Naruto is one of the most successful anime of all time. The tale of a plucky ninja who aims to be the greatest leader of his people and gain their appreciation is a roller coaster of emotions, action, and laughs. The franchise has spawned 72 volumes of manga and over 700 episodes of anime. That's not even counting its sequel series, Boruto. There's also video games, fan art, and tons of cosplay. To say that Naruto has fans would be an understatement.
Still, even a celebrated series like Naruto has its flaws. And the fans, passionate as they are, are more than willing to point out the various plot holes, mistakes, and just plain weirdness of the series. Since this is the 21st Century, those celebrations and criticisms are delivered in the language of the internet: memes.
Naruto memes are nothing new, but that's honestly part of their appeal. Shown here are some classic memes in formats that haven't been seen for years. But there's also jokes that reflect more recent developments, such as a certain Boruto-related Twitter fail. Naruto has a certain timelessness, so it makes sense that its memes should as well. Scroll on to see the one mistake you should never make while watching Naruto, who the most fabulous ninja is, and which country has the most jaw-droppingly terrible dub. You won't...believe it.
25 Kakashi: Hipster Ninja
Kakashi here was reading grown up books before they became a craze. The funny thing is (well, there's a lot of funny things with this situation), the Fifty Shades books are known for appealing to housewives. Kakashi is pretty much the opposite of a housewife. So is Make Out Paradise really equivalent to Fifty Shades? Or is it something different. After all, the name only references making out, and was written by Jiraya, a guy known more for hitting on women than actually doing anything with them. I could see the series actually being quite tame. Like, the fantasy of what it would be like to engage in some adult fun seen through the eyes of someone who has no idea what it actually is. Because, as Naruto fans know, ninjas are painfully awkward when it comes to romance.
24 You Weren't Meant To See This
To be fair, every animated series has some awkward in-between frames. It's a consequence of presenting physically impossible actions in bizarre fantasy worlds. The moments in between a character preparing a technique and throwing out the finished attack often involve them twisting and morphing in all sorts of wrong ways. The answer for why this happens is simple: the audience isn't meant to pay attention to these transitions. Like the meme says, don't pause. Just watch and get sucked in by the action onscreen. Of course, if you do want to see the weirdness, Naruto is a great anime for it. In a world where people use body-bending martial arts, and one guy even slithers like a snake, there's a feast of ugly pauses for the curious viewer.
23 Waste Her Time
I never did get the point of the Waste Her Time and Waste His Time memes. I never witnessed anyone I knew posting them, so I can only guess that the whole thing was a joke, and not an actual movement to get back at a gender by wasting a bunch of random individuals' time. Then again, people on the internet do some messed-up things. Not Asuma though, he was a solid boyfriend. Up until the whole dying part, anyway. I still marvel at how much his death upset me, considering the character had done literally zero things before that arc. And his relationship with Kurenai happened almost entirely offscreen. But that's Naruto, right? All the feels, even when they don't make much sense.
22 Slow Learner
In every shonen anime, the hero gets to a point where his powers are simply not enough. To defeat his latest foe he must develop a new technique. He trains under harsh conditions, usually with some kind of fast-approaching deadline, and busts out the technique in the nick of time. It's a satisfying moment, seeing your beloved main character's work finally pay off. Naruto, meanwhile...spends a lot of time on Rasengan. In fact, the story undergoes a time skip because he needs to train to take on the looming threats of expert enemy ninja. When he comes back from his training he gets...a bigger Rasengan. That still requires the assistance of clones. What were you doing for two years Naruto?
21 Did My Technique Fail?
This might be the most dramatic Sasuke face of all time and it's from part 1. Just look at the super serious shadow lines. But yes, dramatic Uchiha friend, we've all been on the other end of a suspiciously-unanswered text. I actually had that happen to me many times when I started dating my girlfriend. After spending more time with her, I learned that she's just the type who sets her phone down whenever she's doing something and then pays it no mind. So sometimes there's a reason they're not replying to a risky text, and it has nothing to do with you. Other times, well, maybe telling her that your goal in life is to end your brother isn't great first date conversation...
