Announcement: My fanfic, True Potential, actually has a TV Tropes page!! Thanks so much to Scistorm for bothering to make it! I am so very, very appreciative! :) If anybody wishes to, you can go check it out (or even edit it :P ). I just wanted to say something about it. Thank you so very much again Scistorm!
Second Announcement: True Potential also has FAN ART designed by the amazing InkSpot823. Please feel free to check it out on DeviantArt! Also check out her other work as well while there. :)
Hello everyone, and welcome to my profile! :) I don't know why you chose to stumble upon my profile, but I welcome you to it. I hope you don't get bored by what you see here!
To give some incredibly basic information about myself
Name: Ryan (you can call me that, or DryBonesKing. I don't mind either!)
Gender: Male (he/his pronouns)
On the topic of fanfiction, I've been on this website now for twelve years. I've grown a lot since I started back when I was thirteen as a person and as a writer. I used to be an incredibly shitty writer when I first started here (and believe me; there's a major reason why the work I published in 2007 is no longer on the website... yes, it was that bad). I really have become attached to this website and all the different stories you can find here. I have this weird feeling I'll be here for even longer, writing stories for whatever for almost all of my life, even if I do actually get original books published. I don't think I'll mind though! :)
List of my favorite shit (for anyone who cares) :P
Favorite Anime/Manga: Naruto, Fullmetal Alchemist, Death Note, My Hero Academia, Haikyuu!, Attack on Titan, Code Geass, Cowboy Bebop, Chrno Crusade, Yu-Gi-Oh
Favorite Video Games: Super Mario franchise, Legend of Zelda franchise, Pokémon franchise, Fire Emblem franchise, Persona Franchise (specifically Persona 5, but I'm also partial to Persona 3), Phoenix Wright/Ace Attorney franchise, Halo franchise (up to Halo Reach), "Tales of" Franchise, Bioshock franchise, Danganronpa Franchise, Undertale, League of Legends
Favorite Television Shows: Dollhouse, Avatar: Last Airbender, Avatar: Legend of Korra, Steven Universe, She-Ra Princess of Power, Squid Games, Dragon Prince, most cartoons on Cartoon Network in the late 90s/early 2000s, Survivor, Amazing Race
Favorite Books: Native Son (Richard Wright), Lord of the Flies (William Golding), Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus/Magnus Chase series (Rick Riordan), Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins), Lord of the Rings (J.R.R Tolkien), A Song of Ice and Fire (George R.R. Martin)
More Naruto stuff (since it is probably the biggest fandom and the one I currently write the most for :P )
Favorite Characters (in no particular order): Naruto, Hinata, Shikamaru, Haku, Gaara, Kushina, Minato, Jiraiya, Itachi, Deidara, Anko, Killer Bee, Rock Lee, Utakata, Han, Fū, Yugito, Han, Rōshi, Yagura
Favorite Pairings: NaruHina (OTP! OTP! OTP!), MinaKushi, ShikaTema, LeeTen, ShinoFū, ZabuAnko, NaruHaku (male Haku)
I... Might have more things to post here. I don't know. I'll see later!
Well. I have ideas for fanfiction to try, but I really do not have the time to be writing too many things right now. I really want to try focusing on True Potential and the other stuff I am working on - both on and off this site. However, I have... ideas, I suppose. So I'd like to issue a challenge!
If any author is interested, I'm going to post a challenge here. If any of them interest you, I encourage you all to try your hand at writing them! Let me know if you DO take the challenge. If you do, message me and I'll make sure to post a link to them so I can advertise them! :)
I may post more, if I ever think of more. Anyway...
Challenge 1 - "The Rise from Minor Village to a Major Village"
I have seen a few fanfics where Naruto is raised in another shinobi village, such as Sunagakure or Kumogakure. It is quite interesting to find a fanfic where Naruto has a completely different upbringing, where he is raised in a new village. However, the only fanfics I have seen have done major shinobi villages. So here's the pitch - what about a minor shinobi the village?
The focus of this challenge is to write a fanfic where Naruto is raised and grew up in a minor shinobi village, such as Takigakure, Kusagakure, Shimogakure, Tanigakure, Amegakure, Hoshigakure, etc. As you noticed, I included Hoshikagure amongst the list of examples, so if you wish to use an anime-filler minor shinobi village, you can!
However, the end goal of the fanfic is not only the effect that growing up in a minor village could have on Naruto, but the effect Naruto could have on the village itself. My goal is to have Naruto drastically increase the overall reputation and strength of the minor village. And that, by the end of the fanfic, regardless of a positive or negative ending, that the minor shinobi village is regarded as a Major Shinobi Village by the rest of the elemental nations and that its leader is given the title of 'Kage'.
... Now, whether or not you want Naruto to inevitably become that Kage is up to you. I'll leave that to your disclosure.
1: Naruto must still be born in Konoha and moved to that minor shinobi village. You can justify it however you want - was he kidnapped at a young age? Was he given away to a minor village ally of Konoha in order to further protect and hide him? Or to potentially protect him from prejudice of Konoha citizens due to the Kyūbi? You can justify it however you want, but Naruto must still be born in Konoha.
