Anti-Black Microaggressions in Naruto


When y’all chose to make the Hachibi (Killer B), visibly Black (out of nowhere): did he have to rap? He just had to be saying “Yo!” didn’t he?


Did he really have to have matted, (braid-less) cornrows? Stereotype much??? Did Naruto have to give him a fist bump?


(Yeah, we know that fist-bumping was sorta Naruto’s thing. True, he was doing that before he met Killer B, but like, why was that his main thing??? Why wasn't bowing his main thing??? Or the touch-his-headband-while-saying-"Yo!" his main thing thing? We know he did that sometimes...)


Ever wonder brethren?

I have.


I’m seeing weird patterns across the anime industry that include this outdated fist-bump phenomenon. The worst anime in this regard have full-blown pop-locking characters and graffiti to boot (My Hero Academia)!

 

Now let's talk about Killer B's raw power and skill. Up until Naruto came into his own (WITH KILLER B'S HELP) Killer B was the most integrated and skilled Jinchuriki of the modern Ninja era. This is an incredible feat. It is certainly worth our admiration and respect!


But were we encouraged to admire or respect him in the first full-length fight that we saw him have with the cocky little ronin, Sasuke Uchiha (and his gang Taka)?


No.


The first Black Naruto character was BEATING THEIR ASSES, outsmarting every one of their little biological quirks and kekke genkai, YET: they continued to debase him and insinuate that he was unintelligent. Sasuke said to his team, I quote: “He has speed and power but only moves in a linear fashion. My eyes should be able to make them out.” He said this AFTER Killer B had turned Hugo into a literal kid, blew out Sasuke’s organs, and drained Karin of most of her chakra. The only thing that Sasuke managed to do at the end was set him on fire with Amaterasu and steal a tip of his tail. They called him "annoying" and "irritating" for expressing himself how we wanted to. They portrayed him as an irritatingly pesky threat, when they, the truly irritating and pesky threat, were trying to kidnap him.


SMH.


How the heck do you go to jump someone with four people and get each of your asses kicked instead??? LOL.

 

Then there are other, subtle little microaggressions that line up with the traditional stereotypes about Black people being "strong", "stupid"/"dumb", "overemotional", "lazy", or "aggressive"/"violent":


In Naruto Shippuden (NS) Season 4 episodes 201-202, Killer B is referred to as a "violent, emotional, rascal". In episode 203 his own demon, the Hachibi, called his rap “annoying”. The Hachibi did this again in the NS sequel Boruto: Next Generations (BNG). We won't even talk about how when Killer B was abducted in BNG, NOBODY, NOT EVEN NARUTO, LOOKED FOR HIM.


Killer B had to save himself.

In BNG (which is garbage, please don't waste your time) they start with the BS.


They introduce two brown-skinned characters as Boruto's classmates. One is a random kid not related to any clans we can perceive. He looks homeless. His name is Iwabee (shown right). He is strong but dumb. So of course, Iwabee is used as a stepping-stone to get our (the audience's) admiration for Boruto. Boruto begins by showing how strong he is by beating this strong brown-skinned kid that everyone fears. Typical white-skinned-coming-of-age-prove-my-masculinity troupe.


The other brown-skinned character is Cho-Cho (shown left). Cho-cho's dad is Choji (the fat ninja). Her mom is Karui, a brown-skinned ninja from Kumogakure.


Now, I've gotta gripe for a second: Cho-cho's daddy couldn't have been anyone else??? If you ask me, the only ships that were set in stone were ShikaTema & NaruHina. Everything else was up in the air:


Cho-cho could have been an Uchiha. She'd have damn sure looked better than the librarian girl we got. Why couldn't Sasuke have found love in the place where he hopelessly got his ass handed to him??? Would that have been so wrong? Instead he ended up with his stalker (Sakura). Cho-cho's daddy could have been Shikamaru. These mangaka act like it's a taboo to have smart brown-skinned characters. Hell, I'd even take Kiba as the baby daddy.


But alas, we got Choji.


So yeah:

Fat + brown-skinned = Fat, brown-skinned girl.


In the context of Japan, this translates to someone who is unattractive. Don't take my word for it: take theirs. In BNG, season 1 episode 7 one of the characters says clearly that another boy has: “Strange taste falling for Cho-cho”. Another character on the show, Inojin, constantly puts her down and refers to her weight by calling her “Debu” (meaning fatty). In episode 68-69, Inojin states the following about her: “Any way you look at it, her appearance is a scam.”


How do you think that would make an insecure black kid watching this show feel?


What an interesting transition from Cho-cho's father’s time to hers. NO ONE was allowed to call Choji fat. He would go berserk. So everyone was careful. But now, albino Inojin constantly insults Cho-cho about her GENETICALLY-driven (this is how the Akamichi clan is) physique instead of working on his weak-ass ninjitsu.


*Sigh*


In episode 67 of BNG, we witness Choji trying to teach Cho-cho ninjitsu. She doesn't listen at all. What do we get to see? We get to see (again) that Cho-cho is a glutton and boy-crazy (two things that signal physical and intellectual laziness respectively). How ridiculous is it that the girl that practically nobody finds attractive in her usual form is the voice/proponent of gender roles? This makes her seem delusional. Think about it: Cho-cho is THE OPPOSITE of the traditional Japanese beauty standard, yet she's in make-up and a kimono almost most of the time??? I smell a microaggression in this juxtaposition.


During the BNG first season, during episode 59, Cho-cho fights Shinki. What was the commentary that came out after her first punch? It was: "Brute strength right from the start?" Why describe her strength as 'brute'? Why act as if using her power is so uNrEfInEd??? Others get to use their power and be admired for it. So why not her? Within episodes 67-70, we see a string of charientisms: Sarada, who hangs with Cho-cho frequently, can't find anything truly praiseworthy to say when trying comfort her. Check out what this librarian came up with to comfort Cho-cho:


"You also have a big heart.” Key word: also.

Ok.


At one point, in episode 68, Shikadai PUTS A RESTRAINT on her just because she is finally lashing out at her bullying peers. But how did the "really smart" Shikadai see it??? He said she was: “Not doing what she was supposed to”.


WTF do you mean?

Is she your employee, child, or student???

What was with this weird suppression and subjugation of this brown-skinned girl?


What a funny double standard: Boruto breaks rules just as much as he breathes. No one EVER restrained him! Not even his parents. All they do is either watch and wait till his tantrums are over or they follow him into whatever mess he’s getting into! Yet Cho-cho can't get mad when the people she grew up with bully her all the time and watch her get insulted???


Later on within episodes 67-70, the little albino snake freak named Mitsuki lectures Cho-cho on her behavior using a potato analogy. But I wonder how he has time for that when he can’t even figure out whether his male parent should be called a father or a mother (episode 67)?!


All in all, the way Cho-cho and the other brown-skinned characters on the show are treated is nasty. Kishimoto and his team push a sick, false essentialism narrative in their series. They make it seem as if there is truly some sort of linear link between physiology and character/psychology: A slim, pretty Cho-cho who stands up for herself is perceived as dangerously angry.


She is not who we like.


We like the passive, obese, delusional version of her better.


Kick the sapphire to the curb and give us back our mammy.

LOL.


Later on, Mitsui the psychopath is attempting to placate Cho-cho after she has calmed down a bit.


He calls her: “uninhibited”.


Not 'free-spirit'.

Not 'whimsical' or 'vibrant':


Uninhibited.


What is she?

An animal?


FOH.

4 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All