There are so many tropes
that we had to split its trope page. The first half: Naruto: Tropes A to K
. Tropes about the anime and other media: Naruto: Anime And Others
Please add character tropes directly to said character entry on one of Naruto
's numerous characters sheets
, unless it is a key plot point or a remarkable recurring trope (e.g., on this page: Not So Stoic
).This is to keep these pages from inflating artificially.Here be spoilers. Anything that has not been aired on the free versionnote of Crunchyroll should be spoiler-tagged.
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L - N
- Lampshade Hanging: During the dénouement of the World War Arc, which features endless powerups, backstabs, ultimate villain introductions and inexplicable dramatic turnarounds, Sakura sees the Sage of Six Paths - a mythological figure that was supposed to have been dead for eons - floating and congratulating her for saving the world. She doesn't even bother trying to find out how the hell this is possible, and just says that at this point nothing would surprise her, and she's frankly tired of it all.
- Lava Adds Awesome:
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
- In the Death Forest after the fight against the Sound Genins, Shikamaru and Choji comment how Naruto is too much an Idiot Hero to be a good Shonen manga main protagonist.
- Also, there's one point where Naruto comes running into a fight late, yelling: "The main character of a story usually shows up in these types of situations and instantly kicks the enemy's ass!" Naturally, he then proceeds to be on the receiving end of said ass-kicking.
- That Jiraiya wrote a serious book about a ninja Determinator whose name is Naruto (which the character of the series was named after by his parents after they read the book) is fourth wall-leaning enough. But in a couple of pages which are only in the volume 48 release, part of Naruto's speech to Nagato sounds like he's talking about himself as if he was fully aware that he is a fictional character. All of this is done in a completely serious fashion.
- LEGO Genetics: Orochimaru tried to plant the First Hokage's Green Thumb skill in 60 kids. It only worked on Yamato—the other 59 all died horrible deaths. Danzo used Orochimaru's research to do the same thing to himself.
- Screwing with the genetics of powerful people seems to be a popular pastime for villains. Madara messed with the first Hokage's genes, too, and Kabuto implanted Orochimaru's cells into himself to find direction for his life.
- Limited Wardrobe: Most characters have one outfit for before or after the timeskip, but may wear casual clothes while off-duty. By contrast, the Sand Siblings change outfits in each of their major appearances.
- Line-of-Sight Name: It's hard to tell whether this is played straight, or subverted, or averted, or what.
- Naruto's namesake, a character from Jiraiya's novel, is a Watsonian example from our perspective and a Doylist example from the story within a story perspective, as Jiraiya thought up the name while eating a bowl of ramen and Naruto is a type of ramen topping. The titular Naruto, in turn, was named after said character by his dad, which is not a Line-of-Sight Name at all.
- Sasuke was a straight-up Doylist example. Naming a ninja "Uchiha Sasuke" is akin to naming a nurse Fanny Nightingale (you may have heard of Sarutobi Sasuke). Then we find out that in-universe he's named after the Third Hokage's father, whose name actually was Sarutobi Sasuke.
- Living MacGuffin:
- The Jinchurikis.
- Sasuke provides an even better example given the number of people who are after him throughout the story.
- Living Weapon: The Jinchuuriki. Yes, even Naruto. In fact, especially Naruto. He is the only one who had a specific target - the masked man who attacked the village in the first place (though that story turns out to have been more complicated than anyone anticipated).
- Loads and Loads of Characters: which leads to...
- Cast Herd: The huge cast is conveniently organized in teams of 3 or 4 members, while antagonists are almost always organized by pairs (Zabuza/Haku, Orochimaru/Kabuto, and of course Akatsuki members), the sole exceptions being the Sound Five and arguably Konan and Pain.
- Geodesic Cast: The team 7's structure "Two males that are of contrasting personality, one female" group, repeated again and again. As the manga progresses it seems to slowly drift away from this gimmick. Justified for Team 7. It's explicitly stated Sasuke and Naruto were both assigned to Team 7 because Sasuke was first-ranked in their Academy class and Naruto was last, and it's tradition to put first and last on the same team to balance out its capabilities.
- According to the Naruto wiki, there are at least 930 characters from all the various media.
- Local Hangout: Ichiraku's ramen bar.
- Longest Pregnancy Ever:
- Kurenai Yuhi, who is also a Pregnant Badass.
- Also Kushina Uzumaki, who explains a female Jinchuriki's pregnancy is 10 months instead of the usual 9.
- Loophole Abuse: By way of Lampshade Hanging. The Stinger of the Chunin exam second stage's Hidden Purpose Test is that the evil mind games and intricate manipulations surrounding the exam were played up so much, you could theoretically pass the test without writing down a single word. Which Naruto does.
- The next portion of the exam has your team need to get one of two types of scroll to pass. Nothing is stopping you from getting more than that, to reduce competition in the later parts of the exam or to use as bait if you get jumped by someone stronger than you.
- Losing Your Head: Twice. First, we have Hidan, who, being immortal, yells curses at his beheader until such a time his head can be reattached. Then there's Kisame (actuallty a Zetsu clone) who compliments his opponents on their victory as his head is flying through the air.
- Love Hurts: Realizing for the first time what Naruto went through because of her does not make Sakura very happy. She, in turn, had more than her fair share of this courtesy of Sasuke.
