Naruto: The Unresolved Revolution
This article contains spoilers for the Naruto Shippuden manga.
Naruto begins quite innocently — it’s about the titular character who wants to be the strongest ninja in the village, the Hokage. His dream is fueled by his desire to be acknowledged by the people in the village who shunned him for having a monster sealed inside him. It follows the typical shonen underdog trope, in which the weakest character grows to become the strongest and most respected of them all. As the series progresses and Naruto learns more and more about the troubled shinobi world around him, he makes repeated promises to those he meets that he will become Hokage and change the system. The series, in its discourse between oppressed groups of people, is full of politics.
Masashi Kishimoto, the author of the series, ineloquently drops all political issues come the final chapters of Naruto Shippuden. Indeed, in the end, Naruto becomes Hokage and is gifted with godlike powers. There is peace in the ninja world. But what did Naruto change about the shinobi system? Fans who have had years to examine the questions the series addresses are greatly disappointed in Kishimoto’s subpar handling in the final chapters. Kishimoto followed the anti-establishment tropes prevalent in many shonen anime, but failed to follow through, instead telling a story about lawful endurance.
The two major political issues in Naruto are the demonization of clans (notably the Uchiha clan) and the discourse between compliance and revolution, as mostly illustrated by Neji Hyuga’s story.
In the first part of Naruto, Neji Hyuga’s story centered around his obsession with destiny. It was by stroke of destiny that he, as a branch family member of the Hyuga, was to bow down to and sacrifice themselves for the main branch. He lost his father to the conflict, and now holds a grudge against the innocent and powerless Hinata Hyuga. The discourse is highlighted in the series with many images of caged birds.
The issue is resolved when Naruto vows, during their Chunin exam battle, that he would change the Hyuga system when he becomes Hokage. As Neji reflects on this, the head of the clan comes in and reveals to him that his father voluntarily chose to sacrifice himself for the main branch. Neji begins to believe that destiny doesn’t exist — that he can choose his own path. The scene cuts to a caged bird flying, as if free.
Come Shippuden, the bad blood between the clans seemed to have diminished. Neji happily defends Hinata in the war — he loses his life for her. This fittingly repeats the narrative of his own father protecting the main branch. Neji dies, oddly at peace with the end he so dreaded in the beginning of the series.
This turn of events may, at first look, be simple character development. Neji happily chose to die for Hinata, showing how he grew from a resentful child into a loving, accepting adult. The underlying theme of Neji’s story, is, however, complacency. Easily, Neji could have survived to later become the more fitting, powerful head of the Hyuga clan. It is extremely telling that out of all the original twelve genin, Neji died precisely the way he originally feared, complying with his original destiny. To add insult to injury, the very kid who told Neji that destiny doesn’t exist turns out to be a destined child — Naruto.
The Demonized Clans
Much of the latter half of Naruto Shippuden is dedicated to the age-old grudge between the Senju and the Uchiha. Hashirama and Madara’s battles end in a peace treaty, forming The Hidden Village of the Leaves. For generations after that, however, the Senju maintained power while the Uchiha’s power diminished. Madara, one of the main antagonists of the series, notices his clan’s suppression and fights back against it. His powerful dissenting voice worsened the Uchiha’s status amongst the Senju, and by extension, the entire village, until the Uchiha are left quarantined into their own section, their powers delegated to policing the non-shinobi.
This sequence of paranoia of minority groups, of fear of otherness, is relevant in today’s real world society. It truly is no wonder that, when Sasuke first learns the truth from Tobi after Itachi’s death, he is filled with anger towards the Leaf Village and plans to overthrow the entire shinobi system by killing all the leaders, the Kages. For irrational reasons, reasons tracing back to the bloody clan age, the people of the village have always distrusted the Uchiha. They feared that the powers of the Sharingan would be used to summon the Nine-tailed Fox to wreak havoc upon the village. In simpler terms, the village feared them because of their “otherness,” because of a conspiracy theory.
Itachi, one of the most respected characters of the story due to his love for peace, chose the good of the village over the good of his clan. His actions are repeatedly commended by the narrative — he even says after he reunites with Sasuke as an Edo Tensei puppet that he is a proud ninja of the Leaf. He carries the iconic ‘Will of Fire.’ It is this declaration that forces Sasuke to rethink his path. He revises his plan for bloody revolution and instead announces his desire to become Hokage.
Of course, Sasuke never becomes Hokage, instead conceding the title to Naruto. In the final chapter, Sasuke leaves the village as a vagrant, searching for vague atonement. The Uchiha are now completely wiped out — effectively, they suffered simply from having the Sharingan, from being naturally powerful.
Obito and Madara address these same issues. Obito acknowledges that the system is ruined — he learned it the instant he saw Rin get impaled by Kakashi’s chidori. His very radical solution was to place the world into a dream state — but it was a solution nonetheless. Naruto quickly gets him to abandon his ideas by speaking of the ‘Will of Fire’ and boyish dreams to become Hokage (who he conveniently and consistently forgets is first and foremost a political figure, not just a position of respect and acknowledgement). Naruto’s habit of overcoming enemies by talking them out of their evil plans has become a trope throughout the series, known among fans as Talk-no-Jutsu.
