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Thoughts on Anime News Network’s interview with Masashi Kishimoto at NY Comic Con

Or better said, on a particular side of it. Yes, I am sure that by now everyone knows what I am talking about.

As we all know, Masashi Kishimoto has recently been at the New York Comic Con where he met Naruto fans and where many others got to talk to him. Among those many others were also the guys at Anime News Network who got a chance to interview Naruto’s creator.

Now, as we all know, at a certain point the team at ANN asked certain questions to Kishimoto, particularly referring to:

Did you expect such a divided reaction (in the U.S. at least) when you revealed whom Naruto
 marries in the future?

I actually didn’t realize I caused such controversy.
Really? You had no idea?
Mari Morimoto:
So the fans wanted Naruto
 to get together with Sakura?
Well, there’s definitely camps of fans who felt that way, and there were also those that were very happy he ended up with Hinata. But there were quite passionate opinions on both sides!

I almost caused a rift in my own household too, because my wife was very upset also that Narutodidn’t get together with Sakura. In fact, she complained quite vehemently to me!
Jo Otsuki:
Quite few of the female staff at Studio Pierrot
 that produces the anime, apparently were also upset.
Whoah. So how did you handle that, especially with your wife?

I tried to defuse the situation by assuring my wife that SHE was actually the model for Hinata. (laughs)
As you were saying that, I thought, I wonder if your family life was more like Hinata and Naruto‘s family or Sasuke and Sakura’s? (everyone laughs)
Masashi Kishiimoto: Well… it might not actually be like either. My wife is quite strong as well, she’s a strong character.
Oh, so kind of like Sakura!

So I think my wife might secretly realize that Hinata wasn’t really the model for her… (laughs)
Did you decide this early on, that Hinata and Naruto
 would get together in the end, or when…?

From the middle, actually.
From the middle of the story? Hm! What sealed this decision for you?

I think what made me realize it was partly because, if you really look back and think about it, Hinata always supported and acknowledged Naruto, even before Master Iruka. She had the ability to see beyond his reputation and see the true person inside. I think I started realizing that they were meant to be.

Masashi Kishimoto @ NY Comic Con

Now, as I have told you guys on my Tumblr as well as on my Facebook page, there are certain things that don’t sit well with me. Not that you guys didn’t expect this!

Let’s take it on turns.

So, first Kishimoto says he wasn’t aware that he had created such a controversy. Wow, really? Doesn’t this go a bit against his previous statements according to which he purposely mislead the NaruSaku fans with the Kushina / Sakura parallel? In order to be able to mislead someone on purpose you first have to be aware of the controversy because you want to keep those people still interested.

So you see, this is lie number 1. No wonder the guys at ANN ask the “really you had no idea?” question. We all smell the scent of lie from miles away. Asking if the fans wanted Naruto to get together with Sakura after stating what he had stated previously is such a transparent move on his side. He shouldn’t even be asking this question knowing that he wrote what he wrote.

But hey, it’s Kishimoto we’re talking about here.

Then comes a part I personally admire and like what the guys at Anime News Network said: they were impartially informing Kishimoto that yes, there were fans on both sides with passionate opinions.

One of the reasons I like this is because finally someone doesn’t brush NaruSaku fans away as if the Naruto and Sakura relationship, development and subtle romance indication was non existent. They inform Kishimoto that there are of course fans that are happy that Naruto got together with Sakura but they do make known to him the other side of the glass. That side that most other interviewers brushed away. So mad props to you guys and in the name of the NaruSaku fandom I’d like to personally thank you. Why? I’ll tell you later because now I just want to move forward.

Next, Kishimoto states when informed of this that apparently, with the way he ended things he had been causing a rift in his own household too given that his wife was very upset at the fact that Naruto did not end up with Sakura and apparently she complained vehemently to him.

Now, I know this is the part that hit everyone’s buttons and that’s the part some let’s say… curious souls are waiting to see what I have to say about this.

Well, I already said it shortly on my Facebook page and Tumblr. But let me develop it a bit more here.

Where do I stand with this and with the rest of the interview? Let’s take it on turns.

First of all, I am 50-50 with this. I am half inclined to believe but my other half kind of screams… BS detected! Let me explain myself why.

First of all, as we all know there is always a Marketing team behind any project you see in this world. I’ve been part of Marketing teams in the different workplaces I’ve had myself.

When you work in Marketing (thing that I must say, I despise – or better said, certain principles the concepts bases itself upon), when you want to launch something what you have to do first is research. What kind of research? People research. You have to investigate what exactly makes people tick. It involves a little bit of psychoanalysis. What makes that man or woman tick? Oh, that does? Well, if that’s the case then you start building your own product around that and most of the times it involves manipulating a person’s subconsciousness subtly in a direction or other. But that’s a bit past the point I wanted to make.

With these things kept in mind, I bet that by now you understand where I’m getting at, right? Well, yeah, as we all know the Marketing team did its research on what exactly goes around the Naruto fandom.

Now given that The Last was an opening for the market abroad first and foremost, SP’s research marketing team had to, of course, research what people overseas thought. So of course they found out about this. Remember the baiting commentary in the advertisement for the last regarding Sakura’s beauty and that Naruto surely must be …?

Well, that’s Marketing bait 101.

And what also the Marketing team does is prepare you via PR most of the times in what exactly to say.

