Chapter 593: Orochimaru's Revival
The chapter begins with Suigetsu questioning Sasuke's intention to revive Orochimaru. His main objection is that he fears Orochimaru will try to take over Sasuke's body; he also fears that Taka will be dragged into the war.
Juugo, on the other hand, goes along with Sasuke and helps him by taking some kind of flesh from Kabuto's chest and placing it into Anko's cursed seal. He explains that the strange form Kabuto is in is called Sennin Transformation (the same thing as Sage Mode, I think), and that he could once do this as well, although for his “copies” (people with the cursed seal, I presume), it's called cursed seal transformation.
Juugo takes some flesh from Kabuto's chest, to Suigetsu's disgust.
Sasuke then performs something like the sealing jutsu that Kakashi once used on him to suppress the cursed seal—but this time, his purpose is to do the opposite. This draws a large snake out of Anko's cursed seal, and from its mouth, Orochimaru emerges. Suigetsu hides behind the still-catatonic Kabuto.
A snake grows from Anko's cursed seal, and from it comes Orochimaru.
Orochimaru cuts off Sasuke when he tries to explain the situation, saying that he split his Sennin chakra and therefore his consciousness into each of the cursed seals, so he knows very well what's going on. He also scolds Suigetsu, saying he has no interest in the war. On the other hand, he confirms that he is interested in Sasuke's body—but doesn't have the strength to take it at the moment. (Suigetsu seems less than reassured.)
Sasuke hands over the scroll to Orochimaru. It's not clear if Orochimaru actually looks at the scroll or not, but the next thing he asks is, “What do you intend to do after you meet them?”
Sasuke says that he wants to find out everything. Orochimaru points out that he's just a kid and doesn't need to concern himself with all that. But Sasuke, remembering his recent conversation with his brother, doesn't accept that. He wants to know “what it was that began all this” and how he should act.
Orochimaru asks if he intends to give up on his revenge. He says no, and that in his recent meeting with Itachi his hatred for Konoha has only increased—but he wants to understand his brother's view, and why he still chose to protect his village. He wants to answer the questions he had last chapter, and decide for himself what to do.
Sasuke eloquently explains his intention to understand the matters at hand.
Orochimaru moves toward Kabuto then, driving Suigetsu from his hiding place. Suigetsu is sure he's going to absorb Kabuto's power, but instead, he just removes the chakra from Kabuto that was his to begin with.
The chapter ends with Orochimaru agreeing to help Sasuke, and leading him and his team “to a place that you know very well”.
Orochimaru and Sasuke are reunited in a shared goal, for the moment.
Thoughts on the chapter:
Suigetsu and Juugo both show their loyalty here, and yet also work as foils to each other in this scene. Suigetsu questions Sasuke's decisions, but with the goal of protecting him and promoting the interests of team Taka. Juugo, on the other hand, follows Sasuke unquestioningly, as an extension of his loyalty to Kimimaro. I still wonder if Karin will be brought back into the fold at some point. Part of me hopes so because I like her and I want to see her come back into the story. (Come to think of it, I always want the Kunoichi to have bigger roles than they do...) But part of me hopes she doesn't join up with Taka again, because Sasuke did betray her badly, and I don't want to see her forgive him for that too easily.
Sennin Transformation and Cursed Seal Transformation
I thought it was strange that Juugo seemed to think Sennin Mode is the same thing as the Cursed Seal Transformation. What is the connection there?
So Orochimaru returns from the dead once again, fulfilling his function as myth-like villain. I am reminded here that his character is based on the character Yashagorou, the villain who uses serpent magic from the folk tale The Tale of the Gallant Jiraiya. The internet yields very little information about this character; most searches turn up pages on the Naruto character rather than the original mythic character.
His emergence from the mouth of the snake is a particularly striking detail. This chapter also inevitably draws to mind the character of Voldemort from Harry Potter, another myth-like villain associated with snakes. Like Orochimaru, he split his essence into widely separated pieces, largely to protect himself from death. (This idea, is, of course, older than Harry Potter, but that is a recent occurrence of it which is certainly fresh in the minds of both English-speaking and Japanese readers of Naruto.)
Anko in the Fridge
I am troubled by Anko's role in this segment of the story. She continues to be a player in the story who has some importance to the plot, but no agency. In this chapter, she is being used by Sasuke to the end of reviving Orochimaru. Is there any chance she will wake up and take a more active role in the story, perhaps by either joining or resisting Team Taka? (She could replace Karin as the team's token female...)
Sasuke has had a series of interesting flashbacks and moments of internal dialogue. Here is a catalogue of what we've seen of the workings of his mind in the last couple of chapters, including what he says aloud about his thoughts and intentions. Internal dialogue is in italics, spoken dialogue is in quotations.
