Like many western fans, anime was first introduced to me like a Trojan horse. When I watched Pokémon for the first time I was transfixed by the animation. It looked like nothing I had ever seen before. By all accounts that was my first anime and Dragon Ball Z was a close second. Well, actually, around the time of Dragon Ball Z I actually watched a lot of anime via Toonami. I can thank Cartoon Network for fully engrossing me in this culture that I’ve grown to love. All that being said, Naruto was the first anime I became obsessed with past Dragon Ball Z. At least the first Shonen-type anime show since then. Sure other stuff came before it like Cowboy Bebop and Gundam Wing, but nothing was as gripping to me as Naruto.
It put a unique spin on the whole ninja anime genre. After running from 1999 to 2014, it finally ended with its final chapter in the Manga. Now four years later it’s still kicking via a spinoff show, games, and more. Suffice it to say even though it ended years ago Naruto is going to be around for a very long time. Like many great pieces of work, there are issues with it too. Giant plot holes that rock the very foundation of the narrative that can easily be ignored for the greater good of entertainment. These twenty-five memes poke fun at some of these imbalances along with just being funny in their own right.
Lady Tsunade is many things. She’s gorgeous, she’s powerful, she’s an adaptable healer, and she loves to gamble. Behind all of her skill and hobbies, there are weaknesses too. Weaknesses that don’t make a whole lot of sense other than to be punchlines. For example, let’s take a look at her healing Jutsu. She’s the first time we really see a ninja using chakra to heal characters. It’s miraculous. She can even use it to hide her age. You know what’s weird about this? She’s afraid of blood. Of course, this happens for a good reason in that she sees too many people die, but I mean that’s to be expected of a ninja. What did you think becoming a ninja would involve Tsunade? We don’t have jam inside us.
Before Sakura trains with Lady Tsunade, she’s a joke. She does nothing. Sure, she’s smart and can control her chakra rather well, but that’s it. She barely fights or even shows any initiative to fight. When she decides to study healing under Lady Tsunade, that makes sense. If you can’t be useful on the battlefield than you may as well be behind the operations. Little did we know that she became a BAMF after the time jump. The first time she smashes through solid ground like it was nothing, was amazing. Yet, even when she becomes useful, people don’t take her seriously since she sucked so hard before. That could also be Sakura’s greatest strength. Never underestimate a girl with a broken heart and fists of steel.
Naruto is shunned by the entirety of the Leaf Village because all of the adults know what’s sleeping inside of him: the Nine-tailed fox demon. This passes onto the children so suffice it to say, everyone, either thinks he’s a moron or is deeply frightened. There are those willing to give him a shot though like his teacher, Iruka, and of course Hinata. What does she even see in him? He’s not that strong and is just kind of a braggart and a goofball as a child. Why go after him when Naruto clearly doesn’t even feel that way about her. Well at first, that is, but then he wises up. Actually no, it’s more like Naruto settles for Hinata since Sakura is taken. Love is complicated.
Orochimaru is the quintessential villain of Naruto. He was the first real mainstay that actually posed a threat to not just Naruto, but the entirety of the Hidden Leaf Village. He’ll always be my favorite even though the next arc featuring the Akatsuki seemed more threatening in that their power was more intense and widespread. That said, there’s nothing like a villain who behaves like a snake and cannot die. His goal is domination and immortality, and to him, nothing else matters. He’s basically the Voldemort of the Naruto universe. Even when you think he’s dead he’ll come back for more. Maybe Orochimaru has Horcruxes too. I’m sure there’s got to be something like that in the narrative. People can be kind of revived through living dolls so why not.
Once Pain falls, all leadership seems to go to Tobi. He’s one of the most unassuming villains in Naruto. He doesn’t do anything for the longest time, his name is dumb, and his mask is stupid, to say the least. I mean with an eye patch your vision is obscured, but you can still see fairly well. How can Tobi see anything through that tiny hole? He has no peripheral vision. I always thought it didn’t make sense. Even when his identity is revealed it didn’t really shock me. It just fell flat. He’s no Orochimaru that’s for sure. Good villain or not, this meme is awesome and spot on. I kind of want to make Tobi’s disguise now to see if this is true.
Michael Jackson led a questionable life, that’s for sure, but we don’t have time to get into that history now. Instead, let’s talk about how rad of a performer he was. Again, say what you will about his whole skin thing, or his crazy love for children, but the man was a legend. He moved like a ninja on stage to tie Naruto back in here. His Moonwalk and signature lean are nothing short of miraculous. Sure people have imitated his moves, but there’s nothing like the real thing. Michael Jackson is a Jutsu master without a doubt. Do you think he watched? Or what if this was the lyrical master that inspired Masashi Kishimoto to invent Naruto’s feet channeling chakra. That has to be it.
If there’s one thing linking anime, or Manga protagonists together it’s their love of food. Part of me has always wanted to eat a giant meal like Naruto, or Goku, who seem to be able to inhale food without chewing. Good thing they’re super-powered otherwise their tummies would be in dire need of an operation. Anyway, it all makes sense now why Naruto ignored Hinata for so long. It’s not because he’s in love with Sakura, or chasing Sasuke around either. It’s because he loves ramen way, way too much. Like, if there was a term for someone who specifically loved going to town on ramen, Naruto would be the poster child. That sounds like a thing just waiting to exist in fan art, or fan fiction.
