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King was born in Uganda and raised as a Canadian. He studied and graduated the animation program at sheridan college and furthered his knowledge into game and 3D artistry.

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Naruto Painting


 "where's the original?"

I really can't list all the ways I love the work of Masashi Kishimoto. Every Friday for the past several years I've found myself with a cup of tea in my left hand and my mouse in my right as I read through his weekly manga chapters. I find it fascinating how alienating the character and work seems from a distance only to be a true gem once you've become enthralled. Most anime/manga that exists in the western world had this issue. It's a shame really but I can't say I don't understand it. I more than anyone else thought this material looked jacked and unapproachable at first but after a few issues I was hooked for life. 

The Destined Child 

Nartuo is the story of a boy, living in a village occupied by both "ninja" and civilians that have ousted him for the simple fact that he is the obligatory host of the same demon that periodically attacks said village. He has no family and it's his life long goal to become the greatest shinobi of the land. To do this he has to go to school. We follow him in his journey to achieve this goal, along the way meeting peers, rivals and mentors each with a story of their own. No summery can do the work justice, and at a distance even I can see that this looks like the same old eastern ilk that has been trying to infiltrate our fiction for years. It really is up to the reader to jump in or not. What can be said is that it's arguably the most popular ongoing series at the moment and when completed it will have a place right next to the great ones. 

 Like many other stories Naruto's birth is marked by his parents death and the whole ordeal is not only covered up from the village but the hero himself. However, it is when the truth in the matter is finally revealed that one understands how much planning it really takes to pull of these kinds of concepts. Naruto effortlessly out does Harry Potter, Superman and even DBZ in this terrain all while weaving it's own mythology. Yes, we've seen the hyper-destined boy adventure his way through wizard boarding school, but it's great to see the equally uniform Japanese school setting at play. What really makes this setting shine is how much of a hated underdog the hero is. It provides for a lot of catharsis when he outdoes the low expectations everyone has set out for him. Actually the series is full of losers simply trying to make it. It could be said that this aspect is both the flaw of the series as well as its most endearing theme. Everyone, antagonist or otherwise is has a similar troubled past as the hero and they're just trying to fix the world the live in. It gets kind of redundant watching the hero find common ground with everyone he fights but that's serialized thematic plotting for you.

 Speaking of fixing the world, there are a lot of themes at play here. One of the more powerful themes is revenge bread war times. The world of Naturo is made up of about 6 villages that reside in about 5 feudal lands. There exists and economy that is pretty much run on ninja related conflict. I can't help but believe Kishimoto modeled this world based on his own cultural history. For instance, the manga begs the question; can the children of China forgive the children of Japan for the rape of Nan king? The entire conflict brought about by the misguided older wartime generation. Kishi weaves around this theme beautifully by making his protagonist, whose situation is a direct result of these wartime tactics, travel around forgiving and changing these very people. The (north) Korean land having to deal with the fallout of the larger adjacent warring states breeds a different kind of hate and in turn village destroying villain. One that fancies himself a god. This is social commentary at it's finest and it's distributed directly to children. I love it. I also love the theme of generations. Not only do the old have to die to make way for the new, but the new eventually become the old and you see these kids become the very same assertive sensei's we were so impressed by in the beginning, We even get to experience these older folks as young kids, and that’s where the magic really starts. Every death isn't just beautiful but it's permanent. No wishing back 17 times and an 18th time with a halo for good measure. The action in this saga is both inventive as well as emotionally grounded as the drama. There's nothing like watching your friend save the village right in front of the very people that would throw rocks at him in his childhood. It's also cool seeing this boy become the (endearing) man his absentee father was. On a personal level, there is something relatable in the idea of an orphan learning the true nature of his parent’s sacrifice where before he only saw absence. Sorry Jor-El, you've been outclassed..big time. 

Admittedly, I've both cried and cheered out loud whilst viewing these stories. This eastern comic book/anime speaks to me in such a way that the comic books I read growing up only touched upon in broad strokes. Weekly installments probably help with that. It’s interesting how may people down anime, tragic really considering there really is no comparison in quality story telling for serialized animation in the west. Our best stuff was in the 90’s and even then Gargoyles and Batman stunk of corporate merchandising. But people will still champion our stuff over theirs whenever presented with the option.
I'd kill to meet this Kishimoto.


-King

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