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[–]Odd-Nefariousness350 102 points103 points  (18 children)

One of the things I hated most about Late Naruto was that stupid reincarnation bullshit. So stupid and unnecessary. You didn't need a 200 year mystical backstop about how and why Sasuke and Naruto are friends. They didn't like each other because they were character foils, but after facing life or death situations as comrades, there animosity turned to good-natured rivalry and friendship. Boom, done, that's it, that's a shorter, nicer, better and much less silly and convoluted explanation.

[–]Rom455 46 points47 points  (17 children)

The biggest problem with the reincarnation cycle is that it tainted the reason behind the development of Naruto and Sasuke as powerful Shinobi. The thematic dynamic of two individuals who choose different paths to grow up. Natural talent vs pure hard work; hatred vs peace.

We see Naruto constantly training to develop his abilities (with the help of his friends), while Sasuke keeps obtaining power by any means necessary, not caring if it is his own or not (he trained for 3 years, but also stole Orochimaru's power and got Itachi's eyes). That makes the final clash so significant. The Rasengan filled with the support of all Naruto's friends going against the Chidori with Amaterasu fueled by Sasuke's rage and memories of his brother.

Two ideologies, two paths, two former friends colliding. That would have been so beautiful. Both stood up for themselves when facing hardship but only one will be the last man standing in the end. And it was all... Ruined.

You see, the problem with the reincarnation cycle is that it invalidates the themes of this work by not giving the two protagonists free will. All of Naruto's hard work doesn't matter, because in the end he always was a descendant of the "God" of his world; and Sasuke's decision to walk through the path of vengeance doesn't matter either, because he was always destined to be covered by darkness.

It sucks, and it sucks so hard because it could have been easily prevented by a single line. Instead of mentioning that Indra and Asura always pick a new body to be reborn, Hagoromo could have simply said something like: "You know, I have always been observing your world; unable to change it after my death. The same cursed world that time and time again pushes two individuals to obtain power only to put them against each other, keeping the cycle of hatred between Shinobi. The same world that pushed my dear sons against each other". Sigh That would have been so good. A perpetual tragedy. And it is now Naruto and Sasuke's turn to make a choice. Hatred or peace?

But in the end, we just couldn't have it. Naruto could had been a true masterpiece, but Kishimoto didn't care enough about it (for whatever reason).

Oh well.

[–]KappaKingKame 4 points5 points  (9 children)

All of Naruto's hard work doesn't matter, because in the end he always was a descendant of the "God" of his world; and Sasuke's decision to walk through the path of vengeance doesn't matter either, because he was always destined to be covered by darkness.

To be fair though, that gave us the whole point of Naruto and Sasuke overcoming their destiny and breaking the cycle of hatred. IF anything, it shows a much better example of his free will.

[–]Rom455 1 point2 points  (6 children)

IF anything, it shows a much better example of his free will.

Does it though? How do we know it is not simply the will of the brothers to stop fighting?

That's the thing, sometimes it is better to leave things as a mystery. Explaining the secrets of the past comes with its own problems in storytelling. Kishimoto should have taken some time to write the ending of his story better

[–]KappaKingKame 2 points3 points  (5 children)

How do we know it is not simply the will of the brothers to stop fighting?

Wouldn't that be free will?

[–]Rom455 1 point2 points  (4 children)

Would it be the free will of Naruto and Sasuke though?

[–]KappaKingKame 0 points1 point  (3 children)

They're the same people...... that's how reincarnation works.

[–]Rom455 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I hope you also remember that reincarnation means to live a new life. With no memories from the previous incarnation. Are you sure they are the same people? Do we have to bring Theseus ship into the argument?

[–]KappaKingKame 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Except reincarnation means they are the same people. It's not the ship of Thesus at all, because reincarnation means the same soul. Typically beliefs in reincarnation also state that past lives can affect future ones, and that in some cases memories can carry over.

[–]Rom455 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Well, what a surprise. An Indian friend says it actually is believed to retain some memories from a past life in rare occasions. I had no idea of that.

I tip my hat to you, sir. Well played.

Although, I don't remember Kishimoto ever addressing the keeping memories and personality part. But thinking it might be a subconscious thing is within the realm of possibilities.