Madara was swayed by Naruto’s Talk-no-Jutsu. It seemed that he would fight until the very end, like a true villain — until some secondhand antagonist decides to devour his power and squelch all protests from the Uchiha forever. The series ends when tired Sasuke concedes his loss to Naruto, effectively handing him the coveted title of Hokage. Sasuke, at this point, forgets everything he stood for. Naruto’s narrative wins, a narrative of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps, peaceful, silent endurance.
It is important to note that the Uchiha are not the only ones demonized for their powers. Haku and Kimimaro were both characters shunned from society because of their clans’ ferocity or strength. Naruto, Gaara, and other jinchuriki, or shinobi with powerful Tailed Beasts sealed within them, also suffered for a fate they did not choose. With this in mind, one can see the battle at The Valley of End in a whole new light: Naruto and Sasuke reject each other’s shinobi path, the former’s path being peace, the latter’s, revolution.
With this in mind, the narrative becomes painfully clear. Comply to your destiny — the Uchiha complies to their destruction, the side branch complies to their sacrifice, the Senju comply very happily to their ascension. The ‘Will of Fire,’ in the end, is code for “do what’s best for the sake of lawful,” even if it means sacrificing yourself, your self-respect, or your family. Revolution or anger of any kind is discouraged.
Naruto ingrains this ‘Will of Fire’ in all the shinobi, including influential Kages, creating a peaceful ending. The peace exists by virtue of his godlike strength — none who know of the name Naruto would dare oppose him (all future narratives, such as in Boruto: The Movie, have alien races rather than internal discord as antagonists). He got what he wanted — acknowledgement from all and the title he so coveted. The side branches of the Hyuga comply to their destiny of destruction. The main antagonists of the series, the angry Uchiha, who spoke of revolution, were successfully repressed.
The ending of Naruto represents a utopia wrongly attained. Instead of reconciling old grudges, the Senju, via Naruto and the Edo Tensei revived Hokages, defeated the Uchiha by hammering into them their ideals. In the long run, the overwhelming power of the Senju (and The Hidden Village of the Leaves, in general) can create a power balance among the ninja world. This utopia is nothing more than a bandaid on the festering wound of hatred and fear in the shinobi system.
In the first part of the series, Naruto defends the lowly, the oppressed. His cause made sense because he was one of them, a child abandoned by the system. Once he gains power, he quickly forgets this, instead speaking words of compliance and creating peace by silencing the dissenters. A true end to the series would include Sasuke’s ideas for revolution, ending the power struggle between the Uchiha and the Senju. But of course, Sasuke, too, falls victim to Naruto’s blinding sunshine.
What do you think? Leave a comment.
I miss reading Naruto every week.
Did anyone else think the art in the last couple of chapters seemed a little off? I know Kishi’s style took a bit of a hit after part one, but still. A lot of the character designs didn’t look like they had 100% effort put into them. For something as important as the finale you think Kishi would have uped his game.
I’m actually planning on writing an additional article discussing the particulars of the ending. I speculate that Studio Pierrot, the studio that does the animation for the series, had a lot to do with it.
I like the ending, yet like most people say on the net…it’s so rushed. It’s so disappointing, that for 15 years, it just ends up with such a…bland ending almost. I don’t really understand why a lot of series do things like that, especially Naruto! I mean, It’s not my favourite series, but they were pretty good with characters backgrounds and their development yet it’s all thrown out the window towards the end.
Sakura was a particular annoyance, she just never grew (or, of what she did) but just reverts back to some senseless loving idiot. Naruto was the most predictable thing, and I liked that he and Hinata got together. But then everyone getting together was kinda silly! Well, I guess they have to rebuild 😉 Sasuke was somehow the most interesting for me but was so vague and a bit of a 360 ordeal in just a few pages. I just can’t hack after following it for so long, it had a rather cheap ending!
I totally agree. Of course my disappointment lead to me doing a thorough analysis of the ending. Thanks for reading!
You have a good article here. Thank you for giving me a new perspective on the ending. I somewhat disagree with a few of your points, however, because my interpretation of the ending was one that goes somewhat like this:
Neji wasn’t relying on fate when he put his life on the line for Narutp. He chose that path of his own free will. I believe also in that chapter, shortly after Neji dies, a bird flying free through the sky is depicted, which to me, despite the irony of his actions, symbolized that Neji had achieved his freedom. Hinata ending up with Naruto did change the Hyuga in a sense, because she was deemed a failure right along with Naruto, and, I may be mistaken here, but if memory serves, once she gave up her rite of passage to become the head of her clan to Hanabi, she should have received a curse mark to prevent the Byakugan from being “tainted”. Instead, she is allowed to remain unmarked and is even allowed to marry outside of her clan–something relatively unheard of for the Hyuga.
