The story has made so much drama that you can't tell what is supposed to be subtle vs what is blunt. The story did not play with subtlety towards the end, but the story does play with symbolism a lot.
I don't disagree with his use of symbolism, but nothing post pain came across as subtle. I don't know if you ever saw Looney Tunes's spoof on the Scarlet Pimpernell, The Scarlet PUmpernickle. At the end Daffy runs out of script and just makes up a bunch of stuff as the other guy just keeps saying "and then what happened..."
Everything post-Pain has that feel to it. The Last, the Gaiden's, it all feels this way. So I'm relunctant to say those things are meant subtle digs to NH/SS and, in the case of the cord, more likely to attribute it to lazy and crappy writing. We are now 6 six years away from the end and nothing has born fruit.
That's the biggest question isn't it? What exactly did he want to do and what way did his story accomplish it? If we go by what the story, then what I'd argue is Kishimoto wanted to make NaruSaku canon, the studio wanted NaruHina canon...and since Kishimoto hate writing romance....it would only make sense he let someone else write it.
For me, it is not. My point with that is that I just don't care about the "why" of NH/SS. That he chose it and its poorly written schlock is it . If he came out tomorrow and said my editors or anime study made me do it...okay? You still did it and its still poorly written schlock. I suppose I might be more sympathetic to him as I do not know the power balance between publisher and author, except to know that it doesn't all belong to him. If he farmed it out to the studio, its the same.
The other thing is what is on the page is more concrete. Many of the arguments about the "why" involve divining intent from very limited interviews. In short, the ending sucks. It's on the page. Nothing he says will change it, so I don't care if it was his idea or not or what is trying to accomplish.
I mean I guess it might make the NH/SS fandom mad? I don't care enough about them to worry about it.
That's why the interviews are also strange. Hinata and NH was never HIS intention. His focus was the bond between Naruto and Sasuke. The bond of brothers. Go by the interviews and Kishimoto had no intentions to push Hinata to the forefront....ever. She was never meant to be special, but she was made special because the studio told him "this character is popular. Let's milk her for money."
At least in Naruto, she never was pushed to the forefront. She's s special only if you define "getting with Naruto" as being special. That's part of the problem. While I'm not sad that he didn't repeatedly bring a character that bored me to the forefront, the whole problem is that he does nothing with her. The Last is a testament to just how weak the development was.
On purpose? No. I think Kishimoto is basically saying "You want SS and NH to be together? Alright, but they are not exactly great together." Remember, all the positive NH and SS stuff doesn't come from Kishimoto, it came from someone else. Supported by the fact he even says that SS at least is more akin to a drug addiction and any reason for their relationship happening is contrived.
He only put NH and SS together because he was told that is what the fanbase wanted...and then when he did it he was surprised by the rift the fanbase created. I have to wonder if he is like "Why did they want NH and SS together if the hate these couples so much?" You begin to realize it is not the couple they loved, it was the character Hinata. Hinata wanted Naruto...that is why they want NH. They didn't love Naruto, or Sasuke or Sakura. They ll loved Hinata and that is all they cared about.
This is contrary to Kishimoto who cared about Sasuke and Naruto more.
End game for who? Kishimoto or the studio? Cause it is a huge difference in this which is why I believe the bento boxes mean something more. Naruto cares about Sakura and her child over his own. This is the double edge sword. Why then have Naruto ignore the bento from Boruto, but act like it is a gift from god when Salad hands him it? Why have Naruto so surprised and give this speech about bonds if Salad is Sakura's child any way? Can't have it both ways otherwise you diminish the meaning like you said.
Why did Kishimoto make Naruto Gaiden at all? Who really wanted it to be done?
My main point is that the theories being floated don't make any sense in terms of underlying motivations from either the publisher's or author's point of view. At least the idea that this is all a shameless cash grab makes sense in that its a rational motive.
But putting them together and making them unhappy is a middle-finger. Doing such things in a by-the-book hero's journey story is doing exactly that. Naruto isn't a story where tropes regarding that journey (including rommance) are being intentionally subverted or critiqued.
It's one where he saves the world and overcomes his obstacles. An ending where the main characters are trapped in unhappy romances? That would so utterly tone deaf. And I don't mean in terms of reading the audience. The ending is a happy one, doing that is so totally at odds with that tone.
Sakura Gaiden is the same. It ends with the three of them being happy together, but then his sending subtle message in the same story (cord) and in another gaiden that everyone is unhappy despite the tone of all those endings?
If he's behaving how you say, then its impossible to believe he's not intentionally flipping someone off on his way out.
As for Boruto, I could see it as cheap character drama, but then you should expect a happily ever after resolution to it all.
Some people just like to watch franchises burn, I guess.
I agree. But Shonen Jump isn't Lucas Film. I haven't seen anything that suggest they or Kishomoto are some of those people.
Why not? Toriyama has been doing it a lot lately especially with all the rules changes in Super. "Oh you like Future Trunks? You want an evil Goku? Let's make the Goku Black saga and bring in future Trunks for marketing."
Honestly, I have to wonder if Road to Ninja was supposed to be the "soft reboot" we all should have got since it is "the movie he wanted to do."
The Future Trunks Saga didn't turn a shonen series into Days of Our Lives. That is what trying to switch pairings at this point would do.