2: Naruto must be brought to the minor shinobi village no later than age three. Naruto's growth as a ninja must come from that minor shinobi village.
3: Avoid unnecessary bashing, if possible. If you wish for their to be some initial Konoha bashing (i.e. if you went with the prejudice route for the reason why Naruto is no longer in Konoha), it is fine, but I would like for the bashing to stop at some point when Naruto matures.
4: Pairings - My only restrictions on pairing are no incest pairings (no NejiHina, for example) and no pairings with age differences larger than twenty years (no NarutoTsunade, for example). Yaoi and Yuri are allowed if you want to write it. But please; respect the two requirements I do have.
5: As mentioned, the minor shinobi village must become a powerhouse of a village by the end of it. That also means in ways outside of just Naruto. So, that means some development into other shinobi as a whole. A shinobi village cannot be strong on the works of just one shinobi, so please work on developing the village as a whole!
Things to Take into Consideration
1: If you go with Takigakure as the village, Naruto will be growing up in the same village as Fū. Having another jinchūriki in his life could prove beneficial and interesting!
2: If you go with Kusagakure as the village, Naruto will be growing up in the same village as Karin. It might be a good idea to develop their relationship as cousins! :)
3: If you go with Hoshigakure as the village, remember that according to their filler arc, they already have a Hoshikage. Remember that they are a minor village, though, and that their leader should not be recognized as a 'Kage' by the major shinobi villages. When they finally have a Kage that earns the respect of the elemental nations as a whole, that person will be recognized as Hoshigakure's first 'Shodai Hoshikage'
4: If you go with Amegakure as the village, you're going to have take a few things into consideration in relation to Akatsuki. Did Naruto get to the village prior to the death of Yahiko? Did Nagato/Konan/Yahiko take him in? How did the altercation with Hanzo go? Or did Naruto come to the village after the death of Yahiko? In which case, was Akatsuki still formed? What's Nagato's and Konan's role in the village? This village might have the most work needed to make it work, but could also be simultaneously the most interesting!
5: Remember that there are other villages as well, such as Shimogakure and Tanigakure. Please - feel free to develop them in interesting ways! Complete blank slates provide ample opportunities to develop!
6: If you do this challenge, know you'll have to use OCs. It would probably be incredibly difficult (if unrealistic, even) to just use canon characters. Please - take time developing OCs. I know you can make compelling characters that will feel natural to the Naruto universe! I believe in you :)
The challenge is a tad open-ended, cause I don't want to force people into certain plot points. It's just a rough, ROUGH outline. Please - feel free to try it! And let me know if you do so I can advertise it! :)
Well,if you made it this far, maybe you actually are interested in my opinions? So... would you like to read some rants? I'll update this periodically with rants about various fandom information. Most will probably be about Naruto, but they could extend to other topics. Some could be about fanfiction trends and others could be about the actual source material. I don't know; we'll see what I have to say!
Rant 1: "Kishimoto, you did make nine jinchūriki, right? Nine!! Where are the other six!?" (Rant about the role of the Jinchūriki in canon material/most fanfiction)
I figured I would start off my rants with a topic that I am pretty passionate about. If you actually looked at my favorite characters list, you all probably noticed that all nine jinchūriki are in the list. That's no coincidence. I love the idea of the jinchūriki as characters so much. They were probably the topic I was focused on the most when the fandom was young in 2006/2007.For a long time, we only knew Naruto and Gaara. There were seven characters we knew nothing about. I had so many OC's created for the other jinchūriki and hypothesized what villages they came from. what abilities they had, what they were like, and what their role would be in the story. And while Kishimoto did create seven great characters that I was incredibly interested in once their character art came out (much better than OC's I came up with)... he completely disappointed me with the story he had for them... or should I say, lack thereof.
I do get it; he needs to build up and develop Akatsuki, who barely had a role in the first series, so he has to have the other jinchūriki get captured so they get closer to their goal. And he can't do the same thing he did with Gaara and save all of them so none of them really die. I completely understand that the others had to get captured and die to progress the story. What's infuriating, though, is the sheer lack of use of them. The first new jinchūriki introduced in Shippuden was Yugito, who got basically no development in her few pages before getting captured... and she's one of the ones who got the most development! Seriously; Kishimoto didn't give a chance for Yagura, Rōshi, Han, Utakata, and Fū. Thank God he learned his lesson and allowed Killer Bee to actually get developed (and developed well, might I add), but it really bothers me that the others didn't get a chance to get developed.
The jinchūriki are characters that all have a connection to each other. The similarities between Naruto and Gaara were hammered in hard and was one of my favorite things about the first Naruto series. I was really interested in seeing how all of these nine characters would be in comparison to each other, but Kishimoto ended up doing nothing with them at all. They all were literally just blank slates with no character until they got brought back in the Fourth Shinobi World War, and even then, they really didn't get developed too much.
