Naruto It is a title that remains in force, despite its more than 20 years in broadcast both in the anime and in the manga. Since it was released on the pages of the Weekly Shonen Jump in 1997 it has not stopped more than a few occasions. But, for that very reason, it has had details that are not always seen at first glance.
This saga has already outnumbered its best known predecessor within shonen Dragon ball. So, whether by fans of yesteryear who have toured alongside Naruto the whole saga or that part of the fandom that came with the adaptation of Boruto: Next Generations, this anime has had an impact that is undeniable. And, it still has details that we can discover and appreciate about this saga.
Orochimaru is antagonist of several arcs during the saga of Naruto. And, although coded in a queer manner, there had never been a direct response from Kishimoto. Either to talk about gender identity or about your sexual orientation. Until quite recently.
During the episode 67 broadcast in 2018 Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, Kishimoto reveals to us the gender identity of Orochimaru. His son, Mitsuki asks him if he is his father or mother. Answer back: ‘That is an absurd question (…) Sometimes I was a man and other times a woman (…) Appearances don’t matter.’
Although this scene in the manga was set in 2016, it was not until its exposure in its anime adaptation that it became relevant. This change was taken in a complicated way, because during the rest of the series he is treated as a man, he is seen as a man and is seen as such by his close beings and enmities.
However, the visibility that its author has decided to give it is appreciated. Orochimaru’s identity goes beyond being male or female and falls within the non-binary gender spectrum.
Haku: The first in the entire series
Haku appears at the beginning of the saga of Naruto together with his mentor, Zabusa. In fact, despite the two being portrayed as formidable enemies, Zabusa admits that his student is far more prodigious and talented than he could be.
But, on his first encounter with Naruto. He corrects her pronouns (since he thought she was a woman given her appearance). This type of problem is something that trans populations have to face in their day-to-day lives, if their appearance does not correspond to their gender identity.
After student and teacher lost their lives, we did not get to see them until the last arcs of the manga as reincarnations at the hands of Kabuto
Japan and discrimination
Recall that, as in the case of Orochimaru, gender identity and diverse sexual orientations have to be shown implicitly due to the censorship of the audiovisual media.
Despite close to 75% approval on issues such as equal marriage, discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation is legal in Japan. According to EqualdexIn addition to that, there are other problems that prevent LGBTQIA + characters from being publicly displayed in audiovisual media without fear of reprisals:
- Conversion therapies are still legal
- Gay men cannot donate blood
- It is legal to fire or terminate contracts based on gender identity or sexual orientation
- Eviction for discrimination is legal if it is for gender identity or sexual orientation
So, let’s celebrate the efforts of series like Naruto to combat these practices from your space. We also recommend reading:
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