Is the theme "A hardworker will surpass a genius" a joke? That's what I've been wondering when considering some of the themes of Naruto. If Kishimoto actually payed that theme any thought, I don't think he would have contradicted it as much. For example: Naruto is supposed to represent the "hard work" ninja, yet: -Do "hard work ninjas" have something like Kyuubi? I don't really think he can be considered a dropout even if that were so considering that he learns moves quickly and thinks strategically in battle. His stats aren't even that bad without the Kyuubi and he definitely wasn't the weakest one in the Chuunin exams, yet he's considered a "hardworker/dropout" category which makes no sense. He definitely works hard, but that's nothing new as everyone does that; yet he's in the "dropout" category since he had the worst grades in the Academy? And if you consider Kyuubi, wouldn't that put him in the "genius" category--according to Kishi's definition-- because of that unique type of ability which only he has but no one else? And Sasuke is supposed to represent a genius who relies only on natural talent, not on hard work, yet: -We've seen him train hard since he was a child, nonstop, working at his techniques and skills until exhaustion. From him training with shuriken with Itachi, to learning the Gokyakuu no Jutsu, to mastering the tree exercise with Naruto, he has never lazed around just relying on his natural talent. He is one of the hardest workers in the series because he knew he would have to surpass a true super-genius like Itachi. So is Sasuke considered a "genius" or a "dropout with hard work" who's surpassed other "geniuses" his age? And Rock Lee is supposed to represent the "hard worker" as well, yet even Neji, the greatest Hyuuga prodigy ever, is one of the hardest workers in the series. From learning the Kaiten, Hakke, learning to see the tenketsu, and practicing his Jyuuken skills so that he was the strongest of the Rookie 12 in the Chuunin exam, it's obvious that he wasn't just coasting by on talent. And the Orochimaru vs. the Jiraiya and Tsunade rivalry thing: -You've gotta be kidding me. While it's true that Orochimaru was considered a genius that comes within every "few decades", there's no way that you can tell me that Jiraiya and Tsunade can be considered more of a "hard worker" than him. Orochimaru has been, since the beginning, creating new jutsus and techniques in order to become a Hokage. When he ran away from the village after being caught out by Sarutobi, Orochimaru still continued to make himself stronger, by joining Akatsuki, creating a new ninja village, creating the immortality technique, getting Edo Tensei, etc. And what has Jiraiya and Tsunade been doing? Gambling and drinking? Writing porn novels and peeping? Even if they somehow got stronger by doing such activities, how can their "hard work" have surpassed Orochimaru and what he's been doing? And then look at this: -Sarutobi, the strongest Hokage ever, was proclaimed as a genius and he's a good guy. -Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Haku proclaimed as genius as well because of how he could master his bloodline limit? And only he, Naruto, and Sasuke have a potential of 5. -What about all the bad guys who are supposed geniuses? For example Deidara and Sasori. Sasori was beat by a future new Sannin medical prodigy and a legendary puppeteer ninja. Deidara was overwhelmed by sheer numbers not to mention destroyed arms yet he was finally taken out by a super genius (Kakashi), and not a hard worker. -Rock Lee--the true underdog--after showing to be able to perform opening the Gates, was proclaimed to be a "genius of hard work". A genius is a genius no matter what. So by saying that, was Rock Lee able to attain those skills because he had the talent inside him--making him a genius--or did he only reach those heights because of hard work, effectively negating manga evidence that said he was a genius? Either way you look at it, it's a contradiction of the theme. -Obito and Kakashi. Something tells me Obito never surpassed Kakashi, so it's just another example of this theme never coming out. -And then you have Shikamaru, a super genius yet he's not one of the strongest. Who's supposed to surpass him considering this theme of "hard worker surpassing genius"? In all these examples you either have the strongest people being geniuses in the series, geniuses doing hard work and working harder than others, a genius being beaten only by other geniuses, geniuses staying stronger than dropouts, an example of one of the best geniuses not being the strongest, or drop outs now being considered geniuses. It's strange, because it seems more like if you work out hard and become strong as a result of that, you're then considered a genius. Should Kishimoto change his theme to "A genius with hard work will surpass an even greater genius that works hard?" Or do you think that Kishimoto's theme actually makes sense?