Filler isn’t always as bad as anime fans make out, but did you know that it has ruined the reputation of one of the best Naruto characters? Now, Naruto (despite being one of the best anime series ever) has an awful lot of filler of varying quality.
Some of it’s surprisingly good, like the Six-Tailed Beast arc, which fleshed out Utakata’s backstory and made his capture by Akatsuki truly tragic. In contrast, other arcs are so bad you’re shocked anyone ever thought they were a good idea (Mizuki the Tiger immediately springs to mind).
Still, of all our favorite Naruto characters, the one whose reputation suffered the most thanks to filler material was Hiruzen Sarutobi, aka the Third Hokage. So did the filler writers make the God of Shinobi seem like a weakling or contradict Kishimoto’s original manga? No, it’s worse than that. They just made him seem like a bit of a dick.
This all comes down to one scene in the Naruto Shippuden anime (as spotted by HungryManHere on the Naruto subreddit) after the Nine-Tailed fox attacks Konoha resulting in the death of Naruto’s parents. Hiruzen promises the dying Kushina that he’ll take full responsibility for Naruto and look after him.
As well know, though, Hiruzen didn’t do this. Naruto lived a miserable and lonely life until he graduated from ninja school, after which he slowly started to earn the respect of the village. So why didn’t Hiruzen keep his promise to look after the son of the Fourth Hokage?
Well, because he never made that promise. The anime writers made it up as filler to pad run time, and it completely undermines Hiruzen’s character by making him look like a Robert De Niro-esque Bad Grandpa who dumped the kid he promised to protect almost as soon as he possibly could.
As HungryManHere makes perfectly clear in the actual manga canon, Hiruzen did everything he could to protect Naruto from the people of the village by banning anyone from revealing his status as jinchuriki and hiding the identity of his father to protect him from Minato’s enemies. Hungry isn’t the only Naruto fan spitting facts on the subreddit.
“Idiots overestimate what Hiruzen could’ve done for him and underrate what he actually did. There were a lot of orphans and not enough adults to take care of him after the Kyuubi attack,” wrote Bakato. “Naruto’s upbringing wasn’t much different than every other orphan at the time. Hiruzen’s own wife was killed by Obito, and he had to come out of retirement to take care of the village, so he wouldn’t have had much time to raise Naruto himself. ”
Of course, not everyone agrees with this interpretation. At least one fan points out that Naruto’s apartment was pretty filthy, and he drank expired milk on at least one occasion, but that’s ignoring the fact that Sasuke’s also an orphan, and he never experienced anything like that. It’s far more likely that Konoha’s number-one knucklehead ninja was just being dumb.
If you’re a big Naruto fan, check out our list of the best Naruto jutsu, and we’ve also explained who’s the strongest Tailed Beast. If that’s not enough, we’ve also got guides to the best anime movies and the best TV series.
Finally, if you’re looking for more great shows to watch, you should read our articles all about the One-Punch Man season 3 release date, the Dragon Ball Super season 2 release date, and the Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 release date.