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Translations: Bleach 595 (2)
I feel like the troubled life the jinchuriki are forced to live have a lot of parallel themes as those of any minority in real life.
I mean, the jinchuriki and biju are ostracized by others as a menace and danger to society for something they had no choice in. They are forced to become jinchuriki and they are hated for the biju inside them, which is only a small part of their identity.
Some jinchuriki fail to carry the burden and eventually die or suicide.
Later on, the akatsuki hunts and kills all the jinchuriki for its own ideals.
Throughout the manga, naruto works hard to overturn that negative connotation that is associated with carrying a biju inside him and creates a new identity that transcends the public's idea of a typical jinchuriki by turning himself from a monster into a hero.
At first, naruto is told to suppress the kyubi inside him (by Yamato) due to the danger it poses to others, but naruto is able to truly find himself as the true sage of the six paths by embracing the kyubi inside him and becoming one with it.
I personally feel that I can relate to a lot of what naruto the manga is doing and love it for such mature themes.
On that note, I feel like there is potential for naruto and sasuke as well. The manga established early on that naruto was obsessed with Sakura, but I really couldn't find any reason as to why naruto would be interested in her at all. There have been tons of flashbacks and character backstory that the manga covered so far, but there has been no story that showed any significance in naruto's regard towards Sakura. Even if you were to look back on the fight between naruto and gaara (the battle to save Sakura), I dont think there was any different motive or feature behind his endeavours when compared to other situations where he fought to save his friends; I couldn't sense a difference in him fighting to save sakura and fighting to protect his friends.
With sasuke, the manga stressed a lot on the background of his relationship with naruto and I find it more meaningful (well it seemed a lot like "I love you but why won't you love me" type of relationship, but still). Throughout the story, naruto struggles to be accepted by sasuke and does everything in his power for sasuke's well being. I'm not outright saying that naruto and sasuke fall in love with each other and stuff, but I think naruto definitely has more love for sasuke than he does for Sakura.
As for naruto vomiting in that imaginary space with the biju at the thought of his kiss with sasuke, any gay person had to act in accordance with the societal values concerning the relationships between different sexes. Could be simply a product of one's attempt to conform with society's general attitude towards the matter.
I can't agree more!
If most readers are homosexual we could possibly see Naruto end up with Sasuke. LOL
Dude, I think you may be projecting.
Ostracism and being an outsider is something lots of people face, especially kids. Certainly not just homosexuals. And Japanese society doesn't discriminate against homosexuals too much, compared with Western society.
That really depends on where your born and raised though, doesn't it?
Kishimoto has stated that the most important thing he wants to convey to his readers is that, no matter how dark things get, you can get through them.
Kishimoto is married with children and lives in a society that isn't too homophobic, so I think his message is more of a general one, to all people, not any single group of people.
You can replace "gay" with pretty much any other word used to describe people which face prejudices from society.
Fat, Black, Poor... etc.
I don't see any gay-specific parallels at all in the main plot of this manga.
but anyways, again, one's struggle to discover and acknowledge one's own identity and reforming society by being true to such an aspect of oneself, i found it easiest to compare that to the situations of gay teens in the US. Not saying that Kishimoto wrote the plot based on their struggles, but just saying i was able to find a lot of things that a gay person could relate to.
You're saying that you think Kishimoto is writing about "gay themes" (thread title: "Naruto has a lot of gay themes"), when the fact is he's writing about things that almost all people have to face in their life at one point or another. They're not gay themes, they're "people themes".
To pretend that Kishimoto is trying to send a specially-tailored message to people in the gay community is not accurate.
One of the main themes of Naruto is the bonds that people share. Friends and rivals, teammates and teachers, brothers and sisters, parents and children, aliies and enemies, neighbors and outsiders. The character relationship between Naruto and Sasuke is extremely common in manga (and to a degree, literature in general), so you could say it's one of the most commonly addressed themes in manga. The relationship between the "protagonist" and the "lancer" archetype characters.
These two character archetypes are also almost always paired by the yaoi/BL fans. Doesn't mean the creator has any such ideas in mind.
Personally, I view there relationship as being closer to brotherhood than anything potentially romantic. There are issues of friendship, rivalry, alliances, loyalty to the family and loyalty to the village, betrayals, the historical blood feud between the Senju and Uchiha, and the Will of Fire and Curse of Hatred that are at its core.
Naruto cares about everyone. To say he cares more about Sasuke, I don't know if that's accurate. Naruto almost transformed into the Nine-Tails when he through Hinata was killed, for example, and she had previously meant almost nothing to him. I think that if Naruto had to, he would probably kill Sasuke to save Sakura, or anyone else he cares about, at this point.
