11 Jul 2021 2 Comments
• “Master and Student” — So, on the surface, ‘Master and Student’ refers to the version of Chiyo and Sakura from the manga, where she’s a powerful-but-nutty old woman who imparts her knowledge to Sakura. In the middle of the chapter, the meaning twists to represent Chiyo and Sasori, and that she withheld knowledge from him and that’s how they wound up enemies. And finally, by the end, Sakura admits that she is learning more from Chiyo than she did from Tsunade. So Chiyo becomes an unintentional teacher to Sakura, because in this story…..
• Chiyo is a villain! — Mwuhahaha! She totally should have been in the original. She’s way more bad than good. And there’s no reason for her to be a mentor to Sakura. After all, she was only partnering with the Leaf to get what she wants. More on this in the spoiler notes….
• Sakura and Chiyo’s chakra colors — Their chakra colors and qualities tie in to who they are. Sakura’s is a vibrant green, the color of warm tropical waters. Sakura is a nurturing person, so her chakra is the color we identify with life and growth. Chiyo’s chakra, however, is an icy blue-white, the color of glaciers. It grinds up and crushes whatever is in its way. Life cannot survive in it. Both have aspects of water too, but where Sakura’s is naturally fluid and pliant, Chiyo’s chakra is the hardest form of water, ice. The colors correspond to how they approach healing too. Sakura has been taught to preserve life, whereas Chiyo’s only cares about who lives or dies for her benefit.
• Sakura fighting for a different nation — As puppet masters, Chiyo and Sasori fight in an entirely different style than anything Sakura has ever encountered before. It’s part show, part distraction, all while they are try to taking each other down from a distance. There is always another trick up their sleeves. Sakura has to stretch her skills and work harder than ever to succeed. Having an ‘ally’ in Chiyo doesn’t make it much easier for her.
Expanded Chapter Themes
• “Master and Student” — So, on the surface, ‘Master and Student’ refers to the version of Chiyo and Sakura from the manga, where she’s a powerful-but-nutty old woman who imparts her knowledge to Sakura.
But this chapter is also about Chiyo and Sasori, and in this story, how she withholds knowledge from him. So it’s about what made them enemies.
And lastly, it’s about Sakura, learning on the fly from someone outside her village, in this unintentional way. Sakura is never shown having this partnering type experience with Tsunade, her true teacher. She is never shown fighting side-by-side with her like this.
This is dangerous because…Chiyo should have been a villain.
Chiyo tried to kill Kakashi because she thought he was his father. She hated Tsunade. She’s actively hunting (with the intention to defeat) her own grandson. And if she’s the most powerful in her village, then she must have known about, if not had a hand in, turning Gaara into a jinchuriki.
But no matter if Chiyo was good or bad, she never would have taught Sakura a thing if it wasn’t useful to her.
At best, Chiyo is a morally ‘grey’ character. She serves herself and her country’s interests. So it’s not hard to rearrange her motives (family power struggle, hatred of Tsunade) and her willingness to do anything to reach her goals (fake a partnership with a young enemy medic), and she easily becomes the villain she always should have been.
• Chiyo and Sakura’s chakra colors — Sakura’s is a vibrant green, the color of growth, the color of warm tropical waters. Its watery quality is still being fully revealed and there will be more to come, but her chakra, like Naruto’s power source, is strongly tied to an element, in its purest form. Chiyo’s chakra, however, is an icy blue-white. Her chakra is the color of ice, of glaciers. It is very similar to Sakura’s watery nature, except hers is water of the hardest form. It grinds, crushes or moves whatever is in its way. Life cannot survive in it. Sakura has been taught how to preserve life, Chiyo’s goal is controlling who lives and dies, for her benefit. The forms they choose correspond to this elemental nature too. Sakura is able to coat everything, like water. But Chiyo chooses to make her chakra harder and harder as the chapter goes on, until the end, it looks like steel.