20 He Was The Scumbag All Along
The story of Naruto is the story of an outcast who, through sheer hard work and determination, achieves the recognition of the people around him. Which is an amazingly inspiring narrative. Until you find out that Iruka-sensei actually looked out for Naruto like a father. And Shikamaru and the other boys often played with him. And, of course, Hinata has been crushing on him since he was too young to even know what a crush was. So really, Naruto had plenty of people that liked him. Hinata really liked him. Unfortunately, it took Naruto many years and a whole movie dedicated to her feelings to realize that. Typical dense shonen protagonist...
19 Just Like...Move Two Feet To The Right
Every shonen hero needs to have a signature move. Goku has the Kamehameha, which he comes back to despite having an ever-evolving roster of techniques. And Naruto has the Rasengan, one of the most stupidly straightforward attacks in anime history. Goku often gets criticized for spending long periods of time charging up his Kamehameha. "Why don't the bad guys just hit him while he charges?" fans ask. Well, because Goku could just let it go right in the villain's face before they had a chance to throw a punch. Even when not fully charged, the Kamehameha is a devastating beam that tears through the earth itself. Naruto's Rasengan is like...a baseball. If it hits, it explodes into something bigger, but only if it hits. Seems like bad guys should be easily dodging that.
18 You Better Believe It
The English dub of Naruto was pretty faithful to the original manga. That's because it was fortunate enough to come out in a post-4Kids world. The insane censorship Western companies imposed on anime was a thing of the past. But even with a more faithful team behind the dub, some things just don't translate. Take Naruto's catchphrase, for example. In Japan, Naruto is known to say "dattebayo." It's a verbal tic that's meant to establish that Naruto is annoying, the way people might find English speakers who say "like" or "you know" in every sentence obnoxious. But since "dattebayo" doesn't have a direct translation, the English writers decided to have Naruto say "believe it" at the end of literally. Every. Sentence. The worst part is, that choice stuck around well past the first season. I don't believe it.
17 Sure Sakura...Sure
Sakura in Part 1 of Naruto really does just seem like the token girl. Naruto and Sasuke had a goal that they pursued and techniques that they developed and Sakura...cut her hair. When the fans quickly made Sakura's uselessness a meme, Kishimoto decided to address this criticism in Shippuden. Right from the start, it's established that Sakura has killer strength and great healing skills. She even gets an awesome fight against the puppet master in Shippuden's first arc. Then she...goes back to being useless. Oh well. At least she gave us Sarada. That's...something, right?
16 When You've Got A Kunoichi On The Side
There's a missed opportunity here for some sort of joke about Kakashi "being inside" Rin. Or something about penetration. Anyway, there is one thing about Rin that confuses me. Kakashi was obviously quite scarred by the experience, and did care for Rin a lot. Still...over 10 years passed since that incident and the start of Naruto's adventures. Shouldn't Kakashi have moved on? Maybe even went on a date or two? For a man as excited as Kakashi is about the ladies (think about Make-Out Paradise) you'd think he'd be eager to play the field. Or at least go and hang out with people his own age.
15 Swift Like Ninjas
How hyped would you be though if you were just sitting in class one day and two kids got into an argument, then started dashing around the room and throwing fireballs at one another? Hey, maybe there's an opportunity for an aspiring video editor/vfx artist there! Take videos of school fights, Black Friday melees, and other public brawls and throw some effects over them. Turn the guys fighting over a Wal-Mart TV into Super Saiyans, or have two arguing teenage girls charge up a Chidori. I could see the channel getting big on Youtube, and then the videos being ripped and put onto someone else's Instagram account with no credits. But hey, something for the resumé, I guess?
