'Naruto' Creator Reveals Struggle With Ending the Pain Arc

Naruto is one of the most popular anime series, and one of the most memorable parts of the series [...]

Naruto is one of the most popular anime series, and one of the most memorable parts of the series is when Naruto returns to defend the Hidden Leaf village from an attacking Pain.

But series creator Masashi Kishimoto struggled to write a convincing ending for the Pain's Assault arc, and elaborated on how much his struggle had an effect on the arc itself.

In an interview with Kishimoto, as spotted by @AshitanoGin on Twitter, Kishimoto outlined the original core problem going into Pain's Assault arc. Naruto would react much differently to things than Sauke would because they just haven't experienced the same kind of loss, "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."

It wasn't until later that Naruto eventually grew to understand pain, both literally and figuratively, "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...He had to go on experiencing what hatred is for the first time."

Kishimoto found himself struggling to properly explore Naruto's pain throughout the arc too, but wanted to do it right for the readers, "I kind of knew I had stepped into a difficult place, and my editor said to me that I maybe shouldn't dig too deep into that. But, I wondered, if I just created a story about him going after and beating his hated opponent, what would kids think of that? I wanted to do it right."

Still, Kishimoto couldn't come up with a convincing ending right away, "But I couldn't come up with an answer, so I couldn't sleep...It was exhausting...It wasn't a problem that could be solved easily. Because I was suffering, it's natural that the character suffers too."

But Kishimoto is happy with where the arc ended up, because ending it any other way than having Naruto forgive his enemy would have been seen right through by fans, "In the end, Naruto talked it out and decided to forgive his opponent. So, Sasuke is a character who can't forgive, and Naruto is one who can. Once it's decided that the characters are that way, it must move forward in that direction."

Kishimoto struggled with the Pain's Assault arc but went through it all for fans, "Even if you know that it will be painful going in that direction, as a writer you can't just do whatever you want. If you try to force things, the readers will know."

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.