Kishimoto's failure in portraying female characters in Naruto
Naruto's Female Characters
Kishimoto created a world so deep, it could give the Mariana Trench a run for its money. But alas, as he delved into perfecting every minute detail, he seemed to forget that women exist!
A world filled with ninjas, jutsus, and...apparently, a shortage of female character development. In a genre already infamous for sidelining women, Kishimoto took it to the next level, giving us a cast of ladies that were underdeveloped, unrelatable, or worse, reduced to mere comedic relief.
Talk about a rough day, ladies.
Even the better-written females were often given the backseat through less screen time or by association with another male character. Masashi Kishimoto himself has acknowledged his inability to write profound female characters, but come on, man, that doesn't justify this injustice. We're talking about one of the 'Big 3' anime series here, not some B-list show.
Sure, shounen anime is geared toward young boys, but that's no excuse for a dysfunctional portrayal of women.
How did such a well-written series fail so miserably in its female representation? It's a separate issue for another day, but we can all agree that Naruto's women deserved better than this.
Reliant on Male Characters
Imagine being a female ninja in the Naruto universe. You've spent years training to become a powerful warrior, ready to take on any enemy that comes your way.
But oh wait, what's this? Apparently, your only job is to cheer on your male teammates while they do all the cool ninja stuff.
That's right, when women's empowerment was at its peak, Naruto managed to go in the opposite direction. Instead of showcasing strong, independent women, the series presented them as nothing more than a support system for their male counterparts. Talk about taking two steps back!
Even the Konoha 12, a group of young ninja trained to save the world, weren't immune to this problematic portrayal. Sakura, Hinata, Ino, and Tenten were all shown as the weakest members of their teams, relegated to supporting roles.
And don't even get me started on the Legendary Sannin - even they couldn't escape this blatant discrimination.
Ah, the good old gender divide strikes again. In Naruto, the men had a clear purpose, a backstory, and a goal to achieve, while the women...well, they were left to figure it out on their own.
Naruto wants to be Hokage, Sasuke wants revenge, and...Sakura and Ino want to impress Sasuke? Hinata's tragic childhood? Nah, let's focus on her crush on Naruto instead. And even the mighty Tsunade, one of the most respected kunoichi in the series, had her motives driven by lost relationships - her brother and lover, to be precise.
It's like the women in Naruto were stuck in a romantic comedy while the men were off saving the world. Come on, Kishimoto, we all know women can have more significant motives than just impressing a guy or holding onto a childhood crush.
Let's give these ladies more credit and depth, shall we?
Blink and You'll Miss Them
Here's a fun fact: did you know that if you blink while watching Naruto, you might miss some of the female characters entirely? That's right, with an overabundance of characters, it's easy for some to get lost in the shuffle - and guess who tends to get the short end of the stick?
That's right, the ladies.
Kurenai was a well-rounded, strong genjutsu user - but blink, and she disappears into the background. Tenten's screen time was so low that even the invisible man was like, "dang, that's rough." And as for Tsunade, one of the Legendary Sannin? She might as well have been a ninja ghost for all the screen time she got.
Meanwhile, the male characters were hogging the spotlight like a Black Friday sale. Kakashi, Asuma, and Might Guy were squad leaders with significant roles, while Jiraiya's death was pivotal in the series. It's like the female characters were only there for decoration, while the men got to have all the fun.
Come on, Kishimoto, give these ladies a chance to shine! They've got more to offer than just being background props.
Tropes and Stereotypes
Ah, stereotypes and tropes. It's like Kishimoto went shopping for character traits in the bargain bin and said, 'yep, that'll do.'
Sakura and Ino are brash and abrasive, while Hinata is shy and shunned. Because, you know, why give women unique personalities when you can stick them in a box and call it a day?
Even the "relatively" developed female characters weren't spared. Tsunade, the Hokage, had to spend most of her screen time dealing with jokes about her breasts - because nothing says "strong female character" like reducing her to a pair of body parts. And let's not forget Mei Terumi, the Fifth Mizukage, who has a great backstory and character development...but still feels the need to joke about being unmarried at her age. Really, Kishimoto?
And then there's Chiyo, a strong puppeteer from the Sand. You'd think that would make her unique, right?
Nope, she's just another crazy old lady stereotype. Even Temari's relatively developed personality still fits into the predictable tsundere trope.
A Dating Service for Male Characters
"Welcome to Naruto's dating service - where women are just love interests for the male characters! Who needs character development when you can have a crush instead?
Sakura's infatuation with Sasuke was so overbearing that it practically became her entire personality. Ino suffered the same fate, reducing her character to a shallow obsession. And don't even get us started on Hinata, whose childhood trauma was overshadowed by her crush on Naruto.
Tenten also seemed to incline Neji, but let's be real, we wouldn't know for sure since she got about as much screen time as a potted plant.
And then there's Karin Uzumaki - a character with a dark backstory of abuse and rape, reduced to a one-dimensional, lovestruck character obsessed with Sasuke. No wonder she became one of the series' most hated characters.
Even the mighty Tsunade wasn't immune, with a chunk of her character given up just to be Dan Kato's lover. And Kushina Uzumaki, with her unparalleled strength and unique jutsu, was confined to being a housewife because of her fate being tied to Minato Namikaze.
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