Naruto Tribute: My favourite moment


My Favourite Naruto Moment

As part of my double tribute to Naruto ending  (first part here), I thought I would share with you some stories from it that hold a special place in my heart.

I’ve already shared one of these stories in an earlier posts, A story about a combatant with no natural talent who strives to still be the best they can. Even when unconscious, he had the will to strive and push forward. It is here if you want to catch it. Believe it or not that story, was told in the manga around chapter 60 or so (and for some the quality never wavered till the end).

So this time, I would like to take this opportunity to provide what I feel is the best individual stint in the whole story, As you can probably guess, It is a fight  but at the same time, it’s not just a fight, it is confrontation that is arguably the best I’ve seen in my entire life.

So without any more delay, here it is below. Incase you’re not already aware, avoid this place if you don’t want spoilers

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Naruto vs Nagato and the Six Paths of Pain

This is easily the best fight in Naruto and one of my favourite fictional confrontations of all time.

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Why? Because the build up and delivery are beautifully crafted and make complete sense.

I remember watching this for the first time. At the time the internet was going crazy over the look of Naruto’s new forms and I personally wasn’t into Naruto then, opting to follow Bleach instead. But the intrigue of his new transformations gripped me and I had to see them in action. So with very limited Naruto history, I delved right into this confrontation during a lunch break at work.

And so I stayed with my jaw against the ground for the next four hours  of world class story telling, completely being able to relate to everything shown in front of my eyes. It is the closest I have come to experiencing pure magic.

Personally I believe if the Naruto story was centred around this mini arc rather than the friendship ties of the main narrative, it would have been better received but hey, third best selling manga of all time can’t be too bad right?

I feel the fight, with the added flashbacks provide a solid narrative in its own right, in the same way Tales of the Black Freighter is a strong standalone narrative outside of the Watchmen graphic novel.

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You gotta see it to believe it

For those of you who haven’t seen it, I recommend you take 3 hours out of your life to watch this, you won’t be disappointed. The video is linked below, never say I don’t do nice things for ya.

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For those of you who have or can’t be arsed to watch it, I will break it down to you in word format and explain why it is so damn significant..

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The Backdrop

A driving side plot of Naruto introduced in the second half of the book’s run is the tale of Jiraiya, a lovable old ninja, who was told at some time in his life he would eventually mentor the legendary ninja who would bring an end to the conflict and would be revered in the same light as the so called God of the Ninja, the sage of the six paths.

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So armed with this knowledge, he eventually decides to write a book about said individual. ‘Tales of A Gutsy Ninja’  is about a child,  called Naruto and it follows the chronicles of a so called saviour.

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Under the notion of this prophecy and some personal turmoil in his life, Jiraiya decides to stop being a ninja used as a weapon and retired to the notion of bringing to fruition his destiny.

Amongst all the kids under his tutelage, In the end he trains three seriously powerful ninja

Nagato is the first of his students

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He is extremely powerful individual, being blessed with the same underlying powers as the God of shinobi. He was also extremely good willed, so much so that Jiraiya believed this child was the one of his prophecy and he passed on this knowledge and ultimate burden to him,

He is also the basis of Jiraiya’s book believe it or not, having Nagato be the blueprint for his fictional gutsy ninja, Naruto.

Armed with this knowledge, Nagato decides to try and do what is right to stop the war under the ideals of his master but the more he does, the more he figures he is part of the problem

The suffering bestowed upon him in his past, after having his village burned down, his parents murdered in front of him and his best friend dying in his arms, seems to be perpetually growing right before his eyes.

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In the end, his starts to change his ideologies. All he sees as a result of this hatred-induced fighting is pain, the pain of the world and thus believes that it is this pain that he must spread to others. He must become and perform acts so atrocious that it will arrest people in pain itself and scare them away from ever wanting to hurt one another again.

But he also realises that this will eventually subside and that the world will eventually return to wanting to kill one another again, so the atrocious acts must continue.. He understood the cycle of life and death, and peace and war and he wanted to stabilise it so i was balanced and predictable, rather than the continual conflicts of the past.

He decides that even though he is the child of prodigy, the teachings of his former master are childish at best and his more realistic approach to obtaining balance is the only way forward.

