5 Reasons Why Naruto Does Still Inspire People
#5. Female characters have become much less useless.
If that isn't inspiring, I don't know what is. Many of you are going to read this and think, "Is she serious?" Yes. Yes, I am. As a woman, it was hard to watch other women do pretty much nothing all the damn time. Even if "healer" or med nin is kind of a stereotypical female role, I'd still take it over a "kunoichi that gets in the way and cries because she loves her teammates too much." At least now Sakura can heal Naruto after he gets hurt protecting her. The manga doesn't really focus too much on the girls and that's because it's shounen/seinen manga (target audience is male). Despite that, it has a pretty large female fan-base. The anime does focus on some of the kunoichi, doing featurette episodes on Tsunade, Tenten, Hinata, Sakura, & Ino, where the female characters' personal growth is highlighted.
#4. The main characters have grown up and so have their villains.
The way this manga & anime used to be presented to the audience has matured. Along with it, so has the subject matter and the depth of understanding required to analyze Naruto's decisions. As Naruto continues to develop as a leader, we see him struggle to reconcile his duties as a ninja with his promise to adhere to his own nindo (ninja way). The beginning of the anime was very task & goal oriented. Naruto had to do A to get to B which would make him C (stronger).
The Shippuden arc has become less about becoming physically strong and more about acquiring the right set of critical thinking skills, ethics, & character for leadership. Naruto wasn't a natural born leader. People forget that he was a bratty little kid defacing the Hokage version of Mt. Rushmore just for attention. In the beginning, people were inspired by Naruto because he was weak and annoying, but wouldn't give up.
In the Shippuden arc, people are inspired by his loyalty and philosophical pursuit of breaking the cycle of hatred and violence imbued in the ninja culture. The audience is also inspired by seeing the vulnerable side of Naruto. He becomes even more likeable in this arc because he ISN'T perfect.
#3. Naruto cries a lot less that I probably would.
One of nufoundglory's main points was that Naruto only used to cry when he needed to and now he cries too much. Apparently, that makes him weak. I disagree. Naruto isn't crying from physical pain, but because he's knows he's about to lose something more important to him than his own life: his precious people. If Haku's reason for living was to be Zabuza's tool, then Naruto's reason for living is to protect his family. Naruto's family has come to encompass literally everyone and anyone he has a bond with. The entire village, for instance. But those closest to him, are definitely his teammates, teachers, hokage, & peers. I think Naruto cries because he is mature enough to realize what is at stake. He's no longer a little naïve kid. Things were pretty easy for Naruto back in the day. He never had to contemplate killing his best friend and breaking his other best friend's heart to save the village that used to hate him, but now recognizes him.
#2 Naruto never gives up!
Sasuke (immature, confused, & angsty as he is) was one of the first members of Naruto's self-made family. Naruto is determined to fight to protect his family, but that's not all. He want's to protect his family from themselves as well as any enemy who would kill them. Naruto (even at the Chuunin Exam arc) is mature enough to know that he could have destroyed himself if he let anger and violence rule his actions. That is why Naruto keeps "wasting time" trying to change Sasuke's mind. He wants Sasuke to reconsider revenge and seek justice instead. In the manga, Naruto makes a very notable distinction between justice and revenge when he talks to Sasuke and declares that they would both die if they duke it out. Basically, Naruto has become the voice of reason, whether he's confronting an angry Sasuke or an angry Raikage.
#1. Naruto is inspiring because his character has become even more relatable, flawed, and human than ever.
We love him for his flaws, not just despite them. For instance, Naruto is kind to a fault. He is persevering to a fault. He is loyal to a fault. But we love that about him.
In the Shippuden arc, he deals with a ton of internal struggles. After Pein's defeat, Naruto became the famous hero of the Leaf. Fame means influence. And influence often surpasses physical power. Naruto's essential qualities (loyalty, ethics, & perseverance) & new-found fame make him respected among ninja worldwide.
He has become a leader (not THE leader, but he's making progress). People look to him for inspiration and guidance.
He is known to never give up.
