Naruto debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in 1999. It didn't take long for the series to amass a large fan base, which inevitably led to an anime adaptation. The Naruto anime helped to propel the series into even greater success.
This meant that an official English localization was on the cards, which many fans were dreading. A lot of major anime series have been butchered during the editing process in order to make them palatable for an international audience. Naruto was a series that was filled with a lot of violence, so fans suspected that it would receive the same treatment as Dragon Ball Z.
It turns out that Naruto managed to have a fairly accurate dub, without too many censorships needed. The real problem was with the original Japanese version of the anime, which ended up toning down a lot of the content for the cartoon.
We are here today to look at all the ways in which the Naruto franchise has been censored over the years. From discarding Chiaotzu from Dragon Ball Z, to changing booze into potions and elixirs, here are 15 Ways In Which Naruto Was Censored.
15 No One Loves Chiaotzu
Naruto was created by Masashi Kishimoto. When Naruto received its own collected volumes, Kishimoto would include blurbs within the books that detailed his inspirations for the series. One of Kishimoto's biggest inspirations was Dragon Ball Z.
This would be obvious to anyone who has finished Naruto, as the series included an old man named Roshi, who was the living container of a four-tailed monkey named Son Goku.
When Naruto goes on his journey to find Tsunade, he visits a city fair. At one point, Naruto buys a mask from a store. One of the other masks on display looks like Chiaotzu from Dragon Ball Z.
It has his signature red cheeks and bobble hat. When this scene was adapted for the anime, the Chiaotzu mask was removed and replaced with a generic looking mask instead.
There was also a mask for one of the Kamen Rider characters, though this was also replaced in the anime.
14 Zaku Looks Armless
Orochimaru sent a team of his agents from the Hidden Sound village into the Chunin Exam. They were ordered to kill Sasuke Uchiha, though Orochimaru secretly just wanted to test Sasuke's combat abilities.
One of the Hidden Sound ninjas was called Zaku Abumi. He had his arms altered so that they had air tubes put into them, which allowed him to fire blasts of sound.
When Zaku fought Shino during the Chunin Exam, he tried to fire blasts of air from both of his hands. Shino had secretly commanded his insects to clog the tubes, which forced the air inwards. In the manga, this caused Zaku's right arm to be blown off at the elbow.
When this scene was adapted in the anime, the wounds were toned down. Zaku's arms were still wounded, but his right hand remained connected to his body.
13 Too Much Armadiko
When the Fourth Shinobi World War began, all of the Hidden Villages agreed to send the last two remaining jinchūriki to a secret location, as the enemy was hunting them down. This meant that Naruto and Killer B were sent to live on Genbu, a giant turtle that is the size of an island. There are numerous giant animals that live on Genbu, which Killer B has tamed and made into his friends.
One of these giant animals is an armadillo named Armadiko. Naruto is asked to do a geographical survey of the island, which involves identifying all of the animals. He is unable to determine whether Armadiko is a male or female.
When Deidara attacks the island, Armadiko is knocked flat on its back. In the Naruto manga, we clearly see that Armadiko has male genitals, which Masashi Kishimoto drew without too much detail (so as not to require any censorship). The original TV broadcast of the anime removed Armadiko's reproductive organs, though they were restored in the uncut version of the episode that was released on home media.
12 Shikamaru's Bad Habit
In Naruto, the leader of Team 10 is a jonin named Asuma. He is a chainsmoker, who is always seen with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
When the series skipped ahead a few years, Asuma became more deeply involved in the story. He led the team that tried to take down Hidan and Kakuzu, which resulted in a battle that cost him his life. Shikamaru sought revenge for the death of his old teacher, which involved him taking up smoking until the deed was done.
Asuma's cigarettes were always going to be a problem for the English dub of the anime. The lit part was always removed, which meant that the cigarette could have been mistaken for a lollipop or toothpick.
Shikamaru taking up smoking was an even bigger problem as he was a fan favorite character and a teenager. Instead of smoking, he took to carrying Asuma's lighter around with him instead. This change was made in the Japanese version of the anime and the English version of the manga.
11 The Censored Kiss
The ending of Naruto caused a backlash that many fans saw as inevitable. This is because the series had grown a massive "shipping" community, which is a fanbase that is based around the idea of coupling certain characters together romantically.
