Hello everybody! I am pretty sure most of you have at least heard of the manga and anime series Naruto. Well this week I am not talking about Naruto. Instead I will be talking about a comedic spin-off series called Rock Lee’s Springtime of Youth by Taira Kenji.
The main character of Rock Lee’s Springtime of Youth is, as the title suggests, Rock Lee, one of the more well known supporting characters from Naruto. For those of you who haven’t read or watched Naruto, Rock Lee is a unique character in the series in that he doesn’t have access to chakra, the energy needed to use various ninja techniques. Instead, Lee fights opponents with his impressive hand-to-hand combat skills.
The series begins with a ninja from a village other than Konoha, the home village of the majority of Naruto’s main cast including Lee, attacking civilians in Konoha. Lee interrupts the villain’s assault with a brand new technique of his.
Shortly after defeating the evil ninja, Lee’s squadmates – Tenten, a female ninja who specializes in using weapons, and Neji, Lee’s rival because of how praised he is for his skills in the ninja arts – catch up to Lee and scold him for running off to complete the mission without them. Lee and the others overhear a group of Konoha ninja talking to Lee’s squad leader, Might Guy, about how ninjas aren’t ninjas if they can’t use a variety of ninjutsu. Lee sees Guy smile and it devastates him.
Lee and his squad head off to continue their training exercises with Tenten throwing weapons at the guys as they try to counter them. Neji uses his signature move, a dome-shaped shield of swirling chakra, to deflect the weapons with ease. When it’s Lee’s turn, he tries to counter the weapons with a wind technique to disastrous results.
Lee’s failure during the exercise puts him into a depression as he fears he is no longer Guy’s prized student. While resting up for their next mission after their training exercise, Lee spots Naruto showing a young ninja-in-training one of his moves, the sexy-no-jutsu, which disguises Naruto as a naked young woman. Seeing the technique motivates Lee for his squad’s mission ahead. Tenten and Neji notice Lee’s motivation and they agree to help Lee impress Guy on their next mission. As Guy and the others sneak up on their target – a group of ninjas from the same village as the ninja Lee defeated at the start of the chapter – Lee volunteers to take them on by using a summoning technique to call upon a ninja turtle.
It turns out to be – not so secretly, Neji in a turtle suit – yet Might Guy falls for it, believing Lee actually pulled off a summoning technique. Lee tells Neji to charge into battle, and Neji does so in the only way he knows how to.
Lee continues his farce by jumping off of Neji’s back and performs a “clone technique” by simply running so fast it leaves after images. He then finishes off his display of new techniques by using the sexy no jutsu, to the benefit of absolutely no one.
Amazingly, Lee’s variation of sexy no jutsu works, but instead of disabling the enemies by arousing them like the real sexy no jutsu does, he disabled them by grossing them out. Lee goes for broke by combining his clone technique and sexy no jutsu into the harem no jutsu.
Might Guy asks how Lee was able to suddenly do so many techniques and Tenten tells him about how they saw him talking to those other Konoha ninja earlier. Guy punches Lee because he didn’t stick around to hear the rest of the conversation, in which Guy defends Lee and proceeds to beat up the other ninjas for insulting Guy’s prized student. Lee and Guy reconcile and they finish off the enemy ninjas with a tag team hand-to-hand assault. After finishing off the enemies, Guy tells Lee that while he is opposed to the use of ninja techniques, he approved of the sexy no jutsu, and even decides to join Lee in trying out the technique.
Right now there are a total of 5 chapters in this series, each chapter containing a stand alone story.
Rock Lee’s Springtime of Youth is a really interesting spin-off to the main Naruto series. The series also allows the Naruto franchise to do some of the comedy bits it is known for while the main series focuses on a heavily dramatic story arc. I advise both fans and non-fans of Naruto to give the series at least a look, as it is an easy series to follow right now with its short length and focus on comedy.