Naruto has come a long way since it first debuted, but the franchise hasn't forgotten where it came from. Sure, heroes like Naruto Uzumaki are grown up now, but that doesn't mean Team 7 is ready to leave its past behind... or any of its former opponents.
For those who don't know, Naruto is alive and well these days despite Naruto: Shippuden having ended. Not only is Studio Pierrot doing a sequel to the show, but Shueisha is still expanding the franchise through spin-off novels. So, if you have a thing for Haku, you will want to check out Sasuke Shinden.
Over on Reddit, Organic Dinosaur shared an intense translation of the spin-off, and it was there fans caught on to the book's Haku nod. The fan-translator delved into its prologue, and it saw Sasuke Uchiha give props to Haku even after the Ice User had died.
The novel opens with Sasuke and Konohamaru putting out a fire as a train was attacked by strange villain. While the latter tried to evacuate passengers, Sasuke was quick to take out the flames. When Konohamaru met up with the Uchiha heir, the younger man saw that the flames weren't extinguished with water but fire.
As Sasuke explains, taking out such a large fire with water would have created a lot of high-temperature steam. The fallout could have caused as much harm as the flames themselves, so Sasuke took a book from Haku and tried to mirror the boy's famous Ice Release.
"When you combine together Fuuton and Suiton, the resulting water vapour becomes frozen over," Sasuke explains. When Konohamaru asks if the older man was able to use Hyouton, Sasuke says his attempt was a cheap imitation of what Haku could actually do.
"It's close, but it's not the very thing itself. In the past, I fought an enemy who could, but it's an imitation of the technique. It's not even comparable to that guy's power at all."
So, there you have it Haku. Sasuke Uchiha admits he can't live up to your icy prowess, but you got to hand it to the former rogue; At least he could pull it off to some degree. Talk about that Uchiha genius, yeah?
For those unfamiliar with Naruto, it has quite a storied history. Originally created by Masashi Kishimoto, the series ran in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump for 700 chapters. The story follows Naruto, a young ninja with a sealed demon within him that wishes to become the leader of his home village. The sequel, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is set several years after the events of the original Naruto story and featuring the children of many of its key characters such as Naruto and Hinata.
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