• Deeper questions about puppets as vessels — On the surface, the struggle between Chiyo and Sasori is about who puppets — who gets to make them, who gets to use them, what ends do they serve. But it’s also on a deeper level about power over jinchurikis. Who makes vessels out of humans? Who is powerful enough to transfer energy into another human. Who is powerful to receive it and become a host? Who builds the spaces inside humans to house other creatures inside them? And who holds and passes down this knowledge? Lastly, this all leads directly to Sakura: Where will she fall on this spectrum? If she’s already as powerful as Tsunade and Chiyo, then when she finds out the truth, will she grow to be an ally to a jinchuriki…or will she take the path of learning to make one? This question of who holds the power and who controls it will be turned revisited many times in the coming chapters.
Chapter and Spoiler Notes
• “Lady Chiyo, your weapons were puppets, right?” Chiyo answered, “Yes…. But that was long ago.” — Chiyo’s true weapon of choice was poison. Not puppets. Her first skill is as a medic/assassin. She poisons people. She just happens to be incredibly good at puppetry as well. She’s just like Sakura, who’s incredibly proficient in both healing and weaponry. So Sakura asks the wrong question. And Chiyo doesn’t give her a full answer. Even from the start, she’d hiding all her capabilities, while Sakura is still very trusting.
• She palmed one of her kunai. She had not packed extra weapons, only the standard kit for Leaf shinobi: two kunai, and a few braces of throwing stars. So she had to make each one count. — Sakura’s a young shinobi, going up against two much older, much more experience shinobi. They have skill and, in Sasori’s case, massive amounts of weaponry on their sides. Sakura’s not even wearing pants. So this fight forces her to dig deep and use her own resources to survive, since she’s so under-prepared as a shinobi.
• With a slow exhale, she let her energy spread out from her body and surround the chakra cords. Sakura breathed into each of the points where they attached to her, imagining them flare with green light. She pictured Chiyo’s silvery blue stream of chakra connecting to her at those spots, and spilling into hers like water. — Sakura is beginning the journey of using her chakra differently. At first, it’s just the dots where they connect. In the beginning, she thinks Chiyo’s chakra is like her, very much like water. By the end, it’s revealed that her chakra, although of the same element, is very much a different form — like ice.
• As long as she stretched out her senses, she could feel the harmony. — Sakura is beginning to thin out her chakra, like water. As long as there is a source, it’s never ending how far it can go. So as long as Sakura is the source, it will go on forever. She’s learning to stretch out her chakra and reach further beyond herself.
• “What’s the matter? Don’t you want to live forever? Everyone does.” — This is very much a statement about Chiyo, about himself and about everyone in the Akatsuki. They all want power, but more importantly, power over death. This theme will come back again for both Naruto and Sakura, when they look at how other people want to use them.
• He nodded at her obedience and returned to admiring her face again. He stopped at her eyes. “You really are a unique specimen.” — The eyes, and then calling her a specimen. He collects humans to become puppets. He doesn’t see her as a person, even as he is remarking on her eyes.
• “And the old stories….” Chiyo sighed dramatically. “Well, there is so much I could have told you, if you had only listened—“ — Hinting that there is something unique about Sakura as well. Something that Chiyo and Sasori know that she doesn’t.
• Sasori made a guttural noise of disagreement, like a child who’d heard the same thing too many times. “But then,” she continued, “you have always been such a disappointment….” — Chiyo is definitely manipulating him. And clearly did from his childhood. She is very much like Itachi — they will do or say anything to get what they want. Sasori is no innocent victim. He’s just as bad. But Chiyo definitely knows how to press his buttons, and Sasori falls for it every time.
• She closed her eyes and let her chakra explode outward. It raced up into Chiyo’s strings, pumping more and more green light into the lines. When it hit a wall, she knew she’d found where he was blocking Chiyo’s. She continued to force it in, flooding the space. Then, like a bursting dam, it broke through— Her chakra shot sideways up his network, electrifying his tail like a branching green lighting bolt. — Sakura is leveling up her abilities. She is stretching her chakra out, and using it as a powerful weapon in its own right.
