On International Running Day, we present an ode to one of the greatest and most memorable running styles in anime history
Today's International Running Day, and why not celebrate it with an unsung ninja technique from the world of Naruto and Naruto Shippuden? It’s an ancient art utilized by anyone from the greenest genin to the strongest Hokage. And it not only got ninjas from point A to point B in style, but defined an entire generation of anime fans who grew up with Naruto by their side.
Today, we pay tribute to the Naruto Run and how it changed running forever.
How do you perform the Naruto run? Just hang your arms back, arch your body forward, and run like the wind. There, you’re doing the Naruto Run. Easy, right? The Naruto Run is simple in its execution, but unmistakably distinguishable of any great shinobi.
It’s universal among ninja from all villages and even spanned across generations when Naruto’s son, Boruto, briefly performed it as he started on his own Ninja Path. No ninja’s training was complete without the Naruto Run in their arsenal.
While the ninja from Naruto used it as a means of fast travel by foot, it represents so much more to us fans. For a generation of millenials, the Naruto Run summons up memories of gym class and using it to run track. Some of us might have even dared to pull one off while we were running the treadmill at the gym. Decked out in Rock Lee or Kakashi clothes, we Naruto Ran those calories away. Did it make us faster? Probably not. But who wouldn’t want to look as cool as a ninja while they ran?
The Naruto Run was essentially a rite of passage for Naruto lovers. If you didn’t have your own ninja headband to prove how much you enjoyed the show, you could just pull off a sweet-looking Naruto Run and stand out among the crowd. Cosplays of our favorite characters wouldn’t be complete without a picture of a Naruto Run. The Run has even spawned plenty of hilarious memes and classic Vines that bear the mark of true fans.
As someone who got into Naruto at a very young age, the Naruto Run always stood out to me as one of the most distinctive things about it. There were plenty of shows and cartoons about ninja before Naruto, because why not? Ninja are pretty awesome. But never before could you really distinguish a ninja's running style as identifiable and definitive. For the most part, in cartoons, ninjas just ran like regular people, except faster and with a million times more stealth.
But Naruto dared to be different. In its entirely unique take on the world of ninja, even the simple act of running received a distinct update to maintain its originality. As my friends and I became more obsessed with Naruto, we would race each other during school with our arms extended backwards, representing our favorite characters as we dashed toward our imaginary finish lines. It's rare that a show becomes so popular that you begin to copy its character's movement patterns. Accents and catchphrases are one thing. What a character does with their feet? Now THAT'S dedication.
Today, we call it the Naruto Run for a reason. It wasn't just another ninja running style. It was something entirely unique to Naruto Uzumaki and his friends. If you did the Naruto Run, you weren't just pretending to be a ninja. You carried with you the honor of a clan or the will of a village or the determination of a single character on your back.
The Naruto Run is more than just a way for us to maybe run a little faster. It’s a symbol. It’s a simple yet effective way for dedicated fans to show off their unabashed appreciation for Naruto. So the next time you go for a morning run or a light jog, don’t forget to do a Naruto Run to honor your favorite Nine-Tailed Fox boy!
Have you ever done the Naruto Run before? What's your favorite Naruto Run meme? Comment below with an answer!
Carlos is a freelance features writer for Crunchyroll. Their favorite genres range from magical girls to over-the-top robot action, yet their favorite characters are always the obscure ones. Check out some of their satirical work on The Hard Times.
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