- Love Letter: Sakura gets one, but she claims her heart is already taken.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: The reveal of Naruto's incredibly surprising parentage.
- Mandatory Unretirement: There are a few cases.
- The third hokage had to leave retirement when the fourth died.
- Nono was forced by Danzo to become a spy again.
- Magical Eye: The Sharingan and then later the Mangenkyou Sharingan. They grant the following abilities...
- Magic by Any Other Name: Sex-change, fireballs, summoning toads! Oh jutsu, is there anything you can't do?
- Man Behind the Man: Averted in Part I, where the villains (Itachi and Orochimaru) are presented as free agents acting completely of their own volition. Not quite averted in part II, where we 1. gradually find out that Itachi was effectively under orders from Danzo, and 2. encounter the villain ensemble Aktasuki, which is taking orders from their leader Pain, who has been groomed and manipulated by the legendery Uchiha ancestor Madara, who is actually not Madara but has been groomed and manipulated from the start by the actual Madara, who has been unknowingly dancing to the tune of Black Zetsu, who is a mere puppet carrying out the will of the Bigger Bad Kaguya.
- Manipulative Bastard. Used to Beyond the Impossible levels in Part 2. We have Orochimaru, who is manipulating Sasuke but eventually gets betrayed. Then we have Nagato/Pain, who is manipulating Akatsuki. But then it turns out the he's really being manipulated by Tobi (aka Obito), who also manipulates Sasuke for a while after Itachi's death, and also manipulated Kisame and the 4th Mizukage. But it eventually turns out that Tobi was being manipulated by Madara from the start. Later on, we find out that Madara was being manipulated by Black Zetsu, who actually being controlled (or at least loyal to) Kaguya. And this isn't even getting into other characters like Itachi and Danzo who manipulate various characters in their own ways.
- Manly Tears:
- Quite often, and from the first chapter on. Mostly exaggerated and Played for Laughs with Lee and Might Guy.
- The author's reaction on learning that the manga will be serialized into an anime.
- Masquerading As The Unseen
- In the Chuunin Exam, the Kazekage is only ever seen masked or behind a curtain with the implication that this is normal behavior, enabling Orochimaru's impersonation of him.
- A large part of what allowed Tobi to get away with impersonating Madara Uchiha for so long. Nobody knew who was behind the mask and he was powerful enough to back up his claims that he was who he said he was.
- Subverted when Yamato tries to impersonate Sasori by riding in the large puppet he was rarely seen out of. The people he's meeting as Sasori know the real one well enough to spot the fake.
- Master-Apprentice Chain:
- The First & Second Hokage > The Third Hokage > Jiraiya > The Fourth Hokage > Kakashi > Naruto (provides the page's picture)
- The Third Hokage > Orochimaru, Jiraiya & Tsunade > Sasuke, Naruto & Sakura
- The Third Hokage > Jiraiya > Konan, Nagato, and Yahiko
- Me's a Crowd: The various Clone Jutsu: Shadow, Water, Lightning, etc. Also seen to a smaller scale with Replacement and Substitution Jutsu. Then you have Zetsu, whose white half can be cultivated like a plant. The Big Bad grows one hundred thousand copies of him to fight in the fourth ninja world war.
- Meaningful Funeral: The 3rd Hokage's funeral.
- Meaningful Name:
- Naruto's surname, Uzumaki, means "spiral" - fitting considering Naruto's fondness for spirals (see: Rasengan).
- Kakashi means scarecrow. In one episode, the team follow Kakashi to find out what's under his mask. Sakura watches Kakashi standing at the stone memorial for a while until she figures out something is wrong. Sure enough, Kakashi used the substitution technique with a scarecrow that looked just like him from a distance.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard:
- Quite frequent (the 3rd Hokage, Jiraiya, Asuma, and Chiyo can count as well), though Kakashi and Tsunade have averted this so far. Of notice is that two of the mentors died by the hand of a former student turned evil.
- The Fourth Hokage can now be added to the list, and has also died by the hand of his former student Obito.
- Messianic Archetype: Naruto. It has been said that his best power isn't his near limitless chakra, his Superpowered Evil Side, or his growing mastery of the Fourth Hokage's techniques — it's his
Talk no Jutsu simple-minded charisma.
- Meteor Move
- Mind Rape: Most of genjutsu techniques boil down to this, with Tsukuyomi being the most extreme.
- Mind Screw: The sequence where we get treated to a visualization of the effect Naruto's words are having on Obito. First, illusory versions of Minato, Kakashi and Rin appear. Next, Minato and Kakashi start messing with Obito's head. Then things get really weird: Rin starts speaking seductively to Obito, except she's entered the Uncanny Valley, and then she, Minato and Kakashi start transforming into tailed beasts. Then Naruto turns into young Obito and runs off with Rin.
- Misery Builds Character: Explicitly stated as a major theme in chapter 670. Naruto like the Sage of Six Paths' son, Ashura, was born with none of the readily-apparent talent of his parents. Because of this, both have learned to value teamwork, harmony, and friendship while their more talented counterparts walked a darker path because being a Born Winner made them believe that Might Makes Right.
- Monster Shaped Mountain: The Land of Iron's signature landmark is the Three Wolves, a mountain that is shaped like 3 wolves' heads.
- Multiple-Tailed Beast: The tailed beasts, sans Shukaku, who only has one tail.
