Kishimoto: Naruto Invokes His Childhood, Breaks Shōnen Formula

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge
Naruto's dream to be a Hokage is like Kishimoto's to become a manga artist

The English version of Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun published another interview with Naruto manga creator Masashi Kishimoto on Wednesday.

In the interview, Kishimoto 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."

Despite Kishimoto's initial feelings of "inferiority," he was able to create an immensely popular series for 15 years. He first entered the manga world in 1996 with his one-shot, "Karakuri." The story won Shueisha's "Hop, Step, Jump" award but Kishimoto decided to build his foundation for two years by studying scenario writing books and studying dialogue in film before debuting Naruto.

Reflecting on his series' journey, Kishimoto thinks he broke new ground with the story's approach to conflict. The series' protagonist did not always resort to brute force to defeat his enemies.

"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.”

He began serializing the ninja manga in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in 1999, and ended the series in a two-chapter finale on Monday. 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. The manga has more than 200 million copies in print worldwide.

The series spawned multiple television anime, anime films, original video anime, and game adaptations. The Naruto Shippūden anime is still ongoing, and a film titled The Last -Naruto the Movie- will open in Japan on December 6.

Source: The Asahi Shimbun

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