By Emmanuel Gutierrez |Asst. Features Editor|
Naruto Uzumaki, the vessel containing the Nine-Tailed Fox—a demonic force of nature—never quite understood the discrimination inflicted upon him; all he knew to be certain, he wished for nothing more than to command the respect of his fellow man—to be Hokage.
Naruto was able to mold his own definition of what it means to be a ninja—defying the tradition of eliminating one’s humanity, and becoming merely a weapon shrouded in the shadows to strike upon the orders of others.
He pieced together his notions by clashing with other formidable ninja; often not merely a clash of fists, but also a clash of ideologies and fates.
Many opponents, notably Haku and Zabuza, challenged Naruto’s ideas of humanity and warrior’s code, the purpose of one’s life and utility, as well as allegiances.
One does not necessarily acclimate towards the “good guys,” as that notion is subjective; rather, one sides with those of whom acknowledge his or her own existence—imbibing them with meaning and purpose.
“Some of the fights were awesome, and super sad,” said student Daniel Davalos.
Utilizing flashbacks, Masashi Kishimoto employed back story and interior monologues, simultaneously precipitating emotional responses from characters as well as their motives.
All the while fighting for their lives, propelling their own reflections across a barrier of ice mirrors, casting inextinguishable, black flames from their eyes, or fissuring the earth beneath their feet with a single punch.
After severing ties with the Leaf Village—imbued with jealousy and a heart of vengeance—Sasuke sought the tutelage of world-class terrorist Orochimaru.
Naruto failed to save his friend, a bond perhaps most precious to him—a bond of brotherhood—leading to Sasuke’s descent into loneliness in search of strength.
Sasuke yearned for power in order to kill his older brother. Naruto sought strength to save Sasuke from the road of vengeance.
In an abrupt twist of fate and revelations, we learned that Naruto is the reincarnation of not only one of the founders of his homeland, but the next life of the son of the origin of chakra.
“It was heavily foreshadowed, and makes the story come full circle. It was kind of awesome,” said student Stephanie Rodriguez.
This revelation drastically changed the initial dynamics of the plot, making the protagonist’s strength much related to his genetic superiority (his distant Senju bloodline) rather than his devotion to hard work and discipline.
The final confrontation between Naruto and Sasuke was ultimately satisfying—predictable, but still bared emotional weight.
In the end, as if the earth itself trembled in awe, they collapsed from exhaustion.
Sasuke spilled his guts, thanking Naruto (parallel to their first fight) for never giving up on him; the perspective zooms out, and they lay beside each other, gushing blood from their missing arms.
Naruto finally saved his best friend—his brother—and in his opinion, despite what many others had suggested, he considers himself an eligible candidate for Hokage because he kept his promise—that’s his ninja way.