One of the best things you can do with your time is to watch shows one frame at a time. Wait, did I say best? Oh, right, I meant obsessed. One of the most obsessive things you can do with a show is to watch it frame by frame. Who has time to do that? Whoever you people are we thank you for your crazy service. No matter if you’re an American cartoon, an anime, or even a live action show, chances are you’re going to see something silly if you pause at just the right moment. In animation, this is more common since transition can be complicated. For some, it may ruin the ambiance, but for me, I find it hilarious, like a peek behind the curtain.
Pain sucks. Even though he has some sort of redemption in terms of his resolve I just couldn’t empathize with his views. I mean, I kind of get it. He wants to bring peace to the world and the only way he thinks he can do it is through pain, aka war. Sure, I guess that is how peace is technically achieved in our world. We fight the “bad guys” in order to stop the madness. Eh, but war is a tricky subject with a lot of gray and not a lot of black and white. War is told by the victors and all that. Anyway, the point is, Pain is full of hate and the only thing that can quench his thirst is Haterade. It’s a dumb, simple joke that works well.
As I said earlier, Naruto was like the new Dragon Ball Z for me and I can’t be the only one. Tons of adoring fans have often wondered, or more like debated, what the better anime is along with who would win in a fight. For me, it’s no contest. I like Naruto more as a comic and a show, but Goku can destroy planets. Naruto simply can’t do that. Game set match. Sorry, my little Nine-tailed possessed friend, that’s simple math. This meme has a good point though. All of the fighting in Dragon Ball Z relies on the opponent to simply watch their partner charge up and get stronger. In Naruto, people act quicker than that. So sure, Goku could destroy Naruto, but Naruto’s destructive Rasengan could also obliterate him on speed alone.
There’s a lot of plot points that Naruto goes through and they’re all urgent, but there’s one that dominates them all in the young ninja’s mind. As a lonely kid that grew up with others hating him, all he wants to do is gain the trust of his village along with making friends. Sasuke is the first person he really confides in. So when Sasuke leaves to basically become evil, this becomes his one goal: rescue Sasuke at any cost. Sure he’ll take down Pain and Orochimaru in the process, but they’re all stepping-stones in his ultimate goal to save Sasuke. Huh, maybe that meme from earlier is wrong. Maybe Naruto really is in love with Sasuke, or at the very least he’s into experimenting.
Okay, this one was a bit unfair on a technical level. First of all, the first image of Sakura is from her grown up, or evolved form, as long as we’re also talking about Pokémon. That’s when her usefulness begins to awaken. The bottom image is right on the money as it's her child self. I mean the joke is funny either way, signifying that Magikarp, a seemingly useless Pokémon, is stronger than Sakura. It’d be funnier if the creator of this meme were more on point with the first image of Sakura though. Since it’s not nerds like me are going to pick the joke apart even though we know what the intention is. If I had glasses I would push them up right now.
Speaking of Orochimaru’s obsession with longevity, he should talk to Ash. Seriously, that Pokémon trainer has got it going on. This meme is a little outdated as we’re now in 2017, but it hardly matters. Four years later, Ash is still ten, plus he’s been redesigned to look even younger. How does he do it? Is there a Pokémon that can rewind time? Does he use a special cream? Let’s do a little math. Even if we thought each episode was a day that would still make him about three years older. Well, maybe two and a half, since the show is now slightly over 1000 episodes. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense unless he’s in a coma. So there you go Orochimaru. Just put yourself in a coma and all will be well.
Kakashi seems to have been created for the sheer purpose of being a BAMF and becoming everyone’s favorite ninja in the series. He has a mysterious past, an eye patch, and is super strong. What isn’t there to love? Among all his perks there’s one thing that has always been a bit odd that sort of strikes back against his cool demeanor. That’d be his obsession with his favorite book series: Icha Icha. Not much is known about the plot other than it’s about love, is seemingly for adults, and is secretly written by Jiraiya who is admittedly a creep. Does this mean Kakashi likes adult material? Nothing wrong with a little titillation every now and again, but to read it out in the open in front is kids seems wrong to me.
Might Guy and Rock Lee are very obviously inspired by the real-life martial arts master: Bruce Lee. Everything from their designs to their techniques, it all screams Bruce Lee homage. Sure Might Guy may be a bit of a goody goody and perhaps annoyingly so. His goofy demeanor of justice isn’t as cool as the brooding Sasuke, or the mysterious Kakashi, but there’s also a lot to like about him as well. For one he’s inspirational. How can you not just smile when you see that dumb grin on his face? Not every cool character has to be sarcastic or dark, in order to be popular. Plus there’s nothing more rewarding than fresh breath and a great smile. Now that will attract the ladies every time.
