobi system. Hashirama questions the necessity of teaching children to kill their enemies and perpetuate the ongoing cycle of hatred and conflict, to which his father responds with violence and cynical repudiation. These children are expected to kill and to die as a good shinobi should. They are less people than they are tools. In hindsight, every ultimate sacrifice made by characters in previous chapters takes on a darker tone.

    To die an ideal death for a shinobi is to die on behalf of the cause and on behalf of one's comrades. While the death of a shinobi is played often for drama and heroism, here it is illustrated for what Nagato said it really was: a senseless waste of life. There is nothing glorious here about death. There is no dignity. The only dignity is that projected onto these deaths by those who perpetuate the system. Past scenes where characters are glad to die knowing that they helped their comrades in some way are then called into question. Did these characters truly die heroic deaths, or did they only believe that because they had been raised to do so? It is a question worth exploring, and closer examination of past examples can call either interpretation into question.

    Tobirama's suggestion for solving this cycle of hatred perpetuated by constant warfare on the part of the clans is a callback to the ideals that shinobi should follow, as was brought up by Sakura all the way back at the Land of the Waves Arc. In order to maintain an ideal of professionalism without the mess caused by emotions, one could comprehend that because people are expected to die in kill or be killed situations, one should not hold a grudge against the other side, whether out of pragmatic business sense (yesterday's enemy might be tomorrow's ally) or simple thoughtfulness (e.g. if your father was killed in a war, there is little point holding a grudge given that if your enemy did not kill your father, your father would have likely killed him). And yet even this has its flaws, as human beings, being the irrational creatures that they are, have difficulty separating the emotional from the rational. Danzo and Kirigakure's attempts at weeding out emotions show this suggestion of Tobirama's taken to its ultimate extreme.

    Madara and Hashirama's fateful meetings highlight a different way. They highlight a radical way of thinking that shifts away from the horrors of the past and suggests a future where parents need not raise children under the expectation that these children will not only die before them, but will be proud to do so as shinobi. The final horror here however, stems from the hope that was borne of this tragic situation.

    For all their ideals, Madara and Hashirama came to blows, and the village borne of Hashirama's hopes in a better future simply perpetuated the cycle he sought to escape. Rather than stopping yesterday's tragedies, the village system merely organized them neatly into rows. Children are still fighting and still dying. The fact that Kishimoto has finally brought this matter to the forefront grants it the recognition it has long deserved.

    The question now however, is where Kishimoto intends to go with it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  2. Addy itachi is everywhere!!

    Messages:
    44,125
    Likes Received:
    467
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Reputation:
    Itachi handled it well. Killed his own clan with no problems :ichigo

    Hashirama is just a pussy :hmpf
     
  3. spiritmight High Frequency, Bitches

    Messages:
    2,165
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Reputation:
    Good post, OP.

    I always thought it strange that Kishi would plot his story around children who essentially learn from kindergarten how to be superhuman killing machines.

    Glad he's addressing it.
     
  4. Ricky Sen Member

    Messages:
    640
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Reputation:
    Overdue but extremely refreshing
     
  5. Nimander I has it

    Messages:
    9,628
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Reputation:
    It's been a pretty damn long time since I've seen a post of this quality on here. If I could rep you for every paragraph written at once, I would. Very nice analysis and breakdown of the chapter and its implications for the series.
     
  6. koohiinin Coffee-kage

    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    17
    Reputation:
    It's interesting--for whatever reason, the discussion of this chapter in this thread and elsewhere in the Telegrams is noticeably more thoughtful, insightful, and articulate than usual.
     
  7. Dusk Soldier Member

    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Reputation:
    I like that Kishi doesn't shy away from tackling difficult subjects like this. I'm just scared the manga's ending won't really address anything.
     
  8. emachina Can DO!

    Messages:
    1,134
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Reputation:
    Interesting point, however, this is fiction. Teens and pre-teens save the world all the damn time in mangas and video games. Have you ever played a Final Fantasy game? You got androgenous 12 year olds that have slaughtered millions by the time they reach level 50. in real life, the kid would be traumatized, in their world, it's just what you do before breakfast. It's kinda over thinking it way to hard in regards to fantasy fiction like Naruto.
     
