20 Dark Facts You Didn’t Know About Naruto
The Naruto series is dark on the surface, but there are lots of hidden secrets and unknown facts that make it that much more so.
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Ah, Naruto. For many of us, this manga/anime was the gateway to the world of Japanese entertainment that we previously didn’t know existed. Naruto is a great story about a world where ninjas are the military. And it focuses on one ninja whose determination to become a leader overcomes even the toughest villain. For all its glaring plot holes and convoluted twists and turns, Naruto is a rather interesting story that teaches us about fighting for what’s right and never giving up. What it may have lacked in solid plot continuity, it made up for in heart and emotion.
Naruto was actually one of the first anime shows that I watched and it’s what got me to further explore the world of Japanese anime, a style of animation I quickly grew to love. For me Naruto was the show that started it all, and I still find myself pretty attached to its characters.
Along with interesting characters and awesome fighting sequences, Naruto also brought a darker element to cartoons, particularly in America. Its violent premise and rather high body count left it with a controversial reputation, but it quickly become one of the more popular anime shows in America. That being said, there are a lot of dark elements in Naruto that we often overlooked, never realized, or just forgot about. So here are 20 pretty dark facts about Naruto you likely didn’t know.
Do you think I missed any? Have any other disturbing facts about Naruto that you want to share? Be sure to let us know!
20 These Soldiers Look A Little Young
What many of us probably don’t realize is how messed up the world of Naruto actually is. Practically this whole world’s military runs on child soldiers. Children can go to the ninja academy at a young age to learn how to fight, and I’m talking young, like 4-5-year-olds. As a result, a lot of your lower-rank ninjas that go on missions are 12-13-year-olds.
Even throughout the story of Naruto, most of the characters are young teenagers. The 4th great Ninja war had squads being led by teenagers. Naruto himself was only 17 when he took on Madara and all these villains. Yes, there are some older ninja, such as the instructors and the jonin rank, which is the higher-ranking ninjas. But a lot of Konoha’s military personnel are basically child soldiers. These kids are raised to learn how to fight, kill, manipulate, and destroy from an incredibly young age. It’s actually pretty disturbing.
19 Really Feeling The Brotherly Love
Remember the story arc where Itachi and Kisame come to abduct Naruto? Sasuke then confronts Itachi, ready to kill him in revenge for killing his entire clan. If that wasn’t dark enough, there’s the fact that Sasuke doesn’t even get close to hurting Itachi, but then Itachi pulls out his moves.
And they’re pretty brutal. Itachi’s specialty is genjutsu, which is manipulating the mind and perspective. Itachi then uses this to essentially torture Sasuke in his mind, making him relive the night his entire family and clan were killed over and over. Now, we know all this, but what you may not know is that Itachi did this to Sasuke for a while, over 24 hours in Sasuke’s mind. Granted that didn’t last long in the real time, but in Sasuke’s mind, he was being tortured for hours. And he was around 12 at the time. That’s pretty messed up.
18 Death To Naruto!
A lot of people wanted Naruto dead, whether it was enemies of Konoha, or people in the village where were afraid of Naruto. It’s messed up as it as that these people wanted to kill a child, simply because they were afraid of the demon he harbored inside.
But a really disturbing element is that Choji’s Dad was part of the group that initially wanted to kill Naruto (Choji is one of Naruto’s classmates). In chapter 1, you see the large man part of the group that is out looking for Naruto after he steals a forbidden scroll. This group tells others that if they find Naruto, they should kill him since he’s dangerous. This is just a little disturbing, especially since we get to know Choji and his dad more as the manga progressed. His father doesn’t really seem like the type to want to kill a child, but there you go.
17 You Shouldn’t Try This At Home
Some kids just can’t tell the difference between fiction and reality. Apparently, a young boy named Cody Polter was killed by his friends as they tried to recreate a famous jutsu seen on the show. Cody’s friends buried him headfirst in sand and later his body, in an attempt to mimic Gaara’s signature move Sand Coffin, a move that envelops his enemies and then essentially crushes them.
What I don’t get is why these kids where trying to mimic this jutsu since it’s known to be a deadly one in the show. I mean, it’s called Sand Coffin for a reason. Also, Gaara isn’t exactly someone you should be trying to imitate, at least when he’s first introduced. The guy is borderline sociopathic and has no qualms about killing people. Still, it’s a pretty terrible tragedy that came from the show.
16 Itachi’s Personal Life Got Dark
Granted, we don’t really know much about Itachi in general, other than he loved his brother, he had a best friend whom he killed to gain more power, and he eventually killed his entire clan. He’s also a powerful genjutsu user, and he’s a master of warping a person’s mental state and perception.
What you may know is that Itachi actually had a girlfriend. It’s true, when he was younger, Itachi had a girlfriend in the Uchiha clan. What makes this tidbit of information so dark is that this means that Itachi not only killed an entire clan and his family, but he also killed his girlfriend. Yeesh, Itachi, that’s pretty messed up. I wonder if this was his way of breaking up with her. . .