- Mundane Utility:
- In canon, Naruto jumps into a creek with shadow clones to force some fish to the surface, which Sasuke catches with kunai and cooks with his fire jutsu. Jiraiya also used a fire jutsu in a flashback to cook a giant fish.
- Ninja in general are somewhat this, especially Genin. The test to pass the Ninja Academy? Produce a pair of illusory duplicates. Your likely first missions? Gardening, babysitting, retrieving lost pets, etc.
- My God, What Have I Done?:
- Sasuke claims one of the most epic instances of this in the series, but a honorary mention goes to Sakura when she realizes what the promise she got out of Naruto did to him.
- Kakashi blames himself for Obito’s death, insisting that if they had gone together to save their teammate in the first place, that would not have happened.
- Never a Self-Made Woman:
- Tsunade has light shades of this, since one easily forgotten reason of why she got picked up to be 5th Hokage is that she's respectively the grand-daughter and grand-niece of the 1st and 2nd Hokages. It's by no way THE one reason, but it's there, somewhere at the bottom.
- Konan was introduced as having been mainly defined by her loyalty to Yahiko and Nagato, and eventually, Naruto. Subverted when she eventually gets a chance to show just how powerful she is - come to think of it, she too could have destroyed Konoha all by herself.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Lampshaded once by the Big Bad.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Uchiha clan holds the world record in this. Remember when they felt things weren't going their way so they had this brilliant idea to sway things in their favor?... Remember how that went? Mm hm. Remember Sasuke's great triumphant moment of revenge? Remember how that one turned out? Mm hm. Remember the part where we find out what Itachi was all about and what he was trying to achieve? See how that one turned out? Mm hm. Nice job, Uchiha clan.' Lampshaded by Itachi, about himself. He tells Sasuke that it was his fault Sasuke became the criminal he is today.
- Also look at Danzo. He is responsibe for at least 90% of everything that happens, right down to the destruction of Konohana by Pain . he is also responsible for the tailed beast attack, and for the Akatsuki in the first place. And he has the nerve to say that all that he did was to help the leaf.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Pain seems to go out of his way to induce rage and despair in Naruto, presumably to Teach Him
Anger Pain. You can imagine how well that eventually went for him.
- Ninja: Pretty much everyone is referred to as a ninja, even if they dress in orange or fight by summoning giant toads. The ANBU fit the ninja mold much better, being an elite group of mask wearing warriors who specialize in assassination and espionage.
- Ninja Log: Used in a surprising number of variations, including several that explode.
- Nobody Poops: Averted in the sports festival OVA as well as the actual show. Naruto is the usual offender. Played straight with the early Zetsu clones, which explicitly don't poop, to the point where they actually ask Tobi what its like.
- Nonhumans Lack Attributes: Usually played straight (e.g. Kakashi's dogs). Averted with a certain armadillo. Squick. Also averted for Akamaru in the comical spin-off Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth.
- The Nose Bleed: The inevitable result of Naruto's Sexy Jutsu.
- Not a Date / She Is Not My Girlfriend: Shikamaru and Temari. Asuma and Kurenai. Inverted with Naruto and Sakura; Naruto says that Sakura "kind of" is his girlfriend, which earns him the obligatory smack upside the head and leaves the fans to ponder whether Naurto is being cheeky, sincere or deluded, and whether Sakura is just angry or acting like a standard-fare love interest Tsundere. This ambiguity was probably intentional.
- Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: One half of the first task of the Chunin exam is actually this.
- Not Even Human: How many people in the manga view jinchuuriki. This way of thinking is a personal berserk button for Naruto.
- Nothing but Skin and Bones: Nagato is horribly skinny because of a Dangerous Forbidden Technique of his, which drained his energy. His legs were burned useless just before that. And overall, he uses nothing but techniques that consume huge amounts of Chakra.
- Not Just A Tournament: The Chunin Exam arc features a single-elimination tournament as the final stage of the exam. Initially, the idea is that the contestants will fight each other and that the judges determine who should be promoted based on the performance. However, it is soon explained that that function is more of an in-universe Excuse Plot to showcase competition between villages. Said competition affects incoming business for each village.
- The Kazekage even refuses to let his village's star ninja get a free pass to the next round as his tardy opponent is from a distinguished clan and defeating such an individual would be a great way to showcase his village's ability. In actuality, the disguised Orochimaru wanted Sasuke to fight to help advance his Cursed Seal corruption, but the excuse is solid enough that Sarutobi accepts it.
- Not Quite Dead: A number of characters have pulled this off at some point or the other, but the runaway award winner is Orochimaru.
- There's also Hidan and Kakuzu who each should have died at least three times in their arc.
- Justified (at least in-verse) in that one is immortal and the other has 5 hearts
- Not So Different: Naruto has had many foils throughout the series, and often he finds out that he's more like them than he thought:
- Gaara is what Naruto would have become if Iruka hadn't acknowledged him. They share the traumatic isolation of being host to tailed beasts. This is made all the more poignant by the fact that we are introduced to Gaara as a completely Ax-Crazy monster hungry for blood and only find out that he and Naruto are Not So Different after several Establishing Character Moments of Gaara's that involved plenty of murder. What's more, they were both entrusted to the care of someone whose loved ones they'd inadvertently killed. Where their paths diverged, and for us the story begins, is Iruka not succumbing to pressure and manipulation to become another face lost in the jeering, uncaring masses.