• Sasori stared dumbfounded at broken pieces of his tail. Finally, he looked up at Chiyo. He didn’t even seem to notice Sakura was gone. — He does not see Sakura as a human, even though Chiyo does. He sees Sakura, as he does all humans now, as a means to an end. They both want to use her, but Sasori really only sees her as a weapon.
• “Sakura of the Leaf….” He brushed the dust off the front of his cloak. — He acted like he didn’t care, but he knew who she was the whole time.
• “Do you like my new body? He’s beautiful isn’t he?” He caressed his dewy cheek. “I just knew it when I saw him— I had to have him.” — So, the idea is, somewhere in his travels Sasori saw a child who looked like him. So he killed him and restrung him as his prize puppet. The puppets that he and Chiyo use were once humans. It just levels up how bad they and how gruesome the practice is. And it also connects their skills to Naruto’s storyline. The whole story is about bodies as vessels, and using them to hold power. Using puppets that were once humans, only hollowed out to serve a purpose, is very much in line with what Pain wants to do to Naruto, in a more sophisticated way. Pain wants to turn him into the ultimate living vessel. So the concepts in this chapter will be built on in the rest of the story, not just a side adventure to showcase Sakura’s strength.
• Sakura glanced back. Chiyo was pale and shaken, aghast at the sight before her. Her hands were lifeless at her sides. The chakra strings between her and Sakura were slack, leaving Sakura feeling dangerously exposed. — Chiyo is partly shocked. It’s the first time she’s seen these puppets in decades. She knows who they are, or who they were. But it’s also partially an act, because she’s the one who made them. She stopped seeing them as human a long time ago.
• She pushed her chakra out of herself and raced it up into Chiyo’s chakra strings, the same way she had when Sasori had caught her. She felt the cords come alive behind her and knew immediately which ones that were tangled. — Sakura again is leveling up her chakra abilities. This time, she’s learning what it feels like to keep it alive outside her body. Not attached to a weapon, or a patient, but as a focused piece of energy in the air.
• Sakura thought she could actually feel the strings pulling together, wanting to reconnect. It seemed like all she need to do was fan out her fingers, then direct her chakra back to the spots with her mind. She listened to her intuition. It worked. She opened her fingers and her chakra reached for itself like a magnet. — Sakura is observing, listening to her chakra and trusting her intuition. This will help her in the future.
• She had no time to dwell on what she’d done, but she guessed this must be some of the power of a puppet master. The ability to direct objects from a distance…. It was powerful feeling. — Sakura definitely is experience some horizon-expanding power. This could have been how Chiyo felt when she first expanded her energy outward. They have the same skills, just one is bad and one is still making decisions about her path.
• Her shocked expression shifted from the two puppets to the girl darting across the cave. She nodded and lifted her hands, purpose suffusing her old face as she renewed her fight. “You are exceptionally powerful,” she said as Sakura drew near for a moment. “Much more than I even realized.” — Chiyo’s hunger for power wins out over her sentiment about long-dead humans.
• It felt like she’d never been more alive, like she could take on both puppets at once. The chakra that usually just overflowed from her hand and dripped off the edges, now seemed to bubble up from her center. — The chakra has changed here for Sakura. It’s not just something she uses, it’s something she is. She is now the spring that it bubbles from. Her whole body is the conduit, not just her hand.
• Sakura’s perceptive green eyes saw it all. The puppets used the same moves to block themselves, over and over. They were predictable. And since Sasori protected himself with Father, then Mother was the weaker puppet. The expendable one…. Sakura would take her down first. — Sakura is now strategizing just like Katsuro did, looking for the weakest one, the expendable one. She’s not a cold-hearted killer, but she’s become a very powerful shinobi — on par with him — without even realizing it.
