Hmm… On the one hand, I really like the idea of their “Land of Waves Arc” being a “ninja bio-weapon” arc? And while I’d love to have them have to fight the villains if only for the symmetry, they aren’t heavy-hitters like Team 7 and, honestly, none of them really bring much to combat that early on. Jiro has probably learned some lightning jutsu, but that’s probably the heaviest hit they have given that Sakura didn’t have anything relevant for combat that early and Youbirin’s character arc requires he be very quickly outclassed by his teammates… But having them see to the bio-weapon – and perhaps having to develop a counter-medicine when Masumi gets stricken by the disease herself? – is the most appropriate way to handle themselves so early on.
I like where her background is going, but I’ll propose a tweak: it’s not that they didn’t notice she was alive when they raided the prison camp she was in, but that she’d been transferred to a higher-security facility because they noticed her proficiency with medicine and put her to work. So it wasn’t that she was passed up but more so that they were too late to save her from further imprisonment. Like, if they’d been a week earlier they’d have found her in the first rescue mission.
I really like the drug to increase chakra output, because honestly it has the best reasoning for why she’d develop it and how badly it backfires. Now the real question is: when does she develop it (for the enemy as a POW or on her own for the village), who knows about it (Her, Kabuto, maybe OA-jounin or the Hokage?), and to what extent can the research be salvaged? Kabuto would have reasons to want to use it either way (i.e. Burn people up from the inside with their own chakra? No evidence of a crime! Or the standard increase in output if he can make a workaround) but it’d be nice to know which direction to take that in.
By the way, the OA-jounin was referred to as Takahiro-sensei by Sakura in Chapter 6. No surname given, but it probably isn’t important enough to give him one. Especially because then Masumi can refer to him as Hiro or Hiro-kun or something else diminutive and irreverent. Because they’re close and all.
As for the defibrillator hands… At the very least the Naruto universe is aware that electricity can mess with the musculature system, as seen in Shikako’s narration that lightning jutsu can cause paralysis. This was the idea that lead to the idea of defibrillators, so it’s not impossible for Jiro to develop his defibrillator hands based on that alone. Especially if it’s in an act of desparation; he’s trying to save someone, CPR doesn’t work and he doesn’t know anything for a stopped heart, so he tries lightning to make it start and it works. Which goes on to be a defining part of his arsenal.
For Takama… Yeah, that makes sense. He’s the weird uncle who didn’t become a medical-nin and has birds, so he’s probably really reclusive. He probably doesn’t even live on Nohara land, instead like, on a mountain hut or something. But Youbirin isn’t trying to become a standard medic, so at some point after Kabuto’s betrayal, Takama – who was probably paying some attention to the exams because family was in it for the first time in a long time – reached out to Youbirin to help him right his wrongs by showing him how to summon. Or maybe Youbirin went to find him because he’s family and apparently was once a reasonably powerful ninja and Youbirin needs all the help he can get to catch up. Or somesuch.
I do have a question about Team Medic in the forest, though. They obviously survive the forest, but do they confront the sound-nin? Sakura’s fight with the sound-nin was very important for her character development, plus the development of Lee and Sakura’s relationship. But the DoS version of that fight is really important to Shikako’s character development? So I’m not sure how to reconcile that fight in specific. It’ll be interesting, at least. I could shift the timing; the sound-ninja come across Team Medic early on, causing a fight that Lee interrupts to save Sakura. But the fight ends when Team Medic finds an escape route, but only after Sakura’s Important Hair Cut. (Her really cool “tank the hit” strategy really only works if she’s at the tree tending to Team 7′s woudns, which is another way to take the fight. But that’d lose Shikako’s first kill(s). So this is a hard fight to work around.)
We also need to figure out the adjusted fight pairings. Sakura and Ino face off like in canon, Shikako vs. Shikamaru is still a faceoff using DoS logic… Jiro and Youbirin can be faced off against Shino and Chouji, using Shikako’s “Weakest v. Strongest” logic and alleviating their anticlimactic fight. Which pairings of those four make the most sense, then? (There’s an even number of contestants in this AU, which is neat, so we can avoid dealing with the by-round) This would also probably, to immense irony, make the finals closer to canon. Kankuro forfeits his fight with Shino and Shikamaru and Temari get their strategy battle. If one of Ino and Sakura actually gets to win, though, (because of the alternate character/ability development of the AU) then they fight Temari using the “Pair the Kunoichi” logic. In which case Shikamaru and Shino fight as in DoS? And Kankuro forfeits his fight with Chouji. (Because there’s no way they’d let the anticlimax of Chouji and Shino happen in the finals.)
Also, at what point, exactly, do we want them shuffled back amongst the other teams? Like, we know it’s after the Sound Invasion/Konoha Crush, but how soon? Right after? And I’m like, 100% sure that Sakura should be brought along to find Tsunade – because it’s the best way to move up her training time table, plus she’s already an accomplished medic by that point – but how does Jiraiya come to the conclusion to bring her along with him and Naruto?
