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Naruto Fans Still Don't Really Understand Susanoo

If one were to scrutinize the structure of Masashi Kishimoto's "Naruto" series, one realizes that the main character went from zero to hero to god-level shinobi after gaining one power-up after another. Not only did Naruto become unbelievably powerful but his rival Sasuke did as well, to the point where it can challenge some people's suspension of disbelief.

While it must be said that Kishimoto revolutionized Shonen fighting and power systems with his endless series of mesmerizing ninjutsu, genjutsu, and taijutsu, the fact that the mangaka had to juggle so many combat styles and abilities may very well have contributed to making the conception of a few, especially latter ones, a bit shaky and unrealistic. One of these abilities that fans have picked apart online was introduced to the audience for the first time in the second half of the series: the Uchiha Clan's Susanoo, available only to the few who manage to acquire and master the Mangekyō Sharingan.

True to their nature, "Naruto" fans have been quite vocal online about their thoughts on what is arguably one of the strongest jutsu in the whole series. While fans' opinions do range from hatred to love, most stand in the middle ground. These fans aren't quite disliking the jutsu, but nevertheless, believe its execution could have been better and more well-thought-out. "I don't necessarily dislike it," wrote u/Theapexfighter, "but it was badly used and abused."  

Many fans don't understand Susanoo's link to the Sharingan

It appears that the main criticism of the Mangekyō-exclusive ability is encapsulated by this Reddit post. The original poster criticized Susanoo, not for the power in itself, but for its direct association with the Sharingan. 

In a different thread, another fan expressed a similar reason for disliking the power: "I hate it because it has NOTHING to do with eyesight. It's a chakra avatar and has nothing to do with vision," they wrote. Their argument also hinged on the fact that both Tsukuyomi and Amaterasu, unlike Susanoo, require vision and the ability to see the target. The same opinion was shared by u/aimoperative, who wrote, "Hypnosis (genjutsu) and laser eye beams (amaterasu) make sense, as those are extensions of other ocular powers seen in other media, but a giant gundam suit?" Other fans referred to Susanoo as incomplete, suggesting that the author did not flesh it out enough for it to fit seamlessly into the logic of the overall narrative.

Under yet another Reddit post, u/Super_Legit_Name's criticism of Susanoo was simple: "It was fine when it didn't stand up." Meanwhile, a highly upvoted comment by u/whooguyy justified Susanoo's final giant standing form by suggesting Masashi Kishimoto had needed Sasuke to have his own gigantic chakra-fueled being to be an equal match in size to Naruro's nine-tailed fox during the manga's final showdown.

Real-life Mythological Susanoo and Kishimoto's Susanoo

Like many other abilities and powers present in the "Naruto" series, Susanoo has its origin of inspiration in Japanese mythology and folklore. A god who has been interpreted in starkly different ways through the centuries, Susanoo is either the volatile counterpart of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu or the heroic deity who saves the maiden from the humongous serpent Yamata no Orochi. As a counterpart to Amaterasu, he was also believed to bring the much-needed rain to water the crops, while the goddess provided the sunlight required for life and growth.

In the anime and manga series, Susanoo's depiction can be more readily associated with that of an imposing god-like figure of violence, which changes in color and outward appearance depending on who's invoking it. Looking more formidable in its most advanced stages, the Kekkei Genkai is just as useful for defense as for offense. However, with great power comes a great toll to pay, and using Susanoo can physically affect and wear out its user.

Judging by the fandom's thoughts, this may well be an example of a great mangaka taking a concept too far without building its foundations solidly enough. Indeed, as u/Hiddin_block_55 wrote, perhaps it would have been better if Susanoo had simply remained "the cool upper torso."