Peins and the Gaara Syndrome

This is Mollie (Ibiki Teishi) with a ‘back from hiatus’ post.  First, let me thank everyone for their support through what’s been a difficult time for me.  For those of you wondering, I did lose my mom to a terminal disease.  When I first learned what was about to happen, I had no idea that she would leave us so soon, so I cleared the decks preparing for a long journey.  Sadly, it wasn’t so long, but as terrible as it was, she taught me some incredible things right up to the end. One was: there is nothing so brutal it cannot be made easier with a bit of humor.  That being said, it is great to be back among you, and I’m not going to mention that dreadful real life stuff again–so please don’t feel like you need to either.

Gaara wallpaper by Koolio123, click to download.

Gaara wallpaper by Koolio123, click to download.

The Gaara Syndrome.  What is that, you ask?  Well, it is Naruto’s gift for the conversion of hearts, isn’t it?  You didn’t know Naruto was a televangelist, did you?  If you call now with your donations, he’ll put you on the list of the saved and offer sage prayers for you dearest desires.  First mentioned in the 420 post on this blog, the Gaara Syndrome is the speculation that Naruto can turn even the sickest, most evil bastard inside out through his influence.

I’m not convinced, but then, I’m always a skeptic when it comes to this kind of thing. There was a poll, back then, that asked if Naruto was going to convert Peins to the light side of the force. (Yes, I’m intentionally using that spelling and the plural to make the name look like Penis…catch up). Something like 85% said no way in hell. I wonder if that result still stands?

Some folks have been commenting lately about Naruto’s miracle legacy with Gaara, and lastscorp put the prediction of a Peins/Gaara parallel right into a recent comment. So, hmmmmm, I wonder…is it just possible? 

Remember what Gaara was like before we met Shukaku?  (No.  Der, I didn’t say Shikamaru’s DAD, that’s Shikaku not Shukaku. *snicker* I hope the kanji symbols are way different in the Japanese, because these names are just too close.)  Back in the day, Gaara seemed like a psychopath through and through. Then, slowly, Kishi evolved him into a poor, ill-fated child whose angst was not only unbearable, but also pretty well justified.

Gaara clips from Chapter 97

Gaara clips from Chapter 97

In the anime filler (eps 216-219), one of the last episodes sets up the complete change in Gaara. In this series, Gaara has to protect the other shinobi, but refuses to access his demon power and risk getting out of control. He manages to pull off some incredible moves and risks his life to save everyone without ever losing himself to his personal demon.

All this, thanks to the choices Naruto revealed to him.

He thought being possessed meant being only a tool and a monster, but Naruto showed him that he had free will. Sure, you’re still a monster Gaara, but that doesn’t mean to have to act like one.

After the time skip, the whole rescue Gaara (the Kazekage) arc begins and we get an even more sympathetic glance into what made him such a psychopath and why he was able to come out of it. You see, I strongly believe that is wasn’t just Naruto’s influence that helped turn Gaara around, it was his own sadness and torment at the things Shukaku had done (through him) to his family.

Kankurou doesn't doubt the Kazekage, he was a witness to Gaara's conversion (chapter 248)

Kankurou doesn't doubt the Kazekage, he was a witness to Gaara's conversion (chapter 248)

If you look at the flashback clips from Shippuden, that struggle is pretty evident. I’ve included a fabulous AMV by Grace of Darkness here that just really captures that struggle. The vid itself starts at 30 seconds and ends at 3:25 if you’re pushed for time. BTW, the timing on this is the best part, so pause and let it buffer/download if it jumps. This is probably the best AMV I’ve ever seen; I love it because it concentrates on the struggle between Gaara the human and Gaara the jinchuriki.

Kankurou showed us in chapter 248, through a flashback, that Gaara changed himself because of Naruto’s influence. But it was their similarity that made that happen.

Gaara testifies to his brother...

Gaara testifies to his brother...

Naruto was strong enough to beat the crap out of Gaara, to stop his rampage, that was the first step. Naruto also let Gaara know they were the same and pointed out to him that he didn’t have to be a psychopath just because he’d had a hard life or had a demon inside him or whatever put his brain chemicals out of whack.

The big lesson of Naruto, for Gaara, was that he had a choice about how he behaved. He could live like a tool, as everyone expected of him, but that (in the end) being a tool was a personal choice.