BUT, he's only human. You can see Naruto kind of buckle under the weight of so many expectations. He realizes that his own desire to save Sasuke conflicts with his peers and the villages' expectations to KILL Sasuke for being a traitor.
What does he do?
The only thing a true hero & leader can do, take responsibility for the shortcomings and evils of those he has vowed to protect. Ex: Naruto basically consents to let Guren (one of the Raikage's kunoichi) beat him to a pulp (maybe even to death, if that's what it would take to atone for Sasuke's sins). In this scene, Naruto truly becomes a hero.
Because, even though he could kick that kunoichi's ass to kingdom come, he tries to convince her not to hate Sasuke. And when talking alone fails, he resorts to violence. But it's not violence directed at that kunoichi. It's violence directed at Naruto himself as bears responsibility for his friends actions and allows himself to be beaten. He does this out of love for both Sasuke AND the kunoichi. At that time, Naruto knew he wasn't fighting Guren; he was fighting her hatred.
This manga/anime has become a very philosophical statement on Kishimoto's view of mankind.
How best do you fight hatred? With love. But to do that, you have to make yourself very, very strong. You kill your enemies with kindness and eventually they'll come around, right? And, eventually they will stop hurting you, stop laughing at your kindness, and throwing away your good intentions...right?
That's what we are going to find out as the story progresses. But yeah, this is probably the best anime/manga out there. And I feel like it has only gotten better now that Naruto has grown up. He doesn't let fame get to his head. And he is humble enough to bow to those of a higher rank, especially when asking for a seemingly outrageous favor of the Raikage: sparing Sasuke's life. This is another controversial scene that nufoundglory found lacking in inspiration.
When Naruto bowed is head and begged for his best friend's life. He was denied, of course. And so he comes to a new conclusion, a conclusion only a hero would come to. If Sasuke's sins were so great that he must die, Naruto would be suffer through it and deliver the death-blow himself. That is what we call integrity, my friends. He would take accountability for Sasuke's actions and end his friend's life himself. And his other conclusion: If he couldn't help Sasuke, then the least he could do is die with him for FAILING to adhere to his nindo & uphold the promise he made to protect his precious people.
At that moment, no matter how much the audience cringes and feels horrible for Naruto, you realize that Naruto has surpassed the mere role of champion. He truly becomes a hero.
The point is not to be perfect. The point of the manga is to stand by your beliefs & fulfill your promises. Naruto's not perfect, but he's always trying to do right by those he loves and those he has vowed to protect. He doesn't just love his self-made family or village anymore. His love has grown to encompass everyone. He can identify with or relate to most people. Because of that, Naruto has matured and grown wise.
How best do you kill an enemy when that enemy is Hatred? Love. And Naruto loves humanity, no matter how jacked up people are. He can find good in them and if not, he wants to help make them better. And if he can't get them to change, then he knows what has to be done. They have to die if they are Hell bent on killing everyone else...
This series really promotes positive change. There is an old Scottish saying that goes: "Better to bend than break." One way of interpreting that is that people who are too rigid and unyeilding will lead to their own ruin. In Naruto, the main character is always putting out positive messages and searching for the good in people. If he can find one good thing about that person, he can convince them they are better than the evil inside them. He is always hopeful that people can change. Redemption is a major theme of this manga/anime.That is the MOST inspiring message of the entire series.
Naruto, himself, is proof that people are capable of change for the better in the face of adversity and undeserved hatred.
That being said, all of these philosophical and internal struggles go on while the main characters FIGHT EPIC BATTLES WITH SWEET NEW JUTSU!!!!! And that makes for a freaking interesting story any day.
(I mean, I don't know what else to say to convince old fans that this series hasn't gone to the dogs. If you want to think negatively about it and your mind is set on that, then I obviously can't stop you. But maybe this article has appealed to your sense of logic and maybe convinced you to give it a second chance. Hopefully, you can continue to love & appreciate the series like I do. Because, I'll tell you something I've learned from countless conventions and memberships in anime clubs: This anime/manga has attracted the coolest & most diverse fan-base I've ever had the pleasure of encountering. I mean it, all of the Naruto fans I've met are lovely, imperfect people searching for positivity & hope in an often-time cruel & frightening reality.)