There was a time when a gap existed for a new anime to find success among the masses. Dragon Ball Z had long since ended and it became apparent that Pokémon was just going to keep recycling storylines until the end of time.
This gap was finally filled by Naruto, which managed to eclipse Dragon Ball in terms of sales. A few other series have close to toppling it in the west (like Attack on Titan) but no other anime or manga has managed to knock the orange-clad ninja from his spot at the top.
With such a huge fanbase comes a lot of arguing. Naruto is no exception to this, as a lot of its fame came about on the internet, rather than through TV or video games. Naruto is a very divisive series and there are a lot of decisions made by Masashi Kishimoto and the anime staff that have polarized the fans.
We are here today to look at the most controversial aspects of the Naruto anime and movies.
From the denial of the Will of Fire that happened in Boruto to the truth of Sasuke and Orochimaru's relationship, here are the 15 Most Controversial Things To Ever Happen In Naruto!
15 Karin's Powers Are Themed Around Self-Harm
People who thought that Sakura had an unhealthy attraction to Sasuke didn't know what to think when Karin entered the story.
She is head over heels in love with Sasuke, due to the fact that he had saved her life many years earlier during their Chunin Exam. Karin finally overcomes her attraction to Sasuke when he almost murders her, which is something that Sakura was unable to do.
One of the most disturbing aspects about Karin was her healing ability, which is similar to performing self-harm. Karin has the ability to heal people if they bite her skin. This seems to only work for vicious bites, as her arms and abdomen are covered in bite marks from the people she has healed. Karin is also depicted as feeling a rush of pleasure whenever she is bitten in this manner.
The depiction of Karin's healing ability is all the more off-putting when you compare her to the medical ninjas in the series, who can heal wounds by placing their hands on someone's body.
14 Jiraiya Wants Naruto
Jiraiya might be the biggest pervert in the Naruto world. He spends his free time peeking on girls who are bathing and uses all of his disciple's money on booze and ladies of the evening.
This is to say nothing of his literary career, which consists of books with a very adult theme. This kind of behavior would lead to Tsunade beating Jiraiya to the point that he almost died. Tsunade's beatdown did little to dissuade Jiraiya, as he maintained his perverted ways until his death.
It seems that the men of the Naruto world also needed to keep a lookout for Jiraiya when taking a bath, due to a brief comment he makes in the 53rd episode of the anime.
When Jiraiya asks Naruto to get undressed, he comments on what a nice body he has. Naruto is around eleven or twelve years old when this scene takes place, so Jiraiya told his preteen disciple how hot he thought he was.
13 Hinata's Outline
The writers of an anime that is being adapted from a manga will sometimes be asked to come up with filler material in order to give the mangaka more time to advance the plot of their story.
This puts them in the unusual situation of having to come up with stories that can't mess with the status quo, as they don't want to contradict events that might happen later. Naruto had a huge issue with this, as over a third of the anime was made up of filler.
In one of the filler episodes, it was revealed that Hinata had learned how to use a new variation of the Gentle Fist that essentially allowed her to create laser beams. Naruto watches her using this technique... which she is creating while wearing no clothing. The anime showed the silhouette of a twelve-year-old girl as she danced on water, while another child spies on her.
12 The Final Romantic Relationships
Naruto is the second most popular franchise on fanfiction.net, where it trails behind Harry Potter. A great deal of these stories are romance fics, which focus on theoretical pairings between characters within the show or ones made up by the author.
One of the reasons Naruto gathered such a huge female fanbase was in the way it teased the romantic relationships between its leads.
The internet was a scary place to be on the day that the final chapter of Naruto was released, as it finally confirmed the romantic pairings of all of the cast members. This led to some vocal meltdowns on the various Naruto forums.
The most controversial relationship was that of Sakura and Sasuke. This is because he had spent most of the story physically and verbally abusing her, to the point where he tried to kill her on several occasions.
Sakura was cool with letting all bygones be bygones and marrying the murderous Uchiha at the first chance she got.
11 The Heavy Fighters
The filler arcs in Naruto were usually allowed to cover parts of the story that Masashi Kishimoto didn't have time to put in the manga. This allowed us to see the fates of the Jinchuriki who were killed during the time skip, as well as learn more about Pain's first iteration of Akatsuki and the members who died.
One of the filler arcs focused on Sakura's Chunin Exam, which was only briefly mentioned in the manga. This gave us a chance to see more of Fu (the Jinchuriki of the Seven-Tails) and Ajisai before she passed away and became one of the Six Paths of Pain.
