The epic story of one of the biggest anime series of all time, Naruto focuses on the life of Naruto and his struggles as an orphan. The story follows his journey from being one of the most hated people in the village to becoming the Hokage. Along the way, he makes friends and gets taught by one of the legendary Sannin, Jiraiya. Naruto had a habit of relating to everyone’s sadness and problems as he almost faced all of them since his birth. However, he could not relate to his closest friend’s problem until later in the story. Many fans believe that Naruto could not relate to Sasuke’s story as he was an orphan from birth but Sasuke saw his parents die right in front of his eyes.
Sasuke’s parent’s death is the reason why he chose the path of the tale’s antagonist to fight his brother and later change the world. The creator of the series Masashi Kishimoto explained in an interview that Naruto could never understand what Sasuke felt like until he lost his father figure.
Jiraiya’s Death Was Too Late in Naruto Shippuden
Jiraiya was Naruto’s teacher and his guardian for a very long time. Naruto learned everything about the world from him and loved him like a father figure. He shared a very special bond with him and his death made him realize what it feels like to lose a parent. In an interview with Resetera, Creator Kishimoto explained the reason for the death of Jiraiya being so late in the series. He said:
“Jiraiya gives attention, teaching, and care to Naruto, a bit like a foster father. A foster father that Naruto will grow to like and who will eventually be killed by Pain. At this point, Naruto understands what a family can feel like and starts to understand what Sasuke could feel. But this experience comes too late and he doesn’t get the chance to talk about it with Sasuke. Their reaction to losing close ones makes them even more different. Sasuke let himself be controlled by hatred. A hatred as strong as the love he used to feel. But for Naruto, the loss comes with a self-reflection about revenge, and pain and how personality and actions can evolve based on that.”
Kishimoto explained how Naruto exhibits tremendous self-control after witnessing what revenge did to Sasuke, and he believes he must learn to control himself in order to avoid becoming like him. If he had lost Jiraiya too early, he would have felt or understood Sasuke’s pain and maybe would have walked the same path.
Jiraiya’s Death Changed Naruto’s Perspective
Kishimoto also explained how Jiraiya’s death changed Naruto and portrayed him more like Sasuke. It was kind of a role reversal for both the characters during that part of the series. He said:
“I continued to play with this opposition so it could grow step by step. I wanted to take the reader by surprise. Naruto, at first, seems very emotional and instinctive and Sasuke is the one who seems cold & emotionless. But as time goes on, the roles are reversed. Emotions and logic aren’t always obvious at first. To be frank, the reality is more complex. I feel closer to Sasuke as I would never be able to forget or forgive the one who murdered my family.”
Jiraiya’s death was a huge turning point in Naruto’s story as it decided his path for the future. Had he been more like Sasuke or felt the pain earlier in the stage of his story, he would have taken an entirely different path which would have not done justice to the story.