With this he forms the Ataksuki, and commands them under the Avatar, Pain, who are the main antagonist for the second third of the story

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The Second significant student of Jiraiya is kid named Minato

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Another child prodigy who ends up excelling and developing a range of legendary techniques alongside Jiraiya.  Minato would eventually become the Hokage of the village and arguable the greatest of all the Hokages for his sacrifice in saving the village from the Nine-Tailed Beast.

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The two share a close bond over the course of their lives and eventually when Minato gives birth to a child, he decides to honour his friend by making Jiraiya the Godfather to his son and naming him after the hero of his book, Naruto.

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His third significant student is, yep, you guess it, Naruto himself. you can pretty much guess how that turned out. If you can’t there are 700 chapters of story telling I can point you to, starting here

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So with that now outta the way, we can get on to the fight itself

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The Build Up

So as described in my post here, Naruto has a demon sealed inside of him. However Naruto isn’t the only person in this story to have one, there are nine in total and the beasts originally combined and formed a single being of intense power and destruction.

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Nagato’s group, led by the avatar ,Pain have been hunting down the other vessels for these beast so they can merge them  and create a super weapon to bring about the new age of pain induced peace. So far, they’ve collected 7 of the 9. They now come for Naruto’s.

They get to the village and even though Naruto is not there, A lot of people try to stop Pain to no avail. He ends up taking them all out, including is old Sensei Jiraiya en route, who meets his sad demise, obtaining intel to help Naruto with his eventual confrontation with them.

So in order to draw out the hero, as you do, Pain destroys the entire village killing 95% of its inhabitants in a nuke level attack.

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The hero, who has been off training, eventually returns before anymore devastation occurs and even though he is the target, puts himself on the line to protect anymore people from getting hurt.

Resembling a mixture of both his deceased father and  Sensei, Naruto takes on the Six Paths of Pain, thus engaging in the Greatest fight of all time

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The Ruckus

The Fight itself is quite intense, as you can imagine, Pain has Six bodies, all with divine powers and they are all interlinked with one another. So if one sees you, they all see you. Their techniques are also set out like the perfect RPG team, with the usual healer, the one that’s good with spells, the big hitter, the long/short ranger the strategist, the thinker etc.

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So watching Naruto initially fight them is something spectacular. He has to tackle them all with some wit and not just the usual brute force. Luckily he has some Intel on his side so he is able to recognise their limitations and fighting strategies off the bat and comes up with some ingenious tactics in order to take them down.

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naruto arrives in style.

One of the best things about the Naruto series was the way the fights were choreographed to hold your attention and to also make people pay close attention to the details as tactics take just as much centre stage as raw power, when taking down an adversary.

Also Naruto developed some new powers himself that allowed him to fight on par with the paths of Pain but there is a restriction to this, he has a limited number of his ultimate technique that he can use and he can’t waste them in battle

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So I won’t go into to the details but Naruto eventually ends up whittling them down to just the One path of Pain.

Considering it just the two of them remaining  from here on in, I’ll throw this little bit in there.

I say there is a significant reason that this central Pain avatar and Naruto share a resemblance visually and it is there to show that they may share a philosophy and a past or even an agenda. This is subtly placed in their character designs wonderfully I think. They are literally suppose to mirror one another as the same and also as opposites. Of all the Evil Counter part villain/hero designs, I think this one is my favourite. I should also note the similarity between the name Nagato and Naruto (two letters and one syllable different).

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Going back to the fight We think Naruto is about to win but this Pain is just crazy power wise and even on his own is a formidable foe for our young hero. He makes quick work of Naruto and renders him useless by nailing him to the ground.

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So at this point in the story, we learn a little bit about Nagato’s philosophies, where he talks about the revolving circle of pain, bloodshed and hatred, and how he plans to end it all.  It’s recapped nicely in this video here (the speech he had before killing his former Sensei Jiraiya)

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Again, admirable goals, questionable means BUT he is just one of a long line of characters both in west and eastern who have taken this stance.

Honourary mentions go to Milliardo Peacecraft from Gundam Wing,  Zero/ Lelouch from Code Geass and the oldest I believe being Ozymandias from Watchmen, who used the very same tactic to end the cold war and get the US and the Soviet union to team up against an unquantified mutual threat.

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This for me is where the fight really gets interesting.

Pain, offers Naruto an opportunity to provide a better solution to end it all,

Overwhelmed by being confronted with the sheer magnitude of the problem at hand, our hero quietly says

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‘He can’t think of any’.