It feels like such a waste of good characters. As said earlier, all jinchūriki have a general connection to each other just based on the lives they had to have lived and having a connection due to their bijū. There is so much potential for great character interaction in there. And even not taking the interaction into consideration, they are all just cool character concepts. Yagura is the fucking Yondaime Mizukage who was responsible for the 'Bloody Mist'. And then you have characters like Han and Utakata, who have unique fighting styles that would be a joy to read about. Why didn't he even try?
The thing that irritates me is just simply because the handling of the jinchūriki is something the anime did better! I wasn't asking for much, I don't think. I was actually very content with the Utakata filler arc in Shippuden and the Suna Chūnin Exam that gave some characterization for Fū. Honestly, it was just nice to see them have brief interaction with other jinchūriki and show off their personalities and how they thought and acted to a degree! That was all I really thought was needed. And Kishimoto didn't even bother... he just wasted the characters.
Some of the fanfics on this site aren't much better, however. I happen to notice that most jinchūriki aren't featured in a lot of stories other than Naruto and Gaara. Sometimes, Fū and Yugito get featured, but that's usually to get paired up with Naruto. The others aren't really featured at all. I can count the number of fanfics I've read that truly feature Han and Rōshi on one hand! And some fanfics actually don't really use Killer Bee much is for as big of a character he is in the latter half of the series (although that maybe because of his 'speaking habits'... of that'll be fun to write later!). I think it's making the same mistakes that Kishimoto made; having access to great characters and not using them.
I am actually pretty passionate about this; I love the jinchūriki and their designs and what little we actually did get to see of them (even if it was incredibly little). I plan on using them all to extensive details in all of my Naruto fanfiction. And, honestly, I hope to see them all used more often. If this rant accomplished anything... I hope you decide to use them in your fanfics. Introduce Fū and Utakata! Write scenes with Han and Yagura. Give Yugito and Rōshi a chance! ... Oh yeah. And Naruto and Gaara and Killer Bee. They're kinda important too. :)
Rant 2: "Look, I get it; you hate Danzō. We all hate Danzō! That doesn't automatically make him eat babies or some shit!" (rant on character bashing)
It's safe to say that everyone is at least familiar with the concet of character bashing in fanfics. It's a very common trope seen in fanfics and an easy way to identify who an author's favorite and least favorite characters are! It's not exclusive to just any fandom too; I've seen plenty of Sasuke/Sakura/Kakashi bashing fanfics in Naruto, Yamcha/Chi-Chi bashing fics in Dragon Ball, Klavier Gavin bashing fics in Ace Attorney, etc. Hell, there's even a TV tropes page dedicated this titled "Ron the Death Eater", named after a general trend of fanfics that bash Ron to the point of character assassination.
Now, two things to discuss really quick before I really get started with this. One - I don't think all bashing is inherently bad. Sometimes, character bashing can actually be sorta funny if it's presented in certain way! I also think it's just sorta natural for some authors to use it, especially if they are beginning authors. I know I did in my very first fanfic (which has long been deleted here). And Two - When I am discussing 'bashing' in this rant, I am referring to bashing specific characters - not a 'group' of characters. I'm not referring to general "All Konoha shinobi"/"All Straw Hat Pirate Crew"/"All of Ash's former travel companions" bashing fanfics. I've noticed trends with those that make them a bit unique and I won't address them here - that's maybe the topic of another rant, later on! But anyway. With those two points out of the way...
So. Bashing. It can actually be used in funny ways at times and it can also just be a necessary development for beginning writers. Having said that, I do think fanfics are naturally stronger when there is no bashing, period. When an author engages in continuous bashing of a character, it can actually cause a major impact on the story that can cause the plot to no longer make sense.
For my example, I am going to use Danzō, as I have name-dropped him already. Danzō, from Naruto, is arguably one of the few characters that I think actually has a universal hatebase for. Characters like Sasuke and Kakashi and Sakura/Hinata all have their die-hard fans and haters, but Danzō is a special case - seemingly uniting the fanbase in a collective ball of anger. He's the root of so many various problems that occur in Naruto, from causing Nagato's downward spiral into becoming Pain, to playing an active role in developing Kabuto as a villain, to directly encouraging Itachi to kill his own clan, to straight-up interfering with a message to Naruto to get back to Konoha during pain's invasion, which could have prevented damage/potential deaths. And that's not even going into his organization, ROOT, itself and all of its general horridness. Danzō is a grade-A scumbag and deserves all the hate he gets from me and other fans.
Now, the interesting thing about Danzō is that he has clear motives behind all of his actions. He genuinely believes he is acting in the best interest of Konoha and is willing to do whatever it takes for those goals. He's the person who will act against the threats that he feels Hiruzen/Tsunade will not. He's willing to do anything so long as the ends end up helping Konoha, in his mind. That makes him increidbly fascinating! And... also makes some of his actions in fanfics a bit confusing.
I have seen plenty of fanfics where Danzō's 'well-intentioned extremist' characteristics are removed. No longer is he a person who is acting in Konoha's best interest - he is simply a man who just wants power and nothing else. In these fanfics, he's a lot less subtle with his plans and his demeanor and just seemingly acts 'for the evulz'. He lets himself get openly angry and hostile when confronted. I've even seen examples of these stories where Danzō actively plots to destroy Konoha, almost seemingly out of revenge for not being chosen to become Hokage.