When Masumi first realizes that something is wrong with the C-rank–she keeps her genin away while she tries to work on the cure–but because of increased exposure and the stress of being the only jounin in charge of the entire situation and not entirely sure when their back up will appear just wears away at her.
And so the genin have to try to decipher her notes and continue developing the cure–which is doable since they spent a few months running her research reports to various parts of the hospital and helping her make her current drugs (though with her supervision). So it’s just a step beyond what they’ve already done–as opposed to expecting them to be able to fight a higher ranked enemy nin. (And it hits home all that much more that Team Medic is different from other teams–their enemy isn’t people, their enemy is poison/disease/injuries)
Oh, also, tangential, I kind of like the idea that Inuzuka Hana is on the back-up/tracking team. Because it’s canon that she’s a medic nin (even if it is for ninken instead of humans) and she’s a chuunin so that would make sense. Like–she may not necessarily be able to cure the bio-weapon but she’ll be able to handle herself against her. Just, you know, to sprinkle in some more canon cameos.
While I like the POW background I’m really unsure how much leeway she would get if she actually made anything for the enemy. But I’m also unsure how patient the enemy would be if her drugs didn’t have immediate results. So there’s a balance where she can’t just completely sabotage the project because the enemy would’ve killed her, but she can’t have been too successful because that’d be treason.
I think the increased chakra output drug does have the best narrative because it’s like the holy grail for medic nin who usually have small chakra reserves and could do so much more if they just had more chakra. So for it to backfire and become forbidden is very poignant. I don’t think this should be her POW drug, though, because that’s definitely treasonous to develop for enemies no matter how much she sabotages her own progress. Also the whole–burning the subject from the inside–thing isn’t something that the enemies would tolerate no matter how brilliant she is–they’d kill her as soon as her first subject dies. Well–they probably have her test it on other prisoners, so they might give her some leeway if the subject dies… hm… maybe it’s her POW drug? Just so we don’t have to come up with another drug?
Or maybe it was her POW drug which she sabotaged even if it meant the death of her fellow prisoners, and then when she gave a report of her experience Konoha was like–try to make it for real. Except she doesn’t actually know how to make it not kill people, so they just pull the plug on the project and it’s all swept under the rug as part of the mayhem of war.
Defibrillators aren’t used for stopped hearts IRL, they’re used for irregular heartbeats. Like to shock it back into a normal rhythm. I mean, it still basically follows the act of desperation thing. So… actually… maybe he develops it during their C-rank gone wrong? Like it’s one of the symptoms and Masumi-sensei is basically having a heart-attack and the genin really cannot have their sensei flatline so he just kind of… electrocutes her. -_- Jiro… what… I mean, it works and luckily Masumi can heal the burns when he accidentally overloads it. But, you know, it’s got a long way to go before it’s perfect.
I like the “Takama goes to watch the Exams” idea more than Youbirin goes to his hermit hut. Because it kind of explains why Youbirin didn’t know about him (another combat shinobi Nohara!) earlier and why, after the reveal of Kabuto’s betrayal, Takama gives him a bit of a pep-talk. Because if Youbirin came to him it’d be like–why should I help you–whereas if Takama goes to Konoha it’s–I have faith in our clan again, pull yourself up and get back out there you brat.
As for Forest of Death.. hm… Sakura being outnumbered and fighting back anyway is very important, I agree. Unsure how important I would deem Lee “rescuing her,” but it would make sense for him to follow her team… It doesn’t necessarily have to be the Sound Team, though–that wouldn’t make sense, actually, because the Sound Team were specifically going after Sasuke to test the curse seal. But what if the enemy ninja from their first C-rank was the relative of one of the genin? So there is that little bit of a grudge built in to it?
As for why Sakura ends up outnumbered… maybe she recognizes the poison they use a split second before her teammates do–before her perfect chakra control and her Tsunade training, her main strength was her encyclopedic knowledge–so she’s able to react fast enough (maybe not breathe in, or shut her eyes) that she doesn’t get exposed to it. And so her teammates get knocked out after a few minutes into the fight which leaves her up against three enemy genin. So it’s basically like the canon set up…
As for the prelim battles… well–how far have you gotten in DoS? I wouldn’t want to spoil who gets promoted (because it’s different than canon) but I don’t think Team Medic should affect that. Which means that you might be able to have Jiro fight someone who definitely doesn’t to the Third Round. And, of the three, I think Jiro does have the earliest development and it makes the most sense for him to make it to the Third Round. Probably not to get promoted necessarily… but definitely to make a decent showing. So probably Chouji v Jiro and Youbirin v Shino, that way you can get the canon-esque set up of in the Third Round. It’s a little hard for me to picture the prelims, it’s been a while–I feel like I need to chart it out.