So Gaara had this grand moment of conversion (testify!), he repented, became Kazekage and a force for good.

And I couldn’t let this moment pass without putting up a video of some people celebrating their own conversions. If you’re pressed for time, be sure to start this one at about 0:50 when things really heat up and watch until 1:35 when the scrawny li’l lady in blue knocks over the tubby guy walking around like a chicken (over the guy rolling around on the floor). No, this isn’t to make fun of anyone’s religion…it’s the juxtaposition onto Gaara that makes this ROFL funny.

SO…what about Peins, then?

According to my way of thinking Nagato does likely still have the compassion and tormented heart that Jiraiya sensed in him so long ago. That parallels nicely with the Gaara conversion.

Naruto and Gaara had an instant and intense recognition of similarity in each other. They were both jinchuriki, with monsters locked inside. They were outcasts and treated like dirt because of the way they were made.

But Peins don’t have that, do they? Nagato may still be human in there, somewhere deep inside the puppet bodies, deep in his still beating heart. But is there anything linking Naruto and Nagato so deeply together? (Besides the similar spelling of their names…)


Okay, that frickin hurt me...someone tell me Im nuts, FAST!!!!!

Okay, that frickin' hurt me...someone tell me I'm nuts, FAST!!!!!

The common thread would be Jiriaya. Is he holy enough of a sage to spark the conversion in Nagato’s heart? I’m not convinced, but you’ve heard enough from me. What do you all think?


~ by 千手 鼾弟子 Ibiki Teishi on January 22, 2009.

51 Responses to “Peins and the Gaara Syndrome”

  1. First!!!!! victory is mine!
    Great post. I seriously doubt pein will repent. He will be like Gaara at his breaking point, but try to do a Freiza-cut-in-half-final-attempt move.

  2. second?

  3. Second it is, Reynaldo, and welcome!

  4. Hey Ibiki, there was another factor in Gaara’s conversion. Naruto Kicked his a$$. Gaara kept asking, “Why is this guy so strong.” The answer came back, “because I’m protecting people that I care for and who have come to care for me.”

    Pain already thinks he’s protecting people from war and the strife it creates. He will have his A$$ kicked and be convinced that there’s a different path (no pun intended) to achieve his goal.

    I think he ultimately turns back to the path of light.

  5. I attempt to defend my logic. Nagato did have the depressing childhood. But he didn’t have people giving him “those eyes”, like Gaara’s childhood and Sora(filler). Nagato’s “pain” seems personal, and otherwise doesn’t seem to have people hating him just to hate him. I just think he’s to emotionally weakened. He is anti-naruto. instead of rebeling via pranks and finding a positive goal, he decided to try to plunge the world into hate and fear. (sorry if this double post)

  6. Thank you for pointing that out, jdb, I actually mentioned that ass kicking (“Naruto was strong enough to beat the crap out of Gaara, to stop his rampage, that was the first step.”)

  7. sorry, it logged me out. i’m anonymous up there

  8. Gaara had no one like Naruto; that is what Naruto saw in him. Negato had Yahiko and Origami girl. Plus he had J-man for a while. I’m even thinking it wwasn’t long after that Madara started twisting his head. Gaara didn’t kill anyone. He was trying to run away the whole time then the beast came out and he went nuts. Plus he got hurt physically for the first time. For all their similarities I see a lot that distiguishes them as individuals too.

  9. Excellent post, How did you rip it out so fast? That said, one more point of contention…

    You said, “He [Garra] thought being possessed meant being only a tool and a monster, but Naruto showed him that he had free will.’
    My interpretation was that Gaara had been told all his life that he was a monster who was despised and feared by everyone in his village, including his father. Even his uncle who appeared to be the only nurtering figure in his life eventually showed his true illwill toward Gaara. Gaara decided that it was him against the world; so he cultivated the fear and loathing that was directed at him. He determined that the way to gain power was to fight only for himself and kill all of his enemies.

    Naruto, who was so similar to Gaara, could have turned into the same kind of monster. Instead he determined that protecting his friends and allies was the reason to fight and gain more power.

    After being beaten by Naruto, Gaara began to wonder if fighting for others could also serve to help him becaome more powerful, and that was the impetus for his change of heart.

