Main Hard Work Hardly Works Discussion

collapse/expand topics
04:23:15 AM May 14th 2013
The Naruto section is turning into a discussion. I'm moving everything here and cutting off most of it.
04:23:58 AM May 14th 2013
Naruto: Sasuke and Naruto are largely stronger that most other characters by the former having The Gift, and both winning the Superpower Lottery; Sasuke's gift specifically lets him instantly copy and, training and aptitude sufficient, execute it flawlessly. They do, however, take their training very seriously, working day and night to get stronger. Further, Gaara had the same advantage Naruto did, and apparently much less trouble learning how to use it and how to master other forms of ninjutsu, but Naruto won their fight.

Rock Lee is the poster boy child for the opposite side. Intense training, incredible strength, never manages to win any fight he gets into. It doesn't help that he always saves his best techniques for the most dire situation, where they will also fail to work.
04:24:18 AM May 14th 2013
o According to the fanbook, Kishimoto wanted to use Lee to send a message in support of hard work, as he felt that it wasn't seen as "cool". While this does fly in the face of Lee's repeated losses, 1.) Lee initially wasn't even very good at taijutsu, so he'd be doing even worse if he didn't try (fans tend to forget that Rock Lee has only been training incredibly hard since he met Guy a couple years ago), and 2.) It's noted that hard work isn't everything, as Guy tells Lee that he also has to believe in himself (According to Kurenai, Hinata also worked very hard, but failed at missions because of her lack of self-confidence) 3.) Lee is the poster ninja for hard work, but not the only hard-working one Sasuke, Hinata, Neji and even Naruto are shown at various points working very hard.
04:24:59 AM May 14th 2013
Technically, Naruto avoids this one more often than plays it straight. Very few ninja simply rely on natural gifts and talents to win, compared to those who rely on hard work. However, this is offset by the fact that the absolute best ninjas (not to mention a lot of the major characters) got to where they are by winning the Super Power Lottery, having The Gift, or being Cursed with Awesome (or some combination thereof).
04:26:08 AM May 14th 2013
Some, such as Naruto, do train quite hard as well, but Naruto's efforts tend to pay off FAR more than (say) Lee's, meaning a lot less training overall.

It might be argued that Naruto uses Kage Bunshin/Shadow Clone to train. Using this technique allows him to compress years of traininginto a couple of days because he is able to create thousands of clones. While it is fast it is not at all easy, as he not only has to feel the physical strain of one work out session, but the mental strain of thousands. However, this method has only been used twice in the entire series, and only once of those two times has he used an absurdly large number of clones, this being when he was trying to create his Futon Rasengan. Meanwhile, using a grand total of two clones, Naruto was able to completely master Sage Mode in maybe a month, where Jiraiya couldn't master it in over 30 years of being one of the greatest ninja to have ever lived.
04:27:39 AM May 14th 2013
Hard Work Hardly Works also applies to Naruto himself to some extent. The new powers and abilities he gets from his umpteen Training from Hell arcs still fall well short of the new techniques Sasuke either is gifted/steals or learns offscreen.

The situation of Naruto's skills versus Sasuke's has a lot of interesting twists; first, Sasuke, who has been a talented shinobi since birth, turns to evil because Naruto, who was a loser until very recently, has begun to surpass him and he fears his hard work will be insufficient to achieve the Revenge he is after. Sasuke proceeds to completely outstrip Naruto in every way over the Time Skip, but it is mentioned a big part of this is abusing the curse seal that artificially raised his powers, using Orochimaru's performance-enhancing drugs, and relying heavily on the powers of his Sharingan eyes, which he's always had and dramatically increase any ninja's combat prowess. Deidara taunts Sasuke at one point for confusing his Superpowerful Genetics with his own power, although he proceeds to lose almost entirely due to Sasuke having the Sharingan. However, as Sasuke continues to progress by using his Sharingan's inborn powers as a crutch for actual skill and hard work, it's implied that the incredibly dangerous Training from Hell Naruto needs to do from his powers has made Naruto the stronger of the two again. Most fans still find the failure of everyone else's hard work a bitter pill to swallow, though.
04:28:51 AM May 14th 2013
o The most bitter pill, however, is the complete reversal of the series' supposed moral. In first half of the series, the idea was that no matter who you or your parents were, no matter how much inborn talent you had (assuming you had any) - everyone has the potential to be truly great if only they worked hard at it, and that there were no shortcuts to true greatness. Sasuke was gifted from the very beginning, with a special lineage with special powers and a knack for the shinobi arts, while Naruto had to fight to get anything his peers understood quickly on top of the curse being the host of the Nine-tailed Fox. However, Naruto himself has turned this on its head: he has his own special lineage in terms of both genetics and the legacy of the hosts, special stamina that allows him to use a special technique that lets him skip months if not years of normal training so that he can learn more special techniques, AND of all the Tailed Beasts he could have hosted, his is the most special and powerful of all.
04:30:24 AM May 14th 2013
His standard fighting style of "producing shadow clones to overwhelm the opponent" is only possible due to his super special genetic lineage granting him much more chakra than your normal ninja. And his current power-up is entirely reliant on having/befriending Kurama.

Reaches its ultimate conclusion during the war against Madara and co. Lee, firmly established as utterly irrelevant by this point, is given a free hyper-charge of kyubi chakra by Naruto and proceeds to kick Madara in half. The same Madara that is, by an obscenely wide margin, one of the strongest characters in the series hands down. In the few seconds that Lee obtained power for free, he managed to level up from being an insect to someone who would've defeated Madara if it weren't for the latter's Edo Tensei regeneration. There's Hard Work Hardly Works and then there's Rock Lee.
11:30:21 AM Jul 4th 2010
edited by

Hey guys, would it be proper to put Batman here as a significant inversion of this trope? After all, he has no superpowerful genetics, no blessings, he just has a brutal training regimen, a thoroughly developed intellect, and detective skills that he's perfected. Through these things, he's able to stand toe-to-toe with practically every hero and villain in the entirety of the DC setting. -Aranis