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Maile Flanagan Made Grown Men Cry With Naruto's Catchphrase

The original "Naruto" series premiered in 2002, and to this day, the franchise is still going. With 20 years to celebrate, fans and the people who bring the series to life are roaring over the success associated with the orange-clad ninja the world has come to know and love. Maile Flanagan, the English voice that brings Naruto to life, has worked as the ninja since the English dubbed version started when Naruto was only 12 years old.

Flanagan's journey as the titular character has been a unique experience on many fronts. From playing the same character for so many years to seeing him age and grow (unlike many animated protagonists who stay the same), Flanagan has a unique experience that not many voice actors can claim to have. She's working in the big leagues, only joined by a small few, like "Pokémon" and "Dragon Ball Z."

For fans, though, "Naruto" isn't just a show or a franchise. It's something that has lasted long enough that kids of the original series are full-fledged adults now. It holds a special place in fans' hearts, and what it means to them after all these years can bring grown men to tears.

Flanagan acknowledges how important Naruto's catchphrase is

During a Crunchyroll interview to celebrate 20 years of "Naruto," Briana Lawrence interviewed Maile Flanagan to dissect her part in the franchise and what portraying the character means to her. Lawrence asked Flanagan if Naruto had taught her anything that she takes to heart in her everyday life.

Flanagan responded by mentioning Naruto's iconic "never give up" attitude and catchphrase. She continued by saying that Naruto's signature catchphrase "is certainly inspirational. I think it means a lot to people. I do appearances and conventions, and the guy who was helping me out this last week said, 'Okay, I counted four grown men that cried.' ... I think it's taught me to never give up. I say it so much that maybe it's subliminal."

The visual of multiple grown men bursting into tears at a convention is a testament to how much the franchise means and what it stands for. Many adult fans were children or teenagers when they first invested in the show. As Flanagan said, never giving up is an inspirational and powerful message. She appears to have adopted it in her everyday life because she's said it so much, but fans have heard it just as much, so it resonates with them. For many of them, Naruto's persistence may have been a huge part of their formative years.