In America, pop culture is the stable of our society. Movies, television, books, music etcetera, form friendships, they build traditions, they unite families, and they, often, define who we are.
The Three Things That Shaped Me is a small series I came up with where I wish to share the impact that three of my favorite fictional universes have had on my life and learn if any series, in any form, has done the same for you.
Some of them taught me how important the imagination is, they strengthened and created bonds with people, and others, such as Naruto, I am forever indebted to for teaching me the greatest life lessons.
I’m not quite sure why I haven’t discussed anime or manga here on 4therace as both have been a huge part of my life for as long as I could remember. I did watch Dragon Ball Z way back when, but Naruto was the first anime that I was fully engaged with. Before I watched it on Cartoon Network’s Toonami, I was first introduced to mangaka Masashi Kishimoto’s epic story in the form of manga way back in 2007 when my mom came home with the series’ 13th volume. 10 years later, Naruto still remains my favorite manga/anime ever and sits in a very special place in my heart.
So, what is Naruto? To those unfamiliar with the manga, Naruto follows the titular hero in the world of ninja. The powerful Nine-Tailed Fox was sealed within Naruto at birth and for most of his youth the entire village, Konohagakure (sorry not The Village Hidden in the Leaves), shuns him for this. With a dead mother and father, no relatives or friends, Naruto essentially begins as a story of loneliness.
As the series progresses, Naruto grows from the mischievous kid to a respected ninja. He makes friends and even turns his enemies into allies due to his kind heart and ability to see good in even the worst of people.
Along the way Naruto faces countless obstacles, a few of his comrades die in battle, he loses and falls down, but no matter the hardships he always gets back up. While he may be a fictional character to some, Naruto
was is honestly one of the biggest idols in my life. When the series finished, Naruto and I were both 17 years old so the two of us literally grew up together. Seeing him become a beloved, kind-hearted, selfless hero and work his very best to achieve his lifelong goal of becoming Hokage, the leader of his village, truly inspired me to follow my dreams and be the very best human being I could be.
This animated teen, I know it may sound silly to some, has had such an impact on my life and even more so indirectly.
As said in the intro, pop culture, the worlds and universes we hold dearest, unite us. My love for Naruto sparked countless friendships in my youth, and even today as an 18-year-old college student, has helped me form strong friendships with people who share the same love for the series.
As I’ve learned from the yellow headed ninja, you will fall down countless times but no matter how many times that may be, you should always, always get back up. Try your hardest, never give up, and most importantly, follow your dreams. Make friends along the way because your loved ones are the strength you need to push you through the toughest times.
So I thank you Kishi for creating the wonderful world of Naruto…the story of life.
Do you watch Naruto? What’s your favorite anime or manga?I’d love to hear if there has been something in your life like what Naruto is to me! Let’s discuss in the comments below!
P.S. I am actually slightly a weeb …maybe I should post more content on anime and manga here…