  10. My bad Ibiki, the second sentence should have read, “After Naruto Kicked his a$$, Gaara kept asking, “Why is this guy so strong.” ….That’s better.

    My point was, Naruto showed Gaara that protecting others makes you more powerful than fighting for yourself. It wasn’t just free will that changed Gaara, it was the thought of a different path to power and the genuine respect of his peers.

  11. I’d like to believe that Pain will turn back to the light, but I just don’t think it’s going to happen – mainly because of Kakashi’s comment to Granny Chiyo that through even the smallest conversation, Naruto can make a friend/believer out of anyone. The problem is, I just don’t see Naruto taking the time to chitty chat with Pain long enough to find out about his past. If the spoilers are true, this is going to be a straight-up a$$ beating. However, it would be interesting if Pain used the pause when Naruto’s sage mode wears off to spout off his rhetoric, opening the door for Naruto cut in and convert another person.

  12. lol love it ibi, great work as usual and yes you got me on the title. I was like what’s up with gaara and his penis? Gaara and Pein differ in so many ways besides being absolutely kick ass ninjas… Pein is committed to his way of life and there’s o convincing him of anything else… he’s even using the body of his fallen friend to due his bidding like some momento, even making it the most powerful body probably in an attempt to make the world the way yahiko wanted it even in death… Naruto might be able to change Nagato’s mind til the very end but pain will die, and even if he doesn’t die now and helps naruto, madara will only take him out like right away becasue madara knows all about pain’s secrets and probably know’s where nagato is at all times so he can just teleport over and kill him if need be…

  13. @Elfarren: lol, speaking of chitty chat, common thread and J-man…the new issue is out and Nagato tells Naruto what they have in common. And you were right, it’s too late for
    talky talk.

  14. I believe Pain will remain “evil” until just before he dies and then he’ll sacrifice himself or give a present to our heros or … . Basically he’ll do something good to repend his sins and then he’ll die.

    He’ll pull a “Sasori”.

  15. Pain has a stronger sense of his ideals than Garaa. He doesn’t seem likely to back down. In addition Pain is in a position where he holds mutiple occupations and duties that could easily conflict with anything Naruto can come up with. Also something about Naruto trying to kill him because he pwned very badly Konoha doesn’t fit to well with the conversion.

    Random People: Hey isn’t that the guy that single handly wiped out over 2000 of our friends and family. No there was a girl too…

    Random People: I don’t ****, JUMP HIM!

    *Hordes of villagers surround Konan and Pain at the ichimaki Ramen Shop

    Konan: The number of people its, its…

    Pain: Its over 9000!!

    Pain & Konan: Well **** this won’t end well.

  16. Pein really is a Psychopathic villain a la Orochimaru. Oro at least had his status as sannin to give him some humanity. I mean, how could a teammate of Jiraiya’s be all bad, right? And J-man clearly liked and respected him at some point, so there must be something about him. Right?

    Pain trained with Jiraiya, but then he and Konan killed him. So that chance of redemption in my mind just…evaporated. Then the Tensei A-hole bomb just put him on a whole other league from Oro’s human experiments. Not sure why, maybe because the human experiments seem more like mental illness and dropping the bomb seems more like pre-meditated douchebaggery. I just can’t see him redeeming himself in my mind…no matter what he might do to repent.

  17. @ Ibiki: I think the new manga posted about an hour after I wrote that comment, so when I saw Pain start talking to Naruto about Jiraiya I was like “No freaking way!”. Then Naruto pwned some of his realms and everything was better *LOL*

  18. @Elfarren: I did the same! It was a true moment of AWESOMENESS. I love it when that happens. Thanks! ^.^

  19. I have to say it before someone else does (or they may have already). Yes, Naruto had two balls in Boss Toad’s mouth. I know, I know I’m sick with myself too.

  20. @EroSennin: I almost spewed coffee on my keyboard. LMAO…

  21. hey ibi….i think there’s some problem with the link connecting the penis gaara syndrome from the 431 discussion pain…

    @ero-sennin- Not only that but after that naruto came out panting and tired O.o!!!

  22. Harshy: which link? I just checked what I thought you meant (the 420 post and lastscorp’s comment…). Crap…post and I’ll fix later. Gotta go…

    *later: nvm, I found it. Thanks, Harshy!