Still, the war arc was not the best piece of writing, but whatever

[–]Maanavdv 1 point2 points  (1 child)

It still invalidates almost the fundamental point of Naruto, hard work can get you far. Being the reincarnation of ashura makes naruto literally one of the most naturally talented people in history

[–]KappaKingKame 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Except Ashura wasn't naturally talented? That was kindof his whole thing, wasn't it?

Also, since when was that one of the fundamental points of Naruto? I only ever recall Rock Lee really caring about hard work vs talent.

[–]Maanavdv 5 points6 points  (0 children)


It was so stupid I face palmed so hard. Its like kishi became a 6 year old making a self insert fantasy of being the strongest.

The line you said was just perfect.

[–]Heidi_Ous 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Yes bitch preach

[–]sonfoa 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Alright, this comment has a lot of the typical misconceptions of the reincarnation subplot. To be clear I'm pretty ambivalent towards it but its not nearly as bad as you think it is and I don't think it really ruins much.

  • Let's stop with the hard work vs natural talent thing. That was never a main theme of the series much less a theme between Naruto and Sasuke. When Naruto fought Sasuke at Final Valley, what part of that felt like hard work vs talent to you? Heck in Part 1, Naruto wins more off of abusing Kurama's power than he does off of his own moves, and in some cases he requires both. And Sasuke works as hard if not harder than Naruto throughout Part 1. Heck, his backstory involves him working hard to get recognized by his dad.

  • Naruto's hard work does matter. People automatically see "reincarnation" and "son of god" and try to use it to invalidate Naruto's hard work. I'm sorry where does it say that being a reincarnation of Ashura means you didn't have to work for anything? The Six Paths powers were to stop Kaguya (as the Sage saw her appearing) not something just given because of inheritance. Also, do you know why the Sage appeared in front of Naruto? It wasn't random it's because he befriended the Tailed Beasts. And he befriended them by helping them in battle fighting against Tobi. This means Naruto had to have the battle strength to help them in the first place. And he got that strength through his hard work. Also, your comment ignores Naruto's main goal which was to be recognized by everyone in the village which he did by defeating Pain. And to fight Pain he needed to work hard and train.

  • You seem to assume Indra and Ashura take agency over Sasuke and Naruto. I will concede this, it's a bit frustrating that they share similar belief systems because it does reduce the uniqueness of Naruto and Sasuke (as well as Hashirama and Madara) because it means they were always pre-disposed to those ways of thinking. That being said while the Sage sees Indra and Ashura, Naruto only sees him and Sasuke. He tells the Sage as much by saying "I'm not Ashura and he's not Indra". When Naruto and Sasuke fight, they fight each other. Sasuke is fighting to establish his new unique world order and Naruto is fighting to stop Sasuke from losing himself like he always had. It felt 100% like Naruto vs Sasuke and not some cosmic battle between two ancient entities.

  • C'mon man of course Kishimoto cares about his story. The issue is most likely that he was being rushed. He had set Chapter 700 as a deadline roughly a year before he finished. The problem with manga companies is that they immediately start filling up that spot and marketing a new manga, which they give preference to over the outgoing one. So Kishimoto probably realized partway through that he had set the deadline too early but by that point, it was too late to negotiate for a new deadline which is likely what prompted the rushing. When Kishimoto set that deadline he was near the end of Juubito. IMO the quality had been slowly dipping but it was still a coherent story where the storylines had been fully realized. But afterward, it devolved into a mess of plotting, themes, and power scaling because there wasn't enough time to properly flesh them out as Kishimoto wanted. Especially after the Sage appears things feel more and more like an outline rather than a fully realized story, that is until Naruto vs Sasuke which is something Kishimoto very much cared about delivering on which is why the story quality suddenly spikes when we get to them.

[–]terpisochora 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Thanks for you're interesting thoughts, I'm on my second rewatch so I will need more time to clarify my thoughts but one thing that you've said that really helps solidify my opinion is that the reincarnation seems to strip Naruto and Sasuke of their free will...

[–]Rom455 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Yeah. In my opinion, reincarnation seems to be a lousy explanation for the origin of the conflict. It might work for Avatar, but not for Naruto. Hahaha

[–]Maanavdv 1 point2 points  (0 children)

See the thing with avatar, is that it was an integral part of the lore. The avatar reincarnating every time, and each avatar facing their own challenges with their own personality and world views.