Lonely Like Naruto Jan27

Lonely Like Naruto

Feeling alone in a crowd is the worst. At events, parties, or even just walking through a mall, I’ve watched people laughing with their friends and wished mine were there with me (my two best friends live hundreds of miles away and I only see them twice a year). I’ve watched a daughter holding hands with her father, and wished my father had behaved that way with me. I’ve seen families play together at the park and wished I was the daughter with the grin on her face, looking up at two parents who are still together. Many people believe that loneliness means you don’t get out of the house much or you’re craving a romantic relationship, but the sort of cure for loneliness I’ve wanted in my heart is simple, innocent companionship. This is a desire that Naruto understands. Naruto grew up surrounded by people, but not by friends. He became an orphan within the first hour of his birth. He longingly watched families happy together. He wished for friends, but the kids around him neglected him. He was shunned for a past he had no knowledge of. They treated him as a parasite. In retaliation, Naruto began acting out to make people stop ignoring him. He played juvenile pranks and became the outspoken class clown. This gained him attention, but it didn’t gain him what he truly wanted: friendship. “The pain of being alone is completely out of this world, isn’t it? I don’t know why, but I understand your feelings so much, it actually hurts.”  —Naruto Uzumaki I didn’t act out for attention as a child, but I wanted friends. I had a few in middle school and high school, but after we moved I lost most of them. When distance...

Her or the World

Many people joke about the end of the world, but the concept of an apocalypse frightens me. I shudder at the thought of humanity falling into depravity. I cringe at a devastating loss of cities, nations, and people. I feel empathetic towards the pain humanity will experience. The human race is a confounding, yet beautiful thing, which is why the ending of the Last of Us made me stop and think. Joel witnesses an apocalypse firsthand. As a disease that turns humans into fungal monsters plunges the world into ruin, his daughter, Sarah, dies in his arms, and humanity degrades. He becomes bitter towards humankind until he meets a girl named Ellie, who is about the same age as Sarah when she died. A woman hires Joel to deliver Ellie to a group called the Fireflies. Over the course of their journey battling infected humans, cannibals, and murderers, he begins to see Ellie as his own daughter. If we force someone else to give up her life to save ourselves, are we worth saving? When Joel and Ellie finally reach their destination, Joel discovers that to acquire a cure for the disease that plagues the world, Ellie must die. After hearing this news, he breaks Ellie out of the operating room and escapes, but not before killing all of the Fireflies to make sure they can never come after them. When Ellie wakes up, he lies to her; he tells her the cure wouldn’t have worked. Later, she asks him to look her in the eyes and tell her the truth. He swears that it was the truth, and she accepts that. The game ends there. This finale took me aback. I was appalled at Joel’s actions. He left humanity to die? That felt...

Morality, League of Legends, and a God Who Didn’t Care...

I have never, I repeat, NEVER, found a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. Oops, I mean, I have never played with a group of players with quite the level of negativity and hatred and bickering found in the League of Legends ranks. It. Is. A. Treat, ladies and gentlemen, with a capital ‘T’. If you can stomach the mental abuse via in-game chat, the game itself is very enjoyable and engaging (which stands to reason, otherwise who would put up with all the garbage that gets tossed at you by other players? Amirite?). When I first started playing League of Legends, I didn’t really have a problem with the raging, hating, unkind, unreasonable, idiotic, and any-other-negative-adjectives-you-care-to-throw-in people who found their way onto my team or the opposing team. That is to say, I was always able to stomach that side of the game relatively easily. I even found it quite amusing most times. For some people, it would bother them so much that they wouldn’t be able to play the game (and that’s fine. Not every game is for everyone). But I was able to enjoy League in spite of the negative community, especially since I had a great group of friends who I would regularly play with. If someone had asked me if I was a good person, I would have answered, “I’m not sure about ‘good,’ but I’m better than most.” However, I would also ridicule raging players, make fun of them, and insult them. Essentially, as soon as they made any kind of comment or did anything to show me they were a nincompoop, I would put in verbal shots whenever I got a chance because, after all, they deserved it, right? It’s not like they were going to...

Aborting Naruto Jan15

Aborting Naruto

Shave away its year-long filler arcs and Naruto is an anime about seeing value in every life. The namesake protagonist makes it his seemingly unattainable mission to achieve world peace, not by preaching his message from a lofty throne and waiting for others to adopt it, but by personally touching one life at a time. From psychopathic Gaara to traitorous Obito, no life is ever so lost that it becomes worthless; one-by-one Naruto redeems them all, transforming them into allies for his cause. Since he holds such a pious goal, I’d think it would be easy for Naruto to become superficial in his methods of outreach, but instead, each encounter is treated with personal freshness. I think that’s because Naruto doesn’t see the conversion of individual lives as a means to an end, but rather as the ultimate end. Unlike Light Yagami of Death Note fame, who tries to force the populace into an ideal world it can’t possible conform to, Naruto is the wiser for realizing that true change can only come to the world by first changing its people. More importantly, Naruto knows that it only takes one person to change the life of another. It’s a phenomenon he’s witnessed first-hand, when a single teacher, Iruka, chose to reach out to him—the classroom failure, the troublemaker, the rebel, the outcast—and recognized him as a human being. Having gone through the anger and depression of social loneliness, Naruto is equipped to minister to others who have suffered his fate and offer them genuine hope. Most difficult of all, I must choose to see those people who most incite my fear and anger as “human.” Going deeper into Naruto’s backstory reveals that his birth posed great risk to both his parents and his village. Before...