Sakura's Chunin Exam featured a bizarre scene where all of the Genin from Konoha attack a ninja for being too fat and sweaty while standing near their food. Neji even uses the Eight Trigrams Palms Revolving Heaven Jutsu to stop any of the sweat from landing on anyone.
10 The Homophobic Censorship
It's not unusual for anime to be censored when it is localized for international audiences, especially if the show is going to be aimed at a mainstream audience. There are also instances when an anime tones down any overt sexual or violent content that appeared in the manga that it is adapting, as the print industry is generally more forgiving than television.
Naruto received several changes when it was adapted into an anime, such as toning down Shikamaru taking up smoking after Asuma's death and changing the Manji on Neji's head into a cross.
By far the most controversial change from the manga to the anime involves one of Konohamaru's techniques. In the manga, he created a version of the Naruto's special jutsu that showed copies of Sasuke and Sai engaging in an intimate act. This scene was totally removed from the anime.
The reason this was controversial was that Naruto featured tons of girls without clothing, some of whom engaged in inappropriate acts with each other (usually through the use of the Naruto's jutsu). The removal of the male version of the technique was seen as a double standard by many.
9 Sakura's Double Standard
Naruto never shied away from allowing women to serve as ninjas and enter combat situations alongside the guys.
Almost every single ninja team in the series featured a mix of genders, with the girls being just as deadly as their male counterparts. The people of Konoha and Kirigakure never once questioned Tsunade or Mei Terumi's leadership based on their gender, which unfortunately still happens a lot in real life.
With that being said: Naruto still had some double standards when it came to gender. The female characters were sexualized a lot more than the males, but they were also able to freely attack their comrades without repercussions.
Sakura is by far the worst offender in this regard. She brutally beats the hell out of Naruto all throughout the series, sometimes in quite graphic and nasty ways. This got even worse in Shippuden when she had mastered super strength. Sakura was allowed to violently attack one of her most loyal male comrades and it was always treated in a comedic way.
8 Kurenai's Father Wants A Baby Maker
The people of Konoha might have been cool with Tsunade becoming the Hokage, but not all ninjas in the village's history have been so enlightened.
The first issue of Naruto shows Kurama attacking the village, though we only see things from the perspective of Iruka, who was a young boy at the time. We later learn the truth of that day, such as Tobi's involvement in the attack and the sacrifice of Naruto's parents.
One of the most jarring parts of this flashback involves Kurenai's father. The young ninjas of Konoha are kept out of the battle against Kurama, much to their displeasure. Kurenai argues with her father over being allowed to fight for the village. His response is to tell her to live long enough to have kids so that she can pass on the Will of Fire to another.
This scene is likely a reference to the fact that Kurenai has a child after the time skip, but it comes off as her father telling her she is worthless unless she can have kids.
7 Sasuke Used Baton Pass, It's Super Effective
The Naruto anime led to the creation of several short movies known as OVAs, which stands for Original Video Animation.
These shorts were generally included as extras on the Naruto DVDs or released alongside the video games. These OVAs ranged from being weird stories that weren't part of canon to shorts that contain scenes from the manga that never made it into the anime.
The sixth Naruto OVA falls into the weird category, as it features Naruto looking for a place to go number two while the official Konoha Sports Festival is on. We see evil characters (like the members of Akatsuki) and dead ones (the fourth Hokage) attending the event, so it's definitely not canon.
Naruto is taking part in a Relay Race with other Genin from Konoha. Sasuke decides to pass him the baton by shoving it directly into Naruto's bum. Naruto is left on the floor with a baton stuck up his butt while his teammates chastise him for not running fast enough.
6 Orochimaru & Kabuto's Freedom
Orochimaru might be one of the evilest figures in the history of Konoha. He was secretly kidnapping villagers for use in his horrific experiments, which led to his exile. Orochimaru would later perfect a technique that allowed him to steal the body of another person so that he could prolong his lifespan.
He would later be responsible for attacking the village and killing the Third Hokage. Orochimaru was also a member of Akatsuki and would tempt Sasuke into betraying his friends and leaving the village, all so that he could steal his Sharingan.
Kabuto's crimes weren't as severe... until he raised an undead army and started a World War that required all of the ninja villages to unite against him.