As for the political problems brought up in Naruto, a lot of the separation between the five nations is settled when everyone decides to don the unified headband with the mark of “shinobi”. Is this a perfect system? Of course not, but everyone was able to look past their differences and unite, which is a huge accomplishment for the Naruto universe, because it does stop the fighting among the nations. Also, remember that Naruto came from a violent time that was still present when he grew up. He surely must have heard stories about the Uchiha clan from Sauske or Sakura or someone, and Jiraiya told him about the Third Great Ninja War, so the fact that Naruto decides to try to empathize and reason with the shinobi world’s threats shows another step in the right direction, because in theory, it should help prevent needless bloodshed and create a start toward peace.
Finally, Naruto, as Hokage, was able to unify the five nations into one shinobi nation, which led to advances in technology and allowed some form of peace to start. It is a shaky peace, and we do see that evidence, if subtly, in Boruto: The Naruto Movie. I believe that Naruto recognizes that the peace he works so hard for is unstable when he realizes how angry Boruto gets because he’s away. I believe these issues might well be touched on in the Boruto manga that is coming, because the new generation will have to face challenges that their parents either couldn’t, or did not realize they needed to fix. I’m particularly interested to see how Sarada does in her quest to become Hokage, in part because she is an Uchiha, and I think some of the issues you brought up with that clan may be addressed with her story.
Again, thank you for the new perspective on the ending, and I want to stress that the above is simply how I perceived the ending and what I hope/expect to be covered in the future.
Thanks for the comment! As you can probably tell by my article, I’m very much not a fan of the ending, but I can understand why others might like it. As for your points, I’d like to counter with a few observations:
Boruto was named after Neji, (Bolt vs. Neji’s name, meaning screw) and it has been said in interviews that Neji ‘screwed in’ Naruto’s relationship with Hinata. I see no other point in killing off Neji than that, which is disappointing in it of itself, since NaruHina is such a flawed relationship (which is a whole other topic for another conversation).
It peeves me that the whole shinobi world would take up arms to suppress a clan whose input in the shinobi system has been widely rejected. Sasuke doesn’t even get to address the world and the history behind his clan. I don’t see justice, I just see scrambling for a semblance of peace.
I’d also like to point out that the ending was largely engineered by Studio Pierrot, not Kishimoto himself, and that will impact Boruto the manga.
Thanks for the discourse! I do want to write further articles about how the end of Naruto unraveled. Please let me know if you want to talk further.
Why do people keep on insisting studio pierrot was responsible for the ending? Is it that hard to believe Kishimoto would come up with this ending? Or is it just a way for people to make the ending seem less legitimate by saying it wasn’t really Kishi’s doing?
In many interviews with Kishimoto, he mentioned how Studio Pierrot were fans of Hinata. ‘The Last Movie’ was SP’s idea. They came up with the script and simply had Kishimoto ‘OK’ it. He never wrote it.
The other issue is that Kishimoto didn’t want romance. For years, he swayed back and forth between endgame couples, going so far as to even tease of a Naruto/Sasuke ending. But one thing remained consistent throughout his interviews: he admitted he can’t write romance and preferred to avoid it. However, because his editors and SP ‘suggested’ he include it in anyway, he kinda just slapped it in.
So yeah, it’s understandable that fans are pointing the finger at SP. Kishimoto was never comfortable writing romance so it makes sense he’d just settle for what he *thought* was a popular pairing based on the studio’s feedback.
I loved Naruto, particularly the ending. Don’t know why nobody likes it, really. You know, of my favorite demonized clans, I actually like the Yuki clan most (Haku) one of my main peeves with Naruto is the fact Kishimoto wouldn’t leave the Sharingan alone.
I hope my article gave you some insight into why there’s such a strong backlash against it! I also agree that Kishimoto just couldn’t leave the Sharingan alone — he uses it very much for dramatic effect, since we learn that the Sharingan is earned after the user experiences a loss of someone they love.
Sort of, but I kind of disagree. I always saw the ending as well paced compared to the arc that came before. Couldn’t stand Kaguya’s arc.
I wouldn’t call the ending an arc. Naruto fights so hard to bring Sasuke back to the village but Sasuke doesn’t return. The system is still churning out child soldiers and is built on a base of massacre. Kaguya was out of the blue and unnecessary, yes, but she was there explicitly to end the all complaints from the Uchiha in a half-assed, deus ex machina manner.
Well, in terms of child soldiers, that’s just the way the ninja world is. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, but I had no expectations it would change. It’s just the way the world was built. I felt like it would be comparable to taking chakra away from the world regardless.
