|This is the article on the volume. For chapter 668, head to The Beginning of the Crimson Spring.|
|The Beginning of the Crimson Spring|
|(紅き春の始まり, Akaki Haru no Hajimari)|
|Next||Naruto and the Sage of Six Paths…!!|
|Japanese||May 2, 2014 (ISBN 978-4-08-880054-7)|
|English||March 3, 2015 (ISBN 1421578565)|
The Beginning of the Crimson Spring (紅き春の始まり, Akaki Haru no Hajimari) is volume 69 of the Naruto manga.
- "Tailed Beasts vs. Madara…!!" (尾獣VSマダラ…!!, Bijū Bāsasu Madara…!!)
With the tailed beasts intent on fighting Madara head on, the Allied Shinobi Forces' members decide to fall back in order to not become collateral damage. Leading the charge, Gaara and Shukaku attack Madara with their Wind Release: Sand Buckshot technique. Noting that the technique was a good one — albeit without any wallop — Madara is surprised when Gaara immobilises him with the residual sand that was left inside of his body after the attack. Using the opportunity to attack, the tailed beasts each take a swing at their opponent, giving the sand-manipulating duo an opening to use their Desert Layered Imperial Funeral Seal technique to seal Madara away. However, Madara escapes with the aid of his Susanoo, only mere moments before the sealing was completed. As the Uchiha begins to boast, Naruto and Kurama lead the counter-attack on Madara by giving him a serious tail-whipping. The resulting attack was enough to damage Madara, sending his right arm flying, and forcing him to retreat. At the same time, however, a White Zetsu Army clone emerges from the ground informing Madara that he was able to complete his mission. Lopping off the unflinching Zetsu's right arm to replace his own, Madara notes — as he reveals his right Rinnegan restored — that he would now be able to have some fun with at least one of his eyes restored.
- "Limbo: Border Jail…!!" (輪墓・辺獄…!!, Rinbo: Hengoku…!!)
The taste of his own blood and the pain he feels makes Madara ecstatic, and as he begins to heal as a result of having Hashirama's power, he notes that having a living body had made him temporarily careless. Madara prepares to perform a summon, which puts Kurama on edge, recalling when it was summoned by Madara once before. Shukaku tells Kurama not to fret over one human, leading the fox to tell the tanuki never to underestimate Madara. Launching his plan, Madara summons the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path from inside Obito which Kakashi tries ripping its head off, but only manages to take out its right arm before the statue is summoned to Madara's side. Madara notices the damage, and while conceding the opposing side has someone with a good dōjutsu, concludes that it would not make much of a difference. Naruto and the tailed beasts notice the summon, and that Madara no longer has an Impure World Reincarnation body. Naruto surmises that Madara had Obito bring him back to life. Elsewhere, Black Zetsu and Obito argue over the Rinnegan while Madara jumps atop the statue and focuses his Rinnegan on them, causing the tailed beasts to be sent hurtling backwards. The legendary Uchiha then has the statue use its chains to restrain them before declaring that he will first extract Gyūki and Kurama from their jinchūriki.
- "The Hidden Heart" (裏の心, Ura no Kokoro)
As the two targeted jinchūriki continue to struggle against their restraints, Naruto attempts to withdraw the Tailed Beast Mode, but finds that he cannot suppress Kurama's chakra as Madara deemed his efforts futile. The White Zetsu Army clone inquires as to why Madara did not go after Shukaku first. Readjusting his strategy after contemplating his minion's words, Madara turns his focus on the One-Tail. Intercepting Madara's assault, however, Gaara creates two enormous sand-hands to help stop the chain from dragging the tanuki into the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path. Declaring that he would not let Madara have the beast, Shukaku is shocked by the Kazekage's actions; which causes the beast to remember the time when it was sealed within Gaara as a child and its declaration to prey upon his mind, should he ever fall into deep sleep.