One of the most shocking aspects of Boruto is the revelation that Orochimaru and Kabuto were not only pardoned but are allowed to work freely. Kabuto is evenallowed to work with children, which is kind of like your local preschool hiring a dictator as a new nanny.
5 Hinata & The Fly Trap
It's not unusual for anime/manga series to include scenes for pure titillation. This extends into other mediums as well, which is why you have episodes of TV shows where the characters go to the beach, as it exists for no other purpose than to show the cast in swimwear. Japanese media also uses Hot Springs as an excuse to get the characters out of their clothes.
Naruto is guilty of putting its cast into fetishistic outfits at the drop of a hat. The anime did this a lot more, as they needed to come up with content for all of the filler episodes. A ninja pillow fight is an easy way to fill twenty minutes and keep the fans happy.
One of the worst examples happened in the 271st episode of the Naruto: Shippuden anime. Sakura loses her memory, so her friends try and do their best to help her reclaim it. This results in Hinata having to wear a short Qipao dress. The animators cover up the exposed parts beneath her dress with one of Shino's venus fly trap plants, in one of the least subtle jokes in the history of the series.
4 The Biblical Fruit
The final stretch of the Naruto manga is generally considered to be the worst part of the story. This is because Uchiha Madara was jobbed out by a new character whose existence had only been mentioned within a year of her arrival.
Madara was being built up to be the final villain of the series for a long time, yet he was pushed aside by some lame Final Fantasy-style switcheroo boss.
The Otsutsuki family plot also explained where chakra comes from. According to legend, a tree landed on Earth and bore a fruit that people were warned not to touch, as these were precious to the Otsutsuki clan. If all of the chakra in the world were bound to the tree once more, then another fruit would be born.
So there you have it: all of the eastern mythology stuff that filled Naruto from the beginning was thrown out at the last minute by a reference to the Bible and the story of Adam and Eve.
3 The Revealing Snake
The Naruto fandom often made jokes about the idea that Orochimaru wanted Sasuke's body in more ways than one. It seems that Masashi Kishimoto was aware of these rumors, as some of the cover pages of the manga featured Orochimaru and Sasuke in some compromising and creepy positions.
There was never anything in the text to suggest that anything untoward was going on between the two, but the anime staff decided to take things one step further with the second opening of Shippuden.
Naruto: Shippuden used a new intro for the Tenchi Bridge Reconnaissance Mission arc. This featured a shot of a naked Sasuke being held up by two giant snakes, whilst standing in a crucified position.
We also see Orochimaru's leering eyes in the background. This means that Naruto: Shippuden included an almost naked image of a sixteen-year-old boy in its intro, while his pervy master watches on in the background.
2 Naruto & Sasuke Becoming Horrible Parents
The Hidden Leaf village believes strongly in a concept known as "The Will of Fire." This is the idea that your hopes and dreams will be passed on to the next generation of ninjas in your village. The people of Konoha are supposed to treat each other like one big family, though not everyone is able to keep to this belief.
The final issue of Naruto reveals that the main character has a wayward son who defaces the Hokage Monument in an effort to get his father's attention.
The Boruto movie and anime series go into more detail about what a horrible father Naruto is, as he spends no time with his family in order to complete his Hokage duties. This is way less forgivable with Naruto as he can send his Shadow Clones off to perform his duties, yet he lets them spend time with his family instead.
Sasuke is also guilty of this, as he spends even less time in the village, to the point where Sarada isn't even sure of the truth of her parentage.
1 Itachi Being A Good Guy All Along... Just Ignore The Torture
The 397th chapter of the Naruto manga dropped one of the biggest bombshells in the history of the series. Tobi revealed that Itachi was actually a good guy all along and that he had remained devoted to Konoha and his little brother. It turned out that the death of the Uchiha clan had been ordered by the higher-ups of the Hidden Leaf village, as they learned that Sasuke's father was planning a coup.
Itachi's face turn remains one of the most controversial decisions of the series, to the point where many fans believed that Tobi was lying in an effort to win Sasuke's trust. We later learn that he was telling the truth, as Kabuto brings Itachi back from the dead, which led to him validating the story.
The reason the truth of Itachi's backstory was so controversial was the fact that it felt like a last minute decision. Itachi had previously tortured Sasuke in such a way that he could only be brought out of a coma by the greatest medical ninja of the era, who was wandering the land at that point in time.
This seems highly out of character for the man who murdered his own lover and the rest of his kin in order to protect the life of his younger brother.
Have you noticed any other controversial things in Naruto? Let us know in the comments!