Naruto famously started out as an absolute delinquent, however, that was taken to some gross extremes in the series’ forgotten manga pilot.
It’s well known that Naruto spent much of his life as an absolute nuisance to Konoha. Between graffiti, reading books he shouldn’t, and his general attitude as a loud-mouth, the future Seventh Hokage was anything but disciplined as a child. Despite all of the shenanigans Naruto would get up to though, his original manga pilot showed a side of him that was far darker and far grosser.
Beginning in 1999, Naruto has become a global sensation and it’s undeniable that part of the reason is Naruto himself. Far from a selfless or moral hero, Naruto starts out as an absolute brat who can’t stand the thought of working with others. As an orphan with a village-destroying demon trapped inside of him, Naruto was almost destined to be an outcast, leading him to act out for attention. As annoying as many of these actions were to the adults in his life, it’s difficult not to sympathize with him at least a little. However, Naruto’s first appearance was a little less sympathetic.
In 1997, Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto released a pilot for the series that was much different than the elaborate ninja world which premiered two years later. In this first draft, Naruto isn’t a boy with a nine-tailed fox demon trapped inside of him, but the son of that demon. The pilot opens with Naruto having trapped a classmate in a hole. The classmate threatens to snitch on Naruto by revealing that he had actually defecated on the village leader’s desk. This does nothing to persuade Naruto, who then proceeds to pee on his classmate, much to his absolute horror.
The world presented by the Naruto pilot manga is very different from the one fans are used to and this even extends to the title character. More than just slightly annoying pranks, these gross acts could legitimately be considered outright harassment. The pilot follows through on this too, with the village’s leader outright stating that if Naruto continues down the path he’s on, he’d end up just as evil as his monstrous father. Additionally, changing him from being the son of a demon to having a demon inside of him is pretty substantial. Still, despite this darker streak, Naruto is the most similar element between the prototype and the actual series. His status as an outsider and even his signature look were both brought over wholesale, even if everything else around him changed drastically.
As fascinating as these changes are, it’s evident that Kishimoto made the right call to overhaul his series. This version of Naruto might be a lonely kid too, but he’s also much harder to empathize with considering he is a legitimate terror. The Naruto series went through several revisions before arriving at the wild ninja world it did. Given these prototypes, fans should be grateful that Naruto’s worst crime in the main series is stealing adult magazines and not something far more disgusting.
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