As the memories came pouring in, Shukaku also remembers the words of his previous jinchūriki: the priest who had foretold the beast of the day someone would come who would cause the beast to understand the words which were carved into his own hands: "heart" and "acceptance". This lead Shukaku to notice that the kanji for the word "love" (which was craved on Gaara's forehead) was actually a combination for the kanji for "acceptance" and "heart". As the White Zetsu Army clone decries Gaara's actions — having protected the creature which caused him to suffer for so long, and also that Gaara won't die even if Shukaku is sealed in the Demonic Statue — Madara equips his Susanoo and launches one of its swords at Gaara. As the sword hurtles towards Gaara, Shukaku intercepts it, declaring that it prided itself on its Absolute Defence after all. Manipulating the sword to boomerang across the battlefield, Madara is able to break the section of the chain Gaara held and reconnect it to the beast all while sending the sword directly at Gaara whose automatic defence protects him against the attack, but he is still knocked down. Telling the young man not to overdo it, Gaara notes that because he was no longer a jinchūriki, he could stay up as late as he wanted, as Shukaku's equal. As the beasts get dragged in, B severs one of his own tentacles, while Kurama calls out to Gaara to ask a favour. Naruto is then ejected from his Tailed Beast Mode shroud. Gaara calls out to Naruto, who begins to fall to the ground.
- "The Failed World" (失敗した世界, Shippaishita Sekai)
With Kurama extracted from his body, Naruto falls unconscious as he hurtles towards the ground. Gaara uses his sand to cushion his comrade's fall while the tailed beasts are resealed into the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path. As Madara criticises himself for his lack of power, he soon turns his attention to the talkative White Zetsu Army clone, noting that they were nothing but failed experiments. Unaffected by these harsh words, the clone soon tells Madara that all was being taken care of on their side. Narrowly escaping Tobirama's attack, Madara seemingly gains the upper hand on the Second Hokage only for him to disappear from sight before launching a follow up attack, giving Gaara enough time to escape with Naruto. Madara ultimately pins down Tobirama, and the two exchange words of contempt with one another. Meanwhile, Sasuke prepares to reenter the fray atop Garuda and recalls Hashirama noting that he would give him a technique that would work against Madara in his current state. Though somewhat hesitant at first, Sasuke eventually presents himself to the incapacitated God of Shinobi, who gives him what is left of his chakra to stop Madara. As Madara berates Tobirama, who was once renowned as the fastest shinobi in the world, driving one of the stakes into the Second's head, the Uchiha shares his viewpoint once again before Tobirama makes a last-ditch effort to attack Madara, providing Sasuke with an opening to swoop in. However before Sasuke can land any kind of attack, the young Uchiha finds himself suspended in midair. Ignoring Tobirama's cries to stop, Madara drives the sword through Sasuke's chest, expressing his disappointment in the young Uchiha whom he deemed to have had given more than enough time to do something.
- "The True End" (本当の終わり, Hontō no Owari)
As Gaara rushes to help Naruto, Tobirama curses Madara for stabbing Sasuke. Elsewhere, an attack from a miniature version of Hashirama's Sage Art Wood Release: True Several Thousand Hands technique is fended off by the Third Hokage, who is one of the only ones left with enough chakra to fight. The assailant is revealed to be Tobi, who still seems intent on uncovering the mechanics behind bowel movements. Meanwhile, Orochimaru and his team take cover, planning a surprise attack on Tobi. Karin, who is visibly distraught over Sasuke, is barely able to convey what she senses. Naruto is brought to Tsunade and her disciples Shizune and Sakura, but of the trio Sakura is the only one who still has enough chakra to use medical ninjutsu. As the other sensor-type ninja detect Naruto's presence, Hinata sees Naruto's failing heartbeat and rushes to his side, only to stumble and fall due to her low chakra levels. Tobi and a White Zetsu clone note that despite Naruto being an Uzumaki, his death is inevitable due to Kurama's extraction. Elsewhere, Sasuke clings to consciousness by remembering his resolve to honour his brother's sacrifice and to change the shinobi world, but his energy fades as Madara walks away from him. As grief overtakes both Sakura, whose chakra is rapidly diminishing, and Karin, who senses Sasuke's predicament from afar, both realise that if things continue like this both Naruto and Sasuke will die.
