A few years ago i was introduced to the magnificent world of Naruto, the headstrong Konoha ninja. At first i almost waved it off without even watching it as i saw the subtitles. But my cousin did something terrible and gave me a preview of one of the episodes of the ninja exam, this episode happened to be the fight between ROCK LEE and GARRA . That was it, i was completely hooked. Night after night i for three weeks i watched about 7 seasons back to back , and often found myself performing hand seals.
The edge of your seat excitement, thrill by the moment and endless cliff hangers made it a wonder to me how anyone could wait a whole week to find out what would happen next, and lucky for me all i had to do was just click to the next episode.
The writers did an amazing job with this show. With unique characters , an awesome concept and a brand new approach to the Ninja , which for many years, as Hollywood would portray, had been some silent dude dressed in all black and no personality.They something remarkable.
These characters in the show were people we loved and perhaps longed to be. Each with his very own unique personality and characteristics , it felt very real for a cartoon. And with these characters beyond the awesome fight scenes there were some very real lessons from this show, that we can take away aside from unadulterated entertainment.
The title character is the star of the show. An orphan whose mother died giving birth to him ,he began as an outcast when to save the village , the Hokage(head ninja) , sealed the nine tail fox inside of him.
From an early stage in childhood he was ostracized , the villagers would cross to the other side of the street when he was coming,conversations would break and whispers with glances over the shoulder would start. In school the other kids wouldn’t play with him, and he’d often be left alone when he tried to join them in the playground. Most kids would be damaged by now ,but not Naruto.
Deep within him, instead of this breaking him, he built a resilience ,he had a dream to be Hokage, and nothing was going to stop him. To prove to the village and the world that he was someone and noone could tell him otherwise.
Not the fact that none of his teachers thought he could do it.Not the fact that he failed the ninja exam and was generally the “olodo” of the class having repeated the basics year after year.
Not the fact that every single day people laughed at his dream telling him that he was not serious and that he should wake up and face reality. He had a goal and a vision , and there was nothing that was going to take him away from that.
Naruto , is absolutely headstrong , literally and metaphorically. He is the definition of “takes a licking and keeps on ticking”.
Those of you familiar with the show know exactly what i’m talking about. We have seen the battles that he has faced, We’ve seen the beating that he has taken, and we know the number of times he has defeated people that have all the reasons and power to defeat him, the reason, DETERMINATION .
His decision and vision deep within him, is what keeps him going when he’s been beaten to a pulp and knocked out just imagine What Ali did to Sonny Liston MULTIPLIED BY 50. His dream of becoming Hokage is what gets him up from the ground when his knees are quivering , his body is bruised and his mouth is bleeding. Naruto is the ultimate energizer poster boy.
This 1000% will power is what developed him in his growth and achievements over the series, and caused all the nay-sayers to drop their jaws in awe and say “my have you grown Naruto -Kun”.
This is perhaps one of my more favoured characters. He is even more of an underdog than Naruto. Told from the onset that he had no Ninjitsu(ninja techniques) and the inability to form hand seals, he was told that he could never make it as a ninja as no ninja can survive only on jiujitsu(hand to hand combat). Did he let this discourage him? No, Rock Lee was only more determined to become a ninja,He compensated his weakness for his strengths and capitalised on that. While the other ninjas concentrated only o learning techniques , he focused on building his hand to hand combat skills. Hours after classes were over and everyone had gone home, he’d stay behind to train on his own. Disciplining himself and going the distance , he’d train till we literally could not move an inch of his body.
If he decided to do a 100 squats and failed to do so, he’d punish himself by doing a hundred push ups, and if he failed to do that …..well, you get the picture.
With this discipline and with only his hand to hand skills to survive on, he became one of the strongest Genins. Absolutely no one could match his lightning speed or electrifying movements.
He came back from crippling injuries to go on missions. The doctors said he’d never walk again, let alone live as a ninja, but he never let that stop him from dreaming. He bounced back stronger than ever, and is now a Jounin, not bad for a guy everyone had written off.
Shikamaru is lazy, unmotivated ,he whines all the time, doesn’t want to get involved in anything and in the words of Lauren Coper, he can’t be “boovered”. He’d rather just lay back and do nothing. Everyone wonders what could possibly be done to get this guy off his butt. But that’s where it ends, Shikamaru is powerful beyond measure , he has the most incredible mind in the village. A strategic thinker he was of his classmates to be promoted to Jounin in the ninja exam.
Shikamaru exhibited him self as a first class leader and battle strategist when he lead the team sent by the 5th Hokage to find Sasuke after he went looking for Orochimaru. His ability to think several steps ahead of the competition, and the fact that his opponent under estimate him much to their peril. His Napoleon type thinking enabled the genins to defeat Orochimaru’s hand picked sound 5.
This is an amazing feat for someone that everyone thinks is hopeless. Some people just need some motivation, a chance to prove themselves, and they would
unleash potential that nobody could have dreamed existed.
Each of these amazing characters have people in their lives who told them they would never make it in life.They had been written off for most of their lives, stigmatized and ostracized, but they proved everyone wrong.
* Naruto with his vision and dream to become Hokage
* Rock Lee to prove that he could still become a powerful ninja with ninjutsu
* Shikamaru who rises to the occasion showing exceptional talent
A lot of us may have been written off, told to give it up and have been all the odds against us. But like our hero Naruto , that takes a licking but keeps on ticking .We can keep our eyes on the goal, and no matter how many times we get knocked down, or the shit kicked out of us, we know that if we keep getting up we will knock out that adversary that is in our way of becoming Hokage.
If like Rock Lee , we turn a deaf ear to all those that tell us we don’t have the ability to achieve our dreams , our that we don’t have what it takes. If we discipline our selves and take the extra time ,go the distance. We will surpass those that think they have it all and we would be the strong able to do what nobody else can do.
If like Shikamaru, we rise to the occasion , even when everyone else thinks we are lazy,uninspired and unmotivated we would prove every naysayer wrong.