In the clip, Naruto pins down Sasuke and asks in a flat, emotionless tone, “Did that…wake you up?” Many fans felt the odd line delivery was out of character for Naruto and criticized the dubbing as subpar.
Twitter user @ShenenGameZ shared the polarizing scene, which quickly gained traction online. Another user, @JackyBeReal, tagged voice actress Maile Flanagan, who voices Naruto in English, asking how that take was approved.
Flanagan responded that she did not actually deliver the heavily criticized line in that fashion. She clarified that no Naruto voice director or game director would have had her read that pivotal line so lifeless and robotic.
The debate over the controversial clip has sparked wider conversations about voice acting and dubbing standards in anime games. But Flanagan asserted that the poor delivery heard in the viral moment does not reflect her true portrayal of Naruto.
Naruto’s voice actor expresses confusion after being accused by Fans about the new Naruto game!
After Maile Flanagan denied providing the lifeless voice work heard in the clip, some fans questioned if another voice actor had been brought in to portray Naruto in the game. However, Flanagan confirmed she is still the sole English voice of Naruto.
Continuing the debate, Twitter user @JackyBeReal proposed two other possibilities – either the development team used an alternate take of Flanagan delivering the line, or they utilized AI voice synthesis technology.
In response, Flanagan made clear she never insinuated AI was used. She suggested the odd delivery could stem from editing her voice work.
But @ShenenGameZ, who first posted the controversial clip, clarified it was not edited. They stated one can experience the same questionable voice acting by Naruto during chapter 3 of the climactic Naruto vs. Sasuke battle featured in the game.
So, while the voice work heard in the viral clip remains dubious, Flanagan has rejected notions that it came from AI or another voice actor. The discussion continues about how the delivery ended up so stilted compared to her usual spirited Naruto portrayal.
After voice actress Maile Flanagan denied delivering the line in the weird tone heard in the clip, speculation mounted that AI voice synthesis was utilized for that piece of dialogue.
The game containing the controversial voice work is Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections, based on the popular Japanese manga series Naruto. It is set to release for Nintendo Switch on November 17th.
The Naruto manga was created by Masashi Kishimoto and serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine from 1999 to 2014. The story was also released in 72 collected volumes.
Viz Media licensed the Naruto manga and anime for North American production. They serialized the manga in their digital Weekly Shonen Jump magazine as well.
So, while Flanagan rejects voicing the line in that manner, many now suspect AI replication of her voice happened for that awkward delivery. But the upcoming game continues the hugely influential Naruto franchise, stemming from Kishimoto’s manga that ran for 15 years in Shonen Jump.
With over 720 episodes between the original Naruto series and Naruto: Shippuden, plunging into the expansive world of the popular anime franchise can feel like a daunting task for any newcomer.
Based on Masashi Kishimoto’s hit manga, Naruto follows the adventures of its titular young ninja, Naruto Uzumaki, as he trains in the mystical arts of chakra control and elemental jutsu. Viewers literally grow up alongside the characters, making it an immersive coming-of-age story.
The narrative is split into two interconnected shows – Naruto chronicling his youth and Shippuden picking up later in his teens. But while intended to make the sprawling story more digestible, even Shippuden’s 500 episodes alone represent a mammoth undertaking.
When Adult Swim began airing the second series weekly in 2014, it took until 2024 to finally conclude the anime saga on American television.
Understandably, staring down a 720+ episode marathon could deter anyone from joining Naruto’s journey. However, behind the lengthy catalog is a rich world and a captivating central narrative that rewards investment.
While daunting, the epic scope allows remarkable character development and worldbuilding. For those up to the challenge, Naruto offers meaningful bonds and hard-won victories to experience alongside the characters we grow up with.