Ok, perhaps it is wrong to use the word “moving” to describe battles, but as I proceed, you’ll get what I mean.
The manga I’m reviewing on is Naruto. I believe many comic or manga lovers have at least heard of its name. Sadly, it ended in 2014, and left many flaws in its plot and questions unanswered. The story is mainly about the world of ninjas and how our protagonist—Naruto grows to be a Hokage (leader of his ninja village). The author, Masashi Kishimoto, uses ninjas to symbolize people in real life, and he expresses different ideals and beliefs through different character in the story.
There are battles throughout the whole manga. It can be just a duel, or it can be a massive war (like what happens near the end of the story). Fighting is what ninjas are born for; it is the reason they exist. However, ninjas do not fight for nothing: they fight to defend their village, their family and loved ones; they fight for their faith; they fight in order to search the meanings of their lives. Sometimes it doesn’t matter who wins (and lives on) after a battle. The most moving parts of some battles are watching the characters striving (sometimes dying) for their faiths and believes. So here are my 10 favorites:
10. Uchiha Sasuke vs. Uzumaki Naruto
These two characters have fought a lot of times in the manga because of their relationship, rivalry, and destiny, but the most “emotional” fight is at the end of the whole story. The Fourth Ninja World War just finished, our two protagonists now have the power to decide the fate of the whole ninja world. However, their opinions contradict with each other. Sasuke wants a dictatorship and take up all the responsibility himself. Naruto, however, thinks people can reach mutual understanding and wants the current system to continue (with some improvements of course). The difference as well as their destiny—Naruto is the reincarnation of Asura while Sasuke is the reincarnation of Indra.
The fight is epic, since both characters are perhaps the strongest ninja alive after the war. However, the fight ends with a tie where both of them lost one arm. After they have exhausted all their energy and lying on the ground unable to move, Naruto tells Sasuke why he has been so persistent in bringing Sasuke back to the village. Both of their memories are a bit soap-opera-like to see. However, it is moving to see the two reincarnations (Asura and Indra were actually brothers) finally stop fighting and work together for a common goal.
9. Shikamaru + Ino + Chouji vs. Asuma (Edo Tensei)
Can you imagine confronting someone you love in a war? This is what happens to many ninjas during the Fourth Ninja World War. Many dead ninjas are summoned from the other world by a technique called “Edo Tensei”, including Asuma, the former teacher and leader of Shikamaru, Ino, and Chouji.
It is always hard to harm someone you respect, even though the person is now your enemy. That is what happens to these three young ninjas. During this battle Chouji is finally able to exceed his limit and to put his memory aside. Asuma is defeated, but he is glad to see the improvement of his students.
8. Third Hokage (Hiruzen Sarutobi) vs. Orochimaru
This is another teacher vs. student scenario. (You’ll find many similar cases in the manga.) Orochimaru, a former student of the Third Hokage, betrays the village and decides to destroy it. In order to protect his beloved home and all of the people living in the village, the Third Hokage sacrifices his life and seals Orochimaru’s hands. The plot becomes especially moving when the Third Hokage tells Orochimaru that even if he dies, people in this village would still fight to protect their homes because “the will of fire will be passed on from generation to generation.”
7. Kimimaru vs. Gaara
Actually, I don’t have a clear ranking from this one on. I’m not even sure that last one should be ranked the 8th.
This battle is a duel, and it is a battle of faith. Kimimaru works for Orochimaru. He has always worshipped Orochimaru and regards him as a role model. This is why I, as well as lots of Naruto readers, feel sympathetic about him. Kimimaru is a nice person: he is willing to sacrifice for what he believes in. However, he picked the wrong role model (from our point of view). Before this fight, Kimimaru was already sick, and his sickness cannot be cured. After knowing his situation, he decides to fight for Orochimaru one last time. His opponent, Gaara, does not understand why he is sacrificing his life for “a bad guy.” Kimimaru died before he could finish his last strike—a strike that can definitely kill his opponent. His life finishes in a marvelous way.
6. Naruto vs. Nagato
I know, I know, the two names are easily confused. This is another battle that shows our protagonist’s speech skills, I mean, fighting skills.
Born in a village suffering from wars, Nagato lost both parents when he was young. He and two other friends, Yahiko and Konan, are adopted by Jiraiya. Jiraiya raised them and taught them ninjutsu. Later Nagato and his friends went on founding a ninja organization to bring peace to his village and country. However, in one incident, Yahiko was killed. Nagato’s belief about peace was then twisted. He believes peace can only be achieved by establishing fear among people. He attacks the village of leaf and confronts with Naruto.
Interestingly enough, Naruto is also one of Jiraiya’s students. The battle of these two “apprentices” leads the village of leaf to almost total distruction. However, Naruto is able to persuade Nagato to change his mind. Naruto reestablishes Nagato’s belief that mutual understanding can be achieved in the future.
– Haoru Yang