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Who would have figured that going from ninjas to mobsters would still provide an interesting look at people? A while ago, Shonen Jump recently released one of Masashi Kishimoto’s oneshots, Mario. It was a story originally drawn in 1998 and brought back in the June 2013 issue of JUMP SQUARE and the May 13, 2013 issue of VIZ’s Shonen Jump. Unlike Naruto, Mario is pretty violent and the setting is much more mature. The main character is noted to be a “mama’s boy” near the end of the story and it poses a question as to why men are still quite fond of the first women in their lives.
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In life, we all need goals to strive for. Yet what happens when one of your goals suddenly shifts. Do you let your mindset shift or do you decide to keep going in the direction you wanted? What if your original direction brought harm?
In Chapter 627 of Naruto, Sasuke Uchiha makes arguably the biggest decision in his young life so far. When confronting the previous four Hokages of Konoha Village, he learns about the true origins of how Konoha was formed. Sasuke then decides to go from being a criminal of Konoha to becoming one of its protectors. His decision and also the past behavior of Madara Uchiha makes you think how much emphasis there needs to be made on developing teenagers with critical thinking skills.
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“I refuse…to let this happen! I am Orochimaru! I am immortal! I will not die here! Destined to discover the true meaning behind everything! Destined to take control of everything in this world!!”
Don’t worry, 2013 is your year.
With the Year of the Snake now upon us, wouldn’t you say it’s about time to take a look at Naruto’s own insane yet lovable snake himself, Orochimaru? He is a character that went from a former child prodigy to a psychopathic scientist. In some ways, Orochimaru can be similar to how adults who were gifted at a young age can go down misguided paths due to a lack of proper attention as they get older.
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Ever find it funny how a manga series that you’ve ignored for a while comes back to get your attention once again? This just happens to be the case with yours truly and NARUTO. Are ninjas really that exotic to a Westerner like myself?
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”In my eyes, you’re a proud failure! When I look at you, I get an intense feeling in my heart.”
You ever had moments where you thought blushing was bad? Instead of thinking of the embarrassment it might give you, think about looking at it as a way to be a more positive person. The quiet yet powerful femme fatale of Masashi Kishimoto’s NARUTO, Hinata Hyuga, certainly did so. Her character (and also immense popularity) provides an insight on what makes blushing one of the most unique expressions done by human beings.
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“What a drag.”
Many people will tell you that laziness is a huge hindrance to one’s psychological development. But what if laziness isn’t as bad as it seems? When you look at Naruto’s Nara Shikamaru, he’s a character that is lackadaisical, but highly successful. What does that indicate? Perhaps being lazy to a certain degree can be beneficial to a healthy well-being for yourself and others.
Shikamaru is a character that tends to shy away from responsibility for the most part. He would stare up at the clouds in the sky to pass the time. If anyone wanted him to take part in certain activities, he would usually complain about how troublesome they are and go about his own way. Shikamaru even called himself the biggest coward in all of Konoha (his home village) once. However, he is a natural-born leader and an excellent strategist as he has won many battles with his smarts. Shikamaru is also determined to become a great ninja that inspires others and is willing to protect Konoha at all costs.
Think of Shikamaru this way: he’s trying to gain a sense of balance in his life. Unneeded stress reduces cognitive thinking. For someone like Shikamaru, this is very detrimental to his success. Plus, it takes time to think of great ideas. Having a moment of relaxation can spark ideas in one’s mind. Staying away from “troublesome” activities helps someone to build upon creating a successful foundation for themselves and possibly others around them (if done correctly).
Let’s look at a key moment in Shikamaru’s growth. In Part II of Naruto, Shikamaru’s teacher, Asuma Sarutobi, was killed in battle by a member of the Akatsuki, Hidan. When the funeral was held, Shikamaru did not attend. Why? He was intent on gaining revenge and taking the time to think of a battle plan to defeat Hidan. Was attending the funeral “troublesome” for Shikamaru? Perhaps he thought that being even more sad than he needed to be would only distract his mentality after hearing Asuma’s final words. Asuma told Shikamaru that he had what it takes to be the Hokage.
A slacker sometimes does things out of personal reasons. Even if that’s the case, the slacker tends to grow exponentially from his experiences because he/she will take his/her actions very seriously. Look at what happens after Shikamaru kills Hidan. He then develops a new personal goal that he wants to abide by and commits himself to training Asuma’s child to be great. An act of personal vengeance ends up creating a result that is beneficial to Shikamaru and has great long-term effects for the village of Konoha.
Shikamaru is a jab at people who work too hard and/or focus too much on things that may seem important, but they really aren’t. What good is it if you try to be super-active in everything and end up completely burnt out in the end? You have to work hard, play hard, and work smart.
Here’s a quirky quote from Bill Gates that might spark your minds a bit.