  23. wow….a thread talking about me being kicked around by naruto, just coz i ain’t got shukaku now doesn’t mean you can push me around you know…:p

  24. garra was actually a good person from the beginning yea he wanted to hurt people but he never wanted to bring out his beast and kill people

  25. @ jjjjjjj – u are right Gaara would have rather killed with his own bare hands rather than the bijuu’s back in the day.

    Desert Coffin!

    Remember the sound nin…

  26. I believe Garra was strongr when he didnt use his bijuu

  27. Hell Yeah i was!

  28. Ibiki: Wonderful as always. I don’t see Gaara and Nagato as having the same psychosis. Gaara most likely suffered with a form of psychosocial disorder stemming from his childhood environment (E. Erikson), and Naruto intervened with psychosocial support. Where as Nagato on the other hand, with the delusions of greatness (Messiah/God complex), seems to have a neurobiological illness like: Schizoaffective Disorder. Now, we have no evidence of hallucinations, though we do have knowledge of manic episodes (i.e. periods of rain based on Nagato’s mood). At the very least a Delusional disorder: Grandiose Type. Now, unless Naruto is planning some real intense therapy (I mean years of inpatient treatment), and learned some psychopharmaceutical sage techniques, then Nagato is a dead man.

  29. Gaara was never shown actually killing anyone during the entire manga, except in self defense. The one case that borderlines it, is at the Chuunin trials, facing the umbrella man and his two stools.

    He might have tried to kill Lee but was stopped. Same with Sasuke. So in the end He never killed any important character and the door for redemption and acceptance was left opened by the writer.

    Pain? Hmmm lets see…killed Jiraya. Think Naruto is going to forgive him and let him go?

    Destroyed Konoha. Sure, He made building contractors and real estate agents wet their pants in joy, but too many Konoha ninjas perished to satisfy his…whim. Or lesson if you prefer.

    At best Pain might repent, pull a Vader and die. But happy ending for him? Not a chance.

  30. EroSennin…omg…i just choked AND spewed soda on my keyboard…

  31. @Ibiki: Is that a cyber-snowball? ;P

    *the girls like it when I talk nerdy to them……NOT!*

  32. …five miniutes later and I’m still trying to get a good breath. I don’t know if anyone else found that as funny as me…but that’s three times today you stopped my heart and woke up my endorphins. ^.^

    Are you as good with your hands as you are with your words?! BWAHHHhh…..

  33. …snowball…uh…make that 4 times now…quit turning me on…

  34. *In overcompensating machismo (ma-cheese-mo) voice* “Oh yeah, I got the maturity, and the experience, and the…….*falls asleep in rocking chair*

  35. *wakes up mid rock* ‘hmm? you say something?’ I’m a few rocks ahead of you, so be sure to speak up.

  36. LOL, ok I don’t know about anybody else but I seriously thought this post said “Penis and the Gaara Syndrome” Geez was I wrong. Thought this was a post speculating that Gaara was gay and I was gonna have to lay down a smackdown on anyone who said that, lol. ^^

  37. Note: Sorry to post twice but I feel I have to say that this is no way, shape, or form criticizing gays so don’t even think about bring it up. Or else I’ll unleash a Double Rasengan so far up your A$$!!!

  38. I haven’t read the comments above so im sorry if im repeating the idea, BUT i think that the only people naruto is/will be/can be successful with his gift of “turning to the side of the light” are ppl who can do sth good. As in Neji ebing a Konoha, Sasuke only becoming evil cuz he got hurt and is an emo, Gaara also having gone through some awful Sophocles tragedy..etc. None of these guys, however, had done anything like actually kill their friends, families etc.
    I know that Sasuke killed Itachi, but that was, in some emo way and purpose, justified in the minds of the “good”. Gaara also killed some dudes, but COME ON,they were minor characters no one knew or cared about. In all cases, the damage induced by these characters were still reversible, as in, the reader, as well as the “good” characters and NARUTO could still forgive them and accept them on the “good” side.