15 A Demonic Inspiration
We know Kurama is the nine-tailed demon fox that was sealed inside of Naruto. When the two eventually start to work together, they make a pretty impressive team. But did you know the source of inspiration for our favorite nine-tailed beast?
It’s a slightly creepy source that comes from Japanese folklore creature called the Kitsune. This demon is often described as a fox spirit. Some versions of the kitsune, like the ninko, will possess humans, and can only be perceived by the possessed humans. The kitsune are also noted for having up to nine tails. Kurama actually has quite a bit in common with these Japanese demons. So basically, the famous nine-tailed fox that nearly destroyed Konoha is based on a Japanese demon. It’s a little creepy, but pretty cool all the same.
14 Talk About A Terrible Childhood
If you think about it, many characters in Naruto have one thing in common: they all had pretty screwed up childhoods. Whether it’s from losing your entire family, to being tortured and experimented on, to being ostracized from your own village, a lot of our favorite characters didn’t have it easy growing up. In fact, it almost seems rarer to see a character that had a good childhood in Naruto.
This does make some sense, since this show takes place in world that’s scarred by war, with different villages constantly fighting each other. When they’re not at open war with each other, they’re often using subterfuge to spy on and sabotage other villages. It makes sense that in this world of perpetual violence and fear, many people would have gone through some terrible things as kids. It’s kind of sad to think about.
13 What’s In A Name?
A lot of the characters’ names from Naruto have some interesting meanings in English. For example, Sakura’s name means “cherry blossom,” Kankuro’s name means “crow,” and Kakashi’s name means “scarecrow.” But one character’s name stands out to have a bit of a darker meaning behind it.
Itachi’s name means “weasel.” When you consider the fact that he essentially betrayed and killed his entire clan, the meaning of this name takes on a bit of a darker tone. It doesn’t help that weasels are often associated with trickery. The fact that Itachi manages to fool essentially everybody and ends up being a sort of good guy is also a testament to his name. It just goes to show that a name can tell you a lot about a person.
12 Say Good-Bye (Almost) To Naruto!
Did you know that when the anime of Naruto first came out, it was nearly cancelled? One organization was against the show, since it had a pretty high body count and portrayed a lot of violence. To be fair, they had a point, since Naruto does show a lot of death and violence, even for a shonen anime. As a result, this organization tried to get sponsors to back out of funding.
However, once it showed that the ratings for Naruto were very high, the organization changed its tune and decided to support the anime after all. I guess they didn’t care once they saw how much money the show could actually make. While that’s a little messed up, it does mean that we got to see the anime, so it’s a win, I guess.
11 Friendly Fire Took On A Whole New Meaning
The biggest element of the Fourth Great Ninja War, which was the climax of the entire series, was the fact that Kabuto had used the Edo Tensei to revive the bodies of many deceased great ninjas and use them as weapons. This alone is a little disturbing since these ninjas were essentially zombies, but what makes it even darker is that these ninjas still retained their personalities and memories while alive.
As a result, many ninja soldiers ended up fighting old comrades and friends that they had lost. One particularly sad one is Team 10 fighting against their old sensei Asuma, who was now being controlled by Kabuto. It’s pretty heart wrenching for these characters to have to kill their old master and seeing him encouraging them to do it. It’s pretty dark.
10 I Don’t Envy These Guys
While not all of the Jinchuriki were treated terribly, many of them did face a lot of persecution and ostracization. The two that stand out the most are Naruto and Gaara, of course. Both were considered dangerous by the people in their village and both were feared. As a result, both had very lonely childhoods and practically grew up alone.
What’s messed up is that these are kids, kids that didn’t ask to be Jinchuriki, kids that just wanted someone to understand and love them, and they didn’t get that. At least not initially. They were treated like the enemy, and many people even wanted to kill them. Naruto was ignored most of the time, while Gaara was attacked by multiple people. It makes sense why these two were rather messed up in the beginning.
9 Choji Has Questionable Tastes
Choji is a member of team 10 of Konoha, and is known for his expanding jutsu. Don’t let his softness fool you; this guy actually packs quite a punch, especially when he’s mad. Just don’t ever call him fat…
What sets Choji apart is his obsession with food. He’s almost always seen munching on chips or some other snack, and he loves a good meal. It actually makes sense when we learn that much of his jutsu techniques rely on his mass, so it’s crucial for him to keep up a certain weight and mass. That being said, Choji at one point apparently wanted to eat Kiba’s dog. Akamaru is Kiba’s companion and often helps him out in a fight. When we first meet Akamaru, he’s just a little puppy. But when Choji first met Akamaru, he commented that he looked pretty tasty. I don’t know, wanting to eat a fellow ninja’s companion is a little creepy, Choji.
