Naruto’s distinct facial whiskers are much more than a stylistic choice to differentiate the character from the series’ countless heroes and villains.
Powerful chakra and life-altering ninjutsu are not the only features that aspiring young ninja Naruto Uzumaki would inherit from the fearsome Nine-Tailed Fox Kurama. Kurama’s own essence would forever be branded onto Naruto in the form of six fox-like whiskers on the ninja’s face.
While Naruto may be one of the most respected ninjas known throughout all the land now, that was not always the case, as his trademark whiskers likely helped contribute to that. Naruto would enter the ninja world with his distinct facial whiskers from birth, as a result of Kurama the Nine-Tailed Fox being sealed into the boy, courtesy of Uzumaki’s father and the former Fourth Hokage of the ninja’s home village of Konoha, Minato Namikaze. Though Minato ultimately prevented the further destruction of the Leaf Village through drastic means, Naruto’s fox appearance would act as a constant reminder for both Uzumaki and the village, of the beast sealed within the child. The face whiskers do not amplify Naruto’s abilities or detect chakra, but instead, act as a symbol of the potential danger within the otherwise fun-loving character.
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Though Uzumaki is a ninja first and foremost, there is also an animalistic quality to the character with his ownership of the Nine-Tailed Fox.
During Naruto’s early Jinchuriki transformation periods, which were brought on by rage, the whiskers on Naruto’s face would often enlarge and emit a much darker hue than usual. Even into Naruto’s later adult years as the seventh Hokage of Konoha, Kurama, and in effect Naruto’s trademark whiskers would remain implanted with the character. Though not having a tailed beast sealed within them at birth, Naruto’s children Boruto Uzumaki and Himawari Uzumaki have even inherited his trademark whiskers. However, unlike their father, Boruto and Himawari are limited to having two whiskers on each cheek as opposed to three.
Though never verified by Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto, the titular ninja’s formation of his whiskers can be pinpointed to the character’s time in the womb of his mother Kushina Uzumaki (Kurama’s former Jinchuirki) prior to birth.
At first glance, Naruto’s whiskers may seem nothing more than a form of individuality for the character, but they are in turn representative of the character’s tragic origin and upbringing. While the whiskers on Naruto‘s face may have once be seen as a bad omen of the feared monster lurking within, the markings now act as a symbol of the distinctive good surrounding the ninja leader.
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