I am a fan of "Naruto" and have some thoughts about the anime's impact.
5. Female Characters Show Personal Growth
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. Both the Main Characters and Villains Grow Up
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 likable in this arc because he ISN'T perfect.
3. Naruto Cries for a Reason
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 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 wants 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 a Relatable, Flawed Human Being
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) & newfound fame make him respected among ninjas 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 is 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.
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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 his 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 suffering 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 unyielding 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.)
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 ModestTruth
pp on March 05, 2020:
samuel grimes ;;;;;;;;;;))))))))
akatsuki guy on February 28, 2020:
You spelled Pain wrong by the way
Lolpie on July 04, 2019:
Naruto is the reason i started to love anime kishimoto u r the best
Balex on June 24, 2018:
Naruto is best :)
Bokamoso mokoena on April 28, 2018:
Honestly after goku this is by far the best anime show in my
boooooooo on May 10, 2017:
hi were is Naruto.
Mark on March 24, 2015:
I couldn't agree more :)
Adriana on December 29, 2014:
I love naruto. He is the one whom I look for inspiration and this manga made me a better person.
I loved your article.
ModestTruth (author) on September 07, 2014:
Hey, Jagriti! I couldn't agree more! Thank you for keeping the faith... I can't believe the series is still going and I am so happy! The day it ends is the day I curl up into a ball and cry like a &^$%#. Hahahaha! Being a ninja is the coolest possible thing you can do with your life, I think. Especially now that I've had the opportunity to meet a real one. Eh.. not like in real life or anything, but there's a real ninja out there who blows my mind with how much he reminds me of the main character of this series. It's like this guy is trying to reach out to the world (villains, heroes, and everyone in between) and drag them to their feet with new-found purpose. Inspiring to say the least. You have to really admire those people who are finding true meaning and purpose in the world.
jagriti on September 05, 2014:
Naruto is worth watching.those who never saw just think that it is lame and foolish .i want them to give it a chance you will fall in love with it .you will consider yourself lucky that you tasted .skip the fillers and watch the show.i don't hate fillers cause it gave khishi time to write a new ch.
ModestTruth (author) on April 16, 2013:
@nufoundglory Go for it, my friend.
nufoundglory from Asia on April 12, 2013:
This is obviously a hub to debate what I said in my hub I wrote almost 4 years ago here: https://discover.hubpages.com/entertainment/5-Reas...
I wrote that hub 4 years ago, and if you want to debate that hub, why not let me write a NEW hub considering the current plot that is happening in Naruto manga RIGHT NOW. I can still think of a number of reasons why the manga STILL does not inspire even after 4 years of that first hub. Are you game?
ModestTruth (author) on April 09, 2013:
@dailytop10 Entertainment Media (everything from songs to novels to manga) has been used to represent the ideas & beliefs of their creators. I feel that Masashi Kishimoto is trying to send a message to Naruto's wide fanbase. The message I found is that people are capable of change & redemption. The bitter-sweet parts, parts where audience members cry themselves (right alongside the characters) are essential for us to empathize with that message and take it to heart. Kishimoto's put a lot of effort into getting us emotionally invested in his message via empathizing with the characters. At some point in life we will all have impossible decisions to make. We have to put our best faces forward and dare to believe in our fellow man. This anime/manga is entertainment. But there is something ridiculously UNFUNNY & serious as a takeaway message. Masashi Kishimoto's message is meaningful to me. I have grown up with this series and there are episodes that link me (like a time-machine) to some of my most fond memories. Everyone has a favorite song/show/movie/person from their youth that fills them with nostalgia.
dailytop10 from Davao City on April 09, 2013:
Setting the filler episode aside, Naruto is indeed an anime worth watching. I love how straightforward Naruto is and how he managed to tame the Kyubi. Probably the only downside of this anime series is that there are a few episodes that are plain drama. No action or whatsoever. I know they are needed to build the story but should we left crying and emotional scenes to soap operas? ahaha anime should be 100% fun and excitement. Naruto started out with a lot of humor and it was fun but sadly it drastically changed.