5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Naruto

Knowing a little Japanese history, mythology, and language will make you love any anime a lot more, but especially Naruto. Anime doesn’t come only come from the creator’s imagination. It comes from thousands of years of Japanese history recycled into the anime and manga you enjoy. Naruto is packed with more cultural gems than you can throw a shuriken at. Dig a little deeper into Naruto’s ninja world and you’ll hit buried ninja treasure.

1) “Believe It!”

Naruto introduced the English speaking world to chakra, jutsu, tailed-beasts, ninja headbands, and the most irritating catch phrase of all time, “Believe it!” Of course, “Believe it!” was just poor localization, the product of a translator without the foresight to realize that the main character saying “believe it” after each sentence might get old quick. Believe it! It is fairly common knowledge among Western fans now that, in fact, Naruto never actually said “believe it!”

What he was doing, was following a trend of adding nonsensical extensions to the end of sentences to make him sound tougher, cuter, more zany, whatever. Kind of like saying “I’m going to be the hokage-bogu” and thinking it was cool. If you watch subtitled Naruto episodes you’ve probably noticed Naruto say “-ttebayou.” Well, that’s just his way of making himself sound manly. Believe it!

2) The Kusanagi Exists

Let’s start at the beginning.

Susanoo is the Shinto god of storms and seas. According to the Japanese creation myth, Susanoo was banished from heaven after a disagreement with the creator god, Izanagi. Before he leaves, however, he stops over to say farewell to his sister, the sun goddess, Amaterasu. Amaterasu though, was worried he was only there for revenge. So to prove his intentions were honorable, he posed a god-birthing competition. (Because how better to prove your intentions?) They set to creating gods from items in each others possession by destroying them and breathing life into the remains. But after a disagreement about the victor, Susanoo goes on an angry rampage by spreading excrement over her fields, destroying her loom, and hurling a flayed horse through her roof.

Susanoo is banished from heaven, again.

While on earth he comes across an old man weeping, who reveals that every year an evil eight headed snake named Orochi (sound familiar?) comes and eats one of his daughters. Susanoo, like a boss, says “Give me the girl. I’ll kill the snake.”

He hatches a plan. He gets eight huge barrels of alcohol, gets it drunk, then hacks away at it while it’s sleeping. It all goes off without a hitch, except that he nicks his sword on something inside the snake. He opens up the corpse and finds the sword that later became known as the Kusanagi.
Okay, great, thanks for the mythology lesson. How’s the sword supposed to exist?

Well, it turns out that Susanoo actually is a nice guy. He felt sorry for breaking his sister’s nice things, so he gave her the sword as an apology gift. Amaterasu later bequeathed it to one of her descendants, the first emperor of Japan.

That means, according to legend, the imperial family of Japan are descendants of the sun goddess. It’s a belief that was generally upheld until the end of WWII.

The Kusanagi is one of the three Imperial Regalia of Japan, and the property of the emperor. It’s supposed to be kept in the Atsuta shrine in Nagoya prefecture. I say “supposed to be” because no one has ever actually seen it. The late Emperor Hirohito certainly seemed to think it–and the other regalia–were real though. He ordered their keepers to “defend them at all costs” after Japan’s surrender in WWII. Believe it!

3) The Nine-Tailed Fox

As you may have guessed, it came from folklore. But what was it? Well, she was a ravishing she-devil who spent her days bewitching royalty. Because that’s what demon foxes do.
Folklore often mixes with history, and the nine tails first appeared possessing a concubine to the Chinese emperor Zhou named Daji. (Both real historical figures.) Daji drove Zhou to such cruelty and decadence he became the worst Chinese emperor in history. They had orgies, huge erotic parties, murdered for fun, and spent afternoons torturing innocent people. (All history, by the way.) The emperor was eventually defeated by his opponents, who took issue with abominable evil.

The real Daji was executed, but her literary counterpart was more fortunate.

