Naruto

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Fandom
Name: NARUTO -ナルト-
Abbreviation(s): Naruto
Creator: Masashi KISHIMOTO (岸本 斉史) ♂
Date(s): November 1999 - present
Medium: Manga, anime, video games
Country of Origin: Japan
Naruto team.png


Subpages for Naruto:
External Links: Official site (JP/EN)
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Contents

Naruto is an ongoing manga series created by Masashi Kishimoto. The story follows ninja-in-training Uzumaki Naruto as he aspires to become Hokage, the leader of the ninja village Konoha. Naruto's journey is complicated by ninja ethics, building friendships, and Naruto's personal struggle with having a demon fox sealed inside him from birth.

Naruto Fandom

Naruto fandom is large and extremely active. Fandom activities include fanfiction, fanart, cosplay, AMV, scanlating, fansubbing, and various others.

The series has a large cast of intriguing characters which have been deprived of extended screen time in favor of the action-based side of the story and focusing on Naruto's personal journey. This leaves fandom space for extensive exploration of less-developed characters in fanworks, and many options for pairing characters together in romantic relationships.

Prevalence

Naruto fandom is massive. Of the three big shounen series in Weekly Shounen Jump magazine it is second in overall sales to One Piece and more popular than Bleach, though Naruto probably has the largest and most active English-speaking fandom of all three titles.

The series is one of the most successful shounen manga in history, having sold over 71 million manga volumes in Japan alone by 2007. It has been made into two anime series, four animated films, four OVAs, nearly two dozen video games, two novels, a card game, and a radio show. There are many general fans of the show who may or may not be considered a part of the extended fandom.

Threshold Fandom

Naruto is a threshold fandom; while many fans came in from greater animanga fandom, a large portion of fans were new to fandom and were unfamiliar with fandom etiquette. This may be why Naruto fandom did not initially adopt the seme/uke naming conventions for its yaoi fanfiction.

Since Naruto fandom has been around for a while now, giving time for the the rules of etiquette to be established, this is no longer much of a problem in places such as LiveJournal.

Demographics

Though the series is aimed at young boys, it is also very popular among girls and adults of both sexes. Some of those who got to know the series as teenagers are now in their mid-twenties and still love it, while others became fans when they were well grown up, sometimes being introduced to the series by their own children.

Naruto is popular all over the world. Besides being translated to all European and a lot of East-Asian languages, it is can also be read in Arabic and Persian. Scanlations are extremely popular across many languages.

Fannish Spaces

LiveJournal

Naruto fandom has a strong and active presence on LiveJournal, with about 200 communities to accommodate to various interests and character relationships. The main general Naruto community is Chuunin, with over 5,000 members.

There is also a newsletter called naruto_news giving an overview of the contributions to the fandom by the various communities.

For an (outdated) list of Naruto communities on LiveJournal, see the Naruto Community Masterlist.

Major communities

  • Chuunin is the largest and most active Naruto community
  • NarutoYaoi for yaoi
  • Akatsuki_Club for Akatsuki members
  • SasuxNaru for the relationship between Uzumaki Naruto and Uchiha Sasuke
  • SasuSaku for the relationship between Uchiha Sasuke and Haruno Sakura
  • KakaIru for the relationship between Hatake Kakashi and Umino Iruka

See also the article List of Naruto Communities.

LiveJournal clones and forks

There have been attempts to create Naruto-communities at InsaneJournal and Dreamwidth but so far they are not very active.

Fanfiction.Net

The presence of Naruto fans at FanFiction.Net is massive: There are half as many stories based on Naruto as on Harry Potter but more than twice as many as on any other manga.[1]

NarutoFan

See the main article at NarutoFan.com.

NarutoFan.com is one of the earliest and most well-known Naruto fansites. It is known both for reliably hosting Naruto content for download, and for becoming a for-profit site which effectively sells fansubs and scanlations done by others for free.

