You’ve heard of Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z, Cowboy Bebop, and probably a dozen of other popular anime series. However, Naruto is by far one of the most popular anime series to ever air in the United States and has a legion of fans around the world.
On top of the success of the anime, the preceding manga is one of the top selling in the history of Japan. The series continues to grow in popularity over the years and has yet to lose any steam with a number of expansions to the franchise.
There are numerous aspects of the series which keep fans clamoring for more, like its dedication to world-building and creating a new narrative for the ninja archetype. After a continuous run of fifteen years, it’s clear that the Naruto franchise has captured a unique piece of the pop culture consciousness.
Despite a plethora of loyal fans, there are aspects of the franchise that fans have misconceptions about, are unaware of, or just don’t know the history surrounding certain details of characters and locations.
This list will cover some interesting aspects of the entire franchise and let you know some things that many often miss when talking about our favorite ninjas in the world.
15. The Sharingan’s Power Isn’t An Ultimate Threat
The Sharingan eye has an array of deadly ninjutsu tactics, striking fear in all opponents of Sharingan practitioners. Users like Sasuke can disrupt his opponents senses and create illusions to disorientate his enemies.
The Sharingan can also make use of the Nine-Tails, causing clans to be afraid of the Uchiha. While the Sharingan formidable, it is possible to defeat by elite ninja.
How? Using barriers and even inflicting pain on yourself can counteract some of the more powerful Sharingan jutsu. A good ninja will always find a way to defeat their opponent.
14. Boruto Takes Up Where Naruto Left Off
When Naruto finished up in 2014, many fans believed the series would come to an end after over ten years. However, author Kishimoto decided that he hadn’t had enough fun writing the Narutoverse, and he created Boruto – with a number of new characters, larger universe, and appearances by characters we’ve all come to love.
With Boruto off to a strong start, there’s no telling how long this franchise will thrive. It seems that the universe can go as long as fans still care about.
13. Not All The Battles Are The Same
Unlike the fair critique Dragon Ball Z receives, Naruto always finds a way to make fights seem unique. New powers, skills, abilities, and tournaments are introduced to keep things fresh.
New characters are even introduced in order to keep a fresh feel to battles, making the critique of “recycled battles” seem a bit misguided. The fights in Naruto are fun, exciting, and cause the viewer to feel emotion – especially towards the protagonists.
12. Boruto Isn’t Just Like His Father
The “father like son” trope is an annoying cliche and really doesn’t apply to Naruto and his son Boruto. The two have some minor similarities, but Boruto has been well fleshed out to be a character in his own right.
One of the more positive aspects of the Narutoverse is the amount of character development and the attention to detail which goes into each character. While some may call it filer, these storyline tactics do a great service for the characters and the viewers.
11. Rock Lee Is Incapable Of Using Ninjutsu
Some fans of the franchise are seemingly under the impression that one of the series most popular characters is incapable of using Ninjutsu. This just isn’t the case, Rock Lee is capable of using Ninjutsu.
However, Lee’s specialty is Taijutsu as he practiced under Might Guy a master of the art. Rock Lee is complex, a devoted worker, and isn’t one that you should take lightly.
10. Naruto Has Taken A Life
Without spoiling a major plot point, it does seem a bit surprising that many seem to believe that Naruto has never taken a life. The climate of the world, ongoing Shinobi Wars, and the constant fighting would lead most to believe that he would have probably ended a life at some point.
However, that doesn’t seem to be the case and many believe Naruto hasn’t done so. Well, I’m here to tell you that our favorite ninja has taken a life at some point during the franchise. When? Where? Who? Well, if you’ve forgotten, I would suggest you re-watch from the beginning!
9. Cartoon Network Originally Edited Out A Certain Part Of The Series
In a nod to old Puritan values, Cartoon Network censored an episode of the series which contained an accidental kiss between Naruto and Sasuke. This was done as a bit of a joke by Kishimoto, as he knew fanfiction would be created depicting the image sooner or later.
Well, Cartoon Network didn’t like that and edited it out, however, the scene was shown later as a flashback – making the original censoring quite useless.