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On a physical and philosophical level, the little fuck lies demoralised and defeated.

Pain is about to leave with his prize when a future love interest of Naruto intervenes and tries to save him, knowing Naruto would have done the same thing for her if the roles were reversed.

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The Pain

So by this time, Nagato has killed TWO of Naruto’s Senseis and pretty much his entire village,

He decides it’ll probably be a great idea to kill this woman in the coldest manner I think I’ve ever seen, right in front of Naruto

He holds Naruto up to his  judgement, telling him his parents were killed in the exact same way right before his eyes by his ancestors and asks whether he now wishes to kill him and thus continue the cycle of hatred.

Naruto could give two fucks at this point in time, he is livid

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To add salt to injury, He then looks Naruto right in the eyes and ask?

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Now do you understand pain?

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and quite frankly Naruto loses it and literally lets his inner beast rage loose on the world to wreak havoc

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I’ve seen many other characters apparently give in to blind rage, heck the Hulk has built a career out of it but apart form Naruto, I’ve only ever seen one character portray this accurately. The crazy silent rage that has no edge and cannot be quantified, the personification of the Big Bang itself.

The other character is ironically named Asura from Asura’s wrath (who happens to be the name of a character Naruto is apparently a reincarnation of in the Manga, go figure). A clip of said rage is shown below

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I’m not y surprised in the similarity between the two considering the guys who created Asura also happened to work on one of the Naruto games which showcases this story arc.

In any case,  Naruto slowly but surely begins to lose grip of the beast within as it lures Naruto to give into the rage and stay hidden inside, the Beast tells Naruto that he will sort out everything if he is let loose. Naruto obliges and while the beast begins to chase Pain on the outside, Naruto begins to unravels the seals within, in order to have the beast ease his pain.

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The Love

So just before the last seal is released and Naruto is  about to fully relinquish control of his life over to the demon fox, the most miraculous thing happens.

Minato, the legendary Hokage shows up out outta nowhere. Turns out he left a part of himself as a fail safe within seal just in case an event like this happened. Talk about forward planning!

So you get this beautiful moment when someone is about to lose everything and the one person who most people would turn to in a time of need shows up, good ol papa bear.

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Naruto doesn’t understand the significance of the event as he’s still unaware of who his parents are but we get this touching reveal and Naruto bears his heart on how it felt growing up alone and he start to cry because he was angry and sad at the same time. It’s a very touching moment and I don’t care what anyone says, we’d all give anything to be able to share those types of moments with people we no longer have in our lives.

Beautifully, his father is able to kick him out of the funk, re-set his seal and provide him with some context to make him realise he was always loved and never alone. This gives Naruto the hope and focus he needs to find composure, reclaim his body from the beast and ultimately relinquish his perception of the pain he has in his heart.

He’s now able to get back in the fight. Round 2

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The Focus

So Naruto is back, woop woop. Unfortunately, he no longer has the ability to use his special new techniques as his powers have been drained to shit and decides to go about winning this fight with brute hard determination, just the way we like.

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But before he does, he finds out where the Puppet Master of Pain, Nagato is hiding and decides to go and confront him face to face to finish this off once and for all.

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The Faith

Naruto confronts Nagato alone and you start to thinking these two will literally tear the shit outta each other.

After all the mayhem, deaths and battles we’ve seen so far, you start to wonder the scale of the confrontation they have in store for us  and if it could possibly top the last two hours of mayhem.

And Kishimoto delivers but not in the manner you expect.

The two characters, simply talk it out.

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Naruto, after being influenced by Nagato’s original speech, asks him to explain the roots of his pain and where he thinks it will take him,

After doing so, Naruto understands where he is coming from. To bridge the gap, Naruto tells Nagato about his past and his pain and where he is planning on taking it to and Nagato tries to understand him too.

You soon find out that both of these individuals have lived very similar lives with a lot of bloodshed and unnecessary deaths occurring in their pasts, they both carry a lot of stigma and uncover the core of issues at hand.

You also realise both of them have considered themselves to be the child of prophecy by Jiraiya but Nagato never thought that there would be another like him, he simply assumed he was doing the right thing because it was destined.