- Naruto realizes at some point that his own anger from Konoha's hatred towards him means he could've been the threat to Konoha and Sasuke the one defending it. The panel shows Naruto using chidori and Sasuke using Rasengan to drive it home.
- For all of the godlike destruction Pain wreaks, we eventually find out that he started out very similar to Naruto, and his ideals never really wavered; it was only the "goody-good" methods he despaired of.
- Inverted with Obito - when he is finally introduced properly as a villain, the first thing we learn is how similar his beginnings were to Naruto's; it is only later that we learn how radically different their choices and conclusions had been.
- Not So Stoic: It's something of a theme that no one can truly kill or completely overcome their own emotions and pretty much everyone who tries to play The Stoic with some level of development lets loose at some point.
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: End of Part I. Seems to be the case after a certain Wham Episode in Part II, but the lasting effect on the plot turns out to be less drastic than expected.
O - P
- Oblivious Mockery: Having heard that Jugo went to Orochimaru voluntarily, Suigetsu comments that only someone completely nuts would throw himself into Orochimaru's arms. Right next to Sasuke, who threw himself into Orochimaru's arms for the sake of his revenge.
- Oddly Small Organization:
- Due to lack of focus, a lot of the clans initially came off as this. However, the later arcs showed that at least most of them had far more people than just a single nuclear family.
- The Akatsuki. Its size is never clearly stated. It's defined as a ten-members group, incredibly small for an organization aiming at world domination, although Sasori had several underlings working for him in the Sand village and their leader turned out to have had a whole village under his control.
- Official Couple: Asuma and Kurenai, Minato and Kushina, Tsunade and Dan, Hayate and Yuugao, Konan and Yahiko.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
- We don't see most of the fights between the Tailed Beasts hosts and Akatsuki.
- Tenten is constantly a victim of this. Most memorable in that regard is her battle with Edo Kakuzu; this was a villain Jounins were having trouble with, and Naruto had to eventually step in with his Big Damn Rasen-shuriken to defeat, even before he was an indestructible infinite-chakra zombie. Tenten defeats him, or at least gets halfway there, but we never get to see the Armageddon of pointy weapons she presumably unleashed on him in the process.
- The specifics of what Hinata wrought upon the Juubi-lings with Divination: 64 Twin Lion Fist strikes are left to our imagination, which is especially egregious given that we never got to see what the Twin Lion Fists do in the first place.
- Oh Crap: Sure to happen whenever some invincible villain turns out to be Not So Invincible After All or some ultimate technique turns out to be Not So Ultimate After All. Also a common response to nightmarish genjutsu before you realize you've been caught in one.
- A rather humorous example is Shikamaru during the final round of the Chunnin exams. He had no interest in fighting the match, and was about to give up, when Naruto pushed him into the field, and he was promptly jeered by the audience because he is not Sasuke. His face had Oh Crap written all over it.
- Not being able to regenerate when you're supposed to be able to regenerate. For example, the zombified) Fourth Hokage (as of chapter 680) is still unable to regenerate his missing arms, which zombies in the Naruto-verse are supposed to be able to do. This seems especially unfair, since all three of his equally-zombified Hokage comrades have each regenerated massive battle damage.
- One Extra Member: The "Sound Five" actually counts Sakon and Ukon as one person, instead of making it the Sound Six.
- One-Winged Angel: Anyone using Curse mark level 2, Juugo, and anyone with a tailed beast. Also Itachi's susanoo, Kisame's Samehada fusion form and Kakuzu's tentacle mass form.
- Only a Flesh Wound: "Oh, my god! That was my arm! They ripped off my arm! AARGH!" - A quote not uttered by anyone at any point in the series, though logic dictates it should have been, on at least five separate occasions. On two separate occasions, a villain had this done to them, and instead of the battle being over right there and then, they just kept fighting to eventually win. This is especially jarring given how much Orochimaru was both furious and terrified at the loss of his arms (Which, granted, were sealed, not just cut off, but still...).
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You:
- Gaara used this before his Heel-Face Turn by saying Sasuke was 'his prey'.
- Itachi Uchiha basically says that the only one allowed to defeat him is his younger brother, the same Sasuke. But he has his reasons for saying that.
- Also, Naruto and Sasuke, mutually and multiple times.
- When Jiraiya is about to take on Itachi and Kisame at the inn, Sasuke insists that the only one who was going to kill Itachi was him. Well, needless to say, that fight didn’t exactly end in his favor. Nor did any future attempts.
- Organ Theft: All over the place - name a body part, and someone's taken it from a dead opponent and integrated it into their own body. Gruesomely. The Uchiha have a power-up based on taking someone's eye.
- Orphanage of Love: Where Kabuto was initially raised.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Type "V" for the characters brought back with the forbidden technique Edo Tensei.
- Out of Focus: Most of anyone in this series who has just played some significant part in the plot and is not part of Team 7 or a top-tier villain goes straight to the Offstage Waiting Room. In fact, more often than not when the focus shifts to any of the secondary characters, it's because something bad is about to happen to them. Particularly egregious in that Sakura, who is a main character from Team 7, also falls prey to this for most of Part II of the manga.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Too many characters to tell. Despite short bouts of relative competence, Tsunade suffers from this chronically, as does her disciple Sakura (despite being a designated main character and an Extraordinarily Empowered Girl). In-universe, Obito admits outright to Minato that he feels overshadowed by Kakashi's superior ability.
