Run like Naruto! Mumbai's anime fans to come together to take bizarre challenge

Oct 04, 2017, 09:12 IST | Shraddha Uchil

Join fans of Japanese anime from around Mumbai this weekend as they attempt to turn a viral Internet meme into a real event

Most kids who grew up in the '90s would remember watching Dragon Ball Z and Pokemon. Yet another show that might come to mind is Naruto, the journey of a young ninja who dreams of becoming the Hokage (leader) of his village. If you were - or still are - a fan of this anime, join a bunch of likeminded fans this weekend as they assemble at the Gateway of India for a bizarre event - a Naruto Run.

Naruto is a character with a distinct running styleNaruto is a character with a distinct running style

Notice how the protagonist, Naruto Ozumaki, runs in the anime? Torso bent forward, and arms held out straight at an angle behind him? That's the Naruto Run, and although it has been talked about for a while, it isn't until recently that hordes around the world have started gathering at parks and on streets to mimic this odd running style and take videos of their efforts.

Naruto Run events in the US
Naruto Run events in the US

"Although the anime is older, the run turned up on the Internet in 2006, when a YouTuber uploaded footage of himself mimicking the running style in a video titled Anime Run. But the reason behind its recent popularity is an old WikiHow article, titled Run Like Naruto," says Vineeth Venkiteswaran, who put out the call for a Naruto Run in Mumbai via the online community, Anime Mirchi.

Naruto Run events in the London. Pics/youtube
Naruto Run events in the London. Pics/youtube

The 24-year-old Dombivali resident is a follower of anime series, his favourites being Death Note, Attack on Titan, and, of course, Naruto. The WikiHow article he mentions, which has now gone viral, lists hilarious instructions like "Try acting like Naruto to get into character" and "Don't lean too far, or you'll run the risk of falling on your face."

Vineeth Venkiteswaran
Vineeth Venkiteswaran

According to Farhan Shahid, founder of Anime Mirchi, the real-life Naruto Run started out as a Facebook joke. "Someone in New York created an event page announcing a run in Central Park for fun. But people started showing interest in it, and actually showed up on the day," he says. Soon, others started organising Naruto Runs across the US, and the phenomenon spread to cities like London.

"The reason Naruto is still popular among people my age is because we learned life lessons from it as kids, and it's still a great show to watch, even as an adult," says Venkiteswaran. But, does he think enough participants will turn up? "As of now, over 300 people have shown interest, of which 60 have said they're attending. I'm doing this for the love of anime, and I hope that's what will get people to come out and do this."

On: October 8, 8 am onwards
At: Gateway of India, Apollo Bunder.
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