• But Chiyo didn’t respond. She was preoccupied, watching Sasori’s movements with the puppets. Her fingers were trembling slightly, dancing in that subtle way they did when she was operating the chakra strings, but Sakura couldn’t feel the vibrations. — Chiyo is using the distraction to attach her strings to Gaara.
• The glimmering of jade green at her knuckles where the chakra was pooling just because she thought about it. — Reference to her training with Katsuro, when he tells her to tighten her chakra around her knuckles.
• When Mother stopped, they were so close their heads almost touched. Her head was slumped, her puppet mouth hung open, and her eyes were hollow and lifeless. But she still held onto the sword. … Sakura’s green eyes were going glassy, and her head dropped a little more with each increasingly shallow breath. Disheveled bangs covered her eyes. Her messy, dusty braid spilled over one shoulder. Blood seeped out from the corners her mouth, forming two lines down her chin. — Parallel between Sakura and Mother. Both have been the expendable ones. So in that moment, it looks as though she has lost to someone that was her equal in the fight. But Sakura is not an instrument. She can control what’s happening to her. And she does.
• She looked at Sakura, then back at Gaara. Her mouth parted in pain or horror. — While Sakura is stabbed, and Chiyo and Sasori are speaking, Chiyo realizes that Sakura is still alive and somehow healing herself. She is pulling on Chiyo’s chakra, now more than ever before, and it makes Chiyo look old, weak and tired. But it’s just the drain on her system.
• Chiyo was slowly straightening, strength and defiance returning to her voice. “You only cared about weapons and building puppets. You neglected your studies and never did what I told you. It is you who never learned the rules, so never learned precisely how and where to break them.” Her voice was rising, beginning to shake, holding his attention firmly. “It is you who will not outlast this!”
— At this point, she realizes that Sakura is going to be okay, and she changes her ‘allegiance’ to Sakura. Chiyo’s not just disappointed in him, she’s actively comparing him to the one that’s secretly healing herself right in front of him.
• “I hated you,” he exclaimed. “You turned your own children into puppets! Everyone thought is was from grief. But I knew. I always knew. Even as a child. You didn’t do it for me. It was just for revenge. It was always only power that you craved. If there was ever a part of you that was human, it died with them.” — Chiyo’s motivations connect to Nagato’s motivations in resurrecting Yahiko as Pain, forcing a body to live out your orders, all in the name of revenge.
• “I would have made you apprentice. My legacy. I would have taught you everything I knew,” Chiyo said softly. “But you never listened.” — Foreshadowing for next chapter. Again, Chiyo has someone else in mind for her legacy now….
• “Not healers, grandson.” Chiyo’s eyes were shining, there was a little color in her cheeks. “For them, everyone is their puppet, if they are brave enough to take control. Every bit of energy is theirs for the taking. Not a stupid vessel.” — She’s speaking directly to Sakura now.
• Deep red blood ran backwards up the sword and down the Mother’s pale arm, dripping offer her elbow. — Foreshadowing to a traumatic event in Sakura’s future.
• But there was no other movement. Behind Mother, Father was waiting, sword up, ready to defend. But Sasori just watched, almost curious to see what would happen next, as if it was a real puppet show. — Language of Sasori watching a puppet show. Just a reminder that these are people who fight with deception. Who use a distracting show to hide the murder they are about to commit. Sasori is a master at creating this, but he is also susceptible to it. Sakura is understanding her opponent and starting to fight on their level.
• Her hair had come loose and fallen in front of her face. But when she lifted her eyes to look out through her messy bangs, her eyes glowed with the same green light. She looked straight at Sasori. — Sakura is so fully feeling her power that her eyes are glowing. This should have happened every time she was at her most powerful. Also…since she’s allowing the chakra to come from her core, bubbling up from her middle and not just out of her hand, it is manifesting all throughout her system. Including a subtle emerald green glow from her eyes.
