my love/hate relationship with talking about naruto

on our first date
you told me you loved naruto.
i also loved naruto.

i was so excited.

i wanted to talk about how
sasuke uchiha’s
beloved older brother
was coerced by a corrupt
government official
into killing everyone he ever loved
for peace.

how at age eight sasuke lost everything
and lived alone in a ghost house
with nobody to soothe him as he screamed through
nobody to set up
therapy appointments (did those even exist in konoha?)
nobody to
make him dinner
and help with his homework.

he become a child soldier
all alone

and so of course,
he was vulnerable to orochimaru’s
silky slimy science and
of course he hated the country
that never gave him justice
never cared
about his

and naruto
his best friend
his should-have-been lover

became the leader of that nation
and never offered reparations
“forgave” sasuke’s “terrorism”
instead of wondering where it came from.

because if he wondered about that,
he’d also have to excavate the anger he repressed
after being abandoned and discarded and left
to drink spoiled milk in the dark.

to rule, he had to paste on a smile
forget everything
let the konoha machine
churn out victims
on and on
and on

i wanted to talk about the similarities
between konoha
and the real world.

i didn’t get to talk about any of that, because

you wanted to talk about how sasuke
was emo
was weak and useless
and about how much you loved
the pervy sage

you wanted to talk about chidori vs rasengan
who was stronger
who would win

i guess what i wanted was too much for a first date
but afterwards i wished
we’d never started talking about naruto
at all

Anna Lindwasser is a massive anime nerd who never shuts up about Naruto. She even writes about it for a living! Besides that, she’s a part-time teacher, and short story writer. You can find out more about what she’s up to on Twitter @annalindwasser.

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