8. How The Iconic Headbands Became A Thing
The Naruto headband is one of the most iconic parts of the franchise. It has also turned into one of the more profitable merchandise items in anime history. Yet, they were not originally a part of the franchise.
Naruto originally wore goggles and quickly changed to the headband due to Kishimoto not wanting to have to draw goggles and light reflecting off of them.
Well, his decision ended up providing one of the most recognizable aspects of anime history. Sometimes, these decisions have a weird way of working themselves out.
7. Sasuke Didn’t Exist In The Original Conception
In an unintended success, Kishimoto didn’t initially plan to have the Sasuke character as a part of the franchise. It wasn’t until his editor suggested adding an additional character that Sasuke came into being.
The idea was birthed from an old manga character named Sasuke Sarutobi. It’s unlikely that Naruto would have had gigantic success without Sasuke.
Every change Kishimoto made to the series before the first manga ended up turning into a gold mine for him. Sasuke allowed him to create an extremely rich and detailed character that provided a great deal of story for fans to devour over the years.
6. Naruto Had A Live-Action Musical
The Japanese are probably only rivaled by the South Koreans as the most technophilic culture on the planet. A great deal of the technology in the United States and the rest of the western world is produced in Japan.
The Japanese blend this into their entertainment by extending popular manga, anime, and gaming franchises to as many different realms as possible.
This extension included a 2015 live-action musical of Naruto. It became so popular that it had another run in 2016. It goes to show that the franchise is popular no matter the medium.
5. Naruto Is One Of The Highest Selling Manga Titles Ever
The popularity of the Naruto franchise in Japan is unlike anywhere else. While most international fans are more familiar with the anime, the manga is what paved the way for the long-running animated series. In order for a manga to be adapted to an anime – it must draw a great deal of early interest – which Naruto was able to accomplish.
Fans fell in love with romantic storylines and an extremely deep supporting cast, which set the tone for over a decade of great entertainment. In Japan, Naruto is the 4th highest selling manga in history.
4. The Anime Was Full Of Plot, Not Filler
This is a controversial point, due to the manga series not have the depth of source material needed to fill episodes of anime – some Naruto fans became upset that the anime became full of “filler.”
Yes, I get it a number of people are simply looking for as much action that can fit into a single episode, season, and series. While that desire is noted, giving in-depth background to characters should not be considered as useless filler.
These stories provide depth, create emotional investment, and are far superior to someone trying to draw energy and create a magical orb which takes three or four episodes to amount to something useful.
3. A Live Action Movie Is In The Works
While there have already been several attempts to turn anime into live-action movies, it’s definitely a risky proposition. Ghost in the Shell doomed itself at the studio level and the Netflix westernized version of Death Note has received mixed results from critics.
Well, Naruto is the next in line for a live-action adaption. Lionsgate films are moving forward with a project, with the creator of Naruto being a part of the production.
Masashi Kishimoto is going to work hand in hand with Lionsgate and is rumored to have a large role in the project of the film. While it’s still in early stages of production, this news should excite Naruto fans everywhere…
2. The Naruto Manga Has Numerous References To Dragon Ball Z
Masashi Kishimoto was heavily inspired by the cultural hit Dragon Ball Z, which was a manga in the 1990s – something he has admitted to in numerous interviews. As a way to give a nod to the Dragon Ball franchise, he tied in several references in Naruto.
He named a character ‘Roshi’ in reference to Master Roshi and another ‘Son Goku’ in reference to Goku. Kishimoto wasn’t the only one inspired by Dragon Ball, which has also become an international hit anime.
1. Naruto Himself Has A Lot Of Spiral Tie-Ins
The titular character of Naruto seems to always be surrounded by spirals and spiral symbolism. Even the back of his orange outfit has a spiral symbol. Writers never have this many coincidences without there being a reason. In this case, the symbolism is in reference to the titular character’s love of ramen.
Even his surname of Uzumaki means whirlpool; evidently, there are further tie-ins to whirlpools and his name as well. There really wasn’t any stone left unturned when looking at how spirals were worked into the lore behind the titular character.
Ramen does sound pretty good right now.