Monday, May 18, 2020

Similarities between Naruto and Star Wars - by Carlos Jimenez

Some observations from Carlos on these two major franchises.
It is normal for creative minds to be inspired by the works of others and to incorporate that into their own works, and I believe that Masashi Kishimoto may have been inspired by Star Wars, as there are certain elements in the Naruto franchise that parallel or at least seem strongly familiar to tropes from George Lucas’ Star Wars franchise, both superficially and thematically. Here are some of the similitudes:

Clone Armies

During the War Arc, most of the enemies were the White Zetsu Army, clones of Akatsuki member known as White Zetsu.

©2002 MASASHI KISHIMOTO / 2007 SHIPPUDEN All Rights Reserved

In Star Wars we have the Clone Army, clones of the bounty hunter known as Jango Fett.


The Japanese chapter of the Naruto War Arc was released on April 21, 2011 according to Wikipedia. Attack of the Clones the movie was released in 2002. I believe that Star Wars is a franchise that is popular enough to reach the general public in Japan, and quite possibly, the attention of one of the greatest mangaka to have ever lived, Kishimoto-san.

A Fictional War that Engulfed the Known World

In both Star Wars and Naruto we see the theme of a fictional world war, thereby showcasing a mastery in world building. In Star Wars we saw various planets that comprised The Galactic Republic join to fight the Confederacy of Independent Systems. In Naruto we see the Shinobi Alliance, comprised of the Five Great Shinobi nations and the Samurai of the Land of Iron, fight the Akatsuki. Although these pairs of protagonistic and antagonistic armies are not completely similar, I cannot overlook how the Five Kage meetings are reminiscent of the Jedi Council, an order in which powerful individuals, lead by one commander (the Raikage in Naruto and Yoda in Star Wars), and have to harmonize their various points of view to lead a massive war effort against a clone army.

The Redemption of a Masked Villain by a Blonde Protagonist

There are other correlations as well that I notice between the Naruto and Star Wars franchise. We can even speculate that Tobi, being the masked ninja who is introduced as one of the main villains but later on switches back to the good guy side, could be inspired by the character Darth Vader, who also lead a war but was later brought back to the light by the blond protagonist who never gave up hope, in Naruto’s case Tobi (as well as Sasuke, Gaara, Nagato, Zabuza, Neji, and other characters), and in Star Wars Luke Skywalker, who was able to inspire Darth Vader to leave the dark side of the force and become a Jedi once again.

Light vs Dark Sides as Metaphors for Heroism vs Villany

In Naruto we see the concept of “the light” and “the dark,” such as when Gaara tries to persuade Sasuke to rejoin the side of light:

NARUTO © 1999 by Masashi Kishimoto/SHUEISHA Inc.

We also see Neji during the Sasuke Retrieval Arc (Season 5, episode 117) expressing gratitude about being brought to the light with what fans call Naruto’s Talk No Jutsu, or motivational speaking, whereas Sasuke was described as being in “the darkness.”

Anger and Hate as the Pathway to the Dark

The concept of struggling against the instinct of anger and hate is common among both series. In the famous Throne Room Scene in Return of the Jedi, Luke has to fight against the urge to submit to his anger, which is a slippery slope to joining the Dark Side. In Naruto Shippuden, episode 277, there is a similar interaction between the 9 Tail Fox and Naruto, where the 9 Tails identifies himself as hatred itself, and Naruto states that not only will he fight the hatred produced during the ninja war, but will then save the 9 Tails from its own hatred. In Naruto Shippuden episode 243, Naruto had to fight his internal dark side by the Waterfall of Truth, which was the personification of his latent hatred resulting from the ostracization his village submitted him to when he was a child due to being a jinchuriki. In that fight, Naruto had to overcome the anger within him.

©2002 MASASHI KISHIMOTO / 2007 SHIPPUDEN All Rights Reserved


It is difficult to conclude whether Kishimoto was directly influenced by Star Wars. Some of the aforementioned concepts are common tropes in fiction, such as darkness and light, the optimistic protagonist who thinks he can change the bad guy, etc. Perhaps any similarities are just a coincidence... or maybe not. Let us know your thoughts on this matter.