    Accepting Pein, the douche who killed Jiraiya, our idol (even tho im a girl :)), destroyed Konoha, was too cowardly to even show his real self while doing so, and got involved in many other atrocious crimes including choosing SUCH a douchy name as PEIN, will be another issue. So i think it’s too late for Pein to get converted, perhaps not cuz he lacks the ability to empatise and tranform his character, but just cuz its too late for the both worlds (reader’s and Naruto’s) to actually accept him and trust him as a good character.
    He’s a major character murderer. “Unforgivable”

  39. i dont think any good could come of pein being ‘converted’. that would kinda ruin the story for me. its about time we saw some serious naruto get down to some serious pwnage and peins ass whoopin is way overdue. plusnarutos sage mode is totally frickin awesome n im pretty sure we havent even seen half of the stuff he learned. although i dont think its likely i want naruto to actually pwn someone without gettin the shit beaten outta him 1st . i must say hes the best person in the whole manga for takin a beatin and has probably the most comebacks in fights

  40. I think Pain would only join Naruto if he thought his friends were going to get hurt. If Pain still has Nagato’s logic then that is what would stand in his mind. The reason Nagato uses the Pain as his defense is he would rather have peace over everything in the first place. Actually he is sort of similar yet different to Garra at the same time. Still it has been stated before, it is more than awkward being next to the guy and girl that more than just owned the entire village. However the thing about joining sides is people end up setting things aside. Maybe I am thinking in reverse and Konan is the one who would protect Pain/Nagato at all costs. Its even more strange that it is set up like all three of the team are still together, though technically that is not the case.

  41. Kyouto, did you get my e-mail? Please check it…it’s time to judge the contest…if you still can…?

  42. I was wondering about that, thought I had been ditched. Anyway I sent an email.

  43. Nuuuuu! You hadn’t been ditched! I’d never do that to anyone…I talk tough, but that’s coz I’m really a marshmallow. >.> Don’t tell anyone.

    Sorry if my sudden hiatus made you feel bad, it wasn’t anything to do with you.

  44. this is my last resort.

    i do think that the gaara-conversion is truly a naruuto-influence but in pein’s case, pein killed jiraiya, and that’s a big deal. revenge must e done. like shika, naruto must revenge his master. how the hell if naruto says “we are the same nagato, i’ve experienced pain too, but how you will respond to it is a choice. it doesn’t mean that we all must taste the wrath of pain (blah blah blah)..” and the revenge-jiraiya will suddenly fade? that can’t be! that pervy sage is worth a revenge!

  45. According to that gaara testify, “he knew pain like I did. And then he taught me that you can change that path”. Maybe Naruto can pull it off. Gaara knows all. Maybe he’s saying a hidden message. “Me and pein were tight, and pein and Naruto were tight. He helped straighten out what pein taught me. Surely there must be a way to fix up pain.”

    Naruto: There is a way, and don’t call me surely

  46. No worries. I just sent in the votes.

  47. did u hav a hard childhood. villagers see u as a monster. mom and dad were killed by your brother. u have a swashsticker on your forehead. then u need the naruto “gaara syndrom pack”.

    three easy to listen to cassetes contain the fundementals of getting past ur pain.
    cassette 1 contains narutos speaches on how his life is shitter than urs.
    cassette 2 contains naruto telling u to believe in urself and others.
    and cassette 3 contains repititions of “dattebayo” and “im going to be hokage”. here are comments from previous clients.

    gaara: i used to bury people in sand but now iv learnt to bury my emotions deep down instead. until they fester into a mental illness 🙂

    neji: i was a douche who used to beat quiet women with short hair. now im a douche whos a jounin.

    george w. bush: TACOS RULE!

  48. ROTFL at “wouldn’t u like to know” classic!

  49. The thing is, Nagato purposely uses puppets.

    He knows that if he fights people face to face, they’ll be able to see how he feels. They’ll be able to speak to him and see his reaction, and react accordingly to his emotions to change his mind.

    Btw, I’ve always had the idea that Nagato will use Jiraiya’s body to fight Naruto. Next time Naruto sees Pain, it will be Jiraiya Pain. Nagato will try to play tricks on Naruto.

    But we’ll see whether or not Naruto will be able to change Nagato’s mind if he ever meets the real Nagato.

  50. ano 2?

  51. so sad 2 hear she`s 2 this website.i`m a gaara faatic.gaara guy`s,i`m free!but i`m…..but if you like brunets with icy blue eyes…..

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