• They impaled each other, in the same place, with matching swords. Their heads fell together, foreheads touching. They were hopelessly entangled. — The puppets have killed each other. Sakura has taken herself out of the realm of a puppet and is now operating one. Even if it’s not very good. So the two weapons that were made as a pair, defeat each other in the same way. Sakura has leveled up the fight to be between Sasori and Chiyo, and elevated herself out of the realm of a mere puppet/instrument/weapon.
• Chiyo shook her head, unable to contain her glee. “A distraction, yes. But I didn’t heal her. She did that all on her own. As well as taking over your prize puppet.” — Chiyo has disconnected from the puppets as humans. Just like Sasori, she just sees them as weapons. They are very similar, which is also why they hate each other.
• “Sasori, take note. If you had shown a fraction of the Leaf’s girl’s determination and ingenuity, then you would be so much more powerful. Instead of still playing with empty dolls—“ — implication here is that Chiyo has moved on to a “live” doll in Sakura.
• She was deeply impressed to see that Sakura was much farther along in her heal than she expected. Sakura had not been deceiving them with lies or distracting them showy chakra. — Sakura is the only honest one there. She is not a puppet master, so she doesn’t have to have control or put on a distracting show.
• “From the moment the blade went in, I cauterized what had been cut and coated the sword in a thin layer of my own chakra.” She nodded at her hands. “Like with your chakra strings, I kept the edges of the wound ‘alive,’ then reattached it when the sword went out. It was a much faster heal.” She shrugged a shoulder. “I didn’t know if it would work. But I had to try something….” — Sakura is taking what she’s learned, in the moment, applying it and innovating it to save her life. This is her real superpower. There are lots of overpowered characters in this story, but Sakura’s ability to use it so well is what sets her apart. And other hyper-talented shinobi recognize that in her, for better or for worse, in the days to come for Sakura.
• “We should try to get out. My group, I’m sure they’ll be looking for us—“ “No…. We’re not finished here yet.” — It’s subtle, but there Chiyo has shifted the balance of power. She’s made a new plan, and she is calling the shots now. Sakura is too respectful to disagree — she is a foreign shinobi on Chiyo’s soil, Gaara is her village’s leader. But Chiyo and Sakura have different goals. Sakura wanted to get Gaara’s body back, and she thought that’s what Chiyo wanted too. But Chiyo is there for something else….
• The truth was, she had learned more in this battle so far than she’d learned from Tsunade. Not about healing, but about fighting. Tsunade only taught her to protect herself and bring things back to life. Chiyo seemed to be speaking of control over death. It was very different from what Tsunade taught. — Couple things here: Chiyo is teaching her more practical things than Tsunade ever did. You can infer from this that Tsunade was holding back, Sakura believes right now, because she was trying to protect her or teach her the “good” way of doing things. But Chiyo is more opportunistic, and bends and uses chakra in a way she’s never realized. In the future, Sakura might come to suspect her teacher’s motives. Also, Chiyo’s teaching style — control over death — ties in to the seal that Sakura remembers at the end of this chapter. More on the seal in those notes….
• “I don’t think Tsunade-sama meant to be a teacher,” she began. “And it’s not official…but I am actually her appr—“ — Sakura was just about to declare that she was Tsunade’s apprentice and, more importantly, own it to herself. But sadly, Sakura’s declaration is cut short.
• Sakura would have darted behind a pillar or tried to find the upper ground, that was her instinct from her shinobi training. But she found that her limbs were not under her control. Chiyo would not let her duck or dodge. — This is Sakura’s first inkling that she is out of control, and that Chiyo is making the decisions now.
• Chiyo just chuckled. “Trying to use my own recipes against me grandson?” — Another hint that Chiyo is first a potions master.
