Though it starts out similar to canon, it very quickly devolves into something a lot more complex, involving original missions and plenty of scheming within Konoha and the rest of the ninja world. Despite the "smarter and darker" setup, Chiaroscuro does well in avoiding the overpowered hero pitfall by consistently setting up believable challenges and mistakes, caused by incomplete information rather than logical errors. It also regularly features many different types of intelligence, such as strategy, logic, deception, self-awareness, and maturity, and with it, strong yet relatable characters.
With its distinctive blend of humor and drama, Chiaroscuro definitely lives up to its name.
(Not to be confused with Chiaroscuro, the art trope.)
- The Chiaroscuro Effect A forum created on ff.net, for extras and short writing blogs by the author, as well as inspired works.
- boomvroomshroom's links Fanart compilation.
Fanfic/Chiaroscuro provides examples of:
- Actually Pretty Funny: The only reason why Kakashi gets away with half the stuff he pulls.
- Anti-Hero: Many of the shinobi have darker characterizations due to psychological issues.
- Brick Joke: In chapter 5, Shikamaru finds a bag of sunflower seeds in a tent bag and tosses it. In chapter 51, the team notices an out-of-place patch of sunflowers growing among the trees. While Shikamaru wonders where it came from, Kakashi suggests that it might have fallen out of someone's tent bag."Normal people don't store sunflower seeds in tent bags."Kakashi-sensei honest-to-goodness giggled.
- Boring Yet Practical: Kawarimi, Henge, and the Headhunter are often used, and for good reason.
- Broken Ace: All of the child prodigies are described as this.
- Calvin Ball: Somehow ninja chess ends up involving playing cards and kunai.
- Combat Pragmatist: Ino defeats Lee in the Chunin exams by spamming genjutsu and then hitting him when he is busy taking off his leg weights.
- Even Kakashi admits that Raikiri is too loud and flashy to be a reliable technique. He has other original techniques, but up until Orochimaru, no one lived to tell the tale.
- Sakura also counts, when she gets around Neji's Byakugan by using auditory genjutsu instead.
- Cool Big Sis: Ino, after she understands Naruto a bit more.
- Crazy-Prepared: Even goes down to explaining some important details like always researching the terrain and targets before starting a mission.
- Cutting the Knot: Because Kimimaro's bones were too strong for regular attacks, the Akatsuki simply immobilized him with a genjutsu and choked him to death instead.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Shikaku creates one, which he teaches to Shikamaru. It's later revealed to be a rediscovery of the same technique Kaguya used to create Black Zetsu.
- Dark Humor: The characters often laugh at cruel things, including their own comrades dying, because the only other alternative is to be scared.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Played with.
- Dope Slap: Naruto gets this a few times in the beginning, from Ino.
- Dumb Blonde: Averted. Ino is sneakier than she looks. Naruto also wises up more than in the main series.
- Evil Lawyer Joke:"Giant, bloodsucking, parasitic insects. Are you sure it wasn't a lawyer?"
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin:"Great Heavenly Rotation!"
There were great gasps from the crowd. "What is that technique?" they were saying.
Obviously, Shikamaru thought, it involves greatness, the heavens, and rotation.
- FaceHeel Turn: Averted. Hinata prevents Sasuke from abandoning the village by calling him out on his selfishness and punching him in the face when he tries.
- Insane Troll Logic: Kakashi messes with the Suna nin by eating fresh sushi in front of them. And then claiming he got the fish from "ponds" (mirages) out in the desert. And then claiming he ran faster than the speed of light to catch them.
Shikamaru: That only works if you're five.Kakashi: Actually, I was born on a leap year, so technically, I'm six.Shikamaru: No you weren't. You were born on September 15th.Kakashi: September 15th on a leap year.
- Kakashi and Shikamaru arguing about cheating at board games.
"There is a limited amount of chaos available in the universe. Therefore, if we create a regular amount of expected chaos, it will deter the unexpected chaos from also joining in, because the space it requires will already be taken up by the chaos we prepared for."
- Another quote from Kakashi:
- It Amused Me: One has to wonder how many of Kakashi's pranks are actually part of a greater scheme.
- Manipulative Bastard: The Sandaime, though it's clear that he doesn't really want to do it, and that he's very guilty over it.
- Morton's Fork: The Friendship Rule is deconstructed heavily. If you choose a mission over your teammates, your friends die. If you choose your teammates over a mission, your other friends depending on that mission also die.
- Noodle Incident: Involving rice cakes, apparently.
- Shaped Like Itself:"What sort of things?"
"What soft of stuff?"
- Shout-Out: the proctors of the Chunin Exams are two guys named Shi Masa and Moto Kishi.
- Three of the random Genin nominated for the Chunin exams were named after well-known manga artists Tite Kubo (Bleach), Hidekaz Himaruya (Axis Powers Hetalia), and Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball Z).
- Three more Genin were puns of manga titles Tama Gin (Gin Tama), Ina Yashu (InuYasha), and Ruroshin Kenrouni (Rurouni Kenshin).
- Technicolor Ninja: Averted. One of the first problems the rookie sensei set out to correct are the clothing choices of their students.
- Training from Hell: Team 7's D-ranks included chasing Tora through the Forest of Death.
- Wham Episode: Chapter 14 is the first of many.