An avowed cinephile, Kishimoto cited Quentin Tarantino’s films as a major influence on “Naruto”:
“I watch a lot of movies, and I tend to be influenced by scenes that intrigue me, that make me want to use the same effects or technique…I like the way Quentin Tarantino creates a scene using a series of close-ups or showing very cool images of a person or people walking on some ordinary street in slow motion. I wish I could achieve that kind of slow-motion effect in manga, but it’s rather difficult to draw; the only things we can play with are tones of black and white.”
Tarantino’s slow-motion action sequences are especially prominent in both “Kill Bill” films and the infamous (and extremely cool) slow-motion walk from “Reservoir Dogs.” However, one scene that feels like a possible influence on “Naruto” is the origin story for Lucy Liu’s O-Ren Ishii. Not only is it a beautifully animated sequence, but Tarantino’s trademark hyper-violence is on full display, especially when an unlucky thug receives a bullet to the brain. It’s a technique that would be utilized in multiple fights across the “Naruto” manga and its anime adaptation, especially when Naruto battles his friend/rival Sasuke. Not only is this scene loaded with emotional weight as both men battle for the fate of the world, but it also manages to showcase elements of Tarantino’s style as the two run in slow-motion at each other before unleashing a flurry of blows.