Again, I want to re-iterate. I HATE Danzō. But writing him in this fashion does the fanfic no good, as it just doesn't make any sense at all. Danzō is not stupid and 'evil just because he's evil' and reading him acting in such ways gives almost a cognitive dissonance. It's not what the man would do in character, which causes the fanfic to not feel realistic. Which obviously, that's okay in some cases. I already said that, sometimes, bashing can be useful for humor purposes. And realism is clearly thrown out the window in some types of AU fanfiction. But quite often, at least from my perspective, reading a character like Danzō act in a way that makes no sense can hurt the story progression and plot and make the overall story just not feel like the source material at all.
It's not exclusive to Danzō - he's just seemingly the most acceptable choice for bashing. I've already listed plenty of examples. My whole point, though, is that the concepts I've mentioned when talking about Danzō apply to all characters. And I just wanted to address it because I feel like character bashing can occassionally make an amazing strong, unique story come across as 'weaker' than it actually is.
As a quick comment - if you hate a character in the source material, use that to your advantage! You hate them? Give them character development and help them grow in a reaslitic way! Not interested in that? Totally fine; just acknowledge the motives behind their behavior and keep writing them consistently! Just always be aware, though, to make sure you write them the way they actually are and not the way you personally feel like they are. Once you are able to accomplish that - to write a character you hate in the most natural way that they are in the source material, free from your own personal bias - your story and writing in general will be a hundred times stronger! I can assure you of that. :)
Rant 3: "Jiraiya had a PERFECTLY good reason for leaving Naruto alone in Konoha; it was the fact Kishimoto fucked up!" (rant on Kishimoto's problems with continuity and the subsequent bashing of Jiraiya for these problems)
So. Let's talk for a second about the Gallant Jiraiya, one of the legendary Sannin. It is very obvious that Kishimoto intended for him to be a fan favorite character. Jiraiya has so many things going for him as a character - a very defined history that focuses on the meaning of war and peace, great parallelism with Naruto, Tsunade, and Orochimaru, an exceptionally strong jutsu arsenal, and just a very easy-going, relaxed personality that knew how to get serious when needed. There is a ton going for Jiraiya as a character that makes him likable on paper! Hell, I managed to like him despite him having one of my least favorite tropes in anime in general - the perverted old man with no sense of decency. Legit, I should fucking hate Jiraiya for his shameless 'research' sessions and how completely unsubtle and creepy he gets around young, attractive women. On that particular note, I think I tolerate it because it is implied to be a result of coping from the tragedies of the Shinobi World War. Sure he was already a pervert prior to war, but it seemed to grow exponentially after the war as he was overcome with related guilt and sorrow. His addiction to sex and pornography is actually an interesting parallel to Tsunade’s gambling addiction/alcoholism and Orochimaru’s addiction to power/immortality.
Point being; I like Jiraiya. I like a lot of the ideas about him on paper. I also love the idea that he is Naruto’s godfather and his overall relationship with Minato and Kushina. However, on that topic, I just love the idea. I absolutely detest the execution.
Jiraiya represents a lot of the negatives about Kishimoto’s writing; great world-building and narrative, but dear god the continuity errors are horrible. Jiraiya being Naruto’s godfather opens up a giant plot hole; where the hell was Jiraiya when Naruto’s life went to shit? It’s constantly brought up that Naruto did not have a good life. He was not beaten and abused like some fanfics like to imply (Oh God, THAT IS A TOPIC I WILL ONE DAY COVER IN ANOTHER RANT), but he was definitely lonely, had no real friends or family, and was just a general outcast. He became an attention-seeking brat specifically because no one (other than Hiruzen, the Ichiraku family, and a few scattered others) would give him attention.
Jiraiya is his family. He WOULD give him attention. He SHOULD have. And it very much is in Jiraiya’s personality to have done so! Jiraiya cared for Naruto and it’s so incredibly obvious he did. Right down to all the little scenes they had, eating ice cream, traveling, training, etc. Jiraiya adored the kid, even if he would never say it to his face. So I want to repeat the question: WHERE WAS JIRAIYA?
The answer, surprisingly, has nothing to do with Jiraiya; it’s all about Kishimoto. Kishimoto clearly wanted Jiraiya’s reveal as Naruto’s godfather to be an emotional moment, both for Naruto and for the readers, upon realizing that Jiraiya was going to die to Pain. The entire addition to the story was tacked on just for the emotional gut punch – to make Jiraiya’s death hurt more. And, to be fair, it kinda did. A lot. Jiraiya’s death scene is probably one of my favorite scenes in all of Naruto. But it also makes the story feel very manufactured, as a whole.
Authorial intent was not to make Jiraiya look like an asshole who avoided Naruto for no reason. He wasn’t some dumbass pervert who left Naruto behind to stalk pretty women and write his shitty porn books. He left Naruto behind, because Kishimoto wanted Naruto to be alone. He left Naruto behind, because Kishimoto wanted Jiraiya’s reveal as his godfather to be a surprise. He left Naruto behind, because his role as Naruto’s godfather was probably not immediately planned when he was introduced!
