I’m ashamedly late when it comes to being a fan of Naruto. It was only during the holiday break that I was able to watch dvd episodes of the said anime series (I’m still in Season 6). I knew about the craze but I just glazed over this series on the channels where it was being shown and never had the time to really stop and watch it. And also every time I heard Naruto’s original dubber’s voice, it had always made me wince and ask, “Is it necessary that he always have to scream like that?”
Well, yeah, as I found out–Naruto cannot be Naruto without the screaming voice, the lovable face, and the never-say-die chutzpah. I love the characters (even the villains), the neat, clean-crisp drawings, and Masashi Kishimoto‘s long-running story that promises to reveal so much more as the seasons pile up after another-without ever running out of steam (which I can’t say much with some American TV shows like Prison Break, Lost, etc.). I love and appreciate its cheesy dramatic score; all the cool jounin/senseis/hokages especially Kakashi (absolutely adore him!); and their friendships, strength and love that are often being put to the test in every mission and in every crisis.
I have even grown to be patient and productive with the constant, ridiculously-long flashbacks (of what I already know about) that each character undergoes every episode–by making use of that time to go to the bathroom, make myself a cup of coffee, and text a friend–all done before coming back to the show– without even missing a beat (in Naruto--even their flashbacks have flashbacks!).
Themes like trust, faith, betrayal and revenge, teacher-student sagas, level-up fighting competitions and fierce-opponent-turned-respectful-friend story angles (and don’t forget the bloody violence and the occasional minor cursing) have been the main staple among Japanese anime and martial arts movies, and Naruto is no exemption to these formulas. But like a million others, I am still hooked on the series for many reasons. What inspires me as I watch Naruto battle it out every episode is his drive to be the best, even if he’s all bloodied up and beaten to a pulp. Also, even to the point of sounding absurdly naive, I perceive that the unconditional love the people of Konoha have for their simple village and comrades in arms as well as in peace and to protect those who are precious to them are the values that I hope are being understood and learned by Naruto fans who are mostly the kids of today. So that they’ll realize that this love is something that they could bestow upon their own homeland and countrymen as well; and that they would grow up to be the best; to fight for what is right; and if it is their time to take over and rule the country, they’ll do so with the same fierce commitment, an unquestionable integrity, and a wisdom that is as pure as a hokage’s.
And don’t forget the value of and victories earned from hard work–and all that literal back-breaking training and practice that Naruto, Lee, etc. had to endure in order to reach their goals! Which leads me to the real world — particularly about the oldest of all my nieces and nephews–Pchie. It was like yesterday when she was just a small toddler playing with dolls and wanting to be carried around. Now she’s all grown up and getting ready to level up and be a part of the working-and-tax-paying force. She has left for the Land of Smiles and Tom Yum soup to undergo more training for her work as an aspiring flight attendant for a certain airline company (can’t say the name–they’re not allowed to talk about it online… which is a shame because it could be full of real-life juicy drama and suspense that are deemed worthy to document and blog about).
Trying out her new uniform (right) and showing off her FA pose.
She has to master a new language and learn a new culture (Hint: It’s where Naruto comes from… No, not Konoha…) and memorize other professional airline data and jargon in a short span of time.
Posting the characters on the wall helps her study at home (Left).
I’ve watched her lose sleep, lug her textbooks as thick as encyclopedias to and from training school, and study (and sometimes cry) her eyes out for the past two months during the first leg of the intense training in Manila. Like a genin doing chuunin exams, she has passed the ‘preliminaries’ and have to go through more arduous training abroad before she gets to finally ‘graduate.’
Pchie studying hard in their training room (right)
With bated breath and fingers crossed, we are all hopeful, happy and excited for her. We’ll be praying for your success and safety, Pchie-chan! And as they say in those anime shows, “GANBARE! (Do your best!)”