Commentaries – Sealkeeper Chapter 80

A Bit Tied Up
Posted 2019.05.13

The following are the recorded
responses of Eyazahrid to the feedback he received on the above
listed chapter and the story in general for the week following. This
document is to serve as a replacement to the traditional Author’s
Note at the beginning and ending of chapters and will be kept
separate from both the above listed chapter and any future chapters
unless deemed sufficiently important.

Thank You

Before anything
else in this Commentary, I would like to thank you all for the
support you’ve shown me over the years and more specifically with the
posting of chapter 80. While the Author’s note – any of the three,
actually – hadn’t in any way been intended to fish for compliments,
hearing the immediate response of support and understanding was
beyond heartening.

It’s knowing how
much others are enjoying my work that pushes me to keep working and I
never would have made it this far without you all.

Thank you.

My Deepest Apologies

Just as I needed
to express my gratitude, I also need to offer a sincere apology for
the Author’s Note of chapter 80. The 2019.05.06 Author Note was
written last week, specifically after a string of negative responses,
and I had simply wanted to be done with the whole Mai situation and
the backlash it’s caused.

I did not have the
patience to wait until 2019.06.17 for the issue to conclude- most of
it, anyway – naturally and was very rash in revealing what happens
between Mai and Naruto in chapter 85. I may be able to forgive myself
for writing it down last week, but when I looked it over last night I
deemed it appropriate for posting when it obviously is not.

It was seta88 who
brought this to my attention, for which they have my thanks.

With the upcoming
reductions to Author’s Notes in the chapters themselves this should
no longer be a problem and I will endeavor to include warning in
these commentaries should they include anything that may be construed
as a spoiler.

Politics

Looking at the
story now, I can definitely see that Redhawk29 was right about the
lack of recent political action. In the beginning that was a very
important aspect of the story and despite Naruto’s political
influence increasing recently it hasn’t been brought into play as
much.

Naruto is supposed
to be a leader and a commander, maintaining his group from the
shadows and taking care of the things the Wolves wouldn’t be able to
address. I should keep this more in mind considering it’s one of the
most frequent complaints I hear.

I’ll make note to
show more of the political ramifications of recent events and further
explore the Noble Houses of both Hi no Kuni and the other countries.

Timeskip

While I have
considered making use of a time skip, the way I would want to execute
it would involve two separate stories. I have decided against doing
so with Sealkeeper so any timeskips will continue to be minor.

Tsunade

Tsunade is in an
interesting position within Sealkeeper, as her actions – or
inaction – was a main contributor to the early events of the story.
Despite that, she’s faded into the background, content to wallow in
her guilt. With Shizune having been given a position within the House
of Wolves, they no longer have need of a medic and Naruto has no
interest in her infamous strength.

Really, I don’t
see any further role she might play within the story itself.

Well, I do,
actually. If Naruto had need of the Senju name he could probably call
upon her and she’d eagerly jump at the chance to try making amends.
If Sakura came to her for training she might pass on the skills that
Shizune wasn’t interested in just so they don’t become lost.

Should Naruko –
Her goddaughter – visit and ask for any sort of help she’d do her
best to provide.

Beyond those- all
of which are initiated by others – I’m not coming up with much.
Except maybe visiting Naruto to examine his Chakra system just to
confirm that the reports she read had been accurate. I’ll have to
keep that one in mind.

Regardless, her
part in Sealkeeper is more or less over and I wouldn’t expect her to
appear much in the future.

Naruto’s Strength

One of the biggest
complaints I receive is on Naruto’s strength, so this part should be
fun to write.

Overall, I’m
understanding that people are of the opinion that he’s completely
worthless and has zero strength. That may be because I gave him so
much trouble with the Kage-Bunshin but some people have pointed out
that I raised Kage-Bunshin from a mid-tier Jutsu to an obscure
S-Ranked Kinjutsu.

Maybe people
missed that and are only making the connection now that I’ve brought
it up here, but I’ll say it again just in case.

In Sealkeeper, the
Kage-Bunshin is an obscure S-Ranked Kinjutsu.

This has been done
both because I think a technique that creates a perfect copy of a
person able to do everything they can and transfers their experiences
– somehow – back to the original over any distance with the only
weakness being that they dispel after taking a solid attack is
incredibly overpowered.