Jiraiya’s role as Naruto’s godfather is a ‘have your cake and eat it too’ moment. Kishimoto wanted to make readers have an even greater emotional reaction to his death. He didn’t seem to realize the implications that Jiraiya being Naruto’s godfather should have had on Naruto’s life prior – that Naruto should not have had a shitty, lonely childhood. But since that was the foundation of the story (Naruto becoming a great ninja despite his shitty, lonely childhood), he can’t do anything about that. He just had to ignore it and move on.
One thing I have noticed in some fanfiction is ‘Jiraiya-bashing’, based around Jiraiya ignoring Naruto for the first twelve years of his life. I completely understand it and will never fully criticize anyone for having those beliefs. I do, however, wish it wasn't a thing, because I don't think it's Jiraiya's fault. For my works, I won’t bash Jiraiya, though, or have Naruto have a bad reaction to the revelation of him being his godfather, because I don’t want to blame Jiraiya for Kishimoto’s bad writing. It’s in character for Jiraiya to have cared for Naruto, or to at least have checked up on him enough. It’s not his fault that Jiraiya was not with Naruto growing up. It’s Kishimoto’s. And as such, I don’t bash him for this. However, I will acknowledge its stupidity and wish Kishimoto would not have written this. Jiraiya’s death scene was indeed a powerful emotional scene… it did not need to be cheapened by Kishimoto’s lack-of-care for continuity errors.
Rant 4: "Somewhere, there's a happy medium between 'generic filler OC that's there for necessity #178' and 'Ultra Powered Mary Sue that hijacks story plot'. If only we could all discover it" (rant about the use of OCs and general mindset related to them)
Alright, let's talk about OCs for a moment, if you all don't mind! This rant is kinda two subjects in one, since it's about two prevailing thoughts and executions of OCs that are... problematic, I suppose is the best word for it. I could probably split this into two subjects, but I think I'll keep this as one for now. But I'm here to talk about the two extremes in regards to the use of OCs.
The first of which... is the active 'lack of use' of OCs. In pretty much any fandom, there's a ton of extra background characters that obviously are complete blank slates that can be used for characters, if you develop them. I've done that a ton - randomly remembering Honoka's existence in the Naruto filler arcs allowed me to create a rather fun Uzumaki character that made my Kirigakure Arc in True Potential a lot more fun! I actively encourage someone to go looking deep in the roots of a fan work to find background characters you can develop! But... also... there's no reason to go too extreme with this mindset.
The point I'm trying to get at was that I remember reading a fanfic that featured an OC that's only role was to be another academy instructor in the Konoha Academy. I can't remember which fanfic this was in particular, but I remember reading the author apologize about the use of the OC in their author's note and said they wouldn't be used after this; that their inclusion was only out of 'necessity'. And my response is ... but why though?
Like, creating an OC isn't a bad idea. There's tons of thought you can have through the use of original characters. One of my absolute favorite characters to write in True Potential is Masakado.
The use of OCs can be done in ways that are interesting and serve a role in the story that help better develop the story as a whole. And, to be honest, in some cases they are beyond just a necessity. Take a fanfic that is occurring in Iwa. Hypothetically speaking, let's assume that Naruto grew up in Iwa in this fanfic. Okay, cool. And if you use only 'canon/filler characters only', you have the Tsuchikage, Han, Roshi, Kurotsuchi, Akatsuchi, Kitsuchi... and you're already starting to run out of characters. This type of mindset can greatly limit the amount of worldbuilding that can go into this. What would Iwagakure's village be like? What would be examples of major clans? Who would lead them? What are some of the names of the current generation shinobi? Who runs their academies? If you don't use OCs, the general scope of the story will be INCREDIBLY limited. Hell, the mindset might even tempt the author to somehow prevent Deidara from turning into a missing ninja, just so they can have another 'canon character' in Iwa. That could potentially result in a character like Deidara acting out-of-character, as he ends up not being a 'villain' for literally no reason.
Now, of course, there's a reason for this mindset and why it's highly prevalent in the fan community - the average fanfic OC. The generic 'Mary Sue/Gary Stu'. The token 'god-like' shinobi that gets introduced at the beginning of the Naruto fanfic that is so incredibly strong. The one who manages to save Naruto from abuse that only they would interfere in. The one who will be viewed as Naruto's surrogate big brother/big sister for the rest of the story. The one who will inevitably be able to fight back against Sarutobi Hiruzen for literally no explainable reason!
Yes. Mary Sues/Gary Stus are annoying. And their prevalence in fanfics is annoying. They have the potential to drag an interesting story concept off a cliff. 'An Uzumaki that survived Uzushiogakure's fall comes to Konoha to help raise Naruto! How interesting! ... Oh wait, the Uzumaki has no personality and is randomly liked by everyone. Boooo.' These characters are lazy and uninspired. It's funny, since usually they have really elaborate descriptions and backstories, but nine times out of ten, they all have the same generic personality. They're a 'good person' who does what they feel is 'good' no matter what and will always fight for their friends. And maybe like one or two small quirks (i.e. they tap their feet when they get anxious). And that's it.
