After I have particularly vivid dreams, I ask myself when I wake up, “What on Earth did I eat last night?” That especially goes for a dream I had last night. One wouldn’t think that a scene of Michael the Archangel combating spiritual evil would have anything to do with an important theme from the earliest episodes of the Naruto anime, but lo and behold, that’s what happened last night!
Allow me to explain myself, because I know that these two things don’t have anything in common at first glance. After all, Naruto isn’t a Christian anime, although one could draw strong parallels from certain scenes and characters. In this case, the parallel comes from the very first few episodes of the series, where Naruto ended up learning very quickly that some members of his village were incredibly unscrupulous, and willing to abuse his trust in them to achieve their evil ends. Aka, Mizuki the scumbag.
When this dream began, Naruto was playing a game with a Mountain Spirit who manifested a massive, craggly face on a mountain somewhere outside of the Hidden Leaf Village. This spirit, while generally misanthropic and disdainful towards humans, had somehow taken a liking to Naruto because the two of them were both loners, albeit for different reasons. While Naruto and the Mountain Spirit had another friendly chat with one another during a game where Naruto tried to throw rocks into his mouth, the Spirit suddenly paused to give him a warning.
Naruto listened in confusion as the Spirit warned him about a floating Temple nearby containing individuals who could end up posing a serious threat to him. At least, I think that’s what the dialogue was about. Unfortunately I can’t remember word-for-word what was said to Naruto in this moment. But I do recall that the general gist was while the Temple being described was beautiful on the outside, its inhabitants had ugly hearts.
The dream camera then switched away from Naruto and the Mountain Spirit to the aforementioned Temple. It looked like a Greco-Roman temple that had been ripped out of the earth and left suspended in the sky by some unknown means. Much of the architecture was Grecian in design, and I saw what looked like symbols of the Roman Empire. Evidently, what I was looking at was a testament to that era. There were at least two dozen people wandering around this multi-tiered floating temple.
Something was obviously off about this place though. Not only had the old Mountain Spirit warned Naruto that these people lacked good intentions, there was something ominously distant about them. Next thing I knew, Michael the Archangel materialized outside the temple, decked out in plate armor and wielding a massive broadsword with one hand.
Michael entered the temple, and the suddenly agitated denizens tried to attack him. Well, that was a huge mistake, because Michael easily defeated them one by one, weaving around them in an elegant blade dance, cutting them down with smooth efficiency. As if this Temple and its inhabitants weren’t bizarre enough, there wasn’t a drop of blood to be seen during this battle. It was a tell-tale sign that what Michael was up against wasn’t human.
The key moment in this scene happened when Michael encountered a male inhabitant of the floating Temple who, under normal circumstances, would’ve seemed to be a teddy bear. This man watched Michael warily, while whispering something malicious under his breath to a female temple dweller next to him. This man offered Michael a peaceful embrace like he would with a brother, but it wasn’t a symbol of peace. Michael already knew that what this guy was trying to do was trick him into lowering his guard so that the man could use supernaturally-enhanced strength to crush him in his grip.
Michael quickly slew them both, and once again there was no blood to be shed. Because Michael is famous for being the Archangel who helps us overcome spiritual evil in all its forms, I realized in hindsight that he had defeated embodiments of a certain abstract spiritual evil. This evil was a sin of the heart, the malicious intention to abuse somebody’s trust.
See, this theme actually made an appearance in the first episodes of Naruto, when the audience was only starting to learn why Naruto was so despised by his fellow villagers. Naruto was struggling to make it through the Ninja Academy, and was trying to seek understandable compassion from his mentors Iruka and Mizuki. While Iruka genuinely felt sympathy for Naruto despite his tough love demeanor, Mizuki was only putting on an act so that he could use Naruto to obtain forbidden power. By smiling and gently assuring Naruto that he was the boy’s friend, he successfully abused Naruto trust so that he could obtain a scroll of knowledge containing a forbidden ninja technique.
As it goes, Iruka found out about this plot, and arrived just in time to prevent Naruto from handing the scroll off to his deceitful mentor. Just as Mizuki finished mocking Naruto while revealing that everybody in the village hated him for being the unwitting container for the Nine-Tailed Fox Demon that had ravaged their home years earlier, he tried to kill Naruto with a massive weapon. But Iruka leapt in the middle just in time to save Naruto from a mortal blow, snapping Naruto out of his horrified silence and motivating him to use his newfound technique to wipe the floor with Mizuki.
You see, this is what tends to happen to people who deliberately misuse others trust of them. They get put in their place, one way or another.
This entire dream sequence was so bizarrely specific, I can’t help but wonder what inspired it. I haven’t watched the first episodes of Naruto in years. And that flying temple filled with the living embodiment of this particular evil, that’s so detailed. Where did all of this come from?