Usually when people talk about Naruto, they talk about loving it or hating it. Most people that love it, love it simply because of the cool ninjas and the kick-ass story. However, I want to talk about the beginning of the Shippuden series, and highlight the importance of the show beyond the cool aspect.
In later episodes, Naruto is mostly about an awkward kid who works his way up to being an amazing ninja. But in the beginning, it is much more about the concept of perception. When the village looks at Naruto, they see this piece of crap kid who will never become anything. However, Naruto is so much more then that. He very much wants to become something and prove himself. The entire first season really focuses on the fact that Naruto has a demon soul in him. Many people talk about how this makes him evil by default. However, there are those who think this makes him a hero because he, as a baby, took in this demon spirit. Naruto had never actually done anything wrong, but the world still had a terrible perception of him. Let’s specifically talk about the first two episodes. Not a single person believe in him in the first two episodes. However, his sensei did. When his sensei proved to him that he believed in him, Naruto’s powers automatically flourished, and he became a better ninja automatically. Simply having people believing him made him better.
Then again, later in the season, for episodes eight and nine, Naruto was able to think critically for the first time. He made an unselfish move and chose to help a family rather then help himself. This was due to the fact that he was seeing himself in a better light, and also due to the fact that his team had his back, and he, in turn, had their back. He learned a lot, and grew as a person.
I think this is incredibly important because I think this entire show is really about perception. When people look at you a certain way or treat you a certain way, you can let that get to you. You can let it bring you down, and let that define you, or you can choose to defy it and become something great – like a ninja. A lot of kids and teenagers struggle with confidence due to the concept of perception. If kids watch this show, it can give them the confidence to follow their dreams and to listen to positive feedback versus negative feedback.
Anime always gives you some kind of lesson – and I think Naruto is one of the greatest. When I was a kid it gave me a lot of confidence – and it made me feel like I could actually become anything. I was bullied a lot as a kid, and people didn’t really pay much attention to me. Watching Naruto gave me the confidence I needed to get through the day – if he could get by with a devil spirit in him, I could make it through homeroom.
Naruto is a show that has a lot to do with ninjas and magic and every form of love, but it also is a show that has a lot to do with confidence and overcoming perception. It’s the perfect mix to keep you fascinated, interested, and positive. If you’re an anime fan, or looking to get into anime, Naruto is the best way to start.
I give this show 4 out of 5 stars.