Versions differ, but one has her escaping to India where she bewitched a prince into beheading 1000 men. Her identity was uncovered again–maybe when people started wondering why the prince suddenly started severing heads. And again she fled, this time to Japan, where she became the favorite courtesan of emperor Konoe, who fell madly in love with her.

But this time, instead of turning him into Doctor Evil, she caused him to grow seriously ill. It turns out she was working with an evil daimyo who wanted to usurp the emperor. After hiring diviners, monks, and anyone with a crystal ball to find the cause of his illness, Konoe finally found an astrologer who exposed her.

The jig up, she went into hiding until being discovered years later. After an epic battle of Narutopic proportions, she was defeated and turned into a stone. The stone was called the Sessouseki. Naturally, it released a continuous cloud poison gas and killed whoever touched it, until it was finally purified and destroyed by a monk. The area where she was slain is the Nasu highlands in Tochigi prefecture and has a shrine dedicated to the event.

4) The Sanin

Orochimaru is a snake ninja, which makes sense because everyone knows snakes are diabolically evil.

Jiraya is a toad ninja. That sounds a bit lame, but being able summon a godzilla-sized yakuza toad is pretty sweet.

Then there’s Tsunade. Strongest woman in the world, renown medical ninja, drunk, fifth hokage, who can summon…a slug? How did the author come up with that?

Well, he didn’t.

The legendary three are taken from a story called, well, the Legendary Three. Jiraya was a ninja that used toad magic. Orochimaru was his former follower who used snake magic. (Yep, Orochimaru was Jiraiya’s student.) And Tsunade was the object of their affections who used slug magic.

(Makes you wonder just what slug magic does, doesn’t it?)

In the story the two vie for the love of Tsunade until, in the end, the good guy wins and gets the girl.
Too bad his Naruto incarnation didn’t have such luck. Because this is anime, after all. Somebody has to die–a best friend, a family member, teacher, main character, or the entire cast except for the main character who ends the movie clutching his best friend’s severed head below his crucified love interest. (Thank you for that, by the way, X: Tokyo Revelations.)

5) Sasuke Sarutobi

You may have heard the name Sasuke come up in places besides Naruto. Maybe you’ve seen Sasuke: Ninja Challenge? Sasuke Sarutobi is Japan’s feral child story. He is a popular fictional ninja raised by monkeys. Sarutobi itself means “Monkey fly/leap.” Having been raised by monkeys, he was often depicted as being quite a wild character.

Think Tarzan or Mowgli, but with kunai and shuriken. Because every story is better when the main character is a ninja. Just imagine how much better Edward Scissorhands would have been.
Basically, Sasuke was the first superninja, an image he has maintained for four centuries. He was part of a group called the Ten Braves. They were kind of like the ninja Justice League–and he was Superman.

The ten braves also included Jubei Yagyu, whom Ninja Scroll’s main character is based off. And pretty much every other famous anime ninja, ever.

His former rival was Kirigakure Saizo. You might recall his name from Kirikagure (Hidden Mist) village. If Sasuke was Superman, Kirigakure was Batman. Saizo was a master of illusion, and much more dignified than the monkey boy. The two polar opposites were arch rivals before the braves, but after joining they became Superfriends.

Sasuke, or his incarnations, or characters named after him, appeared in countless ninja movies, TV shows, anime, even stage plays. You may remember the Third Hokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi, summoning a monkey to fight along side him? Well, Enma was just Sasuke Sarutobi’s uncle. Believe it!
And that’s where Naruto comes from. There’s a lot more I didn’t mention, but these few nuggets are enough to get you started. You can learn a lot of Japanese history and culture from anime, you just have to sort out the facts from the…well, anime. But, if you’re willing to do your homework, anime will be your open portal to understanding Japan better, even, than many Japanese.

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'Naruto' Manga Sequel Arrives Spring 2015: What Comes After Shippuden? [REPORT]

"Naruto" creator Masashi Kishimoto announced a manga sequel release date will be Spring 2015.

