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Life - Bolsheviks

cephiedvariable in ship_manifesto

Thicker Than Blood - Naruto and Sasuke

Title: Thicker Than Blood
Author: cephiedvariable
Fandom: Naruto
Pairing: Naruto Uzumaki/Sasuke Uchiha
Spoilers: The entire series, more or less, up to about Chapter 295
Author’s Notes: This essay is extremely image heavy. This is because a lot of the subtext between these characters speaks for itself (rather, it's in the subtleties of the art). Also, everything you'll read here is predominently manga focused since I'm an elitist who doesn't particularily appreciate the anime. I also, uh, kinda went over the word count. All this aside, hope you all enjoy! ^___^;;

If both you and your opponent are first class ninja, you can read each other's minds when your fists meet. There's no need for words.Collapse )

Comments

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I'm a HUGE fan of yaoi and shonen-ai pairings. I must have like 10 000 OTPs, but I really, really don't see Sasu/Naru. I can see why some people love the paring, but I've always believed Sasuke and Naruto to be friends. I wouldn't say just friends because their friendship is extremely deep and on so many different levels.

But I think they're better that way, it's why I cried like a damn baby during the Valley of the end arc, because losing a friend is so much more painful. I can truly relate Naruto's angst over losing a friend. Losing a friend is different from a...I know lover is the wrong word here, but you know what I mean. The way I felt and cried in the Haku/Zabuza arc was totally different from TV of the E arc.

(Anonymous)

Brilliant. Love it! You deserve an award or something. And I have to agree that it would be a bad idea to put anyone in a pairing, althoght it was done with Harry Potter...
Hi! ^______^ *waves*

Thank you so much for this! ^_________^
Inspiring! A truely great essay. -claps- As a fellow SasuNaru fan, I beleive you are correct. Which is why I'll sjohow it to my SasuNaru buddies. :3 .... On Gaia.. >> << Shush now. I take my leave - with your essay link! -flees-

Oh, right.

Amazing essay. Nothing can describe my feelings except pure bliss. @.@
1. On Sasuke's aim: Although I'm not a fan of the anime, this is one instance where I'll have to refer to it since this was something made much more clear in animation. Whatever the reason, Sasuke *did* have a moment of hesitation before he turned his hand away. In the anime, the succession of screens goes something like this:
1. Naruto, going for Sasuke's forhead protector
2. A short of Sasuke, surprise on his face; Sasuke's eyes twitch
3. Sasuke curls his fingers inwards instead of going for the killing blow

It always seemed to me that Sasuke was surprised that Naruto wasn't going for the killing blow as well. *shrug* He could have been startled or shocked, but the bottom line is this:

Naruto's method/mode of attack surprised Sasuke; Sasuke didn't go for the killing blow. I always assumed that he did change his mind at the last moment for two primary reasons:
a) the kind of existential "moment" the two of them share in the aftermath of the battle- y'know, with them as kids and the fingers entwining like a "promise" and all that.
b) the fact that even though Naruto was unconcious after the confrontation, Sasuke STILL didn't kill him. Which brings us to your second question:

2. Sasuke let Naruto live "on a whim": Sasuke was lying, quite simply. To himself. He let Naruto live on a whim? *eyeroll* Whatever. He'd definitely like to believe that, but it just doesn't make sense considering most of his behaviour in the first part of the series. Was the first time he saved Naruto's life "on a whim" too? Did he fight for Sakura and Naruto's saftey in the forest of the death "on a whim"? Was he kind to Sakura before leaving the village "on a whim"? The answer is no. When we last saw him in part one, Sasuke's dialogue, as well as his body language at the end of Chapter 233, made it clear that he let Naruto live for two reasons: a) Itachi told him to kill his best friend. Why the hell should he listen to Itachi? b) he, uh, kind of didn't *want* to kill Naruto. Sasuke's a fucked up kid, but not *that* fucked up.

Remember, by the time chapter 307 rolls around, Sasuke's been living with Orochimaru for nearly three years. He's given up on his future, given up on the people he cares about, given up on ANYTHING that doesn't further his ambition to kill his brother. You can't really take anything he said in those chapters and indictive of what he truly felt before leaving Konoha. I mean- just look at his body language in that chapter! This? Was not a whim.

