For two decades, Maile Flanagan has brought Naruto Uzumaki to life throughout three anime series following the trials and tribulations surrounding the Hidden Leaf Village and its numerous ninjas. To help in celebrating the twentieth anniversary, the voice actor took the opportunity to sit down and reflect on her career with Masashi Kishimoto's franchise, going into detail when it came to how she approached Naruto from childhood to adulthood. With new episodes being released, Flanagan might be Naruto for another decade.
Maile took the opportunity to discuss how her approach to portraying an adult Naruto differed from how she portrayed him throughout his childhood, with Flanagan retaining the role in Boruto: Naruto Next Generations:
"Well, I try and be a little more stern. A little more emotionally stern, I guess. A little more emotionally grounded. The first several episodes of Boruto, not gonna lie, there was a lot of me lecturing. I was like, "Is this how it is?" Then that stopped and it got to be very adventuresome, fun and interesting. I got to do some fighting again, which was fantastic. And some really emotional stuff."
On top of this breakdown, Flanagan also took the opportunity to examine her time with the series as she has been voicing the Seventh Hokage for decades:
"What's extraordinary is that cartoon characters don't always, or often, hardly ever grow up. As an actor, it's so great to be able to play those different mindsets, ages and emotions that go along with it. The 20 year thing is kind of mind-blowing. We used to joke about it, Elizabeth McGlynn and I. I was like "Will we do this in 20 years?" Then it's like...we are. [laughs] [McGlynn] is not directing [Naruto] anymore. She directs a lot of stuff, but not [Naruto anymore]. The other directors, Susie and Ryan, hats off to them, because I think of Suzy is newer, and I've been working with her forever. And then I think Ryan is newer and he's been at the studio 10 years now. There was no sense of time with Naruto."
Do you think the Naruto franchise will run for another decade for the thirtieth anniversary? Feel free to let us know in the comments or hit me up directly on Twitter @EVComedy to talk all things comics, anime, and the world of the Hidden Leaf Village.