One of the most vocal shipping communities supports the "NaruSasu" ship, which is the idea that Naruto and Sasuke should have ended up in a relationship together. Naruto fed the fires for this fanbase early, as Naruto accidentally kisses Sasuke in an early chapter of the manga.
This scene was kept in a lot of the English dubs. The exception to this was when the show appeared on Cartoon Network, as they removed the kiss altogether. This didn't last, however, as the kiss was shown in a flashback sequence in episode 16.
10 The Hyuga Seal
The Hyuga Clan of the Hidden Leaf village jealously guard the secrets of their bloodline. Those born into the Hyuga clan possess the Byakugan, which allows them to see through objects and the flow of chakra through the body of living beings. They can also expel chakra from all parts of their body, which gives them access to unique fighting styles and jutsu.
In order to protect the secrets of the Hyuga bloodline, all members of the family that don't belong in the line of succession are branded with a mark on their forehead. This mark will activate upon death and seal away the Byakugan.
In the Naruto manga, this mark was a manji, which resembles a reverse Swastika. This mark was changed for the anime and the English version of the manga, where it was turned into the letter X. The change was odd, as the main character of Bleach has a sword with a hilt that was shaped like a manji that went uncensored in the English version of the anime and manga.
9 Kaiza's Double Censored Death
When Naruto and his teammates take on the mission in the Land of the Waves, they have to stay in the home of a boy named Inari. We find out that Inari once had a stepfather named Kaiza, who took care of him as a child.
When Kaiza opposed the gangster Gato, he was beaten and tortured by his minions. Kaiza suffered a terrible fate, which Inari still lives with to this day. Naruto and his team end up defying Gato and avenging Kaiza's death.
Kaiza's death was actually censored twice in the Naruto franchise. In the Naruto manga, Kaiza had his arms torn off. When the scene was adapted for the anime, Kaiza's arms were burnt and broken and his body was tied to a stake. The English version of the anime changed the scene again, so that Kaiza's arms were down at his side, so it looked less like he was being crucified.
8 The Short Censorship
The violence in Naruto starts out in the very first episode. We get to see the devastating aftermath of the Nine-Tailed Fox's attack on the Hidden Leaf Village, which involves the death of many ninjas, as they have to hold it off for as long as possible.
Naruto's teacher, Iruka, lost both of his parents during this attack. Despite this, he manages to repress his hatred towards the Fox, in order to become a good teacher and devoted friend to Naruto.
When the first episode of the Naruto anime was shown in the United States on Cartoon Network, there were several minor edits made to the amount of blood that is seen. One of the ninjas who is fighting the Nine-Tailed Fox had the blood that was dripping down his face removed.
What makes this edit so unusual is that we see the uncensored scene again later on in the episode, during Iruka's flashback of the Fox's attack on the village.
7 The Offensive White Blood
The Naruto video games have occasionally suffered even more censorship than the anime. This is usually centered around how much blood appears in the console Naruto games, as the censorship laws for those are far stricter than the ones in the West.
The Naruto games that have appeared on PlayStation and Xbox systems usually have the blood colored black and the quantity decreased significantly.
One of the most bizarre censorships of blood happened in Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3. The developers of the game changed the blood so that it was white instead of red. This makes it a lot more obscene when you think about it, especially during the scenes when you see it dripping down someone's hands or face.
A similar change happened in the Super Nintendo port of Mortal Kombat, as all of the blood in that game was turned gray.
6 The One-Fingered Fox
The relationship between Naruto and the Nine-Tailed Fox that is sealed inside him is a curious one. If Naruto had died, then the Fox would have been temporarily destroyed, yet it would have been reborn in a few years.
Despite this, the Fox helps Naruto out on several occasions, by granting him some of his chakra. Over time, the relationship between the two becomes friendlier, with Naruto eventually winning over the Fox and gaining access to its limitless power.
However, it seems that the Fox never totally became Naruto's friend, as he gives him the finger when they are reunited in chapter 691. When this scene was adapted for the anime, the finger was replaced with a fist bump between the two.
Naruto and Kiba are both fond of giving the finger in early chapters of Naruto, which was always censored out of the anime.
