If you're into anime, you've at least heard of Naruto, the story of a fiery kid on a journey to become the hokage (basically the ninja president). Whether you have watched all the seasons or got lost somewhere in the vast oceans of filler, you might not have noticed that it's a surpsingly dark anime. A closer look at this ninja world will show you all the secretly horrifying things in Naruto.
Sure, the show is about a punk in an orange jumpsuit who's always shouting, "Believe it!" in the dub, but while the show might seem innocuous, there's actually a ton of disturbing things about Naruto. For example, there's rampant eyeball theft, which isn't a common plot line you'll find in shounen series. Then there's the fact that the foundation of the world is based upon wars fought by children. Want to learn more about the weird and creepy things in Naruto? Keep reading.
Eyeball Theft Is Rampant
One recurring plot line in Naruto involves stealing other people's eyeballs. This sounds bizarre, and it is, but here's the reason: in the Narutoverse, some of the most spectacular abilities are doujutsu, or powers located in the eyes. Examples include the sharingan and the byakugan. The sharingan allows its user to copy any ninja technique it views, see another person's chakra (the energy source that allows ninja to use their abilities), and hypnotize others using genjutsu. The byakugan allows its user to see for hundreds of miles, see chakra, see through walls, and in extreme cases, even see another person's thoughts and feelings.
While these are typically passed on genetically through individual clans, anyone who transplants a doujutsu into their own eye socket can technically wield its power. This results in things like members of the Hyuuga family being repeatedly kidnapped so that thieves can pluck out their eyes, mass conspiracies involving murdering sharingan users so that thieves can take their eyes, and more. One of the show's major villains, Danzo, literally embeds a bunch of Uchiha eyeballs into his own arm, which withers said arm dramatically. This disgusting fate was well-deserved, considering the fact that he orchestrated the deaths of the people those eyes belonged to.
The Whole Premise Relies On Child Soldiers
In the Narutoverse, kids go to Ninja Academy up until they're around twelve years old. When they graduate, they work as genin, or trainee ninja. While their responsibilities mostly consist of odd jobs, they can absolutely be drafted into life or death situations if necessary. Soon after their time as genin, they take the chuunin exam, a tournament where kids beat each other half to death in order to earn a promotion. In rare cases, kids graduate and start working as ninja when they're six or seven, as is the case with Kakashi and Itachi.
As bad as things are in Naruto's time, they used to be much worse. In the past, the village system was actually established to prevent the constant warfare that forced everyone to fight, even children as young as five years old. While the age of acceptability for this type of thing keeps rising, it's still a world where teenagers are expected to die for their country.
Naruto's Mentor Is A Horrible Person
Naruto has three mentors. One of them is Jiraiya, a legendary sannin who is... Well, the kindest way to say it is that he is a deeply flawed individual. What's wrong with Jiraiya? Oh, so much. First off, the whole "pervert" thing would be a whole lot funnier if it didn't involve minors. Jiraiya asks a 12-year-old boy to transform into a hot girl so he can get his rocks off - in fact, he withholds training until Naruto performs the Sexy Technique.
He's a nasty abusive pervert who shouldn't be allowed near kids. When he is around kids, he's wildly irresponsible about their safety. While he's training Naruto, he leaves him alone for hours at a time despite knowing that he doesn't have the training to fight off the Akatsuki, who are actively hunting for him. When he adopts three kids, he abandons them again after a couple of years. Not only is he irresponsible, but he's mean, too.
The symbol of his relationship with Naruto is half a popsicle, because one time Jiraiya gave Naruto half a popsicle. That popsicle was probably purchased with money he stole from Naruto, and was one of the only times he didn't openly mock Naruto (an orphan who was shunned by his entire village) for asking for like, five minutes of attention. What makes Jiraiya so awful isn't that he's disgusting or irresponsible or abusive. And it isn't that he's flawed - good, dynamic interesting characters have flaws. The problem is that the series presents him as a hero without really acknowledging most of those flaws.
Orphans Are Basically Ignored
Naruto Uzumaki, the main character of Naruto, is an orphan whose parents died shortly after his birth. You would think that the next logical step would be to find him some adoptive parents. Nope - Konoha rents him an apartment, where he's left alone save for the occasional check-ins from members of ANBU (a black ops organization) while he's literally a baby. Once he's old enough to feed himself, he's pretty much on his own.
Because of the whole "tailed beast sealed in his body" thing, one might assume that Naruto is a special case. Maybe the town is so afraid of him that the Konoha government couldn't find an adoptive family, and other orphans are properly cared for. But Naruto is far from the only orphan to experience this fate. His teacher, Iruka Umino, raised himself after his parents were killed when he was ten. After Sasuke's entire family was murdered, he was left alone in the house where it happened as soon as the dead bodies were cleared. The fact that Naruto is even sort of stable is remarkable, considering the fact that he basically raised himself from birth.