14 Not Today
Presumably, the mom tried to hit them for using "your" instead of "you're." As for Pain, did you know that he was actually named after a famous historical ninja? Nagato, his real name, is also the name of a 16th century ninja of the Iga clan. Fujibayashi Nagato was known as one of the three greatest Iga ninja of the time. He shared that distinction with Hattori Hanzo and Momochi Sandayu. I wonder if they also fought back when they were too old for their moms to hit them. Come to think of it, that could even just be a part of ninja training. Parents try to beat your butt and you have to learn how to fend them off. Effective, if brutal, parenting.
13 Naruto Is Boruto's Dad
People from every country have connected with Naruto, reading the manga, trying to ninja run, and, of course, watching the anime. Naruto's writer, Masashi Kishimoto, knew that he had to end Naruto's journey on a high note before it became an unending ride that needed to be put out of its misery (looking at you One Piece). So came Boruto, the tale of Naruto's son who must find his destiny in a new ninja world. To celebrate the release of Boruto, anime streaming site Crunchyroll tweeted that it had expanded the release of the original Naruto series, or as they called him in the tweet, Boruto's Dad! Fans immediately created memes poking fun at the occasion. Imagine being one of the most accomplished ninja in the world, a leader of men, and only being known as Boruto's Dad.
12 Same :/
Oh man, talk about a classic meme format. You can tell Naruto is a long-running series simply because the mock inspirational poster meme hasn't been seen in a long time. As for Naruto's...ahem...private time, let's just say the less we know the better. After all, this is a boy who invented a technique to turn himself into a woman when he was only 12. One can only imagine what things he came up with when he became a full-fledged teenager with lots of time and clones at his disposal. Not to mention his master at the time was known for being a lecherous old man. It's truly a wonder Naruto wasn't a raging creep himself. Or maybe he was offscreen... Like I said, the less we know the better.
11 Literally The Same Person
Kishimoto has been copying King Of The Hill the whole time! How did people not recognize sooner? When I was first typing this list entry, I accidentally misspelled King Of The Hill as King Of The KILL. Which made me think that somewhere out there, in a parallel universe, there's an actual anime called King Of The Kill about a wandering propane salesman who is the last of his clan. He must seek revenge for the murders of his loved ones, while also providing great deals on propane and propane accessories. He seems really calm and even somewhat off-putting, but if you push him too far he'll show you the true power of propane! Dang, what am I doing here? I should be writing anime!
10 Like Hogwarts But With Ninja
Did anyone watching Naruto ever wonder what they actually taught at the ninja academy? We get that answer in Boruto, but with that answer comes more questions. We know that the kids get regular school subjects like math and science (which, how boring would that be compared to Breathing Fire 101?), but they also get plenty of practice in combat, gymnastics, and developing jutsu. Therein lies the problem. Because yes, they have to pass a test to become official ninja, but there's no test to qualify for learning jutsu. Even the most clumsy, uncoordinated child is taught how to breathe fire, or control deadly puppets, or cause earthquakes. Doesn't that seem a little irresponsible?
9 Donde Esta Sasuke?
Looks like Sasuke had to go deep undercover here. The funny thing is, in a verbal conversation, Naruto wouldn't be able to read that the "k" was switched for a "q" in Sasuke, thus ruining the joke for him. But I digress. Another entry on the list brings up the question of what exactly the students of the ninja academy study. Well thanks to an official guidebook, we can find out. We can also see Sasuke's grades. Sasuke earned an A in Ninjutsu, Taijutsu, and Genjutsu, a B in Classroom Attitude, a C in Positivity, and an F in Cooperation. Those make sense, except for...positivity? How many students do you know that are overflowing with positive thoughts about schoolwork?
8 Wait Until You Hear The Song
While Naruto was able to escape the terrible dubbing job of 4kids, it doesn't mean that the show didn't suffer some crazy censorship. English viewers were treated to the annoying catchphrase of "Believe It!" But it was German viewers that suffered the most. Just look at Zabuza's sword. Or lack thereof. Not even an attempt to replace it, they just painted out the villain's iconic weapon. It must have made the battle sequences very confusing for German viewers. But even that wasn't the worst the German dub had to offer. That honor goes to the theme song. Just watch this madness. Who signed off on this!?
