The Power of Deep Conversations: A Personal Journey Using ‘Naruto’s’ Talk-No-Jutsu

Woman sitting on a couch watching a tv show on her laptop.
Photo by Marilia Castelli on Unsplash

I discovered the world of anime entirely by accident. When I was 11, my mom gifted me two VHS cassettes on Valentine’s Day: a Barbie movie and the third season of an anime series called “Naruto.” As a typical girly girl, I ditched the “Naruto” tape because even though the cover art looked cool, it could never compare to Barbie.

After months of immersing myself in the Barbie movie to the point where I could effortlessly sing along to all the songs, I decided to watch “Naruto,” and that’s when I had my starry-eyed moment. “Naruto” is set in a fictional world containing various ninja villages, each with its own unique abilities and cultures. The series had its comedic moments but it was also full of tragic backstories. 

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For instance, Naruto, the titular character, is an orphan who is ostracized by his entire community when a fox spirit attacks the village, and the only way to stop it is to put it inside a host: young Naruto. The adults in his village know he is the child hosting the fox spirit. He, along with the rest of his young peers, do not know this. Naruto’s journey is not just about becoming a powerful ninja who protects his friends; it is also a tale of personal growth, friendship, and redemption.

I couldn’t believe such deep conversations were happening in an animated series – conversations I could relate to. My connection with “Naruto” characters turned me into a hardcore anime fan, and I’ve gained insights from it over the years.

Naruto “Talk-No-Jutsu”: The Courage to Communicate

And while his skills help him defeat villains, we fans agree that the ability to connect with villains through heartfelt conversations proves to be just as impressive. The Naruto fandom refer to this skill as “Talk-No-Jutsu,” which is almost like talk therapy. Villainous characters with unresolved trauma would essentially have a conversation with Naruto and suddenly decide to change their ways. 

One example is the battle between Naruto and Gaara, who also harbors a dangerous powerful spirit. These two characters live similar lives, as they were both ostracized by their villages because of the power they possessed. While Gaara decides to hate the villagers and close off his feelings, Naruto does the opposite by becoming a joyful prankster to make people notice him. 

After battling it out, Gaara heals from his childhood trauma marked by isolation, fear, and violence. When Naruto praises his friends, saying, “They saved me from my pit of loneliness; I couldn’t live without them” Gaara realizes that he could choose a different path for his life. 

The core of Naruto’s “Talk-No-Jutsu” is empathy. Initially, it seemed unrealistic to me that a simple conversation could prompt a villain to let go of years of hatred and choose to change. 

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However, I came to realize that I had been in similar situations myself. If someone offended me and conveniently omitted an apology but tried to carry on as if nothing had occurred, I wouldn’t simply ignore it. I needed that conversation to move forward; otherwise, I would hold onto resentment. This is precisely what Naruto’s “Talk-no-Jutsu” accomplished for villains – it helped them to release their past grudges, and sometimes, all you need is a conversation.

Building Bridges with “Talk-No-Jutsu”

I had my own life-changing “Talk-No-Jutsu” experience with my sister. I come from a Muslim family and have always felt insecure about how I practice my religion. I questioned many rules, and at some point, it felt like I was the complete opposite of my only sister, who I see as the paragon of a “good” Muslim. While she would wear loose abayas, I preferred pants and tighter-fitting clothes. While her lifestyle was more guarded, I cared less about what others thought of me. 

Three years ago, I decided to apply “Talk-No-Jutsu” with my sister when we lived together after graduating from university. Initially, I was afraid of sharing an apartment because of the different levels of our faith, but our bond got tighter when we started having deep discussions about our different views and lifestyles. 

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I began appreciating the values she had due to the strength of her faith. Religion, for me, stopped being about a series of rules about what one can and cannot do; it became a guide showing people how to live life in a fulfilling way. Exposing the good, bad, and insecure parts of myself to my sister allowed me to learn about hers and find acceptance in one another.

I stopped focusing on the rules I wasn’t following and started trying to incorporate Islamic teaching into my actions, and the change was freeing. Shifting my focus to doing good deeds for other people changed how I viewed my religion. Basic teachings like giving to charity and being empathetic build character, and I learned I can still struggle with rules while maintaining strong morals. Today, my sister and I are still different in many ways, but our deep conversations keep us close.

“Talk-No-Jutsu” is not about forced persuasion; it’s an invitation to open up and communicate honestly. Finding the courage to initiate these conversations is the first step to begin the journey of healing from past trauma, the fear of rejection and embarking on a journey of self-discovery. Watching “Naruto” showed me that being vulnerable with others made me more aware  that I sometimes set impossible standards for myself. So, let us heed Naruto’s wisdom and harness the power of “Talk-No-Jutsu” to heal ourselves and the people around us.

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