He then asks Naruto two questions, again whether Naruto has an answer to stop the bloodshed and find peace and, the second being what will stop him from becoming like Nagato in the future and falling off the path. Naruto ultimately states,

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‘ Peace… I don’t know how to get there… but… but someday I’ll break the curse. If there’s such a thing as peace, I will seize it, I’ll never give up because that’s My ninja way”

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Nagato recognises those are his own words, words he used to inspire Jiraiya to write the book, the same book Naruto uses as his moral compass.

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Even though he knows Naruto is still too young to find an answer at this point in time, his resilience to keep striving forward is probably far more important, even after all the pain he’s experienced in his life, he’s still not wavered.

In the end, Nagato concedes that he is not the child of prophecy, now believing it is Naruto. He decides to give Naruto the benefit of the doubt and puts his faith in him to achieve their end goal, by his means instead.

He steps down and with the last of his strength, is able to revive all the lives he’d taken over that day, including his future love interest, his sensei and the entire village.

Nagato then slips away into the afterlife, for the first time in a long time, with hope for the future

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And the Cherry on top

When Naruto returns to his revived village, the consensus has changed on him. You see he has now gone from being the the village outcast to being revered as the hero of the HIdden Leaf. They show a short montage of him through the story so far and how people have been swayed by his determination, ethics and his will to keep them all safe from harm.

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Cometh the hour

Cometh the man

Cometh the fan

It’s just a perfectly told tale and made this fight become an instant classic as soon as it was published

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Talk to the Hand

For me, what makes it so special is that Nagato ultimately practices something I preach heavily

Karate- The open hand

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The ability to let go, let go of all the pain and all of his ideals and put his faith in something new, something completely against what his eyes have shown him all this time and what has become  known as his reality. To put his faith in Naruto, just as his Sensei had in him before.

I was completely taken aback when the fight ended as a passing of the torch from a violent damaged generation of the past to a hopeful optimistic generation of the future.

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There are so many individuals on this planet who believe in some form of religion but how many of us have that kinda faith in each other.

It’s this type of unshakable faith that compelled me to read Naruto to the end to fight out exactly how he would go about solving this problem and whether Nagato was right all along.

You very rarely see villains written like this, Nagato was far from blind, one who was willing to open his heart to a hero and was also able to sit and have it reciprocated.You don’t see characters on opposing side of war sharing grief and finding middle ground in fiction at all. Characters never have the opportunity to understand one another like that. The only time I’ve seen it is in the film Hero where Nameless and Broken Sword are ultimately convinced the King of Qin has the nation’s best interests at heart.

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Nagato wasn’t a psycho villain, apart from some delusions of grandeur at times (tis to be expected considering his resemblance to an actual deity and everyone treating him like one), he was completely rounded and solid. His heart was in the right place and at no point in his quest did he want power for himself. He was never corrupted by his own cause like some other persecuted villains like Magneto.

He was able to put his own personal turmoil to one side and never acted in revenge or anger. Dare I say, he saw the world for how it was and even realised he was too small to think he could solve a problem like war forever, instead looking to just offset it. The cycle of pain and war would continue anew long after his death. Martyrdom was never his goal.

He was a stone cold realist and knew the emotional impact of loss would cause the world to think twice about starting war again as history has shown us and he was well well well on his way to achieving his goals and he gave up his life’s work because of faith in another, not because he messed up or choked.

If Nagato, the most stoic man alive, who lived and died on the battlefield, could be convinced to see there is light in humanity, that there is an answer to end conflict and there are people out there who will dedicate their lives to finding it, then it makes me feel a little bit more optimistic about the world we live in today.

Also maybe the idea of sharing pain isn’t a bad one.

This story has me wishing i was publishing two books in a war ridden area to either side of the conflict. They would both tell the short stories of the suffering of the children and while all who read it would think the stories were rom their side, the end would reveal both books were identical with stories from both sides mixed up, with one unable to tell whether they were causing or preventing said violence.

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I do genuinely believe Kishimoto was on to something here and open dialogue talking about Pain, rather than inflicting blame, in a judgement proof arena has got to be the first step in stopping some of the atrocities we see in the world today.

it just has to.

In any case, I will continue to live in hope because of stories like this.

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That’s all folks

I would like to thank you for allowing me to share this moment with you, please reply with what you think of this fight or your own favourite moments from Naruto.

Toodle pip and I’ll leave you with a little bit of this

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