7 The Real Fillers
Let's be honest, the Big Bang Theory is really just a giant set of fillers. I know, I know, making fun of Big Bang Theory isn't exactly a hot take. Geeks all over bash the show for some reason or other. But let's look at one fact: Somehow the show has managed to go on for more than 10 seasons. And while some relationships have definitely progressed, others remain in a constant limbo because the writers need to keep us hooked. When the developments finally do come, they come as a seas0n-ending cliffhanger so that people come back for the next season. Does that not sound exactly like anime fillers?
6 But Y Tho?
A ninja has to keep their secrets. It's kind of the most important element of the job. Hatake Kakashi just happens to be an elite ninja with a troubled past, so the need to keep secrets goes double for him. With that all said, what exactly did keeping Naruto's past a secret accomplish. I get that they wanted to hide the location of the Kyuubi, and that it would be a huge thing for a child to process. But wouldn't Naruto have benefitted from knowing that his father was a heroic Hokage? The other kids certainly would have respected him more. He might have even gotten a friend or two out of it. At the very least, Kakashi could have shared some fun anecdotes from his training days. But nope. He remains as stoic as Hank Hill.
5 A True Conspiracy
I literally burst out laughing when I saw this one. My girlfriend asked what I was laughing at and I showed her. I ended up having to explain the "aliens" meme which of course killed the joke. Point is, I'm single now. But hey, at least I have some great memes! On a different note, I wonder how many people actually tried to make a Rasengan. Like, we've all tried to do a Kamehameha and use the Force at some point in our lives. But what about the kids raised on Naruto? Did they try to make chakra concentrate in their hand? Did they group up and try to put all their chakra into one kid's hand? After some research, the answer is yes, and it looks about as dumb as you'd guess.
4 Totes Fab
When Pain wasn't standing up to his abusive mother, he was painting his nails. Seriously, though, why does a broken man hell-bent on revenge and creating a new world have painted nails? I guess even when you're a crazed villain you still have to treat yourself. Speaking of Pain doing mundane things, he actually has a list of likes and dislikes in the official guidebooks. For those wondering, his favorite food was grilled fish and stew and his desired opponent was anyone, as long as it meant protecting his friends. And his hobby was...practicing Ninjutsu. Sounds like a very exciting dude.
3 Way Better Than Jutsu
As creepy as Neji with gun eyes is, the Naruto holding a gun looks kind of perfect. His expression and the way he's standing really sell the image. I find it fascinating that the ninja world developed some pieces technology and not others. For instance, they have movie theatres, which means they've invented ways to harness electricity, capture film, and project video. They even had a version of Skype that was used to set up the Five Kage meeting. Yet for all these impressive advancements, they still use swords and knives. Did none of the non-ninja people think to invent guns? I feel like they'd be useful when a crazed teenager is charging at you with a baseball full of swirling energy.
2 Out Of Nowhere
Sometimes I think it would have been neat if Naruto kept the goggles. Don't get me wrong, the headbands were iconic. I even had one for each village back in the day. But the goggles really complimented the little rascal that was Naruto. At least in part 1. But let's look, for a moment, at the red swirl that Naruto has on his jacket. Did you know that that's actually the symbol of the Uzumaki clan, Naruto's family on his mother's side? Does Naruto even know that? Considering no one ever told him about his parents, I can see him going around with his honored family's crest on his back and never knowing. And that's honestly kind of sad. But yay memes!
1 Put Your Name On It Three Times
I feel like the hidden lesson in a group project is learning that people suck and sometimes you have to carry them. Then again, the response to one student doing all the work must vary from school to school. If that student were to tell on their lazy peers, some teachers would probably tell them to suck it up and do the work. Others grade each student individually as well as a whole, so the students who did do extra work will be rewarded accordingly. I'm curious, reader, what did your school do? Were you the one doing everyone else's work, or did you benefit from a group that carried you. After all, getting others to do your share could be considered a skill in and of itself. It's called management.