On Monday, Nov. 10, the Weekly Shonen Jump Issue 50 will finally release the final chapter of the "Naruto" manga. After 15 years since "Naruto" was first released in 1999, the epic ninja manga will end with a 44-page chapter 699/700 doubleheader. What's more, "Naruto Shippuden" chapter 700 will be printed completely in color. Like many manga fans, I was shocked when I first learned that creator Masashi Kishimoto officially announced the end of "Naruto." While the end to any anime is inevitable, the longevity of "Naruto" made the announcement rather unexpected. However, a new report reveals that Kishimoto is planning another sequel to "Naruto Shippuden."

For the fans that have been following the Naruto manga, you will know that Sasuke and Naruto have yet to settle their differences. While the rivalry between the two ninjas will always be a core plot, the shinobi world will continue to go on and there are many other stories to tell as well. According to Kishimoto, a new ninja series following "Naruto Shippuden" will arrive in Spring 2015. That said, insider sources suggest the encore series will actually be relatively short.

The fact is, even if creator Masashi Kishimoto has made peace with the end of the "Naruto," the die hard manga fans have not. There is still heavy international interest in "Naruto" and to end the series now would be, for lack of a better term, to leave cash on the table.

So what does Kishimoto have planned for the upcoming "Naruto Shippuden" sequel? Details are scarce, but an interesting image surfaced earlier this week that attracted a lot of buzz and speculation-- Naruto and Hinata and their children. According to Japanese site My Game News Flash, Hinata and Naruto's son will be named Bolt, or Boruto, a pun on Naruto. Hinata and Naruto's daughter is named "Himawari," which is "sunflower" in Japanese.
'The Last' Naruto Movie Hinata children
Initial reports suggested that the illustrations were fakes created by a Chinese blog that intended to drum up speculation on the upcoming "The Last: Naruto the Movie." However, if  Masashi Kishimoto is working to develop a sequel post-Shippuden, then  the adorable children will not be outside the realm of possibility.

The "Naruto Shippuden" manga officially ends on Nov. 10. What are your thoughts on the upcoming sequal manga to "Naruto Shippuden" for Spring 2015? Let us know in the comment section below!

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'Naruto' Manga to Continue; Part Three Confirmed for Spring 2015

"Naruto Part 3" to Last Only a Few Months
Only weeks after announcing that the world famous "Naruto" manga is not completely dead yet, creator Masashi Kishimoto has declared in an interview that the new mini-series will only last a few months. (Photo : Kotaku)
"Naruto" fans, rejoice!!

Less than seven days from the publication of the final "Naruto" chapters, an announcement was made that gives "Naruto" fans everywhere reason to be excited: a sequel mini-series to "Naruto" and "Naruto Shippuden" is confirmed to be in the works for Spring 2015, according to Saiyan Island.

Part 3 will reportedly feature the next generation of Hidden Leaf ninja. In other words, "the children of Naruto, Hinata, Sakura, Sasuke and others," Saiyan Island reports. However, this will not be an extensive series; merely a mini-series. How many books/chapters it will produce, and whether or not an anime can be expected, is unknown at the moment.

This is sure to create some buzz among fans on both sides of the spectrum (those who are desperate to see it and those who just want to see "Naruto" left alone). This mini-series will also, if the soon-to-be-released final chapters do not, reveal the romantic pairings that countless fans have been debating over for almost as long as the manga has been in production.

This is all a part of the "Naruto New Era Opening Project," a major project celebrating the series' 15th anniversary. There will also be releases of side story books by Shueisha, the last "Naruto" movie (suitably titled, "The Last"), a stage play and more.
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The Last: Naruto The Movie

‘The Last: Naruto The Movie:’ People Laughing At Titular Ninja’s Dreams Of Becoming A Hokage, His Story Similar To Masashi Kishimoto’s Journey

(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
The Last: Naruto The Movie is coming to Japanese theaters on December 6. Little did we know that the titular ninja's story is similar to Masashi Kishimoto's journey. According to Anime News Network, Naruto manga creator Masashi Kishimoto had an interview with The Asahi Shimbun newspaper published last Wednesday where he stated that Naruto's journey to become a Hokage is much like his own journey to become a manga artist.

