We have all heard this saying in some shape or form: “Life is a journey.” We travel down a path in hope that we reach a goal or destination, but the travel in getting there isn’t always easy. Along the way, we encounter some personal struggles. It is in those moments where we must overcome an adversity to complete our journey or take a different route or path instead. In this month’s OWLS post, we will be discussing the personal journeys of pop culture creators, icons, and characters. We will explore the journeys that these characters went through, discuss the process and experiences they had on their journeys, what they discover about themselves, or share our own personal journeys.
*This blog tour post will have spoilers to the Naruto (classic/Shippuden) anime!
Also, please read Takuto’s blog tour at his site Takuto Anime Cafe.
Life is a journey, not a destination. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
How do people go through life? Most people go through life with a goal in mind and some encounter some obstacles. We each have our own story and most of us can’t comprehend someone’s story. If some can relate to someone’s life journey, they get to understand someone’s hardships and sacrifices. Life is like someone’s autobiography. We have a our story and everyday is a new chapter for us. We are the main character and the faces we meet are either our friends or enemies. The struggle for the main character is usually a physical problem such as money, health-related problems or a person who blocks the path. It could also be something intangible like facing your inner demons or reaching something that has no monetary value. The goals people create in thier journey is their reason to push forward through the hardships. Some wants to be successful in life or some may want something simple like having a family. Either way, everyone has a story and they each have to go through some challenges. In this post, I am going to be focusing on a character who explored the world and wrote life as a story.
Naruto – A story about a kid who dreamed big!
If you don’t know what’s the anime Naruto is about, I will tell you. The anime series Naruto is about a young man named Naruto Uzamaki who dreams of becoming Hokage. Hokage is a titled given to a ninja who is considered as a leader of the Hidden Leaf Village and they are the strongest ninja in the village. Naruto was born without knowing his parents and to make matters worse, he has in him a Biju with monstrous powers. This Biju is named Kurama and he is a Nine-Tailed Fox and this monster once wrecked havoc on the nation’s village. He got sealed away thanks to Naruto’s parents, but the damage done the by the beast was far greater than destruction on homes, but also on people’s lives. Because of this tragic moment, Naruto gets nothing but hate by his own village.
Skipping ahead the story, Naruto has grown and got many friends along the way and he will do anything to protect his friends. However, like mentioned about the Nine-Tails, a secret terrorist group of rogue ninjas called the Akatsuki are on the hunt for Nine-Tails and other Bijus; there are total of nine Bijus. The goal of the Akatsuki is to bring order to the world led by the mysterious leader named Pain who wants to bring peace to everyone. Pain believes that he should be a god to the world thanks to his ocular eyes the Rinnegan which allows the user to use powerful jutsu.
Naruto – Jiraiya the Pervy and Wise Sage
Out of the people Naruto encounters, he meets an old and perverted man named Jiraiya. Jiraiya is not just a peeping tom, but he is also the author to Kakshi’s favorite series Make-Out Paradise. Jiraiya is also one of the three Sanin, one fo the strongest ninjas throughout the lands. At first when you meet this guy, you see him as a dirty old man who wants to be left alone and enjoying his “research”; however, the story later makes him important to the series. He was trained by the Third Hokage and then later trained the Fourth Hokage. He also mentored some children in hopes to bring peace. He also helped Naruto train him to control the Nine-Tails and taught him real life situations such as handling hate and finding peace. For an old guy who loves to write and meet women, Jiraiya is actually a remarkable man with an incredible story of his own. I will be focusing Jiraiya and why did I pick him as my major topic.
Jiraiya – A goofball boy who wanted to be great.
(source: Naruto Shippuden Episodes 127-128)
Jiraiya didn’t start off as a prodigy, but rather like a living reflection to Naruto. He was wild kid who wanted to be better than everyone including his teammates like Orochimaru and Tsunade. Jiraiya was taught by the future Third Hokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi. During trainning sessions like chasing thier mentor for bells, Jiraiya always seemed to fail and end up losing to his team mates. Whenever, he sees Orochimaru and Tsunade taunt him, he would get mad and convince everyone that he will be better than everyone. Hiruzen helps Jiraiya to be better by teaching him the summoning jutsu in hopes help him learn some new skills. Thinking this will impress his crush towards Tsunade, he tries to attempt the jutsu and consequently, he accidentally summons himself to Mount Myoboku and meets the other toads in the land. Upon meeting the Great Toad Sage, Jiraiya’s future is foretold that he must be trained here at this hidden land.
Journey as a teacher
As years passed, Jiraiya trains at Konoha and Mount Myoboku in hopes to getting stronger. However, his life is taken a turn when the Great Toad Sage informs him that he prophecised that he will be writing books and also take in a student will either fight for peace or destruction. Jiraiya must find the child and teach him to bring peace.