I think… in order for Sakura to be brought along to find Tsunade, Team Medic should be split up pretty much immediately after the Sound Invasion–at the very least, before Itachi and Kisame show up. Which… isn’t exactly that long after the Invasion anyway.
As for why Jiraiya would bring her along. Again… how far are you in DoS? Well, in DoS Sakura’s training with Tsunade is already moved up–and that’s a Sakura who was in the Medic Corps, not a battle medic team. So this Sakura would have more confidence, and she’s now a part of Team Seven, and one of her teammates/patients is in a coma via the Tsukuyomi. So she probably goes to Jiraiya and demands to be included–because she is a medic who has lost her sensei and she’ll be damned if she loses one of her new teammates/patients… And Jiraiya sees this girl and thinks–this is basically Tsunade come again. Hell yeah, he’s bringing her along–though, of course, he’ll act very reluctant about it the entire time.
Yeah, that’s roughly the direction I’m headed with that. Maybe, maybe, they’ll be a thing where some of the straggling enemy ninja wander back into town to make sure everything’s progressing and Team Medic, as the only ones not sick or otherwise available, have to fight them off. But like, not very strong enemy ninjas. More reasonable level for them, I guess.
I’ll see what I can do about Inuzuka Hana. At the very least, it’ll be an interesting interaction. And alternative perspectives on being a medical-nin will help Team Medic form their own opinions and goals. Or somesuch.
Hmm… Yeah, that seems to be the best way around it. Like, she sabotages it, and at least one prisoner dies from it. And the enemy is considering using it for interrogation instead of for their men, because hey if they can’t use it one way… But before she refines the medicine either way she’s rescued, and destroys her notes because it’s something that mankind is not ready for.
If we don’t have her develop a drug as a POW, then she could have been forced to help with interrogations. I.e. they interrogate someone, bring them near death, and have her fix them up. Repeat until desired results. She could then develop the chakra drug when she’s older, and scraps it when the first test subject burns themself alive.
Takama going to the exams would also make him an interesting way to feel for the spectators of the final round, since that was the only round with spectators. So he goes – perhaps originally because he thought Youbirin had passed, and then the invasion happens, Kabuto’s treachery is revealed, he outs Youbirin as someone who helped him (or whatever), Youbirin fights back anyway, Takame helps Youbirin save face by giving him an in with the cranes.
If it’s an actually reasonable Genin team – i.e. not Orochimaru’s overpowered plants – then it’s not impossible for Sakura to win without assistance. Especially given the Sound ninja were Orochimaru plants, and thus way above Genin level. Now she might realize she needs more than the basics to survive, making her resolve to improve stronger.
This genin team may be connected to that, or maybe not. It could also be a team from Takigakure, because there were a few of those there. There was also a second sound team that didn’t pass the second exam, so it’s entirely possible to swap with another sound team. It’d be harder for Sakura to win in that case, but not impossible.
As for how far I am… I’m currently in the month between the prelims and the finals? It’s slow going with all of the work I’m doing for school, but I’m making progress. I was mainly avoiding sending Jiro on to round 3 because I wanted to avoid favoritism. But he is kind of my favorite… And pitting lightning versus Choji might actually work really well. I mean, Dosu won by taking advantage of the water inside his body…
It’d be neat if that was actually the opposite of what was intended when the battles were rigged. Like, the test proctors react in such a way that they were not expecting the civilian kid
– whose family isn’t even from Konoha –
to beat the heir to one of the most prominent clans of Konoha. And Masumi is just really smug about how well her student has done, because he’s not only an accomplished medic, but also a battle medic which was the entire point. It might even surprise Shikako, really, given she’d have no reference point for Jiro’s abilities like she does the other kids.
Also, I’m fully on board for the resolution to the “Early Tsunade training” thing. It provides Sakura with more narrative agency, something she desparately needs…
I’m wondering… for the Konoha side of trying to have Masumi develop the drug… is it Danzo or is it Minato “encouraging” her? Because that would be two very different ways to interpret the failed version of the drug and then the destroying of the notes…
It could be that Takama shows up in Konoha during the Exams as soon as the first part, even, as a sort of silent moral support and even though Youbirin is knocked out during the prelim, he still stays because… hey. There’s a battle Nohara again, finally, after how many decades? And sure he’s not in the top eight but he made it through the Forest of Death which is saying something.
Jiro just gets his power boost earlier than the other two, so it’s not really favoritism… and of the “clan heirs” that he could be up against, Chouji would be the easiest to defeat. Although I think Naruto beat Kiba in DoS using the single lightning jutsu Kakashi taught Team Seven? So maybe have Jiro follow after and knowingly copy his victory or try to alter it enough so it’s not an exact replay…
If possible, I think it would be cool to see Shikako react to Team Medic and–as readers, we know she’s confused because this would be the largest change she’s made and, specifically, a change that sustains itself–but maybe Team Medic has no idea why she’s reacting the way she is.