"I was unable to do well in school and felt a strong sense of inferiority," he said. "When Naruto said, 'I will be Hokage,' people surrounding him laughed at his dream. Since childhood, I also told others that I would be a manga artist but had no foundation."

Reportedly, Kishimoto, despite his initial feelings of "inferiority" was able to break new ground with story's approach to conflict when he created Naruto.

The manga series' central character did not always resort to physical force to overthrow his enemies unless the situation calls for it.

"Boys' comics inevitably feature violent scenes. But I wanted to tell (readers) that enemies who resort to violence probably do so because of unavoidable reasons," Kishimoto said. "And if (the protagonists) defeat them without understanding their motivation, it could end up leading to a repeat of the same thing."

According to Anime News Network, Kishimoto started to move in the manga world in 1996 with "Karakuri" which won Shueisha's "Hop, Step, Jump" award. After that he studied scenario writing books and dialogue for two years before launching Naruto. In 1999, he began serializing Naruto's story in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine which ended last November 10. Reportedly, Shueisha published the 71st compiled book volume in Japan on November 4, and Viz Media published the 67th volume in North America on October 7.

Recently, Jump J Books began listing a novelization of the movie. The novel slated for shipping on December 8, is written by Maruo Kyōzuka. 

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One Piece creator sends goodbye message to Naruto in own manga

  Earlier this week, popular manga Naruto ended its 15 year run for Japan's Weekly Jump Magazine with a final 700th episode. In the same issue, a fellow animator encrypted a message to Masashi Kishimoto, the creator of Naruto, in his own manga, One Piece. Some fan figured it out, and now, everyone knows.

Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto and One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda have worked together for 15 years, making deadlines every single week for the venerable publication. Through the years, they have developed a close friendship and rivalry based on mutual respect, and when Naruto officially ended, Eiichiro wanted to say something to his pal, and he said it through his own manga in the same issue.

The page with the hidden message is where Luffy of One Piece goes to eat at a diner, and on the wall, are available menu items. The first Japanese characters of every item end up spelling out "Naruto Otsukaresandeshita,"  which literally acknowledges Masashi's hard work.There are also shout-outs to Naruto in the title and in the drawings themselves. Masashi returns the shout-out with a drawing of the One Piece pirate logo in his last episode of Naruto.
Now it's official.

Cover of JUMP for final Naruto

  Naruto all over
First characters of menu items = Naruto, Otsukaresandeshita
(Source: via)     

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Naruto movie 'The Last' coming to PH

Fans of "Naruto" are in for an early Christmas treat.

On its official Facebook page, SM Cinemas announced that "The Last: Naruto the Movie" will hit the Philippines on December 17.

The local film exhibitor uploaded a poster on Wednesday, which features artwork from the animated film, with the caption: "12.17 #SMCinExclusive."

No further details were revealed.

Written and Illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto, "Naruto" has grown to become one of Japan's biggest manga and anime franchises since its debut inside the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump back in 1999.
It tells the story of Uzumaki Naruto and his quest to become the best ninja in his village of Konoha.
The collected volumes has since sold more than 200 million copies worldwide and still remains one of the best-selling manga of 2014. It concluded with chapter 700 last week.

In a report released by Japanese statistics company Oricon, "Naruto" was estimated to have sold more than 3 million copies for the first half of 2014 (between the months of November 2013 and May 2014) in Japan alone.

An anime series based on the Japanese comic began airing in 2002. It carried the same title for 5 years before being rebranded as "Naruto: Shipuuden" in 2007.

The aptly titled "The Last: Naruto the Movie," is set to be released in Japan on December 6.

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