  9. Synaptik New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Reputation:
    Strong post, OP.
     
  10. jgalt7 Rick Astley 4 President!

    Messages:
    3,360
    Likes Received:
    46
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Reputation:
    telling u now. hashi is john lennon, and madara is paul.......mito will be yoko. i can deal with hashi being a peace loving hippie.

    but back to the topic on hand....

    i'm thinking kishi is doing a good job justifying the actions of itachi and the attitudes of tobirama from the past few chapters.

    they do what they had to do to end the cycle of killing in their own way. a means to an end of sorts.

    itachi's and tobirama's might be extreme...and i believe we are about to see hashirama's approach.

    it would be interesting to see sasuke's reaction to this explanation of what a village and shinobi is.......it's actually quite compelling so far.
     
  11. Kuromaku Shiftless Loser

    Messages:
    3,213
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Reputation:
    True, but this chapter actually takes the time to take this familiar shonen fantasy trope, and really look at its implications. What sort of world would accept having kids do such things? How would this impact these kids as they grew into adults? That this chapter addressed the darker side of the trope was what inspired the OP in the first place.
     
  12. Reddan Active Member

    Messages:
    5,616
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Reputation:
    Yes obviously this type of genre tends to have young heroes, so that the intended audience can identify with them better, but as you said Kishimoto has actually explored the dynamic.

    The ninja world is broken, but it seems every so often a visionary comes along and he rapidly improves conditions. Rikudo Sennin saved the world from the rampaging of Jubi. Hashirama stopped the clan wars and managed to create stable countries. Danzo and Onoki have already addressed what the next step will be; creating a united shinobi alliance. All shinobi united together.

    We have seen reforms now, to stop ninjas graduating the academy any younger than 12. Neji and Sasuke, though brilliant were held back. I expect there will be more reforms to come.
     
  13. Nimander I has it

    Messages:
    9,628
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Reputation:
    The last chapter that really brought about any level of discussion even close to this was Ch. 436. Ch. 429 was probably my favorite out of that arc because of how it was written. But 436 was easily my fave chapter to discuss on the forums. It sparked so many actual conversations I actually had hope for the fandom for a while there.

    It was pretty much dried up again by the end of the arc. But it was good while it lasted. In all seriousness though, Kishi does occasionally throw a chapter out there that, when read in the context of the series, makes you really think. This is one of those chapters, and I'm very glad it came along when it did.
     
  14. lesa New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Reputation:
    Incredible post. It has been quite a long time since I've felt so immersed in the story.
     
  15. CA182 Active Member

    Messages:
    8,579
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Reputation:
    Ch. 436 is still unmatched in how discussable it is. Mainly because Kishi couldn't actually find an answer to it and basically skipped it.

    Anyways +reps OP. I enjoyed reading that.
     
  16. Frostman G.O.A.T (Greatest of all Time)

    Messages:
    12,081
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Reputation:
    Ive been wondering this for years. Whenever someone would use the "killing woman and children" excuse to demonize Itachi for what he did, i would always think about a six year old Sasuke coming home from school where they taught him the proper way to snap someones neck.

    Its quite fascinating how it went ignored up until now. People would always criticize how Naruto/Sasuke are so strong yet so young, but never pointed out that they were child soldiers. I guess we were led to believe its something normal just like the characters in the manga.
     
  17. Nimander I has it

    Messages:
    9,628
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Reputation:
    I like to think Kishi preferred to leave the discussion open-ended so that the readers could think on and come up with their own conclusions. Though I may be just giving him an out with that one.:lmao

    But it still counts as one of the best written, and definitely one of the most thought-provoking chapters in the entire series. Hell, that entire arc from 429 onwards is easily in my top 3 in the series.
     
  18. Faustus Immortal

    Messages:
    3,899
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Reputation:
    I had no hope Kishi would address this, didn't expect it. So I'm pretty happy with new chapter. And + reps, OP

    So true
     
  19. CrazyAries Truth Hurts

    Messages:
    6,563
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Reputation:
    This is a very good OP and I have to comment on it.