• Sakura realized that they were still puppet masters. He fully expected Chiyo to have the antidote to his poison. It easily could have killed her. It should have killed her— But it all seemed like a game to them. — Sakura should have some lag in fighting in the style of another country. She doesn’t know either of them. Sakura thinks Chiyo is saving her…but really, Chiyo was expecting that level of poison all along, and allowing Sakura to stay out there to draw it out of Sasori. Again, Sakura is starting to realize she’s in over her head.
• The center of his chest was a hole, with doors thrown open on either side. It spiraled in on itself, twisting like the inside of a giant clock. The cloak was thrown back onto his shoulders and flapped behind him. He looked like a beautiful angel of death. Her death, she was certain. — There is a parallel here to Gaara’s hole in his middle. Sasori has built his, but a natural energy has carved the one in Gaara. Both hold different forms of death. Sasori’s is meant to kill a physical body, whereas Gaara’s hole opens up to devour human energy. So Sasori, just like the puppet master that he is, has created an ultimate weapon that attacks the outer shell, the vessel.
• The blade was so black it gleamed like wet ink where the light hit it. It looked like it came from an ancient, hand-hewn sword that had been broken off at one end. There was no handle, just a rough chop of raw metal. — This type of metal has already been referenced. It’s used by Pain and Konan for their piercings. It’s the super rare, super chakra-conductive metal they like to use. Chiyo secretly had a whole blade of it.
• Even from a distance, Sakura could tell it was no ordinary weapon. It looked like it came from an ancient sword that had been broken in half. — In this chapter, both the broken sword and the broken seal that Sakura remembers at the very end have deep ties to Tsunade. Both have already been revealed on her desk back in Chapter 43.
• The blade was so black it gleamed like wet ink where the light hit it. Chiyo’s ice-blue chakra still popped at the edges, its reflection fracturing like lightning across the rough surface. — This type of metal has already been referenced: It’s used by Pain and Konan for their piercings. It’s the super rare, super chakra-conductive metal they like to use. Also…the other half of the blade has already made an appearance in the story…. More on that to come! But Chiyo’s backstory of how she had it, and where is the other missing piece, will tie in to Tsunade and Sakura’s story. It will also be a part of Sakura’s future as she encounters Konan. This is a weapon that only extraordinarily proficient chakra wielders (not healers) can use. Sakura does not yet know something like this exists. But she will….and with it will be the introduction of a new character that will bring some of Sakura’s biggest challenges yet….
• Sakura expected to see Chiyo’s chakra strings shimmering in the air, attached to it, but no matter how she tipped her head, she could not see them. — Chiyo is not using strings. This weapon is so powerful, she can charge it with her chakra and use it from a distance. Another villain does this…Pain. And what is more powerful than a puppet master that no longer needs strings? More on this to come.
• But Sakura wondered, if she’d had a weapon that powerful the whole time, why didn’t use it earlier? She could have decided the battle in her favor from the beginning. Perhaps that was why she was so confident in seeking out Sasori on her own…. — Sakura is beginning to see through Chiyo’s deception here. Though she could have used this super-powerful blade the whole time, instead, she decided to sacrifice Sakura to get what she wanted. But something changed her mind…. She started to see Sakura as a better weapon than a lifeless blade. She could accomplish all her goals with one super-powerful girl and still retain control. Chiyo’s true motives will be revealed next chapter.
• It had been a trick on Chiyo’s part. She had used Sakura as the bait. But for Sasori, this was truly the end. — Sakura sees that their battle was just increasing levels of deception. And she sees her part in it — as bait — and thinks it’s over now….
• Sasori found his voice. “You…you had it all along. The Sand Dagger. It’s legendary….” — Sasuke and Naruto both have signature weapons/skills that they hone. Sakura needs one too. A chakra-focusing blade like this would be suited to Sakura’s skills. This type of weapon, or the abilities associated with it, would be one passed down through medics/chakra wielders, like Sakura or Konan. It’s very much connected to the chakra-controlling abilities that Pain and Konan use. More on this idea to come.
