Naruto had a tumultuous production during the time when the manga was still being published in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. This was due to the horrific schedule that all mangaka have to endure in order to produce around twenty pages of fresh material every week. Masashi Kishimoto drove himself to the edge of exhaustion in order to keep Naruto going, which meant that mistakes inevitably started to creep into the artwork and parts of the story made less sense as time went on.
Things weren't always so grim for Naruto, as Masashi Kishimoto was given a lot of time to develop the series before it debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump. There were many ideas that were pitched and many designs that were created, which were all abandoned at some point or another during the creation of the series. This means that there are many different ways in which Naruto could have played out.
We are here today to look at the mysterious past of Naruto and dissecting the pieces of lore that even the most die-hard of fans are unaware of. From Naruto's original animal parentage, to the inspiration for Killer B's creation.
Here are Fifteen Things Even Die-Hard Fans Didn’t Know About Naruto!
Masashi Kishimoto pitched several different series to Weekly Shonen Jump magazine at the start of his career. These included a one-off comic called Naruto which followed a ninja in a contemporary world. This pilot chapter was later altered and turned into a comic that was considered good enough for serialization and the rest is history.
The version of Naruto that existed in the Naruto pilot chapter wasn't actually a human being. He was the son of the demon fox that attacked the village years ago and chose a human form so that he could fit in with the residents of Konoha. This version of Naruto possessed the ability to transform into a child version of the fox whenever he needed to do battle.
Naruto concluded with a flash-forward that showed Naruto's son defacing the Hokage Monument in the same way that he had done in the first chapter. Naruto had achieved his dream of becoming the Hokage and was now married to Hinata. The two of them had produced a son named Boruto and a daughter named Himawari.
The fans were initially confused by the fact that Boruto and Himawari had regular eyes. As children of a member of the Hyuga Clan, they should possess the Byakugan from an early age. Masashi Kishimoto later admitted that he forgot to give them the Byakugan in the last chapter.
Himawari would later be shown developing the Byakugan in a special chapter of the manga and Boruto will eventually have a unique eye ability of his own.
Gaara was originally meant to be a dark mirror of what Naruto could have become if he had never found the friendship and love of his peers. It took a life of being an outcast who was incapable of human contact to turn Gaara into a psychopath, which is a fate that could have easily have happened to Naruto.
The original design for Gaara was very different. He was originally going to be a seven-year-old prodigy who fought alongside a ninja dog. This early version of Gaara abused substances in order to improve his physical strength so that he could keep up with his older opponents. This substance abuse problem would eventually be his downfall.
The idea of Gaata being an addict was scrapped, likely due to the problems of depicting such a character in Weekly Shonen Jump, which is a magazine aimed at young boys.
The fans have often wondered whether Masashi Kishimoto had always planned for Itachi to have been a good guy or if it was a late decision inspired by the popularity of the character?
The original design for Itachi doesn't clear things up, as much of what he originally had was given to Danzo. Itachi was originally going to be the leader of a 70-man organization called the Itachi Squad that worked for Konoha and specialized in black ops missions, like assassinations. The original version of Itachi also bore the same cross-shaped scar on his chin that was later given to Danzo. The Itachi Squad was later changed into the Anbu and Root, while his leadership status was transferred to Danzo, with the final version of Itachi being a totally different character.
Masashi Kishimoto has a tendency to draw characters that are androgynous. This caused an issue when Naruto was first being released in Japan and fans were scanlating it into English, as no one was sure if certain characters were meant to be male or female. This was the case with both Deidara and Sai when they were introduced, with fans referring to them as both genders before the text cleared things up.
When Fu was first introduced on one of the Naruto cover pages, the fans were equally baffled as to her gender. Masashi Kishimoto has revealed that even he wasn't sure whether Fu was a boy or a girl. It was later clarified that Fu was a girl when she was resurrected during the final story arc.
Sakura didn't get much glory during the first part of Naruto. Indeed, Sakura's incompetence in battle (at least compared to her teammates) created a vocal hatedom for the character. The time skip changed things for Sakura at first, as she was given an awesome battle against Sasori in which she became the first person to defeat a member of Akatsuki.
The Naruto anime went out of its way to rob Sakura of her one moment of glory. It was established during one of the many filler arcs that the first person to defeat a member of Pain's Akatsuki was actually Yagura. He slew Juzo Biwa, who was the former partner of Itachi. Yagura used the power of the Three-Tails to slay Juzo Biwa and steal back the Kubikiribōchō sword.
One of the most feared members of the Uchiha Clan was Shisui, as his Sharingan was capable of using a genjutsu that acted in a manner similar to mind control.
Shisui was eventually confronted by Danzo and his men, in an encounter which cost him one of his eyes. This encounter has been depicted in three different ways, depending on the medium.
In Itachi Shinden: Book of Dark Night, it was explained that Shisui was paralyzed by an insect that belonged to a member of the Aburame Clan. In the Naruto anime, Danzo arranged to meet Shisui and stole the eye, while the OVA that came with Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution showed Itachi saving Shisui at the last moment.
