On Facebook, there’s been an uptick in Naruto-related activities happening on my timeline. All my friends are “going” to some type of Naruto-style activity and it is making me sick. Whether it’s running off the Pedestrian Bridge like Naruto or running around a hurricane to stop its spin, this gross misinterpretation of Naruto has gone too far. I suggest that everyone stops using the iconography of Naruto for your own entertainment because you are completely disrespecting the original manga.
Let’s start with this theme of running, a skill possessed by many ninjas in “Naruto.” In the original manga, Naruto is an amateurish, inept young ninja. He lacks necessary basic skills at first, and the only reason anyone takes him seriously is because he possesses the spirit of the nine-tailed fox, a monster with infinite strength. Even when Naruto becomes a good ninja, he’s never known for his running or stealth skills. He is clumsy and loud, so much better at combat fighting. Kakashi Sensei or even Sasuke are much better runners than Naruto. They’re much more grounded, technical ninjas, and if I were to jump across a bridge I would want to do it like those two, not Naruto. The mere calculation of this shows these events are inspired by mockery and not the original manga like they should.
Also, the way Naruto is constructed in these events is often through misconstrued stereotypes influenced by the anime show. In the actions depicted in these Facebook events, Naruto is actually running while jumping, distinguished by him putting his arms behind his back. In the original manga, Naruto and other ninjas use this skill while in the forest or on long journeys. Not in everyday life like on bridges, or in parks, or tunnels. Ninjas need to control their chakra levels in preparation for battle, and running this way all the time would diminish the strength they need for battle, even a rookie ninja like Naruto knows that.
It’s a shame really, because these events could have been fun. We all could have dressed up like Naruto and reenacted his infamous shadow clone jitsu, or could have done 1,000 Rock Lee kicks at some Confederate soldiers statue. But instead, these non-weebs decided to ignore the rich history of the Naruto universe and go with the stereotypical ninja traits that do not capture the thought-provoking ideas that the original Naruto mangas provide.