Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Naruto Filler Episode That Wound Up Being Super Challenging For Voice Actress Maile Flanagan

It can't be easy being an anime voice actor. Long recording sessions, hundreds of episodes, and numerous scenes of violent screaming are just part of the job. The more popular the show, the more the studios require of the actors.

In terms of popularity, it doesn't get much bigger than "Naruto." Everyone's favorite shinobi broke out onto the scene in the late '90s with Masashi Kishimoto's legendary manga, and Viz Media quickly scooped it up for an English-dubbed anime adaptation. "Naruto" and "Naruto: Shippuden" succeeded more than most industry shows, making voice actress Maile Flanagan a legend. Her work as Naruto became the role of a lifetime. She has played the character for nearly twenty years and has over 600 episodes under her belt (per IMDb).

Flanagan's had her fair share of work cut out for her voicing Naruto on his journey from an outcast kid to Hokage. During that time, the shinobi fought in countless battles that pushed him to his breaking point, and Flanagan was responsible for bringing those struggles to life. Many fans would think that moments like fighting Pain or the endless verbal brawls with Sasuke would be the hardest moments of voicing Naruto. However, it's actually a filler arc that stands out as the most challenging, according to Flanagan.

Playing multiple Narutos proved to be way more difficult than expected

"All of them," Flanagan joked when Madman Anime asked what the most challenging episode was to record. "The most challenging episode, well, I did one. It was a filler. I was on a ship, and I played like five or seven different versions of myself with different emotions, and it was a little schizophrenic and probably the most lines in an episode that I've ever done. It was just me, talking the entire time, for 23 minutes."

The filler episode takes place right before the Fourth Shinobi War began. The aptly-titled arc "Paradise Life on a Boat" features Naruto and many other characters setting sail as they try to hide Naruto from the Akatsuki. At one point in the arc, Naruto's shadow clones rebel against him, capturing him and planning to take over his life. The bizarre storyline has the shadow clones threatening to kill Naruto before he wakes up and realizes it was all just a dream, but Naruto learns to respect his clones.

While the filler episode was the hardest for Flanagan to record, there's another moment in "Naruto" that was just as challenging, but for a completely different reason. Speaking to Crunchyroll for the show's 20th Anniversary, the actress said she had a lot of trouble recording the moment when Naruto reunites with his mom because she had recently lost her own mother. Needless to say, Flanagan has always given "Naruto" her all, and her performance cemented her as a legend in the industry.