This one is perhaps not so much associated with Naruto as it is the truth about spending money, or to be more specific, nerds spending money. Look. Life is hard when you become an adult. There are bills to pay if you want to live under a roof, drink water, stay warm, eat, watch precious anime with electricity, and the list, unfortunately, goes on. It’s not an easy life no matter what job you have. The more money you earn the harder life can become. That said, sometimes we make bad decisions with our money. A good sale can prompt the worst decisions from Amazon, or Steam. Nowhere in the back of our minds do we see extra money and think, gee, I better invest this.
Best fan art ever! If I was an executive at MTV I’d Greenlight this parody crossover right away. Yes, I know the overlaying of Naruto hair and costumes is cheap, but it looks so authentic. It wouldn’t be as action centered as the real Naruto, but it sure would be funny. Now, as far as I’ve researched, there are actually shorts online that try and do this meme justice, but nothing compares to Mike Judge’s real voice. There’s actually some fan fiction of this crossover too. It’s such a weird thing to even think about, but I guess like Rule 34 there must another law out there that states if something exists then there is surely a crossover with something else out there. Rule 35?
All right, this joke takes a few liberties in the naming departing. Rasengan is the proper spelling for Naruto’s ultimate technique although it does sound an awful lot like a gun at the end. The same goes for Hinata’s and Neji’s family eye technique, Byakugan. That said, it’s not like summoning weapons out of thin air is uncommon for the lore of Naruto. In fact, Tenten, one of their classmates, uses scrolls to pull weapons out of thin air. Not guns, of course, but they do exist in this world. They’re just kind of pointless against super fast ninjas who can either deflect bullets or dodge them. That’s the facts, but you know, what if Neji merged guns out of his eyes? How cool would that be?
I can’t quite remember what Naruto is doing in this image. I mean, he’s fighting obviously, and pretty heartily at that since there’s blood and he looks crazy. What he’s actually doing doesn’t matter though. The Oreo line is funny, but truthfully. any caption would work here so long as it sticks out as a silly juxtaposition to the serious situation. Going overboard and beating somebody senseless just for a $3 bag of Oreos is ridiculous. Substitute that in with any other cookie and it’d be great too, or really anything? “I told you not to touch my Butterfinger!” “I told you I didn’t vote for Trump!” “I told you not to record over my tape of Teletubbies!” See? These all work. Meme it up Internet.
One of the toughest Akatsuki members is Kisame. He’s a water ninja that basically looks like a shark. He even summons water tornadoes. So Kisame is like the pre-Sharknado. Ahem, sorry. I had to do it. Anyway, he’s a pretty serious villain with little time for talk or jokes. Like Naruto’s Oreo meme, you can throw any old line on top of this image that makes Kisame actually look like he’s going to joke about something. This line, “That’s what she said,” is great, but there are so many other lines you could toss in here. “I was the original Sharknado.” “I just farted.” “The Orville is actually better than the new Star Trek.” See? I encourage you to once again get crazy and meme it up, Internet!
No, we’re not done making fun of Sakura yet. I really meant it when I said she was the hind of the joke, or a lot of jokes. Even though her teenage self is a lot stronger than her former being, she’s still weak compared to a lot of other ninjas, especially Sasuke. So yeah, Sasuke’s reaction is right on the money, but Sakura does give this fight her best shot. She even surprises Sasuke and catches him off guard. If she didn’t love him she may have even won, but I think she held back. Naruto, after seeing Sakura defeated, did not though. Oh boy, what a fight that turned into. Okay, that’s the last Sakura joke I promise! Sorry Sakura, you’re okay in my book.
“Started from the bottom, now we’re here.” Started from the bottom, now my whole team…” Well, you get the idea. Just imagine that playing when Naruto finally becomes Hokage and he has his friends and loved ones surrounding him like some elite force. Drake’s Started From The Bottom is a great tune that’s been used in commercials and trailers to death. That said, of course, it's going to be used in memes too. It’s the Internet after all. So yes, it's going to be used in a meme and this one is funny, but I researched a bit further and found an even better use of Naruto and this track. There exists an Anime Music Video, or AMV. Just watch and be amazed. Your welcome.
Even though Goku isn’t in this image, let’s compare Naruto to Dragon Ball Z one last time. When Goku or any of his other allies train, they become stronger in an incredibly short amount of time. Yes, there are periods that take place over years, but the biggest jumps in power, somehow, always take place during the smallest windows. The Cell Games, for example, when everyone uses the Time Chamber to get stronger in a day, which equated to a year in that room. They didn’t just learn one technique like Naruto. Their bodies toughened up and their abilities got stronger as well. Seems a little weak by comparison that Naruto just gets a stronger grasp of the Rasengan and even then it doesn’t seem like he’s mastered it.
Finally, we have a meme within a meme. The Dungeons & Dragons alignment scale exists for just about every type of medium out there. Go on. Google your favorite movie, TV show, anime, or what have you and I’m sure you’ll find this chart. Whether that is true remains to be seen, but let’s talk about this table. I have a few bones to pick with it. One, how the heck is Hidan the poster child for Chaotic Evil? Shouldn’t that be Orochimaru? Two, I can think of a more Lawful Good type than Neji. Rock Lee, or Might Guy for example. Three, Lawful Evil is perfect for Pain for exactly the same reasons as I described above. The rest of the examples are fine.