I think Naruto's obsession with Sasuke is less about their personal relationship, and more about Naruto's compulsive need to "fix" and "help" others. Sasuke is the one character Naruto's never been able to help, no matter how much he tries. That they have a close bond as friends, rivals, and teammates, and a similar background as orphans dealing with hate, only compounds the issue.
Take the story of "giving tree" for example. One can say that the story concerns a maternal love's tendency to sacrifice everything for a child's well being. Or another valid view can be the oppression of the female populace for the benefit of male dominance. Both views can be supported by the evidence given, but neither can be said to be the true message from the author.
I just presented a thought that could be another valid theme besides the obvious relationship-stressed storylines that have been given to us.
As for the sasuke-naruto story line, I introduced it for the purpose of humor and irony, a train of thought that conformed to naruto's current attitude towards sakura and hinata at the moment yet relevant to the theme of sexual orientation i thought would be interesting to discuss.
There can be multiple perspectives. There are no wrong views as long as they conform to the given evidence.
But i do think that naruto cares more, or at least more concerned with sasuke than the others. As for him going into rage mode when hinata got presumably killed, hinata was a childhood friend during the pre-timejump arc. He was the one who was able to connect with hinata and her burden to carry on as a member of the head-hyuuga family and fought for her honor against neji (Remember him grasping hinata's blood as he challenged neji.) Hinata obviously meant more to naruto than simply "nothing." Moreover, Hinata getting killed by pain was after pain destroyed his village and his masters, jiraiya and kakashi. I am pretty sure naruto was near his tipping point in his temper when pain delivered the killing blow. And as naruto pointed out during his fight against gaara, his friends saved him from a hell he called loneliness and naruto obviously cares a great deal about their own wellbeing. However, that does not disprove the possibility that naruto has greater regard for sasuke than most others. Such examples just prove that naruto care about everyone, in general, a great deal.
As for naruto killing sasuke to save sakura, there is no evidence to suggest that naruto would do so for the sake of saving sakura, specifically, but it is more likely that he would resort to doing so for the sake of preventing sasuke's "hatred" from harming others in general.
Besides, I don't think naruto has a "compulsive need" to help others. I feel it's a bit inaccurate to put it that way, since it implies that it's more of a personality disorder (although you could draw that conclusion from what naruto has done in the filler-anime episodes). From what I've read so far, Naruto simply does not want to lose his friends or have others to get hurt for his sake. As you said, he was able to relate more with Sasuke since they were both orphans, etc, but i don't think the main motive behind his struggle to "save" Sasuke is from his compulsive need to help him. Naruto is doing this because simply does not want Sasuke to succumb to a life of hatred, not because he feels the necessity to have an impact on everyone else's life. There's a difference here.
Also, again, what does kishimoto being married have to do with anything concerning my personal interpretation of the story's themes?
Last edited by SuperSaiyan4; February 15, 2012 at 03:49 AM.
There is a reason for the massive amount of Yaoi Naruto doujin. The story centers around a large number of close relationships between male characters. Naruto and Sasuke, Naruto and Kakashi, Sasuke and Kakashi, Naruto and Jiraiya, Jiraiya and Orochimaru, Orochimaru and Kabuto, Orochimaru and Sasuke, Sasuke and Itachi, and so on and so forth. Yet there are no strong, canon relationships between male and female characters. Most of the women have minor roles in the story and less developed relationships with the primary characters. While Kishi may not have intentionally written any homoerotic themes, they are implied. Part of Naruto's popularity in Japan can be attributed to fujoshi and Naruto's popularity within the doujin sub-culture. Not as much internationally but there is little doubt of Comiket's role in boosting Naruto's domestic popularity.
---------- Post added at 05:20 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:02 PM ----------
I do not see the jinchuuriki and bijuu representing prejudice though. Not prejudice against racial, religious, or other minorities at least. The bijuu seem to represent "the monster within". They essentially represent the negative, destructive, selfish emotions that have to be tamed during adolescence in order to be a happy, high functioning adult. Naruto symbolically tames the kyuubi, a monster living inside, to represent transcending childhood and becoming a responsible man. Sasuke, who is consumed by childish, destructive emotions, acts as a counterpoint to Naruto's maturity. The villages fear of Naruto was more symbolic of learning to accept people for who they are. This is applicable to minorities but is definitely not meant to specifically address prejudice. Naruto's original audience was primarily middle school age readers, themes about minorities and prejudice might have gone over their heads. But at that age children could easily identify with a hero who looked like everyone else but did not quite fit in because of a quality that can not be seen, was bullied, but gradually made friends simply by being himself.
Last edited by Kaiten; February 15, 2012 at 05:25 PM.