- Parental Abandonment: Orphans abound due to the life of a ninja just not being very conductive to one's life expectancy. Kyuubi killed numerous ones in its rampage — the ones which weren't killed in the previous Ninja Wars, that is. Some would-be-plot-relevant parents may have managed to escape this fate by virtue of their invisibility.
- Passion Is Evil: Seems to become an important theme in Part II.
- Kurama can much more easily take control of Naruto when the latter feels despair or hatred. Whenever it has an occasion, it will try to push Naruto over the edge. At least until Naruto manages to defeat him, and then befriend him.
- Nagato connected himself to the Gedo Mazo while feeling intense pain and hatred following Yahiko's sacrifice.
- Even later, strong emotions are revealed to be the "curse" of the Uchiha clan, and that feeling strong emotions, like love and friendship, then suddenly losing them, is what creates the Sharingan.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Most prominently Tailed Beast hosts, but it's a valid option to any protagonist or villain so inclined provided they have a sufficiently high Power Level. (cue Vegeta breaking his scanner).
- Phlebotinum-Handling Requirements: The sword Samehada can only be wielded if it likes the taste of the wielder's chakra.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: In Real Life, ninjas were covert agents and mercenaries who engaged in such things as espionage and assassination and so on and so forth (or at least, that's what pop culture agrees they were, but the difference is semantic). While early arcs did make some attempt to play up these things, at no point did any of the good guys actually do any of it, despite being trained for it. Later in the series this is outright abandoned as the cast begins pursuing personal vendettas and fighting the bad guys using lasers and giant animals. For a long time the villains actually did do all the things ninjas are supposed to have done, but this was eventually derailed into magic eyes, immortal zombies, mountain leveling laser blasts and Eldritch Abominations.
- Playing with Fire: Any character who uses fire techniques. Not that any of them could really help anyone win a fight.
- Please Don't Leave Me: Sakura to Sasuke before he leaves the Leaf, in an absolutely heartbreaking scene. Naruto’s entire fight with Sasuke at the Valley of the End consists of this, eventually turning into “I’ll break every bone in your body and drag you all the way if that’s what it takes!” “I won’t let you be taken by someone like Orochimaru!” Subverted by Naruto when all he wants to do is talk with Sasuke, even going so far as to tell Sasuke that they will die together if they fight each other, then allows him freely on his way once he’s finished.
- Plot Armor:
- Sasuke is a major offender, often relying on New Powers as the Plot Demands to make him As Strong As He Needs To Be. His most iconic one may be when, after it had already been established that he was out of chakra, he had continued use of his Sharingan, summoned a giant snake, hypnotized it, jumped in its mouth and teleported it and himself out of harm's way all to avoid a massive 10-kilometer-radius explosion. After said explosion had already gone off. A few feet from him. (Illustration.)
- Hinata somehow manages to survive being stabbed point blank in the neck, getting caught in the blast radius of a Wave Motion Gun and laying there alone, bleeding and unconscious, for several minutes, while two Persons Of Mass Destruction summon gravity blasts and giant chakra balls all over the resulting smoking crater.
- This seemed to be in effect for the Ninja Alliance in general for most of the war. They're fighting an army of invincible zombies, who in life were some of the strongest ninjas to ever live, and for a long time not a single named character loses their life - just a bunch of Red Shirts. The armor thickness notably diminishes for a while around chapter 614, where at least three Mauve Shirts die (Ino and Shikamaru's father's, and above all, Neji), but it shortly gets better again.
- Kaguya is so hilariously over-powered she makes Madara Uchiha look like Part 1 Sakura. She has the ability to teleport herself or others at any point to any place, which they are unable to resist in any way. Despite this and some degree of reality warping, she's been unable to kill Team 7.
- The Plot Reaper: Has so far collected:
- Jiraiya, who fell prey to the Mentor Occupational Hazard.
- Orochimaru, who had served his purpose as the Big Bad and had to make room for Sasuke to prove himself as a serious threat in his own right. This is eventually inverted; Orochimaru is required for plot purposes again, the process is reversed and Orochimaru is free to roam the earth and do his new thing.
- Itachi, who finally died because the plot was done milking Sasuke's grudge against him for everything it was worth.
- Konan - an inconvenient leftover from an old storyline to begin with - who was much more valuable to the plot as a minor character whose death people would actually still kind of care about than as yet another ally for Naruto, busy running a faraway village and nigh completely detached from the main thrust of the plot.
- Danzo, who would have been the key to a myriad hypothetical arcs, questions chasing questions and twisty little passages of plot that the author apparently just wasn't very eager to deal with.
- Plot Tumor:
- Uchiha Madara once met Obito, and their ill-conceived cooperation is behind everything. EVERYTHING.
- Similarly, Danzo is responsible for almost everything wrong the Leaf has ever done. He’s even responsible for Kabuto’s Face-Heel Turn that made him loyal to Orochimaru.
- Police Are Useless: While the governments do have safety nets to deal with rogue ninjas, these are incredibly inadequate. The people in charge of taking out rogue ninjas are Nameless Faceless Mooks that get slaughtered by anything stronger than a stiff breeze while said rogues are, almost without exception, THE strongest ninjas in the world.
