A resurfaced quote by the creator of the beloved manga Naruto – Masashi Kishimoto – reveals his opinion on whether the iconic Sasuke is a hero or a villain. Sasuke Uchiha started out as a key member of the Leaf Village’s heroic Team 7, alongside Naruto, Sakura, and Kakashi, but became corrupted by his grief and obsession with revenge, spurned on by the outside influence of the villainous Orochimaru first and of Obito later.
A fan account of Masashi Kishimoto (@kishimotomasshi) recently shared a quote from Kishimoto that appeared in 2014’s Weekly Shonen Jump #108, where Sasuke’s creator labels the antihero as, “not good or bad, he’s just pure.”
Kishimoto always set Sasuke up to be a clear rival of Naruto, once calling them a yin and yang to one another, but his quote about Sasuke’s purity confirms that he doesn’t necessarily view Sasuke as a villain to Naruto’s status as a hero, an important distinction in the context of Sasuke’s behavior and motivation. Kishimoto calling Sasuke “just pure” could be interpreted as Sasuke being a true force of nature, a distillation of pure human instinct, which motivates him to do whatever he thinks is right.
Sasuke’s Morality Has Always Been A Source Of Fan Debate
Sasuke’s actions in Naruto have always polarized fans, with some thinking he is an irredeemable villain and unrepentant brat, while others view him as an inspiring antihero who is dedicated to his family legacy and eventually realizes the errors of his ways. The morality that Sasuke displays throughout Naruto shifts constantly, changing as the blighted Uchiha learns more and more about the tragic history of the Uchiha Clan and his older brother Itachi. Kishimoto’s 2014 quote establishes that at his core, Sasuke is a “very self-centered” person, concerned with his own goals and agendas and rarely even bothering to contemplate his impact on those around him.
While Sasuke was always seen as a “bad boy” by his peers at the beginning of Naruto, he was also viewed as being incredibly noble and loyal, especially after saving Naruto in Team 7’s battle against Zabuza. However, Sasuke’s goal was always to avenge the slaughter of his clan, and he made the decision to forego all his prior relationships to grow ever stronger. Not caring about how this hurt those close to him, Sasuke selfishly had extreme tunnel vision around his future, going so far as to almost kill Sakura and allowing himself to become a dangerous rogue ninja so that he could get revenge for his family.
Sasuke’s Heroism Is In The Eye Of The Beholder
As Kishimoto says, the question of whether Sasuke is “good or bad” is incredibly complicated, boiling down to viewers own beliefs on morality and what is “good.” While some might view his single-minded and selfish obsession with vengeance to be inherently “bad,” others might say that his loyalty and tenacity actually make him an inspiring antihero. For many years Sasuke could only focus on revenge, experiencing a pure distillation of emotion that motivated him to do whatever he thought he needed to achieve his goals, which finally changed after his emotional reunion with the resurrected Itachi during the Fourth Shinobi World War.
While Sasuke is one of the most adored characters from Kishimoto’s Naruto franchise, the polarizing character has led to great debate about his status as a hero or a villain, with Kishimoto making it clear that, for him, Sasuke is neither; he is simply a young man doing what he thinks he must regardless of the consequences.
Source: Weekly Shonen Jump (via @kishimotomasshi)