Life has been weird lately and I have found that I have been forgetting to actually be me. I’ve taken some holiday from work and I’ve been filling my time doing the things I love like reading, writing and watching anime, which has led to me watching a few episodes of Naruto and it has helped me find a bit of myself that I always seem to lose in times of stress.
About 7 years ago I found Naruto through my friend Simon who shared my love of anime, Naruto is a Shonen manga, turned anime, written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto that focuses on an orphaned shinobi (ninja) named Naruto, he is shunned by the people in his village because sealed inside of him is the deadly Kyuubi, a nine-tailed fox that almost brought about the destruction of the ninja world. It was love at first watch for me and along with reading Manga (general reading), Anime became a huge source of escapism for me but it gives me so much more than 20 minutes of escape. It helped me find myself after years of ups and downs at school where I was bullied and jumped between friendship groups before settling in 6th form. It helped me be proud of being a geek and I actually began to parade my years of interest in East Asian history and culture.
My obsession with Naruto was a quick process. I watched the first 220 episodes in a few
weeks when I was in 6th form mainly by influence from my friend Simon; and by influence I mean him jokingly suggesting we leave school early to go to mine to eat ramen and watch Naruto and me saying yes and grabbing my coat. I changed my middle name on Facebook to Uzumaki (Naruto’s surname) and remains so today and my first tattoo at age 19 was the symbol of his village, Konoha. Naruto has become more than something I like to watch, it has become a part of my identity.
Naruto is not just an anime filled with action and the odd boob shot and this is why I will always return to it when I need a boost. It is about the strength of friendship, the importance of hard work and dedication and the message that you can be whatever you want to be. Naruto overcomes loneliness, anger and repression and ends up doing pretty well for himself (no spoilers). Watching him and the other shinobi makes me feel strong and motivated and I want to go and prove myself to the world as well. When I go back and watch my favourite episodes I’m not only entertained but I’m reminded of that strength and empowerment and seeing the characters at such an early part of their journey (my favourites are the earlier eps!) makes me even more motivated to keep going.
Which brings me to the nindō . Naruto often mentions his nindō (pronounced as you would expect) or shinobi way. A nindō in basic terms is your personal life motto, this could be in the form of a goal or dream or something to live by. I have felt out of place in my own world lately but when I rewatched these episodes recently (specifically episode 150- Hinata is so badass) I decided to find my own nindō. I wrote down the things that I wanted in my life and what I need to be happy. My nindō is short and simple but it will remind me not to get lost in negativity or small niggling things that get me down and to remember that I have my own passions and I am my own person and though I may not be ‘there’ yet I know that I will. So my nindō is simply ‘I will not forget who I am’.
Thank you for reading. Share your nindō below!