- "Absolutely" (絶対に, Zettai ni)
As Naruto lies dying, Sakura continues to use medical ninjutsu on him to no effect. With Sasuke in no better a condition, an anguished Tobirama laments his inability to help the young Uchiha, fearing the worst when he could no longer sense Sasuke's chakra. Meanwhile, as the remainder of Kurama's chakra dissipates from around Sakura, she wonders why her techniques are ineffective until Gaara informs her that Kurama had been extracted from Naruto, and his only hope was to get to Minato and Yin-Kurama as Yang-Kurama had instructed. As Gaara anchors Sakura with his sand and begins moving faster, Sakura switches her tactics and after making an incision in Naruto's chest, begins to manually pump his heart, and performs CPR, adamant that Naruto is not going to die on her watch. Elsewhere a desperate Karin is able to manifest the Uzumaki chains and decimate parts of Tobi's statue. Despite being impaled by wooden stakes, Karin merely bites herself to recover from the injuries. Following up on the assault, Suigetsu launches his Water Gun Technique at the Zetsu clone's head revealing there is someone inside and giving Orochimaru enough time to place a cursed seal on the artificial clone, and Jūgo the chance to rescue Karin; who notes that while she was fine, she could no longer sense Sasuke's chakra as they rushed to his aid. All the while, Madara casually seals the Ten-Tails into himself and after assuming his jinchūriki form, departs to claim his left eye. With Sasuke's predicament looking grim, he is approached by an unknown barefooted individual.
- "Because I'm a Father" (父親だから, Chichi Oya Dakara)
As the mysterious person makes their way closer to Sasuke, neither Tobirama nor Karin can recognise them, nor their chakra signature. Worrying that the mysterious person intends to do harm to Sasuke, Karin presses on ahead. Meanwhile, Guy is ready to continue fighting, though he is obviously extremely worn out. Suddenly, Gaara and Sakura fly overhead. Guy deduces that they will head for Kakashi's location, and gets even more determined to go, exasperating Tenten. While Madara flies towards his destination, he gets rid of both the Kohaku no Jōhei and Benihisago noting that the tools were bogging him down. The tools land on Guy and Lee and Tenten then recognises the tools. On the other side of the battlefield, Kakashi and Minato still fight Black Zetsu until Minato's half of Kurama urges him to sense around. As the Kazekage's group arrives, Minato asks Kakashi to fight Obito alongside Gaara as the Hokage starts transferring his tailed beast in his son, all the while remembering a conversation with his wife over protecting their then-unborn child. Before he completes the ritual, however, Black Zetsu manages to extend his body and absorbs Kurama's power in Naruto's place. As he laughs over finally getting his hands on Yin-Kurama, Madara arrives to where Minato and the others are and states that Black Zetsu was taking too long so he decided to come himself.
- "The Current Me" (今のオレは, Ima no Ore wa)
Apologising to his master for being delayed so long, Black Zetsu informs Madara that not only was he able to retrieve the eye, but also Yin-Kurama from Minato as well. Seemingly content with that, he commands Zetsu to bring both to him, but as the clone tries to leave Obito's body — no longer concerned about the threat around him — but finds himself unable to as his host regains consciousness. The two Uchiha have a conversation about Obito's role in Madara's plan, with the new jinchūriki stating that the other was not Obito, but Madara, the one who rejected the world created by the Sage of the Six Paths which had failed. Calling to him to stand by his side as he had once before, Obito starts walking towards Madara while Minato, Kakashi and Gaara try to stop them. However, their efforts prove futile as Sakura watches on horrified and confused as she tries her best to keep Naruto alive. Stretching out his hand to his ancestor once again, Obito bypasses Madara's own and instead sticks his hand into Madara's chest recreating the same shakujō he wielded when he was the Ten-Tails' jinchūriki. Renouncing Madara's action and his plan as he remembers Naruto's words, Obito states that his current self is the one that wanted to become Hokage — a person who stands at the forefront of hardship themselves and doesn't manipulate others to achieve their own goals. Declaring that he would no longer be Madara's pawn and hurt his comrades: because he's Obito Uchiha.