Masashi Kishimoto did not write Naruto’s last movie or the next generation this company did they have the right to sell Naruto anime they’re the ones who’ve been do Naruto anime for a while but that does not give them the right to make the movie a fanfic base movie if you don’t believe me go to WW. Fanfic.com yo see what I refer to also this is the very same company. Also called the season finale of The Legend of Korra an interview on the internet I read that one of the studios that was helping make the season finale for approach the Creator and suggest the ending for The Legend of Korra he was a short Nickelodeon was going to allow such a risky sequence be recorded that also explains the fake kiss on the internet with Asami & Korra the reason I know that The the footage of a summary in Korra kissing is fake because the creator of The Legend of Korra said they had never recorded it seem like death of attending it was Korra and Asami holding hands and looking each other is tradition of a wedding what was never a kiss ever recorded for a sequence which means this company made it up cuz he had some rights to make it but not all the rights lucky day with Naruto you don’t believe me look up the interview for the season finale Legend of Korra end of a company’s want to go that’s fine The please fans of a Asami and a Korra fanfict by the way on fanfic.com is the popular pairing couples like I said there’s evidence you need on top of that I have enough everything the point that be made known since last movie based on fanfic material and knowledge that they bought the rights to a Japanese anime art of bolt who’s Uzumaki and his sister I know in fact about the rights to these drawings cuz he don’t have the drawer it’s a life depended on it who is doing the halfway through the second season of Korra they got called for not doing doing a very good job at the drawer in so they have to call my second COMPANY the health assist and if you have a hard time drawing in the Legend of Korra and guess what now or never comes Next Generation FanFic The Parent Bolt with Sandra and this is not the first time to pair of Naruto’s children Sasuke’s offspring Naruto fanfic called the return of namikaze Sakura &naruto daughter kushina married Sasuke&ino son it’s the last not proof that this stuff is fanfic material that I don’t know what is like I said if you don’t believe me look it up and that’s all you need to know and for the idiot pairing fans out there any insult you throw at me for my article or response will be a compliment comparing will your mental status I’ll take it as a compliment I’m a fan of the show not my fantasy girlfriend really guys grow up and😜
Kishi didn’t write the Last, but he came up with the character concepts and designs. Hate or love it, it is canon, as is the new era.
I actually did not mind the ending, because to me there had to be some form of a compromise. I like the conclusion of your article and yes the characters did steer away from their original focus, but at the same time, part of being a good warrior or a leader, is to make sacrifices and compromise, a theme that was continuously presented throughout the series. In some ways they realized that destiny also needed to be shaped by their own actions. This was a thought provoking read, thank you.
I think I have to agree to disagree here. It’s important to make compromise and sacrifices yes but to what extent? In the ending, Naruto tells his son to endure for the good of the Village but where do you draw the line in that kind of ideology? Kishimoto fails to draw that line and the people who don’t want to “endure” as Naruto told his son, end up getting vilified.
This is prevalent in how the narrative handles Itachi vs how it handles Obito. Itachi killed his oppressed family for The Village oppressing them and was commended by the narrative. Then let’s look at Obito, who’s philosophy was Friends before Mission/Village. He later went nuts because he valued Rin so much he couldn’t picture a world without her in it. Maybe it’s coincidental that he was made the villain in the end because he happened to put his friends over The Village?
I don’t know, but the article was right, the endings weren’t resolved and that’s not a perfect ending. Compromise and Sacrifice isn’t a good lesson to teach under all circumstances. Naruto’s forgiveness without justice is a scary thought too, just as much as hatred and vengeance. With that logic the oppressed should just forgive and shut up about it why they’re upset.
I don’t mind the unneat ending though, I prefer it this way actually. I read it as a tragedy. Naruto started off with a noble goal but became the thing he hated. He grew up hating the people who ignored him and hating how people were treated like tools in the Shinobi System. Now, he ignores his son and is a technical dictator with thousands of Shinobi willing to die for him and the village kind of like, well tools (I mean ey, he might be a “nice” dictator in a time of peace but a dictator is a dictator no matter how you spell it). It’s fitting fitting in a way.
That final arc was painful, like Bleach painful. Thankfully I still have One Piece
Imagine Kishimoto bring up the series with Naruto waking up to the reality of the Tsuki youme plan after the lapsed years having affected by the jitsu at some point in the manga. His answer for peace was not clearly outlined in the conclusion of the series, being the center of focus on which the plot developed.
Well everything that begins has to end, and this was not the ending that it deserved.
Sakura got what she deserved.
Its crazy everyone hates on Michael Bay for all his over the top non peaceful works. But when naruto ends with a nice peaceful ending people can’t take it lol. Look folks it was a long 15 year walk be happy at the end of it that there’s something to even be happy about and everyone’s not dead. The manga ends where it stared. Which is satisfying if you been with the manga from the start. If you didnt like it well when Shingeki no Kyojin(Attack on Titan) gets further along I’m sure you’ll get the death and destruction you all crave…
Problem wasn’t an happy ending, i was already expecting and hoping for that, problem was the ending itself being kinda disapointing. Chapter 700 felt like the epilogue of Harry Potter, a fan fiction quality epilogue.
But in least Harry Potter had a central conflict and villain all the way through, Naruto built up Pain so much, then decides to say the true villain was Tobi, then it’s actualy Madara, and finaly when we’re right close to the end, it’s actualy revealed that the main villain was alien/ goddess Kaguya, someone who was only mentioned as existing less than 20 chapter before her reveal.
Glorifying child soldiers, condoning massacre are considered “peaceful”? Are you OK?
I read the ending just when it came out. I’ve always watched the anime, but I just couldn’t wait..
Frankly, I felt that Kishimoto left a lot of questions in the open.
I’m thankful for a wonderful story that may not have stuck the landing ,but had a hell of a time getting there all the same. Thank You Kishimoto
I was satisfied with the ending.
I like the decision to have Hinata and Naruto end up together, she almost died protecting him and has always liked him while Sakura treated him like he was trash and not good enough for her. Oh and why does Sasuke and Sakura’s daughter look like Karin.
