Naruto mangaka Masashi Kishimoto has been busily embarrassing Narutards with his first ever TV interview, revealing that he initially planned Naruto “to be about ramen” and that “it is aimed at boys in middle school.” Paraphrasing some of his comments, he apparently wanted to write a ramen manga but this was not accepted so he decided to write a manga about not being accepted, for schoolboys and full of ninja – and so Naruto was born:
“I initially thought I would write a story about ramen, but it wasn’t accepted.”
“The theme of ‘wanting to be accepted or recognised’ crops up a lot in my works…”
“So I thought I might do something about Japan and with ninja in it.”
“I treasure the kind of memories boys in middle school have, even if I am getting on a bit.”
“At Shonen Jump we are all rivals.”
There has been a certain amount of despair amongst Naruto fans online at him being so blunt about the manga targeting 2nd year middle school boys (not that this would surprise anyone) – in Japanese the phrase “chuu-ni-byou” (中二病), “8th grader sickness,” is actually slang for behaving in the juvenile manner expected of a knuckle-headed little 14-year-old.