3. Why do they have to be gay?: Well, they don't. But this was a ship manifesto. I appreciate Naruto and Sasuke's relationship as friendship, as rivalry, as anything really, but the point of this essay was to illustrate why fans so often interpert their relationship as being sexually or romantically charged. I could have easily written a platonic manifesto (which would have been equally fun! ♥), but platonic manifestos are not the point of this community.

Hope that answers your questions!


- Cephied

(Anonymous)

Damn fine reasoning, even if I disagree with your conclusion.

I wrote a little thing on the Naruto/Sasuke brother dynamic I thought was sorta good, so here it is, because I get my jollies by spreading my mindswill around a little.

-------

Brothers are never friends. You never go anywhere to hang out with your brother. They're just someone you were born with for some unexplainable reason. You learn to coexist with them. The problem is family psycholigy. The only thing worth earning, when you're young, is another person's approval. In this case, parents. You're trying to get them to approve of you, and your brother's trying to do the same. But you're both guys, so the attention's always divided. When there's two boys and one girl, for example, the boys always get lumped together and the girl gets as much attention as both of them put together. And so, they compete for the attention. Constant, continuous competition. This is what brothers bond over, the competition. Naruto and Sasuke were never friends. They were rivals, and still are, but because they're competing with each other by fighting everyone but each other, they use each other as measuring sticks to see how far they've gone. Note the difference from the usual brother paradigm - instead of using their parents to measure how well they're doing, they use each other. When Naruto beats Shukaku, that's it. That's the bar, and Sasuke can't even approach it, and so he changes the approach from trying to beat stronger people than Naruto to just trying to beat Naruto to satisfy himself that he is stronger. Not to gain anything from Naruto, but to vindicate himself.

Naruto and Sasuke definitely have the competition, but what are they competing over? Naruto's trying to get Sasuke's recognition and respect, but Sasuke's superiority/inferiority complex makes this literally impossible. So instead of bonding over the competition, they bond over shared experiences, something which is, as far as I've seen, unique to men.

Naruto and Sasuke weren't brothers, even in the metaphorical sense. They were just rivals with enough shared experiences to grate the edge off their rivalry. (Piddling, piddling.)

Continuing the brother theme, let's take a look at Sasuke. His whole life, his parents have overlooked him in favor of Itachi. Because he isn't perfect, he never had a chance to gain their recognition and approval. And so, he shifts those efforts over to gaining Itachi's. When Itachi killed his clan, that was the marker set. I'm this strong, it says, and you can never hope to match me. And so Sasuke is not only trying to kill Itachi for revenge, but also in a twisted effort to get both his father's and Itachi's approval, by showing them he's that strong, too. Itachi told him to live in misery and hate him - he's just doing what he's told. It's the same thing as the child-soldier mentality. Then when Itachi shows up and pays no attention to Sasuke at all, instead focusing on Naruto, things start to shift. Naruto is getting Itachi's approval. It isn't until that moment they become brothers, because now Sasuke is competing with Naruto for Itachi's approval (I love how warped this is. XD). Naruto isn't exactly competing back, but all Sasuke really cares about is that he has the approval, in a sense. Sasuke Chidori-ing Naruto in the lung is just his expression of that bond.

-----

Not that good, but I like it.

(Anonymous)

Lovely ship manifesto. There were several points you've made that I hadn't seen before, and all the points you've made, I wholly agree with. If you ever do a follow up essay, reading it would probably be just as pleasurable. ^_^

----

"Brothers are never friends. You never go anywhere to hang out with your brother. They're just someone you were born with for some unexplainable reason. You learn to coexist with them. The problem is family psychology."

I disagree. My best friend is my little brother, as odd as that might sound to some. Why so many think their family members are troublesome, however, might just be the fault of the family psychology of today's individualistic culture.

"And so, they compete for the attention. Constant, continuous competition. This is what brothers bond over, the competition. Naruto and Sasuke were never friends. They were rivals, and still are, but because they're competing with each other by fighting everyone but each other, they use each other as measuring sticks to see how far they've gone."

Why-ever did Sasuke fight Naruto for power, then, at Itachi's words? Which were, basically, kill your best friend (or the one person who means the most to you, or something) in order to attain the Sharingan's third level? As for the measuring sticks comment, Sasuke was to arrogant during the first half (and perhaps even the second half) of the series to actually consider such a thing, I think. The point was, their relationship didn't start with the both of them thinking that they were both on equal ground.