“I will always choose a lazy person to do a difficult job… because he will find an easy way to do it.”
Isn’t it a good time to take a brief moment to look idly at the clouds for some reflection and discover the next big step to positively change your world?
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“I’m always going to be there for you, even if it’s as an obstacle for you to overcome. Even if you DO hate me. That’s what big brothers are for.”
If you’ve had older siblings, think about what they are supposed to do for you. The responsibility of a older sibling entails making sure the younger siblings are treated with respect and care. They must also teach them values and be viewed as “great” in their eyes. Now what if the older sibling tries to impart his/her wisdom via the most violent and traumatic methods possible? You now have NARUTO’s Itachi Uchiha, the seemingly-emotionless older brother of Sasuke Uchiha. Once considered to be an antagonist in the series, the truth about Itachi’s actions towards Sasuke reflects how difficult it can be for someone to be the first role model in a younger sibling’s life.
When we are first introduced to Itachi, he is viewed as a criminal. A runaway ninja from his own village and the murderer of his entire clan, including his own parents. Sasuke witnessed Itachi killing their parents and becomes driven by hate to beat him. The two would meet in an intense battle with Itachi being defeated. It is later revealed that Itachi was planning to die at the hands of Sasuke and that he truly loved him with all his heart. We also learn his motivations for wiping out the Uchiha clan. He wanted Sasuke to bring the Uchiha name (as the Clan was considered to be quite rebellious) back with pride. In order for that to happen, Itachi purposely became evil to give his brother a huge incentive to kill him. Although he died, Itachi would make a return as he was resurrected by Kabuto Yakushi’s Summoning: Worldly Resurrection Jutsu. He broke free from the Jutsu and runs into Sasuke once more. The two brothers would subsequently team up to fight Kabuto. Death comes back to take Itachi away in the end, but not before he tells Sasuke that no matter what his brother does, he will love him forever.
Being the first born in life is never easy. So many expectations are placed on you and you have to quickly evolve over time to meet them. Itachi was known to be a prodigy among the Uchiha clan and was constantly praised by his father. He tried valiantly to convince his father that Sasuke was worthy of love as well. While youngest siblings have a high possibility of being pampered brats, they have some good traits that should be taken under consideration:
When Itachi orchestrated his plan for Sasuke’s growth, did he truly believe that his methods would increase the positive traits found in those born last? In some ways, the infamous speech where he tells his brother to hate and detest him helped to encourage his brother to think ahead and take whatever risks needed to reach his goal. Look at Sasuke’s progress from Part I to Part II/Shippuden and you see the potential of last borns fully unleashed. While Sasuke rebelling against Konoha Village was not what Itachi intended, you have to admit that he must have studied birth order psychology during his free time.
During his final speech to Sasuke, Itachi notes that he regretted not consulting with him about the dark history of the Uchiha Clan and Konoha Village before setting his plan in motion. Do oldest siblings take their younger siblings’ opinions in consideration? Perhaps not. It is heavily suggested that elder siblings tend to be less agreeable about new ideas compared to their younger siblings. Itachi’s biggest flaw was that his intelligence, which is the most notable trait of being the oldest sibling, might have hindered his reasoning. Being intelligent doesn’t guarantee that you know everything there is to life and it may not help cure emotional worries. Itachi also forgot an ever-present truth that we’re all familiar with: youngest siblings have a tendency to emulate the bad behavior of their older siblings.
Itachi’s quest to make Sasuke great serves as a reminder that no matter how different you are from each other, your siblings will always have some effect on your life. Develop that relationship for the better especially as you get older. Once your parents are gone, the closest family member you have to rely on will be a sibling.
Remember, blood is always thicker than water.
Love our favorite “big brother” ninja and want more information? I highly recommended you check out Zapenstap’s collection of essays on Itachi Uchiha. Albeit a bit dated, they are insanely good reads and worth the time. Definitely check out “Itachi and Existentialism: A Philosophy of Life”.
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“I want to show I can be a splendid ninja even if I don’t have ninjutsu or genjutsu. I want to prove it to the whole world!”
For those who believe that they have do not have the talents to achieve certain types of success, let me tell you an insightful tale. A tale where one enthusiastic young man must conquer multiple odds to reach his goal. It was a goal which required certain talents the young man did not possess. Despite his lack of talent, the young man presses on with nothing but unbridled enthusiasm and a passion to crush it. This is story of Naruto’s Rock Lee, a ninja who relies on his strong spirit to fight and more importantly, a stern reminder about keeping your passion going even through tough times.
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I’m gonna start things off with a bang with a feature on one of Shonen Jump’s most popular characters, Uchiha Sasuke from Masashi Kishiomoto’s “Naruto”!
