They say it takes a village to raise a child, and Naruto’s certainly had his share of mentors and father figures. In the spirit of Father’s Day, let’s take a look at some of the men who have shaped his life.
Like Naruto, Iruka also lost his parents and spent much of his youth acting out. Because of this, he feels a special bond with Naruto and has an intense desire to see him succeed. He was one of Naruto’s earliest instructors and guided him through some of his toughest times. He was also one of the earliest people to show Naruto that he is loved by using his body as a shield to protect him from from a giant shuriken.
Kakashi is Naruto’s next teacher who has had a profound effect on his life. Kakashi’s mild-mannered nature was a prefect foil for the young Naruto’s overly rambunctious antics. While Kakashi acts cool and aloof, he's very interested in Naruto’s life and spends a lot of time helping him develop powerful new jutsu. He’s also one of the earliest people who really believed in Naruto’s potential, when others did not.
Jiraiya was Naruto’s mentor as well as Godfather. He had a very close relationship with Naruto’s parents. He was Naruto’s father’s teacher as well, and his first book, Tales of a Gutsy Ninja, was the inspiration for Naruto’s name. After Kakashi, Jiraiya trained Naruto for two-and-a-half years. He taught Naruto Summoning Jutsu as well as one of his signature moves, the Rasengan. Naruto eventually followed Jiraiya’s path and mastered the Toad Sage technique.
Naruto’s father was a powerful shinobi and the Fourth Hokage. To save the Village Hidden in the Leaves from the Nine Tails, he was forced to seal the beast within Naruto at the cost of his life as well as his wife Kushina's. By planting his charkra in Naruto, he was able to meet him during the battle with Pain. Minato apologized for sealing the Nine-Tailed Beast in Naruto, but said he did so because he believed Naruto would be strong enough to handle it. While he did not raise Naruto, his actions set Naruto on his path towards greatness.
Not everyone has a father; in fact many people (including this handsome writer) grew up without one. But if you’re lucky, you’ll find men in your life that you admire, and they'll become influences on your life. Be it a cool teacher, a family friend, or a perverted ninja, life is full of inspiring characters, provided you’re open to learning.
And who knows, maybe you'll go on to do great things like Naruto!
Happy Father’s Day!
by Urian Brown