Chapter 592, p. 1:
- What is a clan?
- Picture of his parents, Itachi, Shisui, and other Uchiha in the background
- Close up of Itachi
- What is a village?
- Picture of the Hokage mountain carvings
- Picture of the Third, the Elders, and Danzou, with other Konoha shinobi in the background
- Picture of the five current Kage
- Picture of several Konoha shinobi, with Team 7 (including Kakashi), Team 10, and part of Team 8 (sans Hinata) in the foreground
- What is a shinobi?
p. 12 (just after hearing Madara's zombie is still around):
- Itachi saying, “The village might be full of contradictions and darkness, but I'm still the Leaf's Itachi Uchiha.”
- Shisui saying, “I can only ask you, my friend, to protect this village, and the name of Uchiha.”
- Itachi saying, “I told you, I have something to do.” (I think this is from when Sasuke was pursuing him several chapters ago, before Itachi agreed to talk to him.)
- To Taka: “This is it. I'm going. Anyway, there is someone I need to meet. The one who knows everything.”
- “Orochimaru...(explaining that he's not really dead)...there is something I absolutely need him to do. The clan, the village: I'm going to meet the one who knows everything!”
Chapter 593, p. 3:
- A flashback that I'm having trouble identifying. I thought it might be when Itachi removed his curse seal, but it doesn't quite seem to match that: http://www.mangapanda.com/naruto/593/3
- A flashback to Kakashi suppressing his curse seal during the Chunnin exam prelim matches.
- “I have to do the opposite of that...” (in order to revive Orochimaru)
- When Orochimaru asks what he intends to do when he meets “them”: “I don't know enough things about this. I want to hear everything from them.”
- Itachi saying, “More than anyone else I treated you like a child. I never believed in your strength. But now I think that you probably would have been able to change our father and mother, and the Uchiha clan. If I had properly faced you from the beginning, if I had told you the truth while sharing your point of view...”
- “I'm not a kid anymore. I cannot afford to be a kid anymore.”
- Itachi saying: “No matter what you do from now on...” (The complement to this was “I will love you forever.”)
- “I want to know what it was that began all this. I want to know how I should act.”
- In response to whether he's having second thoughts about revenge: “No. It is not like I'm hesitating about my revenge itself. I met Itachi again and my hatred toward Konoha increased. But I want to know about Itachi's feelings. The feelings of a person who, even after getting his name sullied and dying, continues to think about his village, and wanted to protect it. What is Itachi? What is a clan? What is a village? And I want to know about everything and find the answer myself. I want to gaze at the things that should be done with my will and my eyes.”
I know that was kind of a long re-hash of Sasuke's thoughts in the last two chapters, but I think it's interesting to see the way his thinking is evolving from where it had been. I like this direction so much better than the “KILL! KILL!” Sasuke of, say, chapter 483-484. I particularly like his determination to figure things out for himself. In some ways, this has always been part of Sasuke's personality. He's always had that independent, and even iconoclastic streak. But too many times in the past he's allowed others to use and manipulate him. I take this speech as his way of saying that he's done being manipulated. He has refused to be manipulated by his brother as well. Even though it was meeting his brother that triggered this new state of mind, he's not simply accepting his brother's will. He's questioning his brother's beliefs and everything else that has led up to this, so that he can decide what to do for himself. This also reminds me of Naruto's determination to avoid false dichotomies and find a third way when faced with an impossible choice.
Orochimaru and Kabuto
I think it is Kabuto that Orochimaru is addressing when he says on p. 15, “You are not that bad as you are now.” Then, he takes only his own chakra from Kabuto, returning him to more or less the way he was before his reappearance in the ninja war arc. Of course, Orochimaru would have heard everything Kabuto has said and done recently via Anko. Is this a sign that Orochimaru genuinely cares about Kabuto?
Where To Next?
We are left with a few mysteries at the end of this chapter:
1) What does the scroll contain? On this, I have no guesses.
2) Who is the “them” that Sasuke wants to talk to? My first instinct was to guess it was his parents, but according to a commenter at chuunin, this is unlikely because the way Sasuke refers to this “them” in the original Japanese connotes disrespect. My next best guess is some figures of historical importance, such as the previous Hokage (especially the First), previous Uchiha (Izuna, maybe?), or the sons of the Rikudou Sennin.
3) Where is Orochimaru going to lead Sasuke and his team? I think they are going to try to sneak into Konoha and get a peek at the ancient stone tablet of the Uchiha. Sasuke saying he wants to “gaze at the things that should be done with my will and my eyes” seems to hint that this is where he is headed. Also, the Uchiha compound is certainly a place Sasuke knows well.
4) Why is Orochimaru helping Sasuke? Will he attempt another takeover of Sasuke's body? My guess: Heck yeah, he will.