- The invasion of the Hidden Sand is probably the worst example in the series. The border guards are massacred by their treacherous leader. The interior ninja specifically watching for aerial intruders are dispatched by an opponent in the sky. Neither group even manages to see the Akatsuki members, but Gaara is able to identify the aforementioned flying enemy by casually glancing out the window.
- Powers Do The Fighting
- Gaara is protected by his sand, so for most of his fights early on in the series, he stands by while the sand deflects projectiles and destroys his enemies for him.
- Naruto's chakra shroud has a mind of its own, and can launch its own attacks separate from his own.
- Power Makes Your Hair Grow: The level 2 of the cursed seal. Averted for Juugo, even though he's the source of it. Inverted with Jiraiya's hari jizo attack, where your hair growing makes for power. Moreover, it is the Jutsu’s power
- The Power of Friendship: ...is apparently a distant second behind the power of a sufficiently well-seated superiority complex. Is nonetheless strong enough to end ancient grievances, unite the Ninja Villages against a common foe, and remind an Eldritch Abomination about his better nature.
- The Power of Hate: …will cause a cycle of revenge throughout the ages. Sasuke also lives by it.
- The Power of Love: ...is apparently a distant second behind the power to repel things with gravity, and cannot sooth a sufficiently deep-seated hunger for power and revenge. Is nonetheless powerful enough to make an ever-active shield out of sand protecting your loved ones after you die, and to pull you away from the brink of madness and despair.
- The Power Of Love Makes You Evil: Extremely strong love that turns to hate is revealed to be exceptionally powerful in chpt. 619:
Tobirama (Second Hokage) to Sasuke: When Uchiha suffer after experiencing the loss of a loved one or despair, special chakra sprouts inside their brains, which affects the optic nerve and produces a change in their eyes. That is "the eye that reflects feelings"... The Sharingan. [...] The deeper their darkness becomes, the more powerful their eyes get, and it's impossible to handle them... like in Madara's case.
Hashirama (First Hokage): Madara really loved his little brother... probably even more than your brother.
- Powers as Programs
- Protagonist-Centered Morality:
- How moral is pursuing revenge? That depends on who you are. If you're Sasuke, it's a corruption to stay away from and Kakashi will give you an extensive lecture to make sure you get that. If you're Shikamaru, it's a rite of passage that will get you closure. No one is actually bothered by this because Sasuke is batshit insane and wants to exact revenge on an entire village full of innocent people, while Shikamaru just went after the guy who killed his Mentor; but it's still sort of disconcerting that rather than acknowledge this, the manga just keeps on spouting the "revenge=bad" message.
- Actually made even worse by the fact that when Kakashi did lecture Sasuke on revenge=bad, Sasuke only wanted to go after Itachi, who was believed to have killed his clan For the Evulz and was part of the same Evil Organization as the guy Shikamaru revenge killed. He didn't even want to go after the village until well after Shikamaru's arc finished.
- Naruto's obsession with redeeming a traitor and would-be mass murderer just because they happened to have an abrasive Worthy Opponent dynamic (which the audience is repeatedly told was friendship) is treated, at worst, as idealistic to a fault. When bad guys are loyal to villains who showed them kindness, it's tragic and destructive (Haku, Zaku, Kimimaro). To be fair, there are exceptions where it is portrayed as a redeeming characteristic for a villain, such as with Kisame.
- Pein brings this up to Naruto as a Hannibal Lecture. There goes our Determinator's will to fight… Even a frog had to try to boost his morale back up.
- Protagonist Journey to Villain: Sasuke's takes a so big share of the story that for a while he effectively serves as the main character.
- Psycho Rangers: The Sound Five (see Evil Counterpart).
- A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: A healthy portion of high-profile villains have a backstory to this extent, although Pain and Konan kind of stand out.
- Punny Name:
- UZUMAKI Naruto= "Spiralling whirlpool" (plus "naruto" is a ramen topping)
- HARUNO Sakura= "Cherry blossoms of spring"
- HATAKE Kakashi= "Farmer's scarecrow"
- UMINO Iruka= "Sea dolphin"
- HYUUGA Hinata= Hyuuga and Hinata can be written with the same Kanji. Hyuuga means towards the sun, while Hinata means sunny place. And so on...
- Random Power Ranking: Uses S, A, B, C and D ranks for the missions, though they serve a purpose: higher ranking (and therefore more dangerous) missions are more dangerous, therefore more expensive as they would require more or better ninja, so there's an incentive for customers to leave out details and get a lower ranking. The letters are based on the Japanese school grading system (S is for "Shin", meaning "Perfect"), and there's also an E rank for the most basic jutsu. Of course, just about every "C" mission shown turns out to be an "A" or above mission.
- Rank Up: Almost all of the Konoha 11 ninja are promoted in between the Time Skip. Gaara takes this further by going from Genin to the Kazekage.
- Naruto himself averts this, being now possibly the most powerful ninja in the village but having one of the lowest ranks. Funnily, Sasuke is in the same situation, being a missing-nin.
- Rays from Heaven: Inverted at the end of the Naruto vs. Sasuke fight at the Valley of the End. After the final clash, Naruto is laying on the ground with Sasuke looking down at him. Sunlight has broken through the clouds and one of the rays is on Naruto, but the cloud cover returns and the ray slowly shrinks to a point on his bare forehead and disappears, symbolizing the loss of hope for retrieving Sasuke.