You think people are obliged to marry whoever does something remotely altruistic for them? That’s stupid.
I’d like to push against NaruHina in general — there’s no actual spoken development between Naruto and Hinata besides Hinata’s constant stalking of Naruto. Sakura started with a dislike for Naruto but their relationship really developed throughout the years.
naruto is the new dragon ball z. even after ending they can still pump out another movie some games, and so on.
The series should’ve ended in two or three years. Kishimoto had a lot more to give. The events of the latest movie really could’ve been the final arc in the series instead of a movie.
I hope he never writes anything again, he’s an awful writer
What I have to say about Naruto? First, their could’ve been more romance. Boyfriends and girlfriends could’ve happened. The couple didn’t have to stay together through out the entire series, and that wouldn’t necessarily take away from the action that we love. It’s stupid how Kishimoto adds romance but doesn’t really do anthing about it until the end. I mean all that hype for the characters feeling for one another only to be delayed until the ending for marriage? That seems like a disappointment because lets be honest fans are interested in the rated R stuff with relationships. Fans want to see hot scenes, and if not hot than love. Sasuke and Sakura, yeah I don’t agree with that. It does rush through important plot resolutions. Naruto needs more and better romance. Naruto becoming Hokage is satisfying. Everything about Naruto gets explained so I have no other complaints.
Go read shojo. Naruto had the worst written romance of all shonen.
I suspect Naruto got too big of a story after it hit Shippuden. Equally conservative is Kishimoto’s treatment of women in the story…the fate of all kunoichi (for those that don’t die valiantly in battle) is to become housewives?
This was particularly troubling to me, thanks for bringing that up.
What’s wrong with being a housewife? If that’s what they want to do, why not do it? Besides, I’m pretty sure they still go on missions and work for the village
Funny how everyone who liked the ending are either people who like conformist characters or people who don’t really give half a shit about the story but only care about shipping.
The Naruto character in itself was destroyed by the ending because he came up short of what he was sold out to be.
Being Hokage was sold as being powerful and Naruto was sold as being a character that went through a lot to understand that power on its own means nothing, all that was thrown out in the ending with Naruto being a half-assed alcoholic Hokage who didn’t do ANYTHING different from the previous ones and actually did MUCH LESS than Tsunade, for example. He’s a failure.
I do agree with you, the ending was all about ships and conformity. It kind of hurts after seeing Naruto grow from his old character, full of potential, to the Hokage he’s portrayed as in the end. As a fan from the beginning, I’m disappointed.
Alcoholic? When did he become an alcoholic? You must be thinking of that fanart that somebody made; that’s not official or anything.
Great piece! I was definitely one of those fans who was disappointed by the lack of closure at the ending, especially for a series that ran as long as it did. The epilogue similarly baffles me. I loved this line from one critic (shinosays @ tumblr) wrote a great analysis of the end: “[It’s] like meeting someone as an adult that you saw when they were in elementary school. They were a cute kid then, but now they’re a burnt out meth-head and all you can say is “what happened to you?””
Oh wow, I never got into Naruto, but it sounds like the ending was painful because of Naruto’s character arc from someone who questions societal rules to someone who encourages complacency. It’s always disappointing when a narrative loses sight of its characters. Great analysis.
You made some good points here. However, the power struggle between the Senju and Uchiha is pretty much over; the only Uchiha left are Sarada and Sasuke and they’re pretty much in the whole “Will of Fire” camp by now. Unless either of them go down the Uchiha’s usual path, which is unlikely now, I don’t see any further issues. Not to mention, people are saying that Sarada and Boruto will end up being a couple; if that happened, it would unite the two bloodlines into one. What better way to end the feud once and for all?
I agree with the ending…but neji’s death was on his own free will..but as the article the whole point of sasuke was left in air.Naruto was my first animie so I had huge expectations in the finale…while the series neared the end..I didn’t think it was rushed but lengthened for no reason.I personally think this was because of its fan base but that doesn’t mean you have to lengthened it..the biggest advantage of Naruto against animie like one piece and bleach is that the story is fast moving with a single motto..but at the end u personally missed the feel of that essence. Bringing one or two to life is OK but eve1 in the finale was not the best at my point of view..that’s not masahis style.But overall the articles point of view is true.
I agree with the article.Naruto was my first animie so I had huge expectations in the finale…while the series neared the end..I didn’t think it was rushed but lengthened for no reason.I personally think this was because of its fan base but that doesn’t mean you have to lengthened it..the biggest advantage of Naruto against animie like one piece and bleach is that the story is fast moving with a single motto..but at the end u personally missed the feel of that essence. Bringing one or two to life is OK but eve1 in the finale was not the best at my point of view..that’s not masahis style.But overall the articles point of view is true.
Thank you so much for your analysis of Naruto. I am so conflicted by this anime, in some instances i think it excels and is amazing, in other parts I grow to hate it, there is no other franchise that incurs my hatred and adoration.