The second reason
is, being overpowered, I didn’t just want to hand it to him on a
silver platter.

Naruto had to work
for the overpowered technique and, more importantly, he had to work
for the solution to his administration issue. Just handing him a
fix-all technique for his problems from his loving godmother was too
easy. This way he’s actually accomplished something and is using the
results to better provide for his children.

It also opened the
gate for utilizing a Biju’s Chakra.

Not sure if you
noticed that, but for the first time he has willingly accessed the
Chakra of Karura. Even back with Mito he never asked for any of her
Chakra, so this is important. You’ll see more in the coming chapters
so I can’t continue too far down this train of thought, but suffice
to say it will not be the last time.

Add to that his
chains- which he still utilizes
just not in the vast quantities he did before – quality vs
quantity, skill vs raw strength – and Karura’s sand and he has a
nifty bag of tricks invaluable for any Shinobi.

Which leads us to
the next part of this;

Naruto is a
Shinobi.

He’s not a Chakra
sage, Mystic Knight, or some sort of Karate Wizard.

He. Is. A.
Shinobi.

When you ask how
he’s going to deal with people like Madara in the future when he
doesn’t have that sort of raw power I’m going to laugh at you and
mutter “Not from the fucking front, that’s for damn sure.”
because that’s not his character.

Actually, let’s
amend that. Naruto might be in the front, but that’s just to serve as
the face of the Wolves as they jump
at Madara’s exposed back. Naruto doesn’t fight fair, he doesn’t care
about open combat, and he would try to poison Madara long before he
stood across from him on a battlefield.

And if Madara just suddenly pops up without any time for him to
prepare? He still has two other options.

  1. He can try to ally himself with Madara.
  2. He can run the fuck away.

Pride has been an
issue for him in the past and I try to keep bringing it up. I don’t
know how well I’ve been conveying it, but each time he reacts more
calmly and he moves on more quickly. Slowly, he is letting go of his
pride, knowing that for the most part all it does is harm him.

Worse, it places
his children at risk.

What I’m getting
at there is by the time Madara becomes an issue- – you know, unless
I have plans in the work to nip that in the bud. Who knows? – he
should be capable of both of those options, especially if they’re for
the good of the Wolves.

And moving onto
the Wolves, I’ll just say it here so there’s no confusion about my
vision –

A good portion of
the Wolves are stronger than Naruto.

Danzo trained high
A-Ranked Shinobi in his ROOT program but very few of them were able
to be conditioned – or properly broken, if you prefer – to serve
his needs. Just because they’re failed ROOT agents doesn’t mean
they’re failed Shinobi. Like Naruto they prefer a blade to Jutsu but
they are capable of both.

Naruto is
currently considered high C-rank or low B-rank and he will probably
only reach an A-rank by the end of the story. But Naruto isn’t just
Naruto, Naruto is the Wolves which means you may not be fighting a
single SSS-Rank threat but you still have to face an army of A-ranked
opponents.

It is not an
attractive prospect.

And in case
there’s any confusion on rankings, I consider the majority of a
village’s forces to be made up of B-ranked Shinobi. A-ranked is
considered elite and S-ranked are more or less legends.

Note that my use
of “legend” is not completely accurate, as people like Deidara
are more “Infamous” for his actions than any sort of legend.
Also, when it comes to Rogue Shinobi part of their ranking is also
based on their bounty. If they have a bounty comparable to an
S-ranked mission (which would be an S-ranked bounty, naturally) then
they would be considered an S-ranked Rogue Shinobi.

It’s an earned
rank, certainly, but not the best way to judge the strength of your
opponent.

Just to wrap this
section up, I would like to point out that unlike in games where a
powerful opponent must take a certain amount of damage to be
defeated, an amount far greater than less powerful enemies, in the
real world – or at least my version of it – everyone – with a
few exceptions – dies after the same amount of damage. A blade to
the throat is a blade to the throat, it doesn’t matter how many Jutsu
you know or how much Chakra you have.

Naruto, the
Wolves, and every single person in the world of Sealkeeper can end
anyone with a single successful strike.