- "Two Mangekyō" (二つの万華鏡, Futatsu no Mangekyō)
As Kakashi and Minato realise that Obito has finally regained a sense of himself, Madara tries to take his left eye but his outstretched hand phases through him. Locked in their subconsciousnesses, Obito tries to extract the tailed beasts from their current jinchūriki's body and manages to acquire a fragment of Shukaku and Gyūki's chakra. Ordering Kakashi to teleport Naruto to the other dimension, Obito tries to go there himself but Madara manages to stop him by sending one of the mysterious orbs flying towards him. As Kakashi rallies to Obito's side, the latter declares that the legend could now witness the power of a paired Sharingan. In a bid to stop them both simultaneously, Madara launches two of the orbs towards both of them, but the two Mangekyō Sharingan-wielders synchronise their Kamui, doubling the speed of Obito's dimensional transfer. Once in the other dimension a wary Sakura allows Obito to start the tailed beast transfer. In the real world, Kakashi is saved from Madara's attack thanks to Guy. As Madara ponders the new appearance on the battlefield, Minato silently thanks Guy as well as asks Obito to take care of his son.
- "The End of Youthful Days" (碧き日の終わり, Aoki Hi no Owari)
Finally arriving to Sasuke's side, Orochimaru and Taka discover that the mysterious man is Kabuto — who was finally able to break Itachi's Izanami by finding his true self. Using his medical ninjutsu along with his knowledge about Hashirama's cells, Kabuto begins treating Sasuke under the instruction of Tobirama. On Madara's side, Kakashi reassures his sensei that he was all right before the Fourth reiterates that only taijutsu and senjutsu attacks would work on the Ten-Tails' jinchūriki, but that his skills with senjutsu are limited. Guy opens the seventh gate and attacks Madara with a powerful punch, but to no avail. With Madara trying to kill Guy, Kakashi launches one of Minato's kunai to warp the black orb away, but Guy is instead saved by Rock Lee, who brings him to their comrades' side. As the shinobi wonder about how to deal with their enemy, Guy tells Kakashi that it is time for him to become a crimson beast by opening the eighth gate, which will eventually result in his death.
- "The Beginning of the Crimson Spring" (紅き春の始まり, Akaki Haru no Hajimari)
Immediately beginning their attempts to dissuade Guy from his decision, his comrades soon abandon this as a fruitless endeavour. Comforting his pupil by telling him that this was no time to look sad, Guy dashes forward to confront Madara once more, opening the Eighth Gate. Remembering his father Might Duy in these final moments before the confrontation, he remembers how he had lived his life, and in turn, how Guy had loved his own life, passing on principles of unwavering loyalty and true inner strength right down to the very last moment of his life where his father Duy was able to ultimately protect him, and his team-mates Ebisu and Genma, from a generation of the Seven Ninja Swordsmen of the Mist. Though Madara tried to trivialise Guy's incoming onslaught as nothing more than leaves that fall and rot in autumn, Guy corrected him, declaring that those leaves would become nourishment for the new leaves on the tree before reaching his target and attacking him with the Evening Elephant.
|“||There's something that I discovered only very recently, in regards to how I draw my manga drafts. I found a B lead 0.9 mm mechanical pencil very easy to draw with. And if I stick it in a pencil extender – that socket you put on the end of a pencil stub to keep using it – it's even easier to draw with. It really reduces the time it takes me to complete a draft!||”|
—Masashi Kishimoto, 2014