That is the prevailing opinion of OCs. And that's... super unfortunate. Cause literally, an OC is just an extension of an author's creativity. An OC can fill any role. They can be an incredibly amazing side-character, amazing villains, amazing protagonists... you name it! There's no limit to what an OC could be capable! It just sorta... sucks that they're either presented as literally background elements made out of necessity or as cardboard cutout 'heroes'.
Minor challenge to anyone currently writing a project that is reading this rant - make a GREAT OC. Write one that is compelling that you think would be an interesting addition to your story. Now, don't feel like you have to give them a super important role! Literally, you could just make a character that has an engaging battle with one of your story's characters. But do it! But before you do, take some time and effort, crafting a personality, backstory, and fighting style. It's a blank slate. It doesn't have to be trash or a filler - it's a complete blank canvas. So paint a beautiful picture with it, whenever you feel like you need to! Just remember to take the original work into consideration when figuring out a role and also to actually put the effort into its creation :)
Rant 5 - "Uchiha Itachi, you have the option to be one of the most heroic 'good guys' in all of the Naruto-series, or you can be one of the most sadistic, dark villains throughout the series Which of the two would you want to be?" "Yes." (Rant on Kishimoto's usage of Itachi in canon)
So, this one is going to be very similar to the Jiraiya rant and will be discussing a lot of the inconsistencies in Kishimoto's writing related to another retcon he made to another character. And yes, I will consider this a 'retcon', because there's no way in hell that Uchiha Itachi is the same character before and after Shippuden! Which puts me in a weird place, since I both love 'Villain! Itachi' and 'Hero! Itachi'.
Itachi is handled with an absolutely delightful care in pre-Shippuden, getting teased a lot in Sasuke's memories and it's building up hype to his reveal. And when Itachi finally shows himself in Konoha, he lives up to that hype, completely fucking up Kurenai and Kakashi and displaying a terrifying skillset. Seriously, Tsukuyomi and the way Itachi is introduced with it is some of the coolest shit ever. And Itachi going out of his way to simply torture Sasuke, both in Sasuke's past and through the use of Tsukuyomi in the hotel, is so well done and paints a picture of one of the most fucked up villains of all time.
I adored Itachi as a villain in pre-Shippuden. And early Shippuden-Naruto still featured Itachi's villainy on a pedestal and built-up to a phenomenal fight between Sasuke and Itachi where Itachi's reasons were finally explained - he was trying to develop Sasuke so that way he can steal his Sharingan to prevent Itachi's blindness and gain the Eternal Mangekyo. Very believable, very cruel, very sadistic, and Itachi's slow pursuit to Sasuke to steal his eyes at the very end of Itachi's life was terrifying. I fucking loved the battle and Itachi had such a great villainous ending.
And then he poked Sasuke on the head instead. And died. And then Tobi revealed the ""truth"" about Itachi's actions.
So, let me note that the reveal of Itachi being a good guy took me by surprise so fucking hard in the canon, but I really did enjoy the reveal and Itachi became a very interesting character. He became a die-hard pacifist who would sacrifice his morality and ideals in order to achieve peace for the majority. His characterization as a good big brother and the relationship development between him and Sasuke after his revival was also very sweet. I loved a lot about Itachi. But something always felt... off to a degree.
It's sorta obvious what's off - this isn't the Itachi we saw from before. This is a completely different character. Sure, Itachi as a villain and as a hero may share some personality similarities (both being very methodical and meticulous, both being relatively stoic and to himself), but everything else makes no sense. Initially, this can be looked at as some sort of 'long con' sort of thing - "Itachi was only ACTING as a villain, that's why!" And from a narrative perspective and without much thought, sure. I can buy that. But again, let's look back at what Itachi did in the canon. It's not just that Itachi killed off the Uchiha Clan conspirators. Itachi killed off EVERYONE in the Uchiha Clan. He killed off civilians, he killed off children, he killed off innocent 'loyal' shinobi that did not know about the coup. For fuck's sake, he killed off Uchiha Izumi, his love interest who had not been shown at all to have any problems with Konoha!
Itachi also unnecessarily tortured Sasuke. Sasuke did not see him kill his family - he only walked in on corpses of the Uchiha Clan. Itachi showed him killing the clan through his Tsukuyomi. He then showed it to him AGAIN in the hotel. And in that second time, he literally did it ONLY to cause Sasuke grief.
What. The. Hell. This makes zero sense given Itachi's agenda and motives. For the man who was willing to go in and preemptively kill his clan himself to save Sasuke's life, there is zero reason he would unnecessarily torture Sasuke! That makes no sense whatsoever! That's the biggest evidence right there - Itachi "the villain" and Itachi "the hero" are two completely separate characters.
