The hand that gives and the hand that receives, “heart” and “acceptance”, what an amazing chapter filled with symbolic meaning and themes. Excellent chapter for Naruto to end 2013 on.
I was not expecting the Shukaku and Gaara to be further fleshed out, so seeing them still develop in such a significant way, I was surprised and excited. That Suna Priest, who exactly is he and why do I get the feeling that he is connected to the Rikudou Sennin in a big way? His wisdom, those tears, and the inscriptions on his hand written by his master, the mystery surrounding his character makes me want to believe that he was Senju shinobi and knew Hagoromo Outsutsuki in some way. Having the story of the Suna Priest also link back to Gaara was amazing, I didn’t expect Gaara to continue being a relevant character this fight with Madara being so powerful, but a new door has opened in the story of the Jinchuuriki with the revelation of this Suna Priest.
Gaara was badass this chapter, I absolutely loved how he pushed himself to protect Shukaku and tried to prevent Madara from drawing the Shukaku into the Gedou Mazou. Even with Madara boasting such extreme levels of power, Gaara still stood up and fought and conveyed his “heart” to the Shukaku. The story of the Suna Priest was very interesting, it added a new element to the story and deepened the illustration of Gaara trying to protect the Shukaku as well as illustrating how the Shukaku accepted/received Gaara’s “heart”. It further adds to the mystery of the Bijuu and what Hagoromo intended by splitting them up as well as the intentions he had for his two sons. Does the Suna Priest and the inscriptions on the palm of his hands give clues towards what Hagoromo intended when he separated the Bijuu? Heart and acceptance? Giving your love and receiving others love to achieve balance? The symbolic nature of hands is a meaningful one, and with the addition of the message embodied within the Suna Priest’s hands, an exciting relevance towards its interpretation has come about. How will the story develop from now using that flash back?
Madara as always has a counter to whatever move his opponent carries out. He was able to knock back Gaara and rebind the Shukaku. Furthermore, as if he were flexing his muscles with his newly reacquired Rinnegan, he decides to pull all the nine Bijuu in at once, including Kurama who can do nothing but get pulled along.
Kurama has a plan and most likely he intends to sacrifice himself to save Naruto and create the opportunity needed for the situation to be turned around. Kurama is either going to be saved, or he is going to get absorbed by the Gedou Mazou, which I believe Kurama is prepared for. Kurama is aware that only his Yang half of his chakra is currently leashed by the Gedou Mazou, so even separating himself from Naruto, he probably intends for Gaara to get Naruto to Minato and have Naruo absorb the Yin half of his chakra. This way Naruto wouldn’t be in danger of losing his life after disconnecting with his Bijuu. It will also give Naruto another chance to counter attack Madara and stop him.
On top of this, I still have a feeling that Obito’s right Sharingan will come into play again. Obito will either give it to Kakashi or Naruto. The fact that Obito is so similar to Naruto – they both wanted the same end – supports the idea that Obito aware that he is going to die, will want to provide Naruto with any help capable of helping stop Madara. Plus from the moment Zetsu mentioned only Hagoromo and Madara being able to naturally awaken the Rinnegan, I had a strange feeling that either Naruto or Sasuke are going to the one to scrap that whole statement. Hagoromo took on the Juubi without any Bijuu, so why can’t Naruto/Sasuke? The same blood runs through their veins.
Speaking of Sasuke, I wonder where he is, does Orochimaru have something for him? Some of Hashirama’s DNA maybe =P? What I am wondering about though is why Madara was only able to unlock the Rinnegan just before his death, what factor only present in that scenario would catalyst the reaction into transforming a Sharingan into a Rinnegan? Regret at reaching the end and desiring to still want to do something? Would the Rinnegan be unlocked with the ‘Will of Fire’? Well whatever happens next chapter, I’m looking forward to see. See ya next year Naruto/Kurama!