With the flashbacks starting to come to an end, we’re finally shown the moment where Madara was actually defeated by Hashirama—and with it, an emphasis on this week’s theme: what it takes to lead. As the First Hokage puts it so aptly, leading involves sometimes making painful sacrifices/decisions, and it’s something that just puts into perspective how things change when you’re no longer just doing things for yourself, but for an innumerable amount of others. To say the least, it’s definitely an unenviable position to be in—especially when that sacrifice involves killing someone who’s been a brother to you and helped co-found the village—but it’s something that also showcases how not everyone can be an effective Hokage and how great the previous ones really were. Granted, we’ve already heard a lot about the latter, and likely most readers already have that kind of view regarding them, but for me—this chapter really hammered things in a bit.
With that said though, the perspective element touched upon in this chapter feels even more notable when you consider how Sasuke’s listening to the story as well. It reasons that the way the First Hokage is explaining things could really give Sasuke a new perspective on why the village did what it did—why Itachi did what he did—and serve ultimately as the thing that changes Sasuke’s opinion on everything. Of course, I don’t see him pulling a complete
360 180 and literally joining the fight against Madara/Obito himself, but it sure looks more and more likely that at the very least, he’d allow the resurrected Hokage to fight. Though… admittedly, this is something that’s been kind of hinted at for a while now, so it’s nothing particularly surprising if something similar happens.
As such, I suppose this chapter doesn’t really end up any different from the other flashback chapters. It’s just filling in blanks for the most part and setting up for future events… though it’s taking a longer time than expected to do so. At least it looks like it’s likely to end with this chapter however, so it might be finally time to have some action to look forward to after this extended break from it all.