15 years of life lessons
About a month ago, the story of Naruto came to an end. Masashi Kishimoto, the mangaka (author) of this epic that broke Japan’s borders and spread around the world, decided it was time to close the curtain on the 16 year old knucklehead ninja’s story. Across the 15 year lifespan of this incredible journey, the readers were spectators to how hardships can be overcome in order to find a better future. Many feelings and life lessons were portrayed throughout the course of events and the plethora of characters that were featured. Let’s take a closer look.
Loneliness. The main struggle during the many chapters of the manga was the issue of loneliness. It was a problem for the main character of Naruto, who had to deal with both the fact that he didn’t have any parents and to add insult to injury, everyone in his village ostracized him, due to the fact that he possessed the spirit of the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox Spirit inside of him. The other main character, Sasuke Uchiha, also had the same problem as his entire clan (Uchiha) was killed in front of his eyes by his older brother Itachi, leaving him all alone. Secondary character Gaara was also a possessor of a Demon Spirit and so he was forced to deal with the pain solitude brings.
Being an underdog. Naruto was considered by many to have no talent as a ninja. He was told so time and time again and he was forced to watch his teammates surpass him. Yet, despite all that, he put his all into his efforts and eventually turned a lot of heads and gained a lot of attention, so much so in fact that he was able to unite the entire ninja world!
Hatred and revenge. Sasuke was fueled by his hatred for his older brother Itachi. Everything he did, he did in order to surpass him and eventually kill him for what he had done to the Uchiha. After discovering the horrible truth behind his brother’s actions though, Sasuke becomes even further blinded by anger and his hatred becomes stronger, leading the whole world (even his former friends and teachers) to consider him a lost cause. Only one person thinks of him as a friend to the very end.
Love. The exact opposite feeling was also on full display as Naruto learned the truth of how and why his parents placed the spirit of the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox inside of him and also when his mother Kushina helps him take part of the monster’s strength. Love is also an issue for one of the main antagonists Obito Uchiha, who has a crush on his teammate Rin Nohara that leads him down a very dark path. Sakura Haruno also struggles with her feelings for Sasuke as she knows he is a criminal (and even comes close to killing her himself) but can never get over him. Hinata Hyuuga secretely supports and admires Naruto throughout his childhood and teenage years.
The bond between teacher and student. There are many displays of this special bond in Naruto’s story. Naruto, Sakura, Sasuke to Kakashi Hatake. Sakura and Ino Yamanaka to Tsunade. Kakashi and Obito to Minato Namikaze. Jiraiya, Tsunade, and Orochimaru to Hiruzen Sarutobi. And many more. But the two most shown off were the ones between “Team 10” (a.k.a. Shikamaru Nara, Ino and Choji Akimichi to Asuma Sarutobi) and Naruto to Jiraiya. Naruto may have had Iruka Umino and Kakashi as his first teachers, but his master was most definitely Jiraiya. Considering Jiraiya was also Minato’s (Naruto’s father) teacher, he knew pretty much everything there is to know about him and was immensely strong himself. He taught Naruto his first serious techniques including the Rasengan and the Summoning technique, but mainly he was the closest thing to a fatherly figure that Naruto had. He taught Naruto his way of life and how to stay true to himself. When Jiraiya was killed by the hand of another of his former students, Nagato, who proceeded to attack and destroy the Leaf Village in an attempt to find and capture Naruto himself, Naruto almost lost himself in his rage. But it was Jiraiya’s teachings that ended up saving him from himself and the path of senseless revenge.
Power. Quite a few characters have an obsession with power. It’s actually another driving matter of the series as there is a legend behind it and it goes like this: “Once there was an all powerful ninja called the “Sage of the Six Paths”. The ninja had two children, the eldest who thought strength was the way to peace and the youngest who considered love to be the solution. On his deathbed, the Sage called both of his children by his side in order to name his successor. Even though the eldest thought he would be the one to succeed his father, the Sage ended up choosing the youngest son to carry on his will. Blinded by rage, the eldest son declared war on the youngest. That war has gone on for generations. The eldest son’s descendants are known as the Uchiha. The youngest’s descendants are known as the Senju.”
It is mainly those affiliated with the Uchiha that have this lust for power. Even Sasuke in his attempt to take revenge on Itachi tries every means necessary to become stronger and goes to the point of becoming a test subject for main villain Orochimaru. The criminal organization “Akatsuki” hunt Tailed Beast Spirits in their quest for power. And Madara Uchiha, the founder of the Uchiha clan, took the eyes of his own brother Izuna in order to reach greater heights. In the end, even the Sage of the Six Path’s mother, Kaguya Ootsutsuki was obsessed with possessing all the chakra in the world.
Despair. When feelings of love are lost, they can turn to despair. As was the case for Obito Uchiha. As mentioned before, he had a childhood crush on his teammate Rin. But he was forced to leave her in the hands of their other teammate Kakashi, since he thought he was going to die due to a giant boulder having crushed his entire right side. However, Madara found Obito and healed him. Obito was on his way to recovering when he was told about an attack on Kakashi and Rin from ninja from the village hidden in the mist. Obito got there just in time to see Kakashi’s hand pierce Rin’s heart, which led him to rampage on the Hidden Mist ninja and decide to cooperate with Madara’s “Eye of the Moon” plan, which pretty much meant taking on the entire ninja world.
Nagato’s case was very similar as his parents were murdered by Hidden Leaf ninja during the Third ninja War when he was a child. But what actually led him to despair was the fact that his best friend Yahiko was killed during what was supposed to be a peace negotiation between Yahiko’s newfound “Akatsuki” group and the village hidden in the rain’s leader Hanzo of the Salamander. When Madara Uchiha lost his 4th and final brother Izuna at the hands of Tobirama Senju, he seemed lost in despair as well. However, Hashirama Senju’s efforts brought him back in to the light long enough for Madara and his Uchiha clan to join forces with the Senju clan and create the village hidden in the leaves. But it wasn’t meant to last as Madara had lost all he had to protect and his despair was far too great. In the end, he attacked the village he had helped build. Even Kakashi had issues with despair as he had lost so much throughout his life. All his teammates and his teacher were killed and he felt there was nothing left to live for. Until Team 7 came into his life that is…
Teamwork. The manga is called “Naruto”, but if it were just him alone he wouldn’t have accomplished much! Even in the final battles when Naruto has grown stronger than ever, it takes the help of his teammates, classmates, teachers, the former Hokage and everyone else in the ninja world to survive the crisis.
Sacrifice. Naruto’s parents sacrifice themselves in order for their son to save the future. Itachi Uchiha decides to carry the burden of an entire clan and his brother’s hatred in order to avoid an internal conflict. Even Jiraiya could have escaped the battle with Nagato but decided to sacrifice himself in order to find out his true identity and send that information to his comrades in the Leaf.
The next generation. This was a point made by the relationships of Naruto and Konohamaru Sarutobi and also Asuma Sarutobi, Shikamaru Nara and Hiruzen Sarutobi. Everything we learn, we learn in order to one day be able to pass on to the younger generations of children that will succeed us. In the same manner that Asuma was killed in order to give Shikamaru the information on how to kill one of the Akatsuki members that was after Naruto. Shikamaru then vowed to protect and teach Asuma’s unborn child in the same way that Asuma had taught him everything.
These are just a few of the many things Naruto had to say about life. It was definitely worth the ride and whenever Naruto decides to tell us another story of his life, whatever form it maybe in (movie, manga or anime), there will be a whole lot of people who will be happy to learn all about it!
Originally published at sopeoplewhatsup.blogspot.com on May 30, 2018.