FERB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (18)
March 1, 2021
One in a series of 25 enthusiastic posts, contributed by 25 HILOBROW friends and regulars, on the topic of our favorite animated TV series.
NARUTO | d. HAYATO DATE | 2002–2007
Guts, recognition, and a refusal go back on your word is the way of Naruto Uzumaki. Watching this young “knucklehead ninja” grow up, during a period when I was growing up too, bestowed upon me the will of fire.
While art and style are important parts of any animated series, I’m a sucker for an underdog story like Naruto. Naruto possesses little natural talent in his ninja abilities. His rival, Sasuke Uchiha, meanwhile, is part of a lineage of geniuses… and he possesses a unique “Mirror Wheel Eye” power that makes him almost impossible to beat in combat. What’s worse, Naruto has to deal with a fox demon that was sealed up inside of him — in an incident that left him an orphan, and which made him a monster to his fellow villagers whom he must protect.
Still struggling to grow out of my clumsy pubescent stage, falling short in accomplishments by comparison with my peers, and hated by my high school’s cool kids, I had found my hero. Naruto grows stronger and overcomes obstacles in each episode, not only through training and force of will but by developing bonds with everyone he encounters. I was inspired by Naruto to reach out and gain some new friends myself.
The life lessons it offered were valuable, but a compelling aspect of Naruto for me was how bad-ass the series is. The English adaptation of the anime, which aired on Cartoon Network’s Toonami, a Saturday-night block of epic anime adventure, used more curse words and showed more blood than your average animated series. This was a big bonus. A teenager stabbing a rogue ninja with kunai blades is cool; calling him a “rotten bastard,” though, was very cool.
I still entertain hope that I can live my life like Naruto, gaining respect from my fellow villagers as I jump through trees and defeat villains. I’m growing stronger every day.
FERB YOUR ENTHUSIASM: SERIES INTRODUCTION by Josh Glenn | Miranda Mellis on STEVEN UNIVERSE | Luc Sante on TOP CAT | Peggy Nelson on PINK PANTHER | Charlie Mitchell on COWBOY BEBOP | Mimi Lipson on THE FLINTSTONES | Sam Glenn on BIG MOUTH | Mandy Keifetz on ROAD RUNNER | Ramona Lyons on SHE-RA | Holly Interlandi on DRAGON BALL Z | Max Glenn on ADVENTURE TIME | Joe Alterio on REN & STIMPY | Josh Glenn on SPEED RACER | Adam McGovern on KIMBA THE WHITE LION | Jonathan Pinchera on SAMURAI JACK | Lynn Peril on JONNY QUEST | Stephanie Burt on X-MEN THE ANIMATED SERIES and X-MEN: EVOLUTION | Elizabeth Foy Larsen on THE JETSONS | Adam Netburn on NARUTO | Madeline Ashby on AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER | Tom Nealon on TRANSFORMERS | Sara Ryan on BOJACK HORSEMAN | Michael Grasso on COSMIC CLOCK | Erin M. Routson on BEAVIS & BUTTHEAD | Deborah Wassertzug on DARIA | Lydia Millet on BOB’S BURGERS.
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