- Razor Sharp Hand: The Chidori in its basic form consists of concentrating lightning chakra in your hand and charging very fast to make it cut and pierce through anything. "A" uses it to cut his own left arm. His father the Third Raikage also has a similar technique, except he takes it to ridiculous levels.
- Reality Ensues: Naruto's panic attack during his first fight.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: One of the chapters featured a character stating that octopuses eat sharks. Many found this statement to be idiotic, but there's actually quite a bit of truth to it.
- Reality Warper: Later in the manga we find out about a technique which breaks the boundaries between reality and illusion.
- Recruited From The Gutter: Kimimaro was the lone survivor of his clan as the result of severe infighting. Orochimaru showed up and offered him a new life, as well as being the first not to discriminate against him (because of his freaky powers). It is implied that Orochimaru recruited his other henchmen this way, too, but only Kimimaro shows a high amount of loyalty because of this.
- Redemption Equals Death: Sometimes, but redemption is equally likely to earn life.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Most obviously Naruto and Sasuke, but that can be said for almost all the males duos of the story. For Naruto and Sasuke especially, seen Tiger Versus Dragon below.
- Refuge in Audacity: So you attack under a flag of truce in order to break into a compound of one of the most powerful clans in an enemy village and kidnap the 3-year old daughter of the clan head in order to steal her eyes, but her father thwarts the attempt by killing the kidnapper CAUGHT IN THE ACT. What do you do? Pretend the kidnapping attempt never happened and accuse her father of murder, and demand that he be put to death and have his body delivered to you (which would also give you access to the eyes you wanted), and if they don't comply, you'll resume the war. International politics, Cloud village style.
- Red Shirt Army: The ANBU (how ironic, given they're supposed to be Elite Mooks), the Samurais and the Zetsu clones.
- Red String of Fate: Someone's hair gets used as this. It Makes Sense in Context.
- Reformed But Not Tamed:
- The previously Card-Carrying Villain Orochimaru outgrows his fetish for fanning the flames of war and becoming a perfect immortal being, and now wants to trust his knowledge to the next generation and see what happens. His slithering snakes and creepy rituals, once used to terrorize the innocent and shake the foundations of nations, are now used to bolster faltering heroic forces and give confused teenagers history lessons. Orochimaru's former friend Tsunade—whose life he goes out of his way to save—uncomfortably accepts him as an ally again, but makes a point of asking "but why, Orochimaru? Why have you always been such an asshole? Why are you suddenly now not being an asshole? Are you aware of the fact that our friend Jiraiya may have still been alive if you had decided to stop being an asshole earlier?", to which Orochimaru basically replies with "don't nag me with your silly hypotheticals."
- Orochimaru's disciple, Sasuke, is a more extreme example, which is very jarring giving that Orochimaru was introduced as a villain with a capital V whereas Sasuke was a mere Rival Turned Evil who several times displayed redeeming characteristics. Little is known about Sasuke's current motivation; going on the few breadcrumbs he lets on, it appears that having finally heard the whole historical context of how the massacre of his clan came to pass, Sasuke has concluded that the best way to stick it to the man is to save the world and be elected for office. Or at least that's what he would like everyone to believe - it may not be the whole truth, given the constant ominous reminders that no one, not even Orochimaru, knows what Sasuke's ultimate agenda really is.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Giant bastard Orochimaru has a ton of snake motifs. Also, Four-Tails has scaly appendages on its tails.
- Rescue Romance:
- It turns out this is how Naruto's parents met.
- Also Sasuke and Karin, though that one is used more for Ironic Echo than anything.
- The Rest Shall Pass: During the Sasuke retrieval arc; every time one of Orochimaru's Sound Four arrives to stop them, one of them stays behind to fight while they tell the rest to keep going.
- Retcon: While Gaara was a SIMILAR character to Naruto thanks to the monsters sealed within them, Shukaku was openly stated to be a completely different manner of being to the Kyuubi (an incarnation of sand, living spirit of a Sunagakure priest stored in a kettle), let alone them both being members of a "series" of tailed beasts. This can be explained because Shukaku was inspired by the Japanese folktale Bunbuku Chagama.
- In terms of being stored in a kettle, apparently that did happen. However, it was removed to be placed inside a shinobi. As for the priest bit, it turns out he was just the previous Jinchuriki.
- Going further back, in the first chapter (not just the pilot, which was in a different continuity and had this as its premise, but also the first chapter of the actual series), it's treated as if Naruto was the nine-tailed fox in human form, rather than simply having it sealed inside him. The Hokage worries that he might regain his old form, and Naruto gets a brief Heroic BSOD on being told that he's literally the nine-tailed fox. In current continuity, where Jinchuuriki are a major cultural institution, it's impossible to imagine anyone making that mistake. Note, though, that it was Mizuki telling him he was literally said beast- anything that guy ever said should be taken with a grain of salt.
- Furthermore, Chapter 438 demonstrates that their fear was pretty close to being right. While the Jinchuriki is not the beast itself, the Jinchuriki can be swallowed by the beast's will and release the beast, which is effectively the same thing as what they were afraid of.