When the truth about the Uchiha massacre was made clear, did anyone else feel uncomfortable? I mean, sure, they were jerks, but the words words "ghetto" and "genocide" became a little too easy to use.
As for your interpretation of the bijus and the jinchuriki, I totally agree with you. However, it does not necessarily render the theme of prejudice against minorities as invalid. My interpretations are just based on the following premises:
1) jinchuriki, and naruto especially, go through these trials and experiences.
2) racial, sexual-orientation, gender minorities have to live with similar difficulties
So my conclusion was:
3) one could say that the experiences jinchuriki go through could be related to the experiences of a typical minority.
There was no claim that this was Kishimoto's message. It is simply one specific interpretation of the plot elements provided that was relevant to the current real life events from my perspective. One could say that bijus are simply "negative, destructive, selfish emotions that have to be tamed during adolescence in order to be a happy." However, I interpreted them as "misunderstood aspects of one's identity that are twisted into negative qualities that lead to ostracizing of minorities" from the fact that bijuus were never really evil; they were not destructive monsters when they were first created by the six paths' sage. They were morphed into monsters as different nations tried to capture and weaponize them, torturing and imprisoning them for their own agendas. Similar to how being gay or being of a different race was viewed to be the product of demonic intervention as some christian extremists have described. By cleansing/purifying that prejudice about these "monstrous qualities" of our identities and realizing that they are much more than that, the jinchuriki are able to rise above the world's prejudice to establish a new identity for themselves.
I felt more strongly about this interpretation as the more recent chapters covered the biju's names and their pains resulting from the identity given to them by the very nations that captured and weaponized them. By meeting Naruto, who did not view them as monsters, and with him learning their actual names and receiving all their chakra, the bijus are reborn as the "Savior of the world (naruto)" rather than the harbinger of doom known as the jyu-bi.
Your analysis of the theme is valid, but your explanation does not entail that mine is invalid.
As for naruto vs. sasuke, I viewed it more as Sasuke succumbing to Tobi's view of the Uchiha. While the ignorant villagers simply viewed the Uchiha as the honorable elite members of Konoha, Tobi described them to be cursed by a history of hatred. They were also the cause of many conflicts and violence (the coup de tat against konoha, battles against the senju, the rituals concerning the mangekyo sharingan). I saw it as Sasuke conforming to that idea of a violent Uchiha out of his hatred for the world for designating his clan as such, rather than re-establishing his own identity as Naruto did. Naruto's struggle against Sasuke is due to his attempt to free him from falling into that trap.
Lastly, I just wanted to specifically refer to sexual orientation and gender minorities, in general, because the problems they face today are being covered in the current events.
---------- Post added February 18, 2012 at 06:07 PM ---------- Previous post was February 15, 2012 at 08:10 PM ----------
---------- Post added February 22, 2012 at 08:09 PM ---------- Previous post was February 18, 2012 at 06:07 PM ----------
I've been thinking more about it, but the theme of establishing one's identity goes way back in the manga.
1) when gaara dies, he ponders about the significance of his existence and what meaning his life carried. When he came back to life, he was able to find himself as a true kazekage, embraced and loved by everyone; he found peace by learning his significance as someone acknowledged and recognized by everyone rather than as a figurehead of a village simply under a social obligation to lay one's own life for the village's sake. There is a contrast to how Gaara died simply as a tool for the village's protection and how Gaara was brought back to life as everyone's beloved leader.
2) Tsuchikage's personal journey from a stubborn old man to rediscovering his oldself.
And now the antagonists (kabuto, etc.) is emphasizing how the First hokage was perfect, that he was the ideal. Now many characters are forsaking their own identities for the sake of acquiring what is deemed to be ideal. This includes integrating first hokage's cells onto dead madara, danzou, and the generation of thousands of plant clones made from the "ideal man's" cells. Now each of the villages, each characterized by their own wills and ideologies (will of fire, strong will of rock, etc.), fight to maintain their freedom and independence from fake-madara's goal to push his own values onto others through his genjutsu.
All of this is fairly in accordance with Naruto and the biju's struggle to overturn society's view (that they are violent monsters) and to establish a new identity for themselves as the "savior" of the world.
Fighting against societal views that ostracize and oppress certain individuals in order to establish one's significance in the world. I felt this is what minorities had to go through in the past. Moreover, I felt Yamato's advice to naruto to "hide" the kyuubi's influence was more relatable to situations faced by minorities of sexual orientation more than any other groups.
Last edited by SuperSaiyan4; February 15, 2012 at 08:26 PM.
When I saw "Naruto and minority themes" in the title I was hoping that everyone else got as tired of Killerbee's stereotypical behavior as me. I guess I was wrong.