Naruto and Sasuke weren't brothers, even in the metaphorical sense. They were just rivals with enough shared experiences to grate the edge off their rivalry. (Piddling, piddling.)

It's funny. It seems as if you're refuting your own view on whatever sibling dynamic you see between Sasuke and Naruto.

"Sasuke Chidori-ing Naruto in the lung is just his expression of that bond."

So what was Sasuke trying to express when he, seemingly by reflex, saves Naruto from Haku's attack? What was Sasuke trying to express when he leaves Naruto instead of killing him when he had the chance because Naruto was unconscious and no one was around?

Sasuke - his stupid decisions aside - was mildly intelligent, at the least. If Sasuke was indeed trying to gain Itachi's approval, and Itachi wants to kill Naruto, then if Sasuke kills Naruto, he would gain Itachi's approval... it's logical. Unless Sasuke was just screwed beyond all reason, or too exhausted to think straight, I can't imagine any other reason why Sasuke would simply let Naruto live other than that Sasuke actually care for the 'idiot.' Affection isn't usually seen between rivals.
There is something inexplicably heart wrenching about their stories that breaks you in small subtle ways. There is something about those two that is epic. It took me a while to figure out the rubix cube. They both want to fix the world.
i really loved this <3
made me see them in a different.
i wrote this fanfic the other day,
it might be of your liking <3~
http://redshinigami.livejournal.com/9489.html#cutid1

(Anonymous)

10 months and 3 days after you posted this (uh, merry christmas eve i guess?) and people are still commenting on it. Kudos. I found it on a google search or something, I don't really remember, it's been sitting forgotten on Opera for about 4 days and I finally got around to reading it. Being something of a lowkey NaruSasu shipper for the same reasons that you seem a bit bitter towards the fandom, I expected this to be utter crap. It's fun to be wrong sometimes. Anyway, the purpose of this comment was to point you towards sarolynne's Smoke In Spring (http://sarolynne.livejournal.com/51399.html), since i think you might enjoy it (assuming you haven't read it)

(Anonymous)

An AMV to Add ^^

^^ Just thought you should know there's ONE more AMV you should totally add to this collection. XD

http://youtube.com/watch?v=PT3LuvqvQSI
It's a SasuNaru with an accompanying "song" named 'If You Were Gay'. This, of course, would go underneath the "CRACK!" section of your essay, which, by the way, I am so relieved to see someone put into the words the very things I've always felt. I used to be an avid hater of the SasuNaru pairing simply for the hype and fandom it accumulated....and now I'm hopelessly in love with them for their intensity and subtle yet obvious hints. ^^

Fantastic!

I found this essay VERY well-put together. I also share a lot of the views expressed in this... not that I could come up with something this wonderful! xD It had its serious moments, but it also made me laugh, and pointed out some things I might not've even thought of before as "canon" (in other words, it owned and made sense!). I love this pairing, and it's nice to see intelligent people liking it as well, rather than those stupid "fangirls". Kudos to you~! *adds to memories*

thanks for the essay and the recs

I'm an avid SasuNaru fan and writer, and I'm very glad that someone posted an essay that explained SasuNaru ^__^ I'm not good at characterizations in my fics, so this is really a blessing. It explained the things about SasuNaru that draws most of its fangirls *gives you ten thumbs up XD*

Again, thanks a lot for this contribution! And the recs rocked too! ^__^

--Seto's Darkness

PS: Yes, that Valley of the End made me sob too.

(Anonymous)

WOW, I am speechless ! For real. You managed it to put the very complex and true love that SasuNaru is in an essay. Although there are some lines I don't completely agree with, it pretty much sums up why and what makes SasuNaru the great pairing it is.
Wow. Beautiful, and so true! I really like what you said about Sakura; she gets ignored/bashed far too much.

(Anonymous)

I used to dislike Sakura so much. But this post made me realize all I really disliked was her in the SasuSaku pairing. She actually is a good character when she's not fawning over Sasuke, lol.
If you ever add more to this, since the manga has already gone way passed where they meet up Sasuke again, I'd looove to read it.

This post has given me so much hope for this pairing. ^___^

[/Neko-chan]
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