It might not be
easy, but it’s possible
and that’s the important part.

And with all that
said, I’ll consider this matter closed unless someone has further
questions on it in the future.

Chapter length

While I used to be
able to dedicate the time to provide 10k words every fifth chapter, I
no longer have that sort of time. I suppose I could dedicate the last
couple days of the week to making a longer chapter, but it probably
wouldn’t reach 10k. I will, however, consider doing something
similar. Perhaps a 7.5k chapter at the beginning or end of the month?
We’ll have to see how that goes.

The Mai Subplot

While I am quite
pleased with how things have played out for the Mai situation in the
story, the execution of it has certainly been lacking. I had been
looking forward to people fretting over a beloved character, not
calling her a traitor and wanting me to kill her off.

There was never
any “betrayal” planned, but when a large number of reviews called
it such I adopted the same terminology in an effort to explain it.
That was a mistake.

The biggest
mistakes, however, were my attempts to run damage control – which I
felt was necessary considering she didn’t show up again for a few
chapters, which was not actually by design. – and when I gave up on
trying to explain it and simply told you what would happen in chapter
85.

That was
unacceptable.

Things were not
helped when I made the genius decision to tease you about Mai’s lack
of presence.

Again, I like
what’s become of the story because of this subplot but I did not do
it well and I can see that clearly now. Hopefully I’ve learned from
this mistake and don’t make it again. If I do, though, I’m sure
you’ll point it out.

Communication

While from an
outside perspective strangers can see how foolish people are being,
miscommunication is nonetheless a common part of relationships. It’s
why communication is stressed so much when you’re talking about ways
to strengthen relationships and avoid marital conflict.

One reviewer–
MidnightRE – mentioned that Naruto was an idiot for lying to her
and expecting her not to find out. I’ll avoid spoiling anything, but
you’ll see it from his perspective in the next chapter. Is it still
dumb? Of course, just like telling loved ones you’re fine when you
aren’t, pretending to like something someone worked hard on, and
telling your children that there’s a fat man in red who comes down
your chimney.

We – or at least
people – lie to those they care about all the time and it’s more or
less expected in simple, polite conversation. “I’m well.” or
“That’s interesting” are probably two of the most common lies
you’ll encounter but it’s frowned upon to unload your troubles on
someone else or to tell someone you don’t care about what they’re
telling you.

While I agree it
causes unnecessary drama in the story, I also have to argue that it
causes unnecessary drama in real life too and that’s the feeling I
want to convey. For as many plot holes or logical fallacies I might
have included in my work, I still want it to feel real.

I have quite a ways to go, I’m aware, but that won’t stop me from
trying because I’ll never improve if I don’t experiment with my
writing.

Closing and the Community

In conclusion of
this commentary, I want to again take the chance to thank you all for
your support and for taking the time to give your feedback.

While Sealkeper
has been around for over three years now, I still consider it a
beginning. It marks the change from my previous experience as a
writer and has helped me grow tremendously. More than that, it has
managed to attract all of you.

I don’t want to
leave it there, however, I want it to keep growing. Not just the
story, not just the fanbase that will enjoy my future works, I want
the community that’s began to grow around this story to continue
growing. I want to create a community of people willing to take a
chance writing something and experience the joys of shaping worlds to
their whim.

Even after that, I
won’t be satisfied. I want to go beyond fanfiction at some point,
creating a group of writers and world-builders who can eventually lay
claim to their own original works and who have the support of an
entire community of like-minded readers and writers to help drive
them forward.

It’s a long ways
off, I know that, but we’re already off to a great start.

I know some of you
have begun working on your own stories and some of you have even
reached out to me for advice. Words cannot express my satisfaction in
seeing new writers emerge to continue the sacred art.

When we pour
ourselves into our work it’s not just fanfiction, it’s
the changing of worlds – one word at a time.

If
you have not already tried your hand at writing I would encourage you
to do so and if you need any help or advise please don’t hesitate to
reach out to me. Over the years I’ve had people there for me, I’ll be
here for you.

And
if there’s something I can do or provide that would help you all feel
more connected, let me know. I’ll do what I can to help make this a
reality.

Until I next have
your attention,

Eyazahrid

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