Ironically enough, I just re-read the, I guess you would call it, Epilogue chapters featuring Sasuke’s and Sakura’s daughter today. So, I saw this, and I thought, hey, this seems interesting (partly because I’m new). The analysis between the Uchiha and Senju is very interesting and I don’t think Naruto ever lost that thought of changing the shinobi world; we just didn’t get to see it. That’s the sad part, really. We don’t get to see how Naruto changed the shinobi world, only that he inspired so many. The ironic thing about his character is that Naruto fights against destiny and is yet at the same time the “Destined Child.” Your analysis is good, but you also have to consider that you don’t have all the facts of how Naruto changed the shinobi world because it does fast forward seven years into the future. We don’t know all of the facts. Just something to consider when you write another analysis of the show. On an end note, it makes me sad that we didn’t get to see how Naruto became Hokage or the things he did as Hokage.
I have to kindly disagree with several points in this article, though you do make a good case for your side.
Firstly, the Uchiha Clan unfortunately was destined, through manipulation by Kagura’s shadow child formed by her “will,” to be cursed throughout their years. The Second, Third, and Fourth Hokages feared the power the Uchiha possessed, and made the mistake to further isolate the clan until they resolved to plan a coup d’etat; regardless of the alienation the clan might have faced, if they had been allowed to follow through with their plan hundreds of innocent villagers would have gotten caught in the crossfire. Along with that, the other four countries would have witnessed the weakness of the Leaf Village, and seized their chance to take control, which might have further escalated the casualties and possibly turning the entire Land of Fire into a war zone. The Uchiha were not a stupid group; they knew exactly what their coup might do to the Land of Fire, and it took their own blood to slaughter them all for their hatred to be quashed.
Secondly, Neji states “Father, finally I understand the freedom of being able to choose your death…to protect your comrades.” Neji does not fall to his fate, he chooses to save his friends because he believes Naruto is the one who will beat their enemies. Along with that, we can see throughout the Shippuden chapters in the small spaces allotted to Neji and Hinata that Neji has since grown to love his cousin without his former hatred of the Main Branch Family. It’s fair to assume once Hinata, or even Hinabi, became the leader of the clan, the Caged Bird Seal was most likely dissolved due to the drastic changes within the Hyuga Clan set in motion by Naruto himself.
Thirdly, Sasuke does lose, but his revolution is not halted; it simply takes a new direction. In the past, the brothers were always destined to have one kill the other to gain dominance (Ashura winning over Indra). Naruto decided to change that destiny by either having both brothers kill one another, or by beating Sasuke without killing him. Sasuke also breaks the cycle by admitting that his way was wrong, and he finally understands that helping his “brother” instead of standing against him is the way they should lead the Shinobi world.
Madara being killed and transformed into Kaguya, along with the fight against Kaguya, was quite lackluster. I only give Kishimoto a break because there’s no way I could’ve stretched the comic on for such a long time. I was glad it was finally over, even if the author chose such a lousy way to end the manga.
I have never quite found myself content with the end of Naruto. In fact, the entirety of the Shippuden series has always been shaky to me because of how much it deviated from the original Naruto formula. The second half of the series fell victim to Dragon Ball Z syndrome where characters simply became more and more powerful. This eliminated the need for a lot of the craftier techniques and strategies used in the first half of the series and ultimately led to the ending that Kishimoto gave us. While I do grant him credit for extending the manga for as long as he did and maintaining the fervor within the Naruto world, it seemed to me like things took a turn for the worst at some point and never turned back.
This was a very good article. And I have to agree with you but her is the thing. In a way naruto did follow his destiny. It was said that a child would save or destroy the ninja world. This prophecy can be read or understood in another way. A child will save the ninja system(world) or a child will destroy the ninja system(world). Naruto saved the era of ninja from ending.
I miss reading and watching Naruto every week, now I’m stuck with Boruto
I very much enjoyed this analysis- I hadn’t ever considered the ending as being so problematic before, and so it was refreshing to gain a new perspective on Naruto. I’m sure I, like very many, can hold biased opinions about it because I grew up with it, and it holds a very dear place in my heart.
That aside, I found your argument of the Uchiha acting as a threatening “Other” within Konoha to be very compelling. I read an interview recently with Judith Butler, who discusses minorities (here, the Uchiha) as being seen as inherently threatening- “gestures of compliance” she says are often even seen as a threat. Similarly, even while the Uchiha were diligently policing Konoha despite their obvious oppression, everyone in power was still extremely wary of them. The Uchiha were seen as a population from which Konoha and all of the Shinobi world must be defended- those without the Sharingan were the “norm”, the majority whose lives mattered, while the Uchiha were seen as a constant biological threat.
God, A peace achieved through suppression, in the name of fighting against the oppressor. Though this was truly a great angle of perception; never could have clicked my mind. When we have a protagonist and he/she achieve the peace, we tend to forget the path ,we tend to forget the reasons or true motive beneath a sheet of story. This article was truly shown an idea need to be known.
