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Broken Aesop / Naruto

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Naruto just doesn't treat its aesops very kindly, particularly when an Uchiha is involved.

  • In the beginning, teamwork was considered very important, but nearly every time someone tries to apply this, someone ends up grievously injured or worse. Also, during the written test stage of the Chuunin Exams, Team 7 is fully aware that Naruto has no means to pass the written test but make no attempt to support him. Compare them to the Sand, Gai, or Ino's teams who arrange intricate methods to pass answers to their teammates that need it. Naruto passes only due to the final question which he would have failed had it actually required an input (or even tallied his score since in the manga, he lost points for being caught so even if the 10th question counted he was still at -1).
    • It's particularly bad when you consider that Kakashi, despite being the one who lectured the main characters about teamwork, almost never follows through on this lesson. Instead, he takes aside whoever happens to be his favorite student, trains the hell out of them, and leaves the other (usually far less powerful) teammates to fend for themselves.
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  • The point of the 10th question is that if you accept it and fail you're forever banned from being a ninja. It's supposed to represent being willing to accept a highly dangerous mission under the risk that failure means death, and a ninja needs that kind of bravery to operate in the higher ranks. However Naruto has absolutely no chance to pass. So the Aesop about being brave enough to risk your life for the mission is broken as Naruto is an example of someone foolishly jumping for any mission regardless of how prepared he actually is. Especially since he has to opt into taking the 10th question, the whole thing is less about being prepared to accept a dangerous mission as it mirrors his well acknowledged flaw of begging to take harder missions despite performing poorly on even very simple tasks. (He was unable to collect litter without falling off a waterfall but still wants to accept missions that might involve direct combat.)
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  • The story tries to preach revenge as a bad thing, but for some reason it's only when Naruto or Sasuke are involved. Kakashi gives Sasuke a lecture about not seeking revenge on Itachi for his clan, yet is perfectly content with letting Team 10 seek revenge on Hidan after he kills Asuma and even convinces Tsunade to let them go. Shikamaru is clearly satisfied in taking care of Hidan, and there are no negative consequences, with the story and the character treating Shikamaru subjecting Hidan to Fate Worse than Death as a good thing. The apex of how broken the aesop is comes when Sasuke gets his revenge on Danzo. Instead of his revenge causing problems propagating the cycle, it instead cleans out all of Konoha's dirty laundry and fixes their political problems.
  • One of the running themes in Naruto is that no one is born evil, everyone is capable of redemption, and it's better to offer friendship to the villain than to kill them (even if you have to beat some sense into them beforehand). This is shown on such villains like: Zabuza, Haku, Gaara, Nagato, Konan, Kurama, Obito and Kabuto. But in the series also there are such villains as: Gato, the Sound Five, Sasori, Deidara, Hidan, Kakuzu, Danzo and Kisame who aren't even given a single chance at redemption, being just killed. On top of that, we have such villains as Madara and Sasuke who do nothing with these chances at redemption but use them to become more evil and attempt to gain more power for themselves. Not to mention Orochimaru who unlike most villains in the series is completely irredeemable, yet at the end of the manga, after deciding to help the Shinobi Alliance for purely selfish reasons, he's treated as a friend by Naruto, as seen in the sequel.
    • The final battle between Sasuke and Naruto has Sasuke explicitly say he's trying to kill Naruto because he considers him his only friend. So at this point it's not so much "trying to befriend the villain" as much as it is "trying to stop them from killing you over it". Surely, people will want to befriend the villain if that's what their friendship means. Even worse, there are implications that Madara held similar attitudes toward Hashirama, so it's not even like Sasuke is an outlier in this or anything.
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    • The story also tries to propose that because nobody is born evil, anyone who is evil has a Freudian Excuse that makes them the way they are. Well, unfortunately, such villains like Gato, the Sound Four, Deidara, and Hidan really get no excuse at all for anything they do (though, none of them are extremely important villains, and we do not get much information of their lives before the show, if any at all).
  • One of the running themes of the latter half of the series is how each successive generation will surpass the one that came before it, which Kakashi spells out to an embittered and dying Kakuzu, calling him an obsolete old man after Naruto beats him. But then Madara and Hashirama show up and, oh sweet hell, they're invincible god-men who can take on entire armies of the strongest characters in the series single-handedly and who nobody can even lick the boots of. Madara in particular ends up so insanely overpowered that the only way he can actually be defeated at all is by the even older power of Kaguya showing up out of nowhere to hijack him after Zetsu stabs him in the back. While Naruto and Sasuke are eventually able to overcome her, they're only able to do so because they're literally handed new powers by the Sage of the Six Paths because they're the reincarnations of his sons, Kaguya's own grandsons. So much for the power of the new generation.
  • One of the themes that was common throughout the series is the idea that the Shinobi system is fundamentally flawed and needlessly cruel. From their inception, shinobi are essentially child soldiers whom are trained from a young age to become assets their to the village who are sold off to the highest bidder to perform missions; and more often then not the life of the shinobi is considered expendable to the success of the mission. Often Ninja are encouraged or even trained to suppress their emotions and humanity in order to deal with the stress of the career or turn them into more effective killers. While war is something generally avoided by the villages, times of peace are also frowned upon since it is bad for business and the demand for missions eventually leads to conflict between the great nations where the minor nations are reduced to battlegrounds. It is this world that created most of the antagonists Naruto faces from Haku & Zabuza, Gaara, and Pain; even his friends suffer tremendously in this world as Neij lost his father and Sasuke had his entire clan massacred to preserve peace. Even Naruto himself is a victim due to the shinobi world desires to maintain the balance of power with the Tailed Beasts, condemning jinchuriki to difficult lives built upon alienation and misunderstanding. It is all this and more that motivates Naruto to become Hokage, not only to receive the recognition of his village, but to find a new way, his Ninja way, to help the Shinobi world break this cycle of pain. However, it is revealed that almost the entirely of Shinobi history, from all of its crimes and injustices, was actually the result of Black Zetsu's machinations to resurrect Kaguya. While not every single atrocity can be laid at Zetsu's hands, this more or less absolved the Shinobi system of any accountability since most of its strife was the product of two ancestral bad apples rather than the system itself. This is reinforced when Naruto finally ascends to the position of Hokage and makes no changes to the pre-existing system or it's institutions, implying that the shinobi world that Naruto once sought to change was perfectly fine the whole time, barring the occasional mishap and Zetsu's manipulations.