About ten years ago, Masashi Kishimoto created the manga series Naruto, about a young ninja with a dark secret. The series has been monumentally successful, selling tens of millions of books and spawning its own media empire. In an LA Times interview, Kashimoto explains the appeal of this less-than-perfect lead character:
“Perfect heroes are cool, but no one can really empathize or identify with them. Naruto often makes blunders, and he has weaknesses. Naruto feels inferior to his peers, but he hates to be a loser. Although he doesn’t think about it too much, he knows he hates to lose, and we all know what that feels like. I think readers see themselves in Naruto, and that’s what appeals to them: They can empathize with him and his weaknesses.”
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