This was going to be a Tweet, but the rant was too long. Besides which, our Internet at the Sheraton’s pretty slow, so this gives it a chance to buffer on Hulu…
Naruto’s sympathy for Gaara is stupid. They keep showing him comparing himself with Gaara, them both standing alone when they were kids, crying while an angry mob mocked them, and we are to believe that they are “the same.” They both have demons sealed inside them, so they both got treated poorly when they were growing up because people were afraid of them, and since Naruto understands Gaara’s loneliness he’s all like, “Aw man, I totally get that guy! We’re the same so I want to be his friend!”
We are to understand that Gaara’s hatefulness (in Naruto Shonen Jump anyways–he’s a nice guy by the time of Naruto Shippuden) is because he remained lonely. While Naruto eventually had friends who supported and approved of him, Gaara never did, so Naruto presumes that he would have turned out the same as Gaara if he had been left alone.
The story to this point simply doesn’t support that though. Gaara became a murderous bastard because that’s just how he was. While Gaara grew to hate and want to kill everyone, Naruto fought for respect and did his best to always stay in good humour. His personality is dramatically different from Gaara’s, even though their circumstances were identical. Both had assassination attempts on them, both were largely alone, and both had terrifying power. But while Gaara decided to use his to hurt people, Naruto decided to work to earn everyone’s respect.
And since Naruto always worked towards this honourable goal, people began to appreciate and support him. He earned friendship and trust. Meanwhile, Gaara remained a jerk until Naruto beat him in a fight and Gaara discovered that Naruto’s strength was because of love. During that fight scene, by the way, it really gives the impression that the only reason Gaara became a decent guy was because Naruto proved that love gives more fighting power than hate. Dude’s screwed up.
Naruto keeps getting all worked up about this guy, but he really should just let it go. I get what the writers were going for, but I think they took a misstep along the way. I would have found it much more powerful if Naruto had just said, “Gaara, we’re different. Where you’re an asshole, I keep working to help people. It’s not that you don’t have friends because you have a demon inside of you. I’ve got a demon too, and I’ve still got friends. No, you don’t have friends because you keep trying to kill them all. Seriously man, either quit’cher’bitchin or get over it.”