• “But you gave it up. For…. For her?” He looked at Sakura, there was a note of jealousy in his voice. But he shook his head, then looked at Gaara. “No…. For him.” He looked at Chiyo. “I-I don’t understand. That was your way in. You’ll never be able to force the vessel open now.“ — More clues to the strength of the blade. It can be used to force open jinchurikis. So if she no longer needs it, then she’s found a new conduit for her chakra to run through…in Sakura.
• Sakura was confused. Was she calling Gaara a weapon? — Because the nature of jinchurikis, how to seal them and how to control them, is so secretive, only a small amount of people know anything about them. It’s considered forbidden knowledge, because they are secret weapons. Sakura has no reason to know anything about them. And if she did, it would just be more about the myth of ‘the chosen one,’ like Sasori has mentioned. Sakura still thinks they are fighting about the assassination of the leader of the Sand.
• Sakura stood over Gaara. Chiyo had flipped him over on his back. He faced up, eyes closed. There was no visible life left in him. His face was pale. His clothes were in tatters and bloody in the center from some as-of-yet unknown wound. His face was deathly pale. His crimson hair was so covered in dust it looked brown. — Sakura will remember Gaara’s broken body in the future, when she learns of another traumatic death.
• A memory floated through her mind. “All Akatsuki are monsters….” Gaara’s body was in front of her, but it was a voice from her past, one she didn’t allow herself to listen to, that was echoing back to her. This one time, she let herself answer it. He was right. And he, of all people, would know— — In these moments of deep stress, it is always Katsuro’s voice she hears. So even though she’s told herself she’s pushed him out of her life, he’s still with her, just underneath the surface. This will come back to break her heart though….
• “I know she can! I’ve felt her power. She doesn’t even know she has it. That foolish Slug Princess sent her out into the world without teaching her what she was—” Chiyo laughed maniacally. — This story is about characters with a lot of power who are cut off from the knowledge of what they are and how to use it. It’s Naruto’s story, being a jinchuriki without any understanding of his power except that it could destroy everything. It’s Sasuke’s story, being a clan prodigy without a clan. It’s Kakashi’s story, having no family and an Uchiha eye an having no one to show him how to use it. It’s Sai’s story, being an orphan with unknown but extraordinary skills. Now it’s Sakura’s story— there are massively powerful medic/chakra wielder type shinobis in their world, but she knows nothing about her own skill. She will have to seek them out to understand her unique abilities. Chiyo, for all her villainous nature, is more open to her about this than Tsunade (for her own reasons). If she wants to learn more about her power, Sakura will have to choose which path she wants to take, good or bad, just like Katsuro/Naruto and Sasuke.
– This quote is also a reference to what Katsuro said to her early on, that she was unprepared to be out in the world as a shinobi. Sakura thinks she’s come so far, but this will set her back to the beginning, when she feels like she doesn’t know what her power is. This is very much part of her “Odd One” storyline.
• These were different than the others. They glistened like silver and looked as strong as steel. — Chiyo’s chakra is revealed to have a very different quality than Sakura’s. It is described in terms of ice and steel. Like a crushing glacier. Like a sword. And when Sakura becomes the Sand blade, it becomes clear that this was what Chiyo planned.
• Sakura’s chakra was being activated without her doing it. It was glowing green, but it wasn’t just dripping off her. Instead it was running into long veins, like channels of rushing water. They were running to her hands, pulsing and pushing there, forming a growing ball of light. — Sakura is pure energy, like water. Unfortunately water, in the wrong hands, can be easily manipulated. There is a connection here to Naruto, who’s power in the wrong hands can also be controlled and used for bad.
• Sakura squinted at it. She didn’t know what Chiyo was doing, but she knew from her medical books it was bad. All her texts warned about using too much chakra. It could permanently harm the healer, and it could burn up the patient. — Much later, there will be a time when she needs to perform this same technique to save a life. It will not go so easily next time.
