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Re: Naruto 614
EDIT: here there be wallpost, you hath been warned.
Why Kishi why? Why did you kill my favorite character in your entire crappy manga ;3; NejixTenten shipping will never be the same. T^T I wonder if/how this will effect the spin-off?
Okay now that I`m over that, this was a really weird chapter. Feel free to correct anything here, but here's my analysis.
All shipping woes aside, Neji's death may have a bigger role in the plot than can be seen. Yes, ever since the Gaara Retrieval Arc Neji has been incredibly scarce, and slowly went from being a support character to a minor character. Over the years he would pop in randomly now and then to chirp some sort of rational quip for one page and then go away for several more chapters. To the naked eye, his death is meaningless, and serves no point other than giving Obito a reason to bait Naruto, "you said you wouldn't let your friends die, and yet this douchebag did. What are you gonna do about it you naive little shit?" and whatnot.
HOWEVER, if my theory is correct, this has a much bigger impact IF you take into account his relationship with Hinata and Naruto. No, this isn't me saying "Neji died to protect them so Naruto and Hinata should totally get together, your argument is invalid hurrdurr", I`m talking about the impact his death will have on their characters. Not only is it going to fuel Naruto's fire for the final fight, but it will also affect how Naruto and Hinata deal with the political workings of the Hyuga clan *because Naruto promised he'd change the caged bird shit when he became hokage and Hinata's too much of a pussy to carry on the more questionable traditions*, this will just give them another resolve to get something done.
For all you NaruHina shippers, this could set them up with working together so they can marry without stepping on too many toes. For everyone else, it sets up Hinata to show she has the strength and resolve to be a ninja and lead her clan, and it sets up Naruto to be more aware and cautious. As far as the Manga is concerned, I think this is the first time Naruto has seen one of his friends die.
Forget the nature of his death, Neji and Naruto knew each other since their first chunin exam, and as far as we knew they probably bumped each other in the schoolyard during their academy days *make whatever you will of that, I know you want to*. He watched Zabuza and Haku die, but they were kinda dicks to him at first anyway, and he was only emotional when he saw how much they actually suffered. He knew of Jiraiya's death *I missed a big part of the manga and can't be bothered to go check, so I dunno if he actually SAW it* but Jiraiya was old anyway. I could name several other deaths he saw/experienced but it wouldn't quite hit close to home because none of the deaths were in his social circle. Although scarce, Neji was still Naruto's friend, and that's gotta hurt man.
As for why Neji and not Hiashi, Kiba, Sakura, or some other dude:
1. For all we know Neji was closer and saw it coming long before Hiashi did. Though he fought against it, protection of the Head Family as the main priority of the Side branches has been deeply engrained into Neji. 50% of his death could be attributed to instinct. I have no doubt, based on what little I`ve seen of Hiashi post-chunin exams, that if he could have he WOULD have interfered. But he's an old fuddy duddy and he's only in the war in the first place because he can't just sit at home and spoil Hanabi while Neji and Hinata do all the ninja shit.
2. This is actually a good question. Naruto has a much closer/stronger relationship with Kiba than he ever did with Neji. Again, it could just be that Neji was closure and his politically-driven instinct made him react faster, but it's just a theory. 5 bucks says dogboy dies next though.
3. As much as I hate to admit it, Sakura CAN'T die. Not only is she a main character, but Kishi has made it very clear that this Mary Sue is here to stay, and she's as close to a female lead as we're gonna get unless Naruto's sexy jutsu goes horribly wrong and becomes irreversible (oh god I hope not, that's all this manga needs -_-).
4. We don't really KNOW random ninja in the alliance who would be close enough to Naruto for a good shock factor. Neji scores pretty high on the popularity polls so in a literary sense, his death is ideal for a good shock without being overly depressing, no matter what his fangirls say.
Or Kishimoto is off his rocker and is just going to keep trolling us with long-ass dialogue and random deaths until he can think of a good Deux ex Machina to bullshit us with so that his once-great manga can, finally, come to an end. Knowing him, it's probably the latter.
As for Sai and Yamoto's role in the manga, well, that's an entirely different discussion, and has nothing to do with this chapter *though I agree, they do nothing but serve comical purposes and the occasional Deux Ex Machina when Kishi writes himself into a corner with Naruto and Kurama's power struggle. Still makes me lol though, so I can't really complain.*
Last edited by catilena1890; 12-18-2012 at 11:19 PM.