Area 51 Raid Prompts Big Question: What Is Naruto Running?

These days, Area 51 is in the headlines in a big way but not for all the reasons you might think. Rather than an alien expose, Area 51 has the eyes of the world on it after a viral Facebook joke prompted more than a million people to say they would storm the secret Nevada base. Now, headlines around the U.S. are covering the issue, but there is one big question fans are still asking...

Just, what exactly is Naruto running?

For anyone needing context, the now-infamous Facebook event promoting the Area 51 raid made a direct shout out to anime. The joke post said there was no way the military could catch everyone if they ran like Naruto, so the invite said the storm would use “Naruto running” to baffle anyone trying to stop them.

Of course, this term has seen a spike in usage with plenty around the world asking what Naruto running even means. But if you are familiar with the Hidden Leaf Village, you already know the special technique.

The phrase Naruto running stems from the hit anime Naruto which debuted more than a decade ago. The series, which Masashi Kishimoto created, tells the story of a boy named Naruto Uzumaki who wishes to become the world’s strongest ninja. He has to train hard to become the best, and all of the ninja in the Naruto universe run in a very distinct way. With their heads tilted down and backs at a forward angle, Naruto runs with his arms extended behind his back in a straight line. This streamlined look is meant to help the ninja run faster, and it seems this Area 51 prank wants to take a page from Naruto’s book here.

Of course, Naruto running does not make the hero invisible or invulnerable to bullets. Despite the Facebook invite being a clear joke, more than a million people have RSVP’d to raid Area 51 this September. Now, the U.S. military is warning the public against doing such a foolish ambush after saying trespassers of any sort will be dealt with.

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So, what do you think about this viral anime prank gone wild? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!

Originally created by Masashi Kishimoto for Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump in 1999, Naruto follows a young ninja, with a sealed demon within him, that wishes to become the leader of his home village. The series ran for 700 chapters overall, and was adapted into an anime series by Studio Pierrot and Aniplex that ran from 2002 to 2017. The series was popular enough to warrant a sequel, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations which 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.

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