I'm not sure when, but I think Kishimoto had the idea for the new Uchiha Clan subplot probably around the time of the end of the Sasuke/Naruto at the Valley of the End. Or around the Kazekage Rescue Arc. I do think he definitely had it in my mind starting Shippuden, but not much earlier than that. Because there's zero reason for him to have written Itachi torturing Sasuke in the hotel scene because that makes zero sense for Itachi to do. He could have simply knocked him unconscious; not cause him more mental torture that contributed to Sasuke abandoning Konoha, which is the LITERAL LAST THING ITACHI WOULD WANT HIM TO DO!
Kishimoto's reconning is infuriating at times lol. This one is more of a rant about the original series, although it does kinda crop up in fanfiction. I think Itachi gets written rather inconsistently because of the way Kishimoto handled this mess. For the most part, I think Itachi's "good side" is what wins out overall and people don't tend to hate on him too much and write him that way as a tragic, heroic figure. I am completely okay with that, since I don't blame Itachi for his actions - I blame Kishimoto completely changing his motivations. But still, I do think it's a little bit different than Jiraiya's situation because - unlike Jiraiya who is blamed for actions he didn't do in regards to Naruto, because Kishimoto probably didn't realize the implications of what Jiraiya should have done for Naruto as his godfather - Itachi already DID actions that fucked up Sasuke's psyche. And I think I would be good for fanfics to not simply... "ignore" how much Itachi's actions fucked with Sasuke.
It's probably difficult to try and reconcile that in a fanfic. How CAN you write an Itachi that terrorized Sasuke for seemingly no reason while still writing him as a good guy? It's difficult as shit, I imagine. But I do wish more fanfics would at least force the "heroic Itachi" to recognize his actions. It's not fair that Kishimoto put him in the situation he is in, but he's in the situation, and it's important to at least have him take some responsibility for what he actually did do.
Rant 6 - "Haku TOTALLY lied to Naruto! She's totally a girl! Just please, ignore Zabuza's quotes after Naruto's deaths referring to Haku with male pronouns!" (rant about FemHaku)
So... I think this may be my first genuinely controversial rant. I think my others are either criticisms of general faults with Kishimoto's writing or they're general criticisms about fanfiction tropes (i.e. bashing and underuse/overuse of OCs) that must people - in theory - would agree with. This one, though... I definitely know people will disagree with this. I know a lot of people really like FemHaku. I know some people have some strong opinions on this. I... uh. If you can't tell, I really, really, REALLY disagree.
Before I get too into this, I want to say something - I have nothing against Rule 63. Gender-bent fanfiction can be a really good read! Every now in then, I'll find a pretty good Naruko story! And one of the stories I've been reading to read for a while that I haven't - "The Boy in the Team" - features Naruko AND a Male Sakura. I've heard a lot of good things about it and I'm excited to read it soon...ish. XD Point being, I can AND do end up liking stories with gender-bent characters. And I'll acknowledge that I HAVE found good FemHaku stories.
However, as a base concept, I absolutely despise FemHaku. And it's entirely because "FemHaku" is not treated like a standard gender-bending. "FemHaku" gets shoved into stories now and then for no other reason than the author "Simply believing that Haku is a girl!" Which... no. This belief pisses me off for a couple of reasons.
The first part about it that annoys me is simply the reason it exists in the first part - "Haku is so pretty and non-masculine, she has to be a girl!" I have seen some people make that defense that Haku HAS to be a woman because "she looks too pretty to be a guy". I resent that. Is it impossible a guy that is "pretty"? Because there are plenty of men out there who I would personally describe as pretty-looking. Feminine facial features and characteristics does not mean somehow has to be a woman. And in regards to Haku being 'non-masculine' ... I mean, there are also plenty of guys who are not particularly masculine. It does make them any less of a man. I myself have been described relatively feminine in regards to my personality, and I'm a cis-gender straight man. Haku does not have to automatically "be female" just because they are more feminine.
The second part that annoys me is that FemHaku exists DESPITE the fact that Haku has confirmed that he is male. Haku did not tell Naruto "I'm a boy" just to get a cheap laugh. Does that seem in character? Haku knew that he was going to confront Naruto and Team Seven later on the bridge and was mentally bracing himself to kill them (even if he wouldn't follow through with that in the end). Why would he lie about something so minor?
The third part - and one that seems to escape a lot of people's minds - is that ZABUZA FUCKING CALLS HAKU WITH MALE PRONOUNS! Zabuza is shown referring to Haku as a boy when talking about meeting him with Kakashi and, after Haku is dead, still refers to him as male with pronoun usage. That last part is especially important, because I know one general theory about FemHaku is that Haku disguised "her" gender because "she" was afraid of getting targetted the way other young women with kekkei genkai often get targeted. Zabuza - who basically raised Haku - would know HIS gender and, assuming that narrative was true, would not keep up the pretense after Haku's death. Zabuza referring to Haku as male after he died should have confirmed without a shadow of a doubt that Haku is male!
The fourth, final, and most important thing that pisses me off about FemHaku is the fact that most of the time, FemHaku is shoved in for a pairing. And that's it. It's usually done to add Haku to Naruto's harem. Or for your solo Naruto x FemHaku story. Or your Sasuke x FemHaku. Or for a creepy Zabuza x FemHaku. Or whatever. No other reason. It is frustrating as hell to read all of these stories and just see Haku reduced to nothing more than a love interest.