8 Jiraiya Really Has A Problem
The Toad Sage Jiraiya is rather infamous with his obsession with the ladies and his peeping-tom tendencies. To put it mildly, the guy’s a pervert. Interestingly enough, he ends up training Naruto for a long time and the two form a bit of a mentor/parental relationship. But how they meet is a little weird.
Initially, Naruto wanted Jiraiya to train him, but Jiraiya refused. Naruto tries all sorts of tactics. At one point, Naruto performs his infamous “S*xy Jutsu,” where he transforms into a feminine version of himself. And the weird part is Jiraiya likes it. Now, I’m not saying that this is the sole reason that Jiraiya decides to train Naruto, but the fact that he was into Naruto’s S*xy Jutsu is a little creepy if you ask me.
7 Dead Children Everywhere
Itachi is a very interesting character. He goes from villain to anti-hero throughout the series and becomes a rather complicated character. He’s the focus of Sasuke’s hatred and later his love.
Say what you will about Itachi, at the very least, he was a devoted brother, as he spared Sasuke and helped him become stronger. But this doesn’t change the fact that Itachi killed a lot of people. As part of a cover-up to stop the Uchiha clan from rising up against Konoha, Itachi is instructed to take out his entire clan. This likely includes a lot of kids. While we know about Itachi killing the entire clan, I don’t think many of us realized that meant kids and infants too, which makes this whole scenario even darker than it already is.
6 These Exams Seem Unnecessarily Deadly
We find out that one part of the chunin exams, genin are to go through a dense forest to find and bring back certain scrolls. This forest is aptly named The Forest of Death and is filled with some dangerous creatures such as giant centipedes and even deadly, giant leeches. So, the students are going up against each other in a forest that is trying to kill them.
While they gloss over a bit the nature of this exam, it doesn’t change the fact that many genin students have likely died in this forest. And these are the just the chunin exams, often taken by kids in their early teens. I don’t know about you, but that’s a little messed up. I’ll never complain about finals again.
5 These Wars Are Real
You may not know that Kishimoto actually grew up in a town near Nagasaki. He often listened to his grandparents tell stories of their lives during WW2. In an interview, Kishimoto said that many of the wars and great battles that are shown in Naruto are inspired by these stories he heard from his grandparents.
This is actually interesting since Naruto doesn’t have any kind of artillery weapons like guns and tanks. There are types of bombs though, and many of the grand-scale attacks caused a lot of damage you would see in real life. That being said, it is a little disturbing to realize that many of the great battles in Naruto were inspired by actual war stories. It gives it a more real connection.
4 That’s One Demonic Child
We’re familiar with Naruto’s origin story, and how Kurama the nine-tailed fox demon was sealed away in his body when he was a baby. We know that because of this, Naruto has a large amount of chakra at his disposal, and he eventually works with Kurama to fight and become a very powerful ninja.
What you might not know is that Kishimoto’s original plan for Naruto’s origin was a little different. In his first idea, Naruto was actually going to be a fox demon that took the form of a young boy. And the nine-tailed fox demon was going to be his father. This is a little creepy since Naruto was originally going to be a demon. I have to admit though, Naruto as a fox demon would be pretty interesting, especially if they kept up with him becoming a ninja.
3 They’re Not Quite Human…
Have you noticed how the Akutsuki members look a little… off? Well, apparently that was done on purpose. Kishimoto said that he designed the members of the Akatsuki organization to all look not quite human. While they all do look human for the most part, each member has some characteristics that give them that inhuman vibe.
It does make sense. Whether it’s something subtle like Itachi’s red eyes to something more overt like Kisame’s gills and shark-like teeth. This little tibit is surprisingly dark since it shows that these characters could be seen as so evil that they aren’t even human. And the visual impact of their designs is rather effective, since you tend to feel uneasy whenever you see them. It’s actually pretty clever.
2 How Do You Beat This Guy?
Here’s a slightly disturbing fact about the villain Madara: for a long time, Kishimoto wasn’t sure how to have Madara defeated. He basically had created a villain that was so powerful in this world that he wasn’t sure how to actually stop him. Talk about letting your creation get away from you.
Now we know that Madara was eventually defeated after an intensely long battle. Essentially, his body gave out after having both the tailed beasts and Demonic Statue removed from him. But it took the efforts from practically every character we’ve met to take him down. The fact that the creator himself didn’t know how to defeat the main villain of his series is a little disconcerting, showing just how powerful he made Madara.
1 A Completely Different Hokage
From the beginning, the focus of Naruto was often on Naruto’s goal: to become Hokage of Konoha and protect his village. That’s been his dream, and why he refused to give up in any battle he was in. This was also we admired Naruto. No matter how much he was beaten down, he refused to give up. And while the story often shifted to different people and issues, it always came back to Naruto’s main goal.
But apparently, Kishimoto played around with the idea of having Sasuke become the Hokage instead. He had thought about this idea from the very beginning. This is likely why toward the end of the series, Sasuke says that he’ll try to become Hokage. But can you imagine him as the leader of the Konoha Village? I don’t think that would’ve ended well.