- In the 3rd Hokage flashback, he seems to be a kid when he's appointed Hokage, and the First is still alive. Many chapters later, Danzo's flashback gives a completely different version of Sarutobi's nomination, be his age or the circumstances.
- Gaara's mom loved him so much that she named him "Demon who loves only himself." Awww, so sweet. What, the sand powers that came from being a host? Nope, mom's love.
- Reusable Lighter Toss: Shikamaru does one in a Revenge by Proxy moment with his dead mentor Azuma's lighter. It was a cigarette in the Manga. Probably changed for both Rule of Cool or Rule of Drama and or to lessen the idea that Smoking Is Cool.
- The Reveal: Many:
- Obito is still alive and is Tobi.
- Before that, the fact that Tobi WASN'T Madara and was impersonating him.
- Minato being Naruto's father, though it wasn't too surprising.
- Way back in the Chunnin Exams arc, Kabuto was revealed to be a spy for Orochimaru. Even though it's now an It Was His Sled moment, it was still shocking back in the day.
- As of Chapter 675, it's revealed that Madara was behind EVERYTHING that happened to Obito because HE'S the one who brainwashed the Kiri ninja into chasing Rin and then having Rin get killed by Kakashi, thus starting his descent into darkness. This ALSO means he was indirectly responsible for EVERYTHING that has ALSO happened to Naruto and, to an extent, Sasuke.
- A minor one for Gaara when it's revealed that his uncle and mother did love him after all.
- Right Makes Might: Nearly always Averted, and even Inverted often, which is surprising given the manga's position on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. When a character with admirable spirits and ideals is pitted against some overpowered sociopathic bastard, the former stands a good chance of getting exactly what they figured was coming to them. (e.g. Naruto & Sasuke vs. Orochimaru; Sakura vs. Sound Trio; Konan vs. Tobi; Asuma vs. Hidan; every fight ever with Hinata or Rock Lee in it). Naruto himself merely averts this for the most part - he relies on determination, being Made of Iron and the element of surprise to come through, and only resorts to self-affirmation as a response to psychological warfare.
- Rousing Speech: By Gaara of all people.
- Rousseau Was Right: The entire series is all but constructed around this principle. It's made clear that the people of the other villages are no different than the people of Konoha, and that even the most vile villains of the series began as decent people who were driven to madness and cruelty by some horrible trauma. In fact the ultimate theme seems to be redeeming villains and ending the pointless cycle of hatred that was responsible for creating the various ninja wars and conflicts.
- Rule of Symbolism: The Uchihas and Shinto mythology. The three arcanes of the Mangekyou Sharingan are named after the 3 greatest gods of the japanese mythology, who are also siblings: Tsukuyomi (God of Moon -> Genjutsu), and Amaterasu (Goddess of the Sun -> black flames), Susanoo (God of Storms and a hero -> something akin to giant summoning). The last figh between Orochimaru and Itachi is a remake of the one between Yamata no Orochi and the god Susanoo. Itachi uses his Susanoo attack to defeat Orochimaru who turned himself in a gigantic 8-headed, 8-tailed White Snake.
- Orochimaru and his White Snake theme ; white snakes are said to bring fortune and rebirth.
- The Fourth Hokage, references the "Susanoo vs. the Yamato-no-Orochi" myth. His name is Minato Namikaze ("harbor", "wind and waves": Susanoo is the god of the sea and storms), his signature technique is the Flying Thunder God, and he beat out Orochimaru for the title of Hokage. Overlaps with Meaningful Name. And knowing that his wife, Kushina Uzumaki, harkens back Susanoo's own consort Kushinada-hime, might also count, but we're probably pushing it.
- Pain and Buddhist beliefs. It turns out his bodies' names are a Meaningful Theme Naming. They invoke the Buddhism's Six Paths of Rebirth.
- The statue that Akatsuki uses is called "Gedo Mazo". "Gedo" means "outer path", referencing the term in Buddhism for a false path to enlightenment (as opposed to the inner path, which is the correct one). Konan reveals that Nagato himself is another "path" of Pain called the "Outer Realm" and can also revive the recently deceased. This is fitting, given that Pain is what Naruto could have become if he had chosen a false path to enlightenment.
- Rummage Sale Reject
- Running Gagged:
- Inner Sakura. She only appeared in Part 1 when Sakura would hide her feelings more often, and when Part 2 came around she only appeared once as a Call Back. The last time it appeared in Part 1, it was used to foil Ino's attempt at Grand Theft Me, and it was implied that Inner Sakura was an alternate personality.
- Rock Lee fell in Love at First Sight with Sakura in what was initially an obvious bit of comic relief. Almost immediately, he was proclaiming his love to her and going to extreme lengths to catch her attention - including but not limited to throwing cartoonish heart-shaped kisses in her direction. Instead of running with this (like Naruto's similar antics), the series opted to Shoo Out the Clowns and build on Lee's affection as a serious thing - culminating in a scene where Lee risks his life for Sakura's sake while knowing full well his chances with her won't get any better for it. After that incident, the gag-gone-plot-point is just dropped, and likely won't get picked up again, apart from Lee's unpleasantly surprised reaction to Sakura's (apparently fake) confession to Naruto, signifying he's not happy about being third at best to Naruto and Sasuke. As a point of contrast, the spin-off Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth shows that Lee's still trying and failing to win her over.
U - Z