• Chiyo forced her hands closer to Gaara. The spinning ball of energy blew back the tattered remains of Gaara’s tunic, revealing a blood red spiral on a his stomach. — Chiyo is forming a small sort of rasengan. Like Naruto’s. Chiyo has a lifetime of practice controlling energy. So she knows how to keep it in a small-ish ball. That’s all she can make. Naruto will have the opposite problem. (More on that to come.) Also, the spiral on Gaara’s stomach as part of the sealing process is no mistake either. Both these shapes — the rasengan and the spiral seal — tie to Naruto and the legacy from the Whirlpool nation. So although he’s not in this chapter, his presence is all over it. Sakura is encountering things that tie to him without even realizing it.
• It felt like the very darkest parts of the Forest of Death. Worse, even. And it did not want her there. — Tying the jinchuriki energy to natural energy, not manmade. And therefore extremely unstable.
• For the briefest of moments, she saw the spiral-shaped wound in her mind, turning and opening in its entirety. It was going…backwards…. She had seen this before…. A memory flashed through her mind— the partial seal she’d seen in the old book in Tsunade’s office, the one that went the wrong way — but she tore through the it as Chiyo pushed her deeper and deeper. — The seal from the book on Tsunade’s desk (Chapter 43), is the one that neither she nor Sakura can figure it out. It’s not a seal about saving life. It goes the opposite way — it’s a seal about controlling death. This is what Chiyo is imparting to Sakura. That there are other ways to use chakra. Also, ‘she tore through it,’ is a reference to the torn seal in the book and the idea that they are only passing down half knowledge, scraps of it. The original seal is torn up, and now Sakura is even tearing up her fragmented memory of it. So this all points to the legacy passed down of those who sought to harness and control jinchurikis. This would be the dark, shadowy world of those who wanted to turn humans into demon containers. There would be a body of knowledge about how to do that. It also hints that Sakura may have discovered something about Tsunade’s past that she’d rather not know about.
• She heard Sasori’s voice through the whipping wind. “Stop it, old woman! It will never work! You’ll only destroy them both! You really are a monster—“ — This comes right after Sakura said all Akatsuki are monsters. Now Sasori, an Akatsuki member, just said that that Chiyo is a monster. She’s the one who made him the way he is. So you know she’s got to be really bad.
• Chiyo drove Sakura farther down, using her own chakra at her back and pushing her forward as if she were on the tip of a long blade. — Sakura is literally replacing the Sand Blade here. She has become the instrument that breaks the vessel open. Chiyo’s chakra provides the engine, it drives her, but it is her pliant chakra that allows her to break through. Chiyo knows that Sakura’s energy is like water. And water is the most powerful element on earth.
• She was suddenly being wooshed inward, sucked down a drain into a giant whirlpool of dark energy. — The sealing chamber has an opening like a whirlpool. It’s no accident that the original “builders” made it this way.
• She had never known darkness like this. She felt, rather than knew, that light didn’t exist here. — She has left earth and slipped into something apart from earth, something in between life and death, consciousness and subconsciousness. This is also physically happening in a space inside Gaara’s body, literally a place between Sakura’s body which is overflowing with “life,” and the statue of the Death God. Sakura is not dead, but she has slipped through the cracks of the real world.
• She fought the panic that rose in her throat and closed her eyes. Tears slid out. She wiped them away, but there was no water on her face. No tears wet her fingers. — She’s not a body anymore. Just energy.
• Chiyo’s far-away voice echoed down through the darkness. It was clear and unforgiving. “Get to work. It’s is the only reason I let you live.” — Chiyo’s gambit is finally revealed. She’s not an old woman who acts crazy to hide the fact that she’s powerful…but is also secretly nice, wants to save Gaara and support Sakura. She’s a crazy old woman who turns out to be the villain.