One thing I can’t stand about Naruto the last movie it’s fanbase driven as nothing to do with actual Naruto there’s many inconsistencies for example when Naruto was fighting against Gaara he said I could have been just like him I hated everyone and in turn everyone hated me at what point time of him hate everyone did he have time to save hinata Naruto only developed his name do after meeting the ninja Haku in order to become strong enough you want to have something precious worth protecting only after the mission wave did not to develop that something else Sakura and Ino made a bet over winning Sasuke is heart I don’t know about you but that doesn’t sound like love to me that sounds like teenage girls even after what I think Sakura will read it back to her promise the wind Sasuke and in Naruto the last movie that’s why her marriage is a failure
The reason the Naruto is last movies based on fanfiction Naruto did not develop his nindo into after meeting the ninja Haku only when you are so doesn’t precious worth protecting do you become stronger and the reason not to Stir It Up for Hinata during the chunin exam was because he did not like seeing one of his friends picked on it has nothing to do with Romance and I know why some of these shippers these couples it reminds them of girl who is much like Sakura who’s to pick on them or turn them down for dates so it’s more like the reflecting the own person problems into the story I talk to someone online who did not like the character Sakura because he did not like the way the way they change the personality and that is not just the worst excuse of a reason for not liking a character I’m just giving you an example of a pathetic excuses these people try to give for those of you who know the people who have these problems you know the real deal with them I’m not trying to make judgement on them but know that their personal bias is probably influenced by their own failures in life and relationships and that’s what it’s really about Naruto’s last movie is a non-canon movie that happens in an alternate timeline
The reason the Naruto is last movies based on fanfiction Naruto did not develop his nindo into after meeting the ninja Haku only when you are so doesn’t precious worth protecting do you become stronger and the reason not to Stir It Up for Hinata during the chunin exam was because he did not like seeing one of his friends picked on it has nothing to do with Romance and I know why some of these shippers these couples it reminds them of girl who is much like Sakura who’s to pick on them or turn them down for dates so it’s more like the reflecting the own person problems into the story I talk to someone online who did not like the character Sakura because he did not like the way the way they change the
I also have enough evidence to prove that they ripped off fanfiction sites for some of the stories in the woods last movie not to mention 21st century technology should not exist there should be no internet no iPad no cell phones no computers now in Naruto the creator of Naruto himself said he had 1940s technology that will not accelerate the 21st century technology by the time Naruto became the Seventh Hokage think about the evolution of technology in our world now that your tractors would tell you that because that some of the villages have skyscrapers that means they have technology yes in the 1940s New York have skyscrapers it doesn’t mean that 21st century technology this is fanfiction material in Naruto fanfiction they like to use modern technology or Naruto in modern times alternate universe material fanfiction if you do not believe me go to ww.w. Fanfic.com and look up Naruto fanfiction and you’ll see what I refer to this is where the ideas of ripped off from and the reason is because the fans don’t have the right to Naruto and the company that makes the ruto’s last movie has already done this at 3 the season finale of The Legend of Korra and the season finale of bleach now I don’t think I need to tell you for fans of bleach and The Legend of Korra I can tell you right now with absolute certainty the season finale was not supposed to go like that what do you choose to believe me or not that’s your choice but before you dismiss what I say take a look at what I’m saying
I think you’ve definitely struck an interesting topic with your discussion of Neji and the Hyuga clan – because it really is something that kind of just disappears and is never addressed again.
Naruto VOWS to Neji that he would change the Hyuga clan and their outdated idea of “Fate.” Yet… nothing comes of it? Everything kind of resolves itself off-screen.
Which is doubly weird, as Naruto MARRIES the heir of the main branch of the Hyuga clan! Which is utterly bizarre that none of the family drama is never brought up again. But I suppose this is just one of Naruto’s many mis-steps and plot-holes…
This seems to me like is the result of the long-form tradition of shonen manga. I feel that until before the Chuunin exams arc, the tone and in-universe logic of Naruto was just in its right place. I admit, I was around 10 years old when I first read it, but the way the story starts with a trouble-making kid who the village despises because of something he doesn’t know about nor hadn’t responsability over set a melancholic mood that was heart-breaking but managed in a optismitic way thanks to more empathic figures like Ibuki, the Hokage and Kakashi; contrasted by the sad heel-turn of Mizuki in the very first chapter. This along with the Zabuza arc was also fascinating and still had a scale small enough to not end with the endless philosophy clashes ending in a finale that seems to not have satisfy many fans. Up to that point, and maybe mostly through the Chuunin exam arc, the battle of ideas and the antagonists’ dualities was encapsulated enough to not fail to fill expectations, but still creating a heart-wrenching bittersweet atmosphere.
while i think naruto picks up many different issues they all end more or less the same way: with naruto giving a long speach about how he was ostracized and how he hopes to change that or did change that by sheer will. its a cute little bow for children who are getting the message that perseverance always pays of, its a bit unsatisfactory for a more grown up audience/readership. even though they talk about how saske too suffered and had his own arc of penance, he still doesnt get to be hokage. i dont want to get into Neji because he was one of my favorite characters. i didnt expect him to die, and that too so easily.
There’s a great video on Youtube titled “Naruto, the Self-Made Hypocrite” The gist is that Naruto is gifted with so many advantages throughout the series (the fox, being the kid of two of most powerful ninjas, the best teachers, etc.), that his message about hard work and perseverance is laughable. If anything Rock Lee is the true embodiment of these values.