The Second Shinobi War, Jiraiya, Tsunade and Orochimaru encountered three war orphans named Nagato, Yahiko and Konan. Instead of heading back home, Jiraiya stays behind and teach the kids how to perform ninjutsu in hopes of teaching them how to survive the war. Jiraiya later finds out that the child named Nagato has the Rinnegan and when he finds out he has some hidden powers, he thinks he’s the Child of the Prophecy, the one who will bring peace. After years passed, Jiraiya concludes the training with the children and leaves them and believes that they will make the world better. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen when he finds out the children were informed dead. Things get worse for Jiraiya when he finds out that his comrade Orochimaru betrays the village and leaves it in hopes to find power. He saw himself as a failure and wouldn’t take the role of a Hokage.
Meeting the foolish Naruto
During the second Chunin exams, Naruto needed help in Chakra control. Instead of having Ebisu teach him, Jiraiya teaches him and helps him use the Nine-Tails chakra. Jiraiya knows that Naruto has the tailed beast within him and he teaches him that if he needs more chakra, he should extract the Nine-Tails instead. With the trainning Naruto goes through, Jiraiya teaches Naruto everything he knows and even techniques given to the Fourth Hokage like the Summoning Jutsu and Rasengan.
The Students Surpasses the Master
In present time, as Naruto and his friends search for Sasuke as well as Sasuke was in the middle of fighting his brother Itachi, Jiraiya decides to help Konoha by getting intel the leader of the Akatsuki at Amegakure. During his investigation, he is surprised to meet Konan and also Nagato. When he finds out that his students were alive except for Yahiko and led to the path of darkness and hate, Jiraiya decides to take responsibility and fight his own students. Things turn grim when he thought he defeated Nagato, he sees more ninjas having the eyes of Rinnegan and one of them is Yahiko. Jiraiya gets outnumbered and is ultimately killed by his student; however, in his last breathe, he finds a piece of evidence that is the key to defeating Pain. He sends a message on Fukasaku and sends him to Konoha. This is the end of the strongest ninja.
Gone but not forgotten
As Jiraiya sinks to the bottom of the waters, he recollects his moments in his life and sees the mistakes he has done.
- He wasn’t able to win Tsunade’s heart
- He wasn’t there to stop his once friend Orochimaru from leaving the village
- He didn’t save his student Minato from Nine-Tails
- He also wasn’t able to defeat his student.
When you think he failed, he did do one thing that was great. He met Naruto and taught him the importance of peace.
Even though Jiraiya died, his teachings still lived on thanks to his students. Naruto, being one of them learned from Jiraiya that with a lot of hardwork and training, world peace could be for real without violence. In his first book The Tale of the Utterly Gutsy Shinobi, Jiraiya writes a story about a shinobi named Naruto who fights other ninjas in hopes to stopping the cycle of peace. In a way, this story plays a bit of autobiography of his adventures but it was inspired by Nagato who wanted to bring peace and be with his friends. Thanks to the teachings of Jiraiya, Naruto could have killed Nagato in his weakened state but he didn’t because if he did, it would repeat an endless cycle of hatrad and violence. Rather than hurting Nagato, he understood his feelings and wants to find peace without bloodshed. Surprised, Nagato gives his life a ransom and resurrects all the victims he killed when he invaded Konoha.
Conclusion: A journey is someone’s story
Even though we don’t live in a ninja world like Naruto, we all have our own stories we unintentional create. Jiraiya started off as someone loud and obnoxious until he accidentally placed himself in a unknown territory he barely knew. With the characters he met, he later trained himself and became someone who got strong throughout the story. As a character in his story, his role got big when he was going to play a key role on trying to find the one who will bring peace to the world. However, Jiraiya wasn’t a perfect character. He is perverted who likes to peep at girls and he wasn’t able to help the people who were close to him like Orochimaru or Minato. He did lose his life to someone he trained to defend himself. However, his teachings on the world and the way to confront violence was carried on to the young generation. Naruto became the Child of the Prophecy and thanks to Jiraiya, Naruto learned the techniques of both himself and the Fourth Hokage along with controlling Kurama. Jiraiya may be gone, but his advice to Naruto and philosophy will be a bookmark to a new generation. JIraiya’s life journey in the Shinobi world jumped around a lot and whether he landed on a lily pad or into a snake’s mouth, he left his footnotes for us to learn.
Jiraiya’s life and his experience can also be represented in a way like a Christian. If someone someone goes through life without God, they would probably do some stuff based on their own knowledge and judgement. However, if they see and know God, God can use these people and equip them with knowledge that will prepare them for the Christian Journey. This happened to Paul in the book of Acts. Once a Pharisee and under the name Saul, Saul went with right to persecute Chiristians and anyone preaching about Jesus Christ. However, during a trip to Damascus, Jesus appeared to Saul and asked him why is he persecuting His people. Saul became scared because he saw Jesus was God and this caused him to be blind. After a couple of days, one of the disciples of Jesus named Anaias came to Saul and restored his vision. After witness God’s mercy, Saul gave up persecuting and took the name Paul and went out to teach people about God’s love and the sacrifices He made for us mortals. God has a way to take anyone and use them to make them the main character or possibly a hero to all.
I hope you like this blog tour, the next writer to talk about Journey is Lita! Her post will knock your socks out! See you next time and God bless you all.