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The Possible King Kong Reference In Naruto

Since thundering onto movie screens in 1933, "King Kong" has gone on to rank amongst the most influential movies ever made. The thrilling tale of a giant ape located on an uncharted prehistoric island who falls in love with a human woman and is taken to New York City was considered a game-changing epic upon its release. Not only did the film's massive box office returns save RKO Radio Pictures from bankruptcy (via Yahoo News), but its innovative special effects, enthralling adventure story, and groundbreaking sound design went on to birth the special effects blockbusters that we know today, influencing the likes of Ray Harryhausen, Peter Jackson and many more. 

Throughout the character's 90-year history, Kong has seen his fair share of sequels, remakes, spoofs, and reboots, most recently with Legendary MonsterVerse's attempts to revitalize the character for a new generation with "Kong: Skull Island" and "Godzilla vs. Kong." 

Unsurprisingly for such a pop culture icon, there have also been an endless array of homages to the eighth wonder of the world, including one from the hit anime "Naruto: Shippuden" that's not especially subtle. 

King's inspiration leaves little to the imagination

In Season 5, Episode 243 of "Naruto: Shippuden," the 2007 follow-up series to the original "Naruto" from 2002, Naruto and his gang make their way to the Land of Lightning Island after their ship is destroyed. There, they come across the massive living turtle island Genbu, which is home to a variety of giant animals, including a scar-faced giant ape named King. King shares a close friendship with shinobi Killer B, who halts the oversized primate from harming his friends. The ape's name is not just for showing off either, as King manages to dominate over the other animals living on the island with his mighty presence alone. 

If the idea of a giant gorilla who befriends a blonde person and rules an island inhabited by strange monsters sounds familiar to you, you're not alone. The character himself and his turtle island home are very much inspired by King Kong and the island he resides on, Skull Island. 

"Naruto" would not be the only Japanese franchise inspired by the 1933 classic. A faithful combination of a successful re-release of "Kong" in 1952 and the surprise 1953 box office hit "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms" encouraged Toho Studios to embark on their own monster movie venture that ultimately became 1954's "Godzilla" (via Film School Rejects). That film would go on to spawn a franchise that is going on to this day and has crossed over with King Kong in 1962, 2021, and soon 2024