Of course people noticed that NaruSaku fans observed the similarities between Sakura – Kushina – Kishimoto’s wife given the tough woman trope and Oda’s commentary. So of course they’d use that and an answer that Kishimoto might have had prepared an answer like this perfect to “soothe” in a way NaruSaku fans’s hearts. Why do I believe this? Well, it’s not like we’re still kids and aren’t aware of these things.

Like I said to a good friend of mine while talking on Facebook, his replies feel too catering to each part of the fandom so to speak and that I get that he might want to be okay with everyone given Naruto’s character who always tried to reconcile everyone and given that he often said how Naruto is like him, as I said once again, I get the attempt to make peace with everyone but there are certain things you have to give up on in order to make the “right thing”, so to speak. But he doesn’t and tries to make peace with everyone and it’s ending in a fiasco, just because of the aforementioned reason.

Funny, that was a part of Naruto we never got to explore in the manga either. He just said what he won’t do certain things (not killing Sasuke for example), but never got the resolve on how to deal with the consequences he was about to face.  Same with Kishi here.

However, there is also the other possibility and that he might be right and his wife did indeed complained about it. After all, like I said, the message he leaves behind given the development of the manga is in this context a highly toxic one for teenagers all across the world and as we know, Kishimoto himself has a daughter and I am sure that no mother would be okay with the answers he gives to the problems and development he showed.

So if it’s indeed that way, all the respect for Mrs. Kishimoto!

But I still feel as if it’s “too good to be true” kind of thing, know what I mean? Call me too skeptical or however you might want but after how things ended, in my eyes, Kishimoto lost all credibility and professionalism!

Also, why do I say I smell BS? Because then he quickly switches to saying that he tried to assure her that actually Hinata was modeled around her. Remembering the aforementioned marketing stunts, let’s not forget which has always been the beef between the NaruSaku and NaruHina fans: yeah, the Sakura / Kushina comparison where NaruSaku fans have supported the idea and lately apparently confirmed by Kishimoto himself that Sakura and Kushina were made alike while NaruHina fans supported the idea that Hinata is like Kushina.

So you see, he quickly then switches and tries to cater somewhat to the NaruHina fans too! It’s like I said, all this sounds like an attempt at catering to both sides in order to… what? Only Kishimoto knows.

And then, Jo Otsuki quickly comes in to assure us that even few female staff at Studio Pierrot were upset with the decision too. How convenient this all sounds… too convenient, if you ask me!

By now I am sure that they must be aware of the thing that people complained of the treatment Sakura had at Studio Pierrot in comparison with Hinata and how the two were made to look when it came to interacting with Naruto. It’s not like it wasn’t that obvious.

But if indeed that’s the case, well, then so be it. It’s not like the development between Naruto and Sakura wasn’t that obvious. It wasn’t obvious to those who did not want to see it. But yeah, moving on.

Then the whole Kishi’s wife and the juggling between the who exactly is more like her. But if we are to judge by the supposed distaste of Kishimoto’s wife for how he ended things, allow me to presume that she didn’t like it. And I get her. In the context that Kishi wrote Hinata, I would be offended too!

Now, let me get to the most important part and one that offended me as an ex-Naruto fan, deeply! When asked about when was the decision taken regarding who Naruto will end up with, going past the reused excuse with the middle though once it was in the beginning and then again in the middle (see where I’m getting here?), there was this particular thing that offended me and I am sure many others.

if you really look back and think about it, Hinata always supported and acknowledged Naruto, even before Master Iruka

Masashi Kishimoto

…even before Iruka, he says. Noooow, were have we heard that before? Oh, right! We know where. Once again my conviction with catering with the fans gets stronger and stronger.

I mean, do you see the pattern here? He literally tries to give a hand for each bite.

I am going to interrupt the idea a bit here and get back to what I told you earlier about why I am thankful to the ANN team for bringing forward this thing and NaruSaku fandom’s opinion on the matter.

You know why? Because this was first and foremost a manga about bonds – relationships so of course people would look into the relationships maybe even more than into the fight and plot. Because the emphasis was on that from the beginning, that was what Kishimoto emphasized with Naruto, that was the whole point. And when you compare the two relationships with one another, yes, Sakura was the bitch, Sakura did him wrong, Sakura was in the wrong.

Yes, Hinata was there and didn’t judge him. But that was it. In Naruto’s POV, the one Kishimoto himself wrote, Iruka was his very first bond, his very first parental model, in a way. And to put Hinata above that is beyond ridiculous, imo! But hey, that’s what NaruHina fans always tried to argue with. And as I said earlier, this is why this whole thing smells as BS and trying to cater to them. Because as we all know it, before this, Kishi always held the idea that Iruka is Naruto’s first bond.

And now, at the end of my thoughts with this and why I consider it an offense, I’m not going to say more than give a certain quote in regards to the whole Hinata thing and the high pedestal Kishi tries to put her in order to cater to NaruHina fans.

I bet you all know it.

Who was there and did nothing when she could’ve changed the world?

And with this, I said it all.

Yeah, I’m not into the series anymore and for quite a while now I haven’t checked anything new regarding it, I have no idea where things stand more than what I cannot literally not avoid but given there was this post on Tumblr directed at us NaruSaku fans, it did get me curious and I wanted to see it with my own two eyes.

And after all, even if Naruto ended the way it did and it’s not something I keep supporting nor recommending to anyone, for me NaruSaku still means a lot along with the people in the fandom so you see, I couldn’t just stand by and got curious and his responses managed to squeeze an opinion out of me I couldn’t just keep to myself.

That’s kind of it. Thanks for reading. Till next time,

xoxo,

yours truly,
Chatte.

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