Where should I start when it comes to Sasuke? (WARNING: Massive spoilers ahead for those who aren’t up-to-date with the Naruto manga) Hmmm, let’s see: he’s angry, depressed, & somewhat antisocial. Sasuke is one of the last members of the Uchiha clan, a once-prominent ninja clan in the village of Konoha. He originally was a protagonist along with the main character, Uzumaki Naruto. As the story moves on, Sasuke eventually jumps over to the dark side by associating himself with terrorist ninjas to further his own ambitions. Along the way, he runs into his brother, Uchiha Itachi. Itachi is a runaway ninja who actually killed Sasuke’s parents at a young age and the ENTIRE Uchiha clan. In essence, he basically was the source of Sasuke’s rage. They eventually have a final confrontation, where Itachi ends up being killed by Sasuke himself. Sasuke then learns the truth about Itachi and the destruction of the Uchiha clan from Madara Uchiha, another survivor of the Uchiha clan & a major antagonist. After learning that Itachi actually loved him, Sasuke now focuses his goal on one thing & one thing only: the complete destruction of Konoha.
Part of the circumstances that led to Sasuke’s personality is primarily because of society enforcing their wills among people. In a sense, certain countries/families/groups have those guidelines too. That you have to do this, you have to do that. Honor is prized above anything else. The Uchiha clan was known to be a powerful clan. You had to do well in everything, though Konoha also enforced the same ideals. Kids go through that pressure a lot in certain societies. It is tough for a child to be bred in an strict environment at times. Sasuke was the “strongest ninja” in the beginning, but as the story went on, Naruto began to outclass him in every way. He began to be obsessed with becoming strong because of the pressure of being a Uchiha. You can compare that to when a parent compares you to another child. You get sad and feel as if you really disappointed them. As a result, you become desperate to live up to their standards.
Itachi decided to kill the entire Uchiha clan in order to prevent an all-out war between Madara & Konoha. He did not kill Sasuke however, due to the fact that he couldn’t bring himself to kill him. Itachi told Sasuke to hate him & despise him and by that way, he can become stronger. As a result, Sasuke begun to develop feelings of doubt and insecurity. He probably wondered “Why me?”, “How could this have happened?”, etc. That led to Sasuke living completely the opposite of how he wanted to live. Instead of being driven by happiness, he became driven by hate. Sasuke began to ignore the people around him, including Naruto, Sakura (a female classmate), and Kakashi (his original ninja master). You can say he was probably scared of losing them the same way he lost his parents. The fear of attachment can bring people down and can cause them to be outcasts.
Unfortunately now, he’s become a complete lunatic, placing destruction over his own life. Who can you blame for his new outlook? Itachi? Well, he was under orders. But he didn’t give the best motivational advice in the world. There are other ways to become strong. Madara, for manipulating Sasuke to the point that blind revenge is the answer? It’s hard to say that Sasuke can’t blame himself in this situation due to the circumstances. However, there is one thing I do like to note.
In the beginning, Sasuke began to like being around Naruto, Sakura, and Kakashi. He began to develop feelings of friendship before slowly plunging himself into darkness. In the most recent chapter of Naruto, Sasuke sees a vision of his former Konoha classmates laughing. He makes note of this saying, “THEY’RE LAUGHING BECAUSE THEY KNOW NOTHING!” It’s a frustration that a lot of depressed people go through. They tend to interpret most positive situations into negative situations for unknown reasons. I mean, Itachi WANTED Sasuke to kill him because he knew he was such a terrible brother & person for what he did. When he learned the truth about Itachi, Sasuke should’ve realized that a huge weight was lift off his shoulders, but instead, he focused his rage at somewhere else instead of really thinking things through. Thanks to Madara, he was manipulated even further. Sasuke earlier had doubts about Itachi’s motives, so why didn’t he question Madara’s motives (even Madara directly told Sasuke that Itachi did not want Madara & Sasuke to get in contact with each other)? Simple. It’s easier to blame the entire source behind it all: Konoha. Sasuke’s hot-headed pride allowed Madara to get into his mind and manipulate him ever further.
Being hot-headed is a common flaw that we human beings sometimes have. We tend to let rage get the best of us. Sasuke’s the best example of it. It has made him make bad decisions and bad alliances with people he shouldn’t be hanging around with. Did anyone really comfort him after the whole Clan died? No one took initiative whatsoever. It highlights the harsh reality of the ninja world. Their cruel & harsh standards have created a monster. The real world today, we can create monsters out of people through what what we perceive as normal and righteous. People want to be noticed while forgetting about others and leaving them to dry. In return, those who are neglected go through a spiral of chaos that they may never recover from.
Well, I hope you like my first entry. Feel free to comment with CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. Seriously, no weeaboo/otaku talk. I want this to be as serious. Feel free to point out anything I may have missed or any other observations about Sasuke. SEE YA!