One of the most important aspects of Naruto was the fact that Naruto was an orphan. It shaped his personality and influenced his desires to be the best. Accordingly, it came as a bit of a surprise that in Naruto #504 creator Masashi Kishimoto would change everything, by having Naruto meet his parents. For some fans, the change was viewed as filler to cover up or disguise a lack of creative content that the years-long series would experience from time to time, however, that’s actually not the case.
Interestingly, the reason behind the introduction of Naruto’s parents into the storyline had nothing to do with plotlines and story arcs, and everything to do with Kishimoto’s personal life. In an exclusive 2012 interview with Shonen Jump Alpha, Kishimoto reveals the events and actions he experienced that influenced his approach to telling Naruto’s story. For Kishimoto, his art imitates his life, especially in regards to Naruto and his parents.
In the interview published in English through Viz, Kishimoto discusses how connected his personal life is to his manga. For example, he admits to how listening to music could affect this art. For instance, if the music made him sad, his artwork would reflect the sadness he felt. That is, he’s not very good at compartmentalizing his work and personal life. Kishimoto goes on to explain that when he started Naruto he was young and single. Naturally, having no experience being married or having children, he did not have a wealth of experience to draw on and reflect on in the story. However, as a result of the longevity of the manga, Kishimoto experienced a number of personal changes, including his subsequent marriage and the birth of his son. Kishimoto has commented on how his wife has influenced Naruto, but an equally influential personal experience was the birth of his son.
Whereas before it might have been was impossible for Kishimoto to accurately depict a parent-child relationship with Naruto, after the birth of his son, he had a daily source of rich content to draw from. As Kishimoto explains it, the experience of being a husband, and becoming a father “directly influenced the story in Naruto,” as it gave him a “different perspective” about life and the things that are most important in life. These life changes affected how Kishimoto conceptualized Naruto and how he wanted the public to view Naruto as well. This led to his interest in reflecting his personal parenting experiences into the manga, as well as his child’s reaction to his and his wife’s parenting. To be sure, as Kishimoto makes clear in the interview, “Naruto represents a little bit of myself and a little bit of my child.”
So, contrary to what some fans may perceive as an impersonal plot development, the reality is that Naruto’s touching reunion with his parents was the result of Kishimoto’s very personal heartfelt experience of becoming a father and his subsequent desire to express the way he and his wife feel about his son, and how his son has responded to their loving care.
Next: Naruto Cosplay Gives Temari the Spotlight She’s Always Deserved
Source: VIZ Media