I think people got it all wrong. For example everybody say Tobi told Sasuke the truth. Nodbody for a moment thought maybe main villain, who lied everybody else and maipulated them maybe lied to anger consumed, emotion confused Uchiha Sasuke, who wasted 2 years of his life. Second everybody speaks about Senju ruling Konoha and Uchiha being destoryed. In begingin of manga we see no Senju at all. The Hokage is Sarutobi. Tsunade is descendent of Senju but is she a Senju. So no male Senju exist in present while Uchiha exist Sasuke and Itachi. Maybe Uchiha Sasuke isn-t angry of destruction of his clan but the idea that idea Will of fire from clan that exist no more is poplar more than Uchiha. Third Itachi from moster to hero, that was qute rash decision. In first part he tormented Kakashi, he also tormented Sasuke and made him mentaly crippled which was cured by Tsunade help.
I think Kishimoto made so many sudden truns from original story. We all liked more part where Orochimaru was villain because he was evil, more than villains who had crippled childhood. Gaara turning good was turning point, becuase probably Kishimoto came to idea if I made Gara sociopahtic maniac good, why not making Sasuke bad, and than if I made Sasuke bad, who not making Itachi good. In the end does a man who makes stupidest theory come true that main villain is actually a Uchiha kid who got evil because his love interest dies deserve our respect. Does Kishimoto Masashi deserve that we waste time on his complex yet confusing manga.I think not. Working people has no time for waste on complex lives of fictional characters, working people want to come home and relax. And in the end maybe fear of Uchiha was realistic, think of it three Uchiha made world bad place, Madara, Itachi and Obito.
Also I never saw village people hating Sasuke. He was star among girls in part one.
The biggest issue with Naruto as a whole is that is completely inverted the promise of the beginning. Naruto was supposed to be a champion of hard work, defying the odds, becoming a great ninja despite having been born a loser. Success was supposed to be earned, not given. Well, it turns out that he’s actually only great because he won the Genetic Lottery. His mother came from a clan of near-immortals and his father was immensely talented (Lamarck was right, apparently, you inherit your parents talent every time); and – oh, yeah – he also is literally a reincarnation of the most powerful ninja of all time. While I did enjoy Kurama’s (the nine-tailed fox) character development, the entire point of being a jinchuuriki was supposed to be that using that forbidden power was a double-edged sword for Naruto. It was supposed to be simultaneously a gift and a burden. But now they’re buddies, so Naruto doesn’t actually suffer any consequences from having this absurd godlike chakra battery inside him anymore.
The only real champion of hard work and defying the odds in the series was Rock Lee. And what did he get for his efforts? He got to be a cripple. Great message!
Fantastic article. It really drives the point home as to how the manga exalts fascism at the expense of genocides, slaughters, exploitation, etc. It’s fairly sicking to see the author and his fans defending the indefensible.
Brilliant. I’m glad someone’s bringing this up.
Regarding Neji, I think that it would have been more powerful and more in tone with the narrative of the younger generation supplanting and surpassing the elder if Hiashi Hyuga would have been the one to sacrifice his life for Neji instead. I envision this as something that would have forced Neji, and Hinata, into positions of clan leadership, where instead of dying in Neji’s case, and marrying out of the clan in Hinata’s case they would become responsible for changing the Hyuga Clan themselves rather than waiting on Naruto or Hiashi to change it for them. I also like the idea of Hinata being inspired by Naruto to actually do the hard work of changing her clan and finding her strength in becoming a leader rather than in becoming Naruto’s wife. I think that’s a bit more satisfying of a character arc for her. She can still end up with Naruto, but she gets to be her own person with goals that don’t revolve around him.
There are some of your viewpoints that I agree and disagree with, and while I dont think its worth listing it all, I will say that the story of “Naruto” (and Naruto the character) was explicit about not having all of the answers to world peace. I do think that the ending of “Naruto” was meant to add ambiguity to what exactly a leadership under an idealist (Naruto) constantly challenged by a revolutionary (Sasuke) would look like, but nonetheless as per their final fight it was implied that Sasuke wouldn’t be content with Naruto sitting around goofing off and not really offering real change.
The weird thing about “Boruto” is that it states in certain terms that Naruto is primarily concerned with status-quo and that Sasuke no longer cares about “revolution” in any sense of the word. In some ways “Boruto” has acknowledged this but it’s hard to tell because of its terrible pacing and focus on aliens and robots. I am admittedly disappointed that we don’t get to see Naruto/Sasuke change the world for the better (They were only in their 20’s/30’s for goodness sake, they aren’t old men) but maybe that’s the point, that age makes people complacent and reliant on their children to clean up the mess? Who knows! No one will until 2040 when Boruto finally ends.
As always, the “Naruto” franchise is one of my favorites because of the various conflicting feelings I have, from “annoyance” to “awe-struck” LOL
The ending of the series was emotional yet it was beautiful i can see how many people can be upset how it ending and feel like they wanted too see more but how it ended too me was very good and it left you and your imagination too explore and come up with your own reality of what happens and let you fill in the blanks for yourself.