The thing that frustrates me is that Haku is one of my favorite characters. I love the complexity with his desire to be a tool to Zabuza while simultaneously being a gentle soul who was unable to commit to killing Naruto and Sasuke. I love the tragedy of his backstory and how it shaped his view on life and how he lived. I loved the father/son relationship he had with Zabuza. Haku, for the longest time, was my favorite character in Naruto due to all the different layers of his character. And none of what I love about Haku is restricted to his gender - a FemHaku story can still contain I love about Haku and be a great fanfic. You can write "her" and still contain the essence of "him" and I'll love it. But where you lose me is when you make him FemHaku for your pairing. If you are going to write Haku as a girl in your fanfic, fine. Have at it. But please have a reason to do it. Don't do it "just cause". And sure as hell don't do it just to throw "her" into Naruto's fucking harem!
... Besides. MaleHaku x Naruto is a much better ship! ;)
Rant 7: "I appreciate the decision to make an OC protagonist for your fanfic, but don't you think it's a little... awkward to name him 'Naruto'? I mean, there's already someone else NAMED Naruto in canon and I know for sure that's not him..." (rant about OOC Naruto/"Naruto in Name Only"
This topic is going to be kinda fun, because this rant is actually applicable towards a lot of characters and fandoms in general. This applies to any story with a 'main character' Sasuke or Sakura or Hinata or Kakashi or anyone that just seems a bit... 'off', is as how I'll describe it for now. It also applies to not just Naruto. You'll see this a lot in Harry Potter fanfics with various... distinct personifications of Harry. Or in Pokemon. Or in MHA. One Piece. Sailor Moon.
I'm specifically referring to just writing your main character of the story as OOC for literally no fucking reason.
I'll use Naruto as the example for this, since I've found so many different versions of him in fanfiction that it's impossible to account for. I'll find plenty of fanfiction that just twist at his character and make him someone he's not. You'll find plenty of fanfiction where he's a glorified Sasuke-clone, always aloof and disinterested in the people around him with predisposition towards revenge. Also find fanfiction where Naruto is a giant charming womanizer, trying to seduce literally any woman he meets. And there's also fanfiction where Naruto is just this dark edgelord, obsessed with being a 'real shinobi' and belittling anyone who he feels is not a real shinobi. You'll find a lot of different flavors of 'Naruto' in fanfiction, although each story with a 'different' interpretation usually features some relatively similar tropes: mocking the 'kill me, orange!' outfit, taking off 'the mask' and revealing a different personality that's been there the entire time, a predisposition towards the color 'black', and an unholy amount of skill that was obviously not there in canon.
Now, I don't think writing a different Naruto is actually a problem, and I also understand the potential motivating factors for it. Yes, Naruto in early chapters of the manga/anime was annoying as hell, stupid as hell, and immature as hell. He needed to grow-up. That's why I love his character; I loved watching him grow-up into who he became later on the series. I understand that annoyance and desire to 'change' him, though, and wanting to shift him into someone else. Cause theoretically speaking, Naruto has a lot of potential to grow into multiple different types of people depending on his background. There's a lot of different people he could grow into.
... My problem is simply finding fanfiction where Naruto, having the exact same background, is now just fundamentally a different person. No catalyst. No situation that happened that just changed him. Nothing.
Just a lazy author who just decided "I want to write a smart, 'cool, Naruto who takes being a ninja seriously!!!" and simply wrote that, without giving any reason for why these changes happened.
You'll find these changes a lot with other characters too, and it can get really annoying.But sometimes, if the character being featured doing shit like that is a side-character, you can maybe get away with it. People might raise their eyebrows if you write Kotetsu and Izumo, for example, out of character if they are simply just background noise. But this can get really difficult to ignore, such as if you're writing about Gaara during the Chūnin Exams, without any canon interference in his background, and write him as being open and friendly and even romantic. And it becomes absolutely unbearable if the OOC character is actually the main character of your damn fanfic! If that Gaara example occurred in a Gaara-centric fanfic, I'd drop it on the spot.
At that point, you're writing an OC protagonist. So you might as well have just given them an original name and wrote them as such, as it'll be less jarring to readers.
There's a lot of things you can do to a character to explain a 'different' personality. Naruto is actually one of the easiest characters to shift around. Literally, give him a family or keep him an orphan and make his conditions as an orphan worse, for whatever reason. Give him a mentor that can oversee his training and really show him what it means to 'be' a shinobi. Or maybe give some background event that forces him to mature - was he maybe present at the Uchiha Massacre? Or maybe witness the Hinata kidnapping attempt? Or maybe write a death scene for Iruka or some shit. I don't know. All I know, though, is if you really want to 'change' Naruto, or any character for that matter, at least give a reason and write about it. Don't just start writing Naruto and reveal that 'he's been wearing a mask this entire time'. Because at best, that's just a sign of a lazy story and makes me very uninterested in what other storylines you might come up with during the fanfic.
That's all for now. I'm sure to post more. I hope you all gained something from looking at my profile. Have a great day! :)