I do my best to stray away from writing solo posts about topics in the entertainment industry, but seeing as how Naruto had further expanded my views on life and left a huge imprint on my emotional well-being, I think it deserves its own blog post appreciation.
Naruto is a Japanese manga series turned into anime in 2002. The story focuses on a young boy, Naruto Uzumaki, who trains to be one of the greatest ninjas of all time and pursues his lifelong dream of becoming Hokage – the most powerful ninja and leader of their village. The series is essentially divided into two parts: Naruto and Naruto: Shippuden. Shippuden begins at a two-year skip from the ending events of Naruto and focuses on Naruto’s adolescent adventures, and is the predecessor of Boruto: Next Generations. I do suggest watching Naruto before Shippuden to further understand Naruto’s background and how the past events led him and his group of friends to where they are now.
I’ve heard of the anime years ago, but I never got to actually watch it. I wasn’t into anime in general at the time. I began watching Naruto in early 2021 because I was looking for something interesting to watch, and with a friend of mine regarding the series so highly, I decided to give it a try.
One of the best decisions ever.
Memorable advice from the Naruto characters
“If you don’t like the hand that fate’s dealt you, fight for a better one.” –Uzumaki Naruto
“We have walked through the darkness of this world, that’s why we are able to see even a sliver of light.” –Gaara
“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” –Hyūga Neji
“In the ninja world, those who don’t follow the rules are trash. But, those who abandon their friends are even worse than trash.” –Uchiha Obito
“A wound of a heart is different from a flesh wound. Unlike a flesh wound, there are no ointments to heal it, and there are times when they never heal.” -Yashamaru
“Your comrades are there to make up for what you cannot do and to prevent you from ignoring things that you actually might have been able to do.” –Uchiha Itachi
“It is only through the eyes of others that our lives have any meaning.” –Haku
“A person grows up when he’s able to overcome hardships. Protection is important, but there are some things that a person must learn on his own.” –Jiraiya
“Regardless of our limitations, we can always be of some use. Our power may seem insignificant… but it may just prove to be useful in the grand scheme of things. Stay focused. Never avert your eyes, because if an opening arises, even our insignificant power may be enough to determine the fate of the world. Which is why everyone must stay alert and ready to strike at any moment!” –Nara Shikamaru
“Once you question your own belief, it’s over.” –Uzumaki Naruto
Why I'm Inspired by Uzumaki Naruto
He never goes back on his word.
He trains passionately and creatively.
He is determined and strong-willed.
He has a way of inspiring others.
He cherishes and is loyal to those he loves.
He is an unpredictable ninja.
He believes in himself and his dreams.
Why I'm Inspired by the Naruto Series
For an anime with tons of heavy arcs, I find that the fillers help lessen the heavy emotions that those arcs bring. Plus, it’s always nice seeing the characters be their own age and see them go through just as much weird shenanigans as the serious missions.
My favorite filler episode is 見たい、知りたい、確かめたい カカシ先生の素顔, Mitai, Shiritai, Tashikametai Kakashi-Sensei no Sugao, Gotta See! Gotta Know! Kakashi-Sensei’s True Face! (Naruto, ep. 101)
There were dozens of enemies in the series. And it’s natural to hate (majority of) them…at first. These majority of villains…once their backstories were revealed, it was easy for my heart to give them a second chance a.k.a allow them to live and atone for their sins so they can live the life they dreamed of before darkness fed on their suffering, loneliness, and uncertainty.
INTRICATE STORYLINES AND REMARKABLE SCENES
Were there some plot holes and scenes that just doesn’t add up? Maybe. I never really caught on to them, seeing as, for the most part, the arcs were flawless. For a 500+ episode anime, I admire the attention to detail in the storylines, with a lot of the action scenes keeping me on the edge of my seat focused on the characters’ critical and strategic thinking.
CHARACTERS' GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
What makes Naruto a loveable anime is that the audience practically sees them grow up. We’ve seen their hardships, their thoughts, their dreams. We’ve seen them battle more than just enemies. We’ve seen them fail. We’ve seen them never giving up. We’ve seen them mature. And although we’ve seen these happening with most of the main characters, I feel like it would’ve been just as intriguing to see more of TenTen, Ino, Choji, Shino, and Kiba’s development as well.
Strength, love, politics, coming of age, friendship, family, death, fate and free will, fulfillment, betrayal, isolation, loss of innocence, sacrifice, peace, honor, optimism, the quest for power, vulnerability, war, wisdom, acceptance, and resilience to name a few.
STRONG EMOTIONAL CONNECTION WITH THE AUDIENCE
I’ve felt their pain. I’ve felt their happiness. I’ve felt their “I’m so done with this” attitude. It’s as if I were always with them every step of the way, and fighting their struggles with them. I always thought that if a movie or TV series got their audience to yell, laugh, cry, or celebrate with their characters, the characters were no longer just a drawing on paper. They become as real and important to us just as everything else we hold dear in life.
HEARTFELT LIFE LESSONS
They are ninjas with chakras that can summon supernatural powers, yes. But the challenges and deep emotional feelings they go through are very much connected to reality. I don’t fight monsters in the physical realm, but I have been fighting a different battle with them, and what’s gotten me through a couple of my troubles were the narratives that the characters passionately express.
The very first words that moved me was from Kakashi to Inari: “He [Naruto] got tired of crying, so he decided to do something about it.” Since then, I got tired of crying too.
I may be “late” to experiencing the shinobi world, but I know that life has a way of timing things.
I’m pretty sure that if I had watched this when it first came out, I wouldn’t have paid much attention to its deeper messages and only like it for the surface-level entertainment.
Naruto, to me, is a beautifully crafted story. It has warmed its way to the hearts of millions, including myself. And with Naruto himself going above and beyond his comrade’s expectations and live his dream with those he loves, I’m making this promise to myself that I’m going to be the best version of myself and accomplish my own dreams through perseverance, creativity, love, and lots of passion.
You can watch Naruto episodes and movies (plus its spinoff series) on: Netflix | Hulu | Crunchyroll
Naruto (2002-2007), Naruto the Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow (2004), Naruto the Movie: Legend of the Stone of Gelel (2005), Naruto The Movie 3: Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom (2006), Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Will of Fire (2009), Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower (2010), Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Blood Prison (2011): Netflix | Crunchyroll
Naruto: Shippuden (2007-2017), Naruto Spinoff: Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals (2012): Hulu | Crunchyroll
Naruto Shippuden The Movie (2007), Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds (2008): Netflix
Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie (2012), The Last: Naruto the Movie (2014): Crunchyroll
What was the first anime that you’ve ever watched and what do you think about it?