    First, the issue of child soldiers has indeed been the ?elephant in the room? from the first chapter. I am glad that this was blatantly discussed in this chapter. Before, we were given platitudes about being loyal to one?s village without having that viewpoint consistently challenged, at least in terms of the youngest members of the military.

    And it was Hashirama who did this. So it is all the more crushing to see that his answers to peace and his attempts actually ended up perpetuating violence and continue the use of child soldiers.

    However, we have never dwelled on many of the darker themes in this manga because of the way that much of the story was written. Konoha was first shown as a village full of killers with a conscience. On some level, that does make sense to me, but the village failed to reconcile that with the reality of its existence. The first few chapters showed preteens acting like preteens, oblivious to the harshness of shinobi life. And this war began with humans fighting against monsters.

    Most importantly, Naruto himself has never dwelled on the darker things. We had a main character who was pegged as the underdog and we were supposed to root for him. He was headstrong and wanted to do things his way, but we never saw him thinking deeply about the realities of his world. He vowed to change things but never had a plan to accomplish this beyond fighting some of the enemies in front of him. In Part 2, Naruto did have periods of self-doubt, but most of them did not revolve around the realities of his world. And when he was put into a corner (by Pain, his friends and Gaara, and Obito), he froze up. Granted, Naruto was and still is young, but he is the titular character and many have placed their faith in him.

    I am not bashing Naruto, but I can?t help but notice how he has been removed from many of the heavy discussions of this manga. The information of the Uchiha Massacre has not made him jaded toward his own village and he never met Danzo. And I think that when the story returns to him, that he may not even address the harshness of using child soldiers himself. His focus is on Armageddon because that is the fight that is directly in front of him.

    For me, the beginning of the Kage Summit Arc made me think more deeply about the themes of this manga. I have loved Danzo's story arc and how he contrasted with the past leadership of Konoha and especially Naruto.

    I really did appreciate the beginning of the Pain Arc and much of Deva Path?s lines.
     
  20. TH4N4T0S Parasitus Venator

    Messages:
    2,469
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Reputation:
    A nice short essay. I don't have much to add, but this reminds me of some history. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising involved Jewish children with a ragtag collection of improvised or smuggled weapons. On the other side, there was the Hitler Youth, an organization where children as young as ten were thoroughly indoctrinated and turned into soldiers. And there were the orphans of the Soviet Union, who were haphazardly mobilized by Stalin's regime in a desperate attempt to repel Hitler's forces.

    Many of these anonymous, faceless children were killed and reduced to statistics, and I wonder what became of those who survived, but a close examination of today's "children of war" reveals some horrors more terrifying than any of Stephen King's novels. You discover how innocent, normal little children could be the most efficient killers. Easily brainwashed and desensitised to violence, child soldiers could be as good as robots--expendable killing machines that know nothing except what they're programmed to do.

    The latest chapter (and this thread) reminds us that beneath the outwardly simple plot of this shonen manga lies a profound darkness that mirrors humanity's own. Furthermore, the ninja education system is but one of the problems that Naruto will face. Even after the current war, he will have to deal with the heterogeneity of the world's various clans and countries, the trauma caused by war, the irrationality of those who wish to enforce the ways of the past, the little countries ravaged by the conflict, and so on.

    Perhaps the moral implications of the plot are part of the reason we haven't stopped reading this "kids' manga" despite the loss of its original charm and the occasional bouts of dubious writing.

    As a side note, I have this little inkling that the ninja system will end up being transformed into some kind of "Shinobi Olympics"--a larger but less gladiatorial version of the chuunin exams.
     
  21. Yagami1211 Call Gespenst !

    Messages:
    14,812
    Likes Received:
    252
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Reputation:
    From what I think is happening here.

    We can pretty much think that Hashirama intended for the fighting to stop.

    Then the village was born from him and Madara's alliance.

    But like the OP said, all he did was putting rules and, well, not stopping the fighting at all.

    Children soldiers became mainstream with the village system.

    I think Naruto is supposed to end all fighting though.

    Finally finishing what Hashirama started long ago.

    ( Note that this wouldn't have been possible without Hashirama nor Madara. )

    If Naruto succeed, Hashi and Madara are as much to thank as Naruto.

