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Naruto's Creator Was Careful About Using Comedy At Just The Right Times

Manga and its subsequent anime adaptations provide a world of possibilities for fans. From Shoujo titles like "Sailor Moon" to the horror of "Parasyte," the vast expanse of titles leave room for every mood. Shonen titles have proven to be one of the most popular, counting popular franchises like "One Piece" and "My Hero Academia" among its ranks. These titles may seem adventurous but they're not afraid to add in dashes of comedy as stories revel in action, adventure, and dramatic themes.

Another Shonen selection that is comfortable in all those realms is "Naruto." Naruto Uzumaki's quest to become the village leader spans over 72 volumes and 15 years of series — that's not even counting the spin-off "Boruto: Naruto Next Generations." Still, there's a time and place for everything, which is something "Naruto" navigates with unrivaled precision. Its humorous moments are memorable because of the added consideration that goes into their placement. And two of the franchise's most influential figures have reflected on how comedy plays a role in the manga and anime's successful run.

Kishimoto always thought humor had a place in his creation

Naruto Unzumaki's journey has been full of drama but not everything has been centered around his hardships. Anime director Hayato Date led the series and created something that remains one of the most talked about titles among fans. His thoughts about adding those light-hearted moments show how much attention was given to keeping the quality on par with its excellent reputation.

According to Date, slapstick could be problematic depending on its use. "If slapstick comedy is inserted into a tense scene, the characters come across as stupid," he told Animation Magazine. Adding to that sentiment, he realized that keeping tension running too long could be tiring for viewers. Looking for balance in those scenes is something Date has dealt with over the anime's 15-year run — certain scenes have appeared again or been referred to in some way. For the director, that level of collaboration removes almost all of the regrets about episodes.

Date's views coincide with those of a very important figure in the franchise, Masashi Kishimoto. The creator of "Naruto" always knew that his main character would have humor as well as difficulties in his life; Kishimoto called Naruto compelling during an interview with the Los Angeles Times but attributed it to a knucklehead nature. He pointed to this character's childhood and subsequent shunning as crucial to a search for attention. In the end, that aspect only fueled the light-hearted moments in his life. "This also helped him take on a more optimistic view of life, making him a relentless ninja who never gives up," he said.