If you’ve seen almost any of my other Waifu Wednesday articles, then you can probably tell that I’m more mature when it comes to my anime ladies — I am a man of utmost culture. So it should come as no surprise that when it comes to Naruto, I was immediately interested in the wonderful Tsunade. Yes, I know she’s actually much older than she looks, but this is anime, so please miss me with that shit.
When you’re done here, don’t forget to look back over the archives for Waifu Wednesday and Hump Day Husbandos here on Rice Digital! First, however, it’s time for the strong kunoichi in the ninja world!
Who is Tsunade?
Tsunade is something of a rarity in Naruto, as she is one of the very few female characters that I would consider to be well written.
When we first meet Tsunade, she is something of a washed-up Hidden Leaf ninja with a bad addiction to gambling and an even worse drinking problem. She is in the middle of wasting her money on slot machines and sees her results as an omen for bad things to come. Shortly after, Naruto and his sensei Jiraiya encounter Tsunade, and this is when we find out that Tsunade was not only from the Hidden Leaf Village, but she was a member of the legendary 3 “Sannin” of the Leaf.
Along with this, she is also considered to be the strongest and most beautiful kunoichi in the world, with a physical strength that is second to none. Not only is she strong, though, she is also a master of medical jutsu, meaning that she can constantly keep herself and those around her healed even in the middle of a battle.
Her life as a ninja led her to meet a man named Dan Kato, who later became Tsunade’s lover. Their relationship didn’t last, however, as Dan died during the second ninja war, where he succumbed to blood loss from his injuries. Tsunade tried to heal him and stop the bleeding, but she was too late.
This event caused Tsunade to develop haemophobia, a phobia of blood, which was the primary reason for her leaving the life of a ninja behind. This traumatic past is also the reason for her descent into a life of drinking and gambling, as she felt like these things would help numb the pain of her past. After her encounter with Naruto and Jiraiya, she manages to overcome her past and later takes up the mantle of Hokage.
Why we love Tsunade
I mentioned at the beginning that Tsunade is one of the few well-written female characters in Naruto and this is the primary reason for my appreciation of her. Her past has caused her a lot of trauma, to the point where she believes she is somewhat cursed. She develops a phobia that prevents her from being able to do what she has been trained in since she was young, and she has a very realistic response to this — she drinks.
The world of Naruto is filled with larger-than-life characters who have insane backstories and grand goals like becoming the leader of the village or getting revenge on the person who killed their clan. Meanwhile, Tsunade’s backstory is a simple one of loss, trauma, and depression. I’m a big fan of shounen series, so those huge dreams are something I’m all for, but it’s nice to have a character whose backstory balances everything out — not everyone wants to be king of the world, and it’s good to be reminded of that.
Finally, when Tsunade is face to face with her phobia, paralysed with fear, ultimately her desire to protect the person who saved her in her time of need overwhelms her feelings of fear and allows her to break free of her past. All of this made the character feel so real, so seeing her eventually break free of those chains was wonderful. This is why she is one of my favourite characters in the series.
Why you’ll love Tsunade
After coming through her trauma she eventually takes up the offer from the Jiraiya and the Hidden Leaf Village and becomes Hokage, just as her grandfather did before her. While Naruto still isn’t convinced that she is worthy of the title, their relationship is one that grows into something wonderful over time as he begins to understand how reliable she is.
If you’re a fan of strong women, then you’re going to love Tsunade because she brings a whole new level to the word strong. She is a descendent of the First Hokage, and her monstrous strength coupled with her total mastery over medical jutsu really makes this obvious. She isn’t perfect by any means; she’s a character made of her failures and the way in which she overcomes them, and this is what makes her so appealing.
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