    I'm starting to think that Naruto should really listen to the story though.
     
  22. Synn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    19,573
    Likes Received:
    122
    Trophy Points:
    63
    That is very true. Great post, OP!
     
  23. Raiden I'm with <b><font color="#ff6600">COCO</font></b>

    Messages:
    37,728
    Likes Received:
    118
    Trophy Points:
    64
    Reputation:
    Good post. But "for once?" We've seen kids and warfare addressed several times. We just had a flashback showing what happened to Obito. The same for Nagato as well. And Itachi.
     
  24. Kuromaku Shiftless Loser

    Messages:
    3,213
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Reputation:
    I'd argue that this is the first time that rather than talking about the effects of loss and war, the focus is instead on the barbarity that is turning children into soldiers.

    Way back during the Chunin Exams, we had Kakashi portrayed as the one in the right when Iruka suggested that maybe Team 7 weren't ready. Kakashi refers to them as no longer being Iruka's students, but soldiers under his command. Isn't it odd that reader reactions seemed somewhat predisposed to arguing with this notion, having accepted it as part of the story's premise? In this way, readers were viewing the situation with the standards of the adults who are part of the system in-story.

    There hasn't been much directly said about how twisted it is to raise kids as killing machines, so for the story to address this was notable.
     
  25. Summers look at my sig

    Messages:
    8,947
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Reputation:
    The way their system works is quite smart in terms of them never questioning what they are doing. Since it's their families who are sending them off to these schools, they are just trying to make their parents proud. Their friends are doing it, their parents and sibling are doing it, everybody is doing it. If they said anything they would be outcasts and when the violence does come, they would look like cowards or feel quilt that they never had the power to be by the side of their loved ones.

    Lets take Naruto's case who had every reason to hate the village but rather say the system of his tormentors as a way to gain the respect he felt he deserved, obviously Naruto observed that no matter what people think of you, that if he became a strong fighter for the village, people would not care. He was correct. When Naruto started saving their asses then jumped all over his.

    Would Naruto question a practice that became the reason for his new found popularity? It's evil genius.
     
  26. Jay. Love

    Messages:
    9,225
    Likes Received:
    73
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Reputation:
    we already had this discussion lead by me

    during the obito motives discussion
     
  27. Miyoshi Member

    Messages:
    698
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    17
    Reputation:
    Nicely put. I pondered upon this thought many times. That's why I know Naruto will end soon and have no hope for a comeback or sequel, without it being prequel. Only because kishimoto would have to end or completely reconstruct the ninja system to find closure in this series without contradicting himself.

    I like how in paragraph 5 on your 3rd sentence you speak of humans as if you aren't one.
    As if you stepped out of your being for a moment to post this. Lol

    "And yet even this has its flaws, as human beings, being the irrational creatures that they are, have difficulty separating the emotional from the rational."
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  28. Sniffers Ninja dogs ftw!

    Messages:
    8,739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Reputation:
    [justify]Yes, finally! I always accepted it as 'part of the story', but in the back of my mind I always saw it as absolutely absurd. Kids have been sent to wars by the 'good guys' for a long time now and not all kids came back unscathed. In fact, a lot ended up traumatised or dead. At least they had their honour, right? ;33[/justify]
     
  29. Chaos Hokage Hokage of the Distant Future

    Messages:
    3,415
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Reputation:
    Good post OP! The Narutoverse is in a serious need for a revolution. Sending off kids to fight wars is a major no no.
     
  30. tupadre97 Active Member

    Messages:
    6,394
    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Reputation:
    The crazy thing about it is that they still have child soldiers, war, and constant battle to this day. It shows that Hashirama's will hasn't been fulfilled and that the world is still a corrupt and imperfect place. What I expect from Kishi however is to portray the solution realistically and not some bs like all the shinobi coming together under one alliance or army. That isnt gonna change shit, they have to not only reform the military but the feudal systems and governments in general.
    Yes, yes it is. This is the Naruto I used to know and love, not all that idealistic bs but realistic themes and the proper solutions that could be used to accomplish them.
    Who cares if its fiction? The themes are real and the ideals are real, thats what really matters in stories like this.
     

Share This Page