'Naruto' Creator Finally Explains One Fan-Favorite’s Death

It is never easy parting ways with characters, and anime fans have learned that time and again. Shonen shows aren’t afraid to off a fan-favorite without any notice, and Naruto has done just that in the past. Now, the creator behind the series is opening up about one of those deaths, so fans better grab some tissues.

After all, it is never easy talking about the death of a mentor, and Masashi Kishimoto didn’t hold back when he was asked about Jiraiya dying.

Over on Twitter, scans of a recent interview Kishimoto did about Naruto have started making the rounds. As you can see here, one of the artist’s answers involves the "Pain" arc, and it’s there Kishimoto delves into why Jiraiya was killed off.

“Looking back on the Naruto series, the part he described as 'Painful' was the Pain story arc,” the piece writes.

“Sasuke had his family killed, so he has revenge in his heart. But Naruto didn’t have that experience. There’s nothing that someone not in the same position can say that’s convincing,” Kishimoto explains. “The things Naruto said just didn’t ring true to Sasuke. But later, when Naruto lost Jiraiya, a father-like figure to him, he understood Sasuke’s position for the first time. From there, what would Naruto do...?”

Unlike many deaths in Naruto, the loss of Jiraiya has been a permanent one. His death was a tough one to see, and Naruto’s reaction pulled at the hearts of millions. While the loss weighed deeply on Naruto, it did help him grow into an independent ninja with the ability to forgive others. Now, Kishimoto says Jiraiya’s passing also helped Naruto relate to Sasuke on a brand-new level, so it’s up to fans to decide whether the price was worth paying.

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Originally created by Masashi Kishimoto, Naruto ran in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump for 700 chapters. The story follows a young ninja, with a sealed demon within him, that wishes to become the leader of his home village. The sequel, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is set several years after the events of the original Naruto story and features the children of many of its key characters such as Naruto and Hinata.