The site and its owner Tazmo are infamous in anime/manga fandom; they are often cited as violating fandom ethics and for exploiting both fans and fansub/scanlation groups. Several movements have been made by fans to put an end to NarutoFan, and a few are ongoing including a "Fight Tazmo" open letter to fans and the website StopTazmo.com.

Recommendation Lists

The fandom is so huge that most reclists are only for a single pairing:

Beachan's Temple of Recs: Mostly Sasunaru, but also some other pairings and gen.
SasukexNaruto reclist put together by Adi/Sylverwyrm and questofdreams
NaruHina fanfiction assembled by perpetual 159
LeeGaara reclist assembled by TJDragonblade
Naruto at Fleeting Fancies

Ships

Fans ship a large number of various pairings (and threesomes and moresomes) derived from the large amount of characters to work with from within the series. The only canon pairing developed over the course of the series so far is of two adult characters, Asuma and Kurenai, with some hints toward supporting teen characters Temari and Shikamaru, so there remains room for a lot of speculation about who might end up with whom. Basically any two characters from the fandom may be found combined in a pairing supported by fans.

The relationship most popular with Western fans is between Naruto and his friend/rival Sasuke. The relationship between Sasuke and Sakura is also very popular, and the most popular het relationship in the fandom. Naruto and Sakura is also shipped though it is not as common, and some fans ship these three principal characters as a threesome.

The relationship between Kakashi and Iruka, two parent-like figures to Naruto, is the most popular Naruto pairing in Japan and is also popular in Western fandom.

There are also a number of canon pairings where both partners are dead, e.g. the parents of the heroes, which have been explored in fanworks.

Pairing Names

Naruto fandom strongly favors the name smoosh for pairing names, e.g. the relationship between Sasuke and Naruto is SasuNaru or NaruSasu. "Character x character" and "character/character" are also common.

There have been some attempts at getting fanciful names to catch on in fandom, but fans have been quick to shoot down the idea whenever and wherever it arises. One of the biggest arguments against them is that there are so many ships in Naruto fandom that it would be impractical and frustrating even for regular fandom participants to keep track of any special pairing names.

Ship Wars

Since many popular pairings overlap there can be a good amount of tension between shippers, and some may feel they need to "justify" their ship by sinking "rival" ships. For instance, supporters of Sakura x Naruto might contest both Sakura x Sasuke and Hinata x Naruto.

There are also ship war-like discussions between supporters of the same pairing, particularly among supporters of Sasuke x Naruto regarding Seme!Naruto/Uke!Sasuke versus Seme!Sasuke/Uke!Naruto. These sort of conflicts were exacerbated a few years back when the seme/uke naming order spread through the fandom, as suddenly there was no longer any truly neutral term for a pairing; for instance, the SasuxNaru community on LiveJournal was named before that naming order became a standard, which caused conflict for some members of the community. (See the SasuxNaru fandom divide.)

Most fans won't go into discussions of that sort but have a live and let live attitude.

Popular Tropes & Fanon

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Perception of Naruto fandom

Naruto is a popular series and most people in animanga fandom have heard of it. There is a lot of activity from within fandom, it is widely cosplayed at conventions, and most large animanga forums have a section dedicated just to this series to accommodate the large fanbase, which make both the series and the fandom noticeable.

This popularity makes the series and fandom susceptible to a greater amount of criticism from wider animanga fandom. Naruto's quality as a series may be commonly derided for various reasons, ranging from its origins as Shounen Jump "children's fare" to its allegedly-clichéd plot, characters, and other elements.

Since Naruto is equally popular with tweens and younger people who aren't familiar with proper rules of fandom etiquette, these factors have led to the stigmatization of Naruto fans within wider fandom, where they might be regarded as unintelligent weeaboo fanboys or mindless yaoi fangirls. This perception led eventually to the wide use of the term "Narutard" to refer to any member of Naruto fandom. The word is still used as a pejorative but it also sees wide usage among Naruto fans themselves, who regard it as a neutral synonym for "Naruto fan" and a tongue-in-cheek badge of pride.

Resources

References

  1. The Naruto category on ff.net has 208,658 fics as of 18 Sept 2009.
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