Readers of the manga were quick to notice that Gaara’s violence was significantly reduced in the Naruto anime – here’s why. In both media, the future Kazekage was oddly portrayed as a source of terror to foes and allies alike during his younger years. However, the Naruto the anime’s depiction failed to capture Gaara’s horrific brutality that was originally depicted in the manga.
Gaara was first introduced to Naruto series at the start of the Chunin Exam arc. Within a few chapters, Gaara threatened to kill his siblings, broke Rock Lee’s arm and leg, attempted to murder Rock Lee, and succeeded in murdering many others by crushing them in a sandy sarcophagus without a only show of pity. Thanks to the stylized work drawn by that of Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto, Gaara’s actions were described in gruesome and gory detail. The anime made a conscious decision to remove these details.
From the point of view of production, violence in Naruto had to be composed due to its appeal as a children’s television show. Especially in the west, the production team had to make some major adjustments to that of Naruto action sequences in order to achieve the coveted TV-PG rating. Gaara’s ruthless actions turned out to be a byproduct of this censorship. However, this change benefited Gaara’s character arc in Naruto from a storytelling perspective. In the manga, Gaara was portrayed more as a ruthless villain. Although his backstory garnered some sympathy, his cruel attacks were hard to ignore. By controlling all the violence in the Naruto anime, Gaara’s ruthless attacks were less pronounced. As a result, Gaara became a more redeemable individual from the start.
Gaara was Naruto’s foil. Both grew up completely isolated in their respective villages as they were jinchurikis: humans containing a sealed monster inside. The villagers’ fear of such monsters was expressed in acts of disgust and avoidance directed at the unconscious children. Not knowing the cause of this mistreatment, Gaara and Naruto began to develop feelings of rage and hatred. However, while Naruto was able to combat his negative emotions by forming meaningful relationships with characters like his father figure Iruka, sensei Kakashi, and his teammates Sasuke and Sakura, Gaara still had no one. The goofy protagonist of the series could have easily become Gaara under different circumstances. Viewers wanted to see Gaara redeemed, as they would have wanted Naruto redeemed if their roles had been swapped. Keeping Gaara’s villainy in the anime would have tainted any comparison to Naruto, making support for his redemption much harder to come by.
Although the Naruto the anime noticeably changed the extent of Gaara’s violence, his character arc remained relatively the same. The lonely boy who used to spill his bloodlust on the world has become a beloved leader devoted to protecting his home. Whether or not the Naruto the anime’s censorship was necessary may be debatable, but both mediums managed to effectively show the growth of an otherwise fan-favorite character.
Next: Naruto’s New Main Villain Code Explained
Peacemaker’s Aquaman Insult Is Lazy And Makes No Sense In The DCEU
About the Author