5 Neji's Flesh Wound
One of the most nerve-racking storylines in Naruto is the Sasuke Retrieval arc. Sasuke has agreed to go off with Orochimaru in order to seek more power. Shikamaru has to form a team of genin in order to stop Sasuke and Orochimaru's four most powerful lieutenants from escaping the Land of Fire.
The second battle of this story arc involves Neji and Kidomaru. Neji agrees to hold Kidomaru off, whilst Naruto and the rest of the team continue to pursue Sasuke. Kidomaru is a spider-themed ninja, who has the ability to create webbing from his skin and solidify it into weapons.
At one point during the battle, Kidomaru creates a bow & arrow and blasts a giant hole through Neji's shoulder. This wound was severely toned down in the manga so that it looked more like a bullet wound that a hole.
There are a lot of fans who speculate that Neji was originally supposed to have died during this battle, but Kishimoto's editors pressured him to change the result and allowed him to live. The change to Neji's massive wound is thought to be the biggest piece of evidence for this, as he should have bled to death within minutes.
4 Orochimaru's Man Cave
Orochimaru was once considered to be one of the greatest ninjas in the Hidden Leaf Village. This was because no one was aware of his true ambitions. Orochimaru wanted to discover a way to cheat death so that he could learn all of the jutsus in existence and achieve godlike power. He eventually found a way, by creating a jutsu that allowed him to switch his mind into a different body.
The true extent of Orochimaru's evil was discovered by the Third Hokage, who found his secret lab. In the Naruto manga, Orochimaru had captured numerous ninjas and performed experiments on them. We can see bodies hanging from hooks, after having had pieces chopped off of them.
When Orochimaru's lair was shown in the anime, it was heavily toned down. Orochimaru now had countless jars that were filled with organs and body parts instead of actual dead ninjas hanging from the walls.
3 The Censored Blood Letting
Naruto starts out as a whiny brat who is desperate to prove himself in battle so that he can one day become the Hokage. His first battle doesn't go so well, as his team is attacked by the Demon Brothers on their way to the Land of Waves.
Naruto freezes up, as the realization that he could be killed at any moment sinks in. This is made worse by the fact that his rival, Sasuke, rises to the challenge and takes on the Demon Brothers. Naruto receives a poisoned wound to his hand, which means that his team has to return to Konoha to seek treatment.
This prompts Naruto to cut open the wound on his hand and let the poison out himself, as he swears to never let the team down again.
This scene is quite graphic in the anime, which is why it was heavily toned down for the Cartoon Network broadcast. A lot of the shots where Naruto plunges a kunai into his hand were removed, though the general tone of the scene was kept the same.
2 The Censored Boy On Boy Technique
One of Naruto's signature moves is the Sexy Technique. This is where he transforms into a nude female version of himself, with parts of him covered up by clouds of smoke. Naruto later combined this with his Shadow Clone Technique, to create the Harem Technique, which makes a lot of sexy female Narutos.
Naruto would later pass on this technique to Konohamaru, who would create his own variations of the ability. Konohamaru would create the Sexy: Boy on Boy Technique, where he transformed into naked versions of Sasuke and Sai, who were engaged in a homoerotic act of passion.
This technique was used on Sakura, as she was criticizing the other Sexy Techniques. The Boy on Boy version was used to prove that she was just as perverted as the male characters.
The Sexy: Boy on Boy Technique was turned into a silhouette in the English version of the manga so that you only saw the outline of the guys. The entire scene was left out of the anime.
1 The Drunken Fist
When Naruto fans read the 211th chapter of the manga, they immediately knew that the issue was going to be censored in the West. This is because Rock Lee accidentally drinks a small bottle of booze, which gets him drunk. His teacher explains that when Lee accidentally drank alcohol in the past, he became an unstoppable combatant because Lee is a secret master of the Drunken Fist style of fighting.
Showing any character getting drunk in a children's show is a big no-no. This is made even worse by the fact that Lee is in his early teens at the time. The English version of the Naruto anime and manga both had to downplay the fact that Lee drank alcohol.
Instead, it was said that he was drinking a potion, or an elixir, which is what caused him to start acting crazy and using his "Loopy Fist" technique. It is pretty obvious what is going on during these scenes, and the whole thing is treated with a wink to the camera.
Can you think of any other times when Naruto was censored? Let us know in the comments!