A lot of anime and manga will feature fan service during their early chapters/episodes in order to attract an audience. This tends to die down over time, with moments of nudity being spaced out in order to allow the story to stand on its own. Naruto was no exception to this, as Naruto was transforming into a woman as early as the first chapter.
So, which character would Masashi Kishimoto like to marry? Is he into big-chested ladies like Tsunade or does he dig redheads like Mei?
According to Masashi Kishimoto, the Naruto character he would most like to marry is a female version of Shikamaru! This is because Shikamaru would be very successful in life. It seems that Kishimoto's mangaka career deprived him of being a house husband.
During the first part of Naruto, we only get to see three of the members of Akatsuki; Itachi, Kisame, and Zetsu. Itachi looks like an older version of Sasuke, while the other two looked like monsters, as Kisame has shark-like qualities and Zetsu is literally a plant man. At the end of part one, we see the outline of every member of Akatsuki, which makes most of them appear to be distorted and monstrous.
Masashi Kishimoto had originally meant for all of the members of Akatsuki (except for Itachi) to resemble monsters more than human beings. He eventually changed his mind and altered their designs to make them resemble regular people. This is why it is hard to place the members to their original outline.
Hidan is probably the weakest member of Akatsuki. His immortality can be overridden by removing his head, which totally incapacitates Hidan and prevents him from moving. Hidan's Jashin Ritual and Curse require him to stand in one spot, otherwise regular attacks will work as usual. A single team of ninjas could easily take Hidan down. If it weren't for his partner, then Hidan wouldn't have lasted five minutes as a member of Akatsuki.
Masashi Kishimoto had originally planned to make Hidan stronger. Hidan's scythe was originally going to have numerous tricks and traps that could be unleashed on the enemy. Kishimoto ran out of time, which meant that Hidan's scythe lost all of its utility and was nothing more than a regular weapon.
Deidara was a character obsessed with artwork. The reason he is an internationally recognized terrorist and member of Akatsuki is that his artwork consists of explosions that are carried by animated clay golems. Deidara was one of the most dangerous members of Akatsuki, as he could fight from a distance without ever needing to engage in battle.
Deidara claims that his style of artwork is called Superflat. This is actually a real style of artwork that existed throughout the '00s. Superflat was a style of artwork that criticized and parodied otaku culture and the sensualized image of young girls in Japanese media. A few of Deidara's attacks are named after art pieces, with his final attack resembling the Tower of the Sun, which is a structure created by Taro Okamoto.
Akatsuki was just full of dudes. The organization was made up of attractive anime guys with a tendency to disrobe when they started to battle for real. The only exception to this was Konan, who was the only female member of the team unless you count Karin's brief tenure as an associate of Akatsuki as her also being a member.
Masashi Kishimoto had originally wanted to focus more on Konan's attractiveness, in order to play-up her status as the only girl in a group of men. She originally had a larger top and would wear an outfit that showed off her back, shoulders, and the sides of her chest. This design was never used, especially as Konan never took off her Akatsuki robe in the Naruto manga.
Haku and Zabuza were the first major villains to appear in Naruto. We get our first glance at the harsh world of Naruto that exists beyond the relative safety of Konoha, with tales of the horrific trials that the Hidden Mist ninjas once had to endure.
Masashi Kishimoto originally had different villains in mind for the second major Naruto story arc. He originally wanted to have a musclebound man named Kintaro to be the first villain. This was a huge guy who wielded a giant axe in battle. Kintaro would have fought alongside a giant tanuki that was the size of a bear. Gato was also planned to be involved with Kintaro, as he shows up in the original piece of concept art for the group.
Masashi Kishimoto discussed his inspirations in the extra sections of the collected Naruto volumes. This includes the likes of Akira, Dragon Ball, and Fist of the North Star. Some of these will be obvious to those familiar with the original works, as Roshi/the Four-Tails have lots of Dragon Ball references. The fighting style of the Hyuga Clan is also heavily inspired by Fist of the North Star.
Kakuzu of Akatsuki has anime references worked into his attacks. The three elemental attacks we see him using in the story are named after mecha suits from Mobile Suit Gundam, which was a popular anime from the late '70s. The Fire Release: Intelligent Hard Work, Lightning Release: False Darkness, and Wind Release: Pressure Damage techniques received their names from Mobile Suit Gundam.
Sasuke was on the receiving end of one of the most brutal beatdowns in the series when he traveled to the Hidden Cloud village in order to retrieve the Eight-Tails. He encountered Killer B, who was the current Jinchuriki of the Eight-Tails. Killer B beat the absolute crap out of Sasuke and his team, due to the fact that he was at one with his Tailed Beast.
According to Masashi Kishimoto, the design for Killer B was inspired by one of the editors who was working on Naruto at that time. This editor was a huge fan of professional wrestling and wanted Kishimoto to incorporate a ninja who used wrestling moves as part of his arsenal. It was this directive that led to the creation of Killer B and Killer A, as they both used stylised wrestling moves as part of their arsenal.