Rock Lee

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Rock Lee
Naruto character
First appearance
  • Naruto chapter 36: Sakura's Depression
Created byMasashi Kishimoto
Voiced byJapanese
Yōichi Masukawa[1]
Brian Donovan[2]
Notable relativesMetal Lee (son)
Ninja rankGenin in Part I
Chunin in Part II
Jonin in epilogue
Ninja teamTeam Guy

Rock Lee (Japanese: ロック・リー, Hepburn: Rokku Rī) is a fictional character in the anime and manga series Naruto. He was created by Masashi Kishimoto. Lee was created to be a symbol of human weakness.[3][4] In the anime and manga, Lee is a ninja from the village of Konohagakure. He is also a member of Team Guy. The other members the team are Neji Hyuga and Tenten. the team is led by Might Guy. Lee cannot use most of the ninja techniques but he wants to become a very good ninja. He is focused on using just taijutsu. Taijutsu is a ninja technique similar to martial arts. Lee has been in many pieces of Naruto media. He is in the third and fourth movies in the series, the third original animation and many video games.

Many anime and manga publications have wrote about Lee's character. IGN compared Lee to Bruce Lee and Noel Gallagher.[5] Anime News Network called Lee the "goofiest looking character" in the series.[6] Lee has been popular among the Naruto reader base. He was placed high in many popularity polls.[7][8] Many pieces of merchandise have been released in Lee's likeness, including figurines and plush dolls.[9][10]

Creation and concept[change | change source]

In an interview in Weekly Shōnen Jump's Naruto Anime Profiles Episodes 1-37, Masashi Kishimoto said that he enjoys drawing Lee more than any other character in the series.[3] When designing Lee's appearance, Kishimoto planned to make Lee having different kinds of weapons, including nunchaku. Due to lack of time while creating the series, he was unable to do so.[11] Kishimoto's first editor, Kosuke Yahagi, originally drew the author a draft of Lee's appearance. When Kishimoto designed it the design changed a lot from the original one. Yahagi felt pleased because some parts were kept.[12] Kishimoto has noted that he originally designed Lee as a symbol of human weakness. His design of Sakura Haruno was also intended to carry the same Symbolism.[4] Kishimoto was surprised by Lee's popularity within fans. He wanted to write more about him but the timing was never right.[13] Lee became very popular within course of the series. Due to this Kishimoto tries to place him toward the front of promotional artwork in which he appears.[14]

Brian Donovan is the voice actor for Rock Lee in the English adaptation of the anime. In an interview he commented that he likes Lee because he felt he was trying to be a "knight in shining armor but bumbling and stumbling at the same time".[15][16][17]

Appearances[change | change source]

In Naruto[change | change source]

Rock Lee is a ninja from Konohagakure part of Team Guy. Team Guy is a four-man cell of ninja led by Might Guy. Guy is interested in Lee due to his determination to become stronger even without the ability to use basic ninja techniques. He decides to help him achieve his dream of becoming a powerful ninja by using only taijutsu. Taijutsu is primary hand-to-hand combat.[18] This relationship with Guy causes Lee to acquire many of Guy's qualities.[19] Lee believes he can surpass the natural talents of others through hard work and passion. In the series, he attempts to surpass Neji Hyuga, who is shown as a "genius".[15][18][20] Lee first appears in the series as a participant in the Chunin Exams. Chunin exams are the exams held twice a year for ninja who wish to increase their rank. During the Chunin Exams, Lee battles Gaara, a ninja from the village of Sunagakure. In the fight, Lee uses the eight chakra gates. chakra gates are limits on the body's ability to use chakra. This increases his natural abilities at the cost of his health.[21] Lee tries hard but Gaara defeats Lee by crushing his left arm and leg. Lee is injured to the point where must give up on being a ninja.[22]

Tsunade is a Konohagakure medical ninja. When she returns to lead the village as the Fifth Hokage (Konohagakure's leader), she offers to operate on him.[23] Even though there is fifty percent chance of failure, Guy encourages Lee to have the operation. After that, Lee undergoes the surgery, which succeeds in healing his arm and leg.[24] Right after the operation, Lee follows a team of ninja led by Shikamaru Nara who try to stop Sasuke Uchiha from leaving the village and going to the village of Otogakure.[25] Lee battles the Otogakure ninja Kimimaro using the Potion Punch (酔拳, Suiken, literally "Drunken Fist", English TV: "Loopy Fist") fighting style.[26][27] When Kimimaro is about to defeat Lee, Gaara comes and continue the battle.[20]

In Part II, Lee obtains the rank of Chunin. He is sent with his team to help save Gaara who is taken away by the criminal organization Akatsuki.[28] During the Fourth Shinobi War Lee worked at the Third Division. Lee helps in fighting the Kabuto Yakushi's reanimated army. He later helped Naruto Uzumaki in the fight against Obito Uchiha and Madara Uchiha.[29] Years after the war, Lee marries an unknown woman and has a son named Metal Lee. In the epilogue, Lee is last seen many years later, training with his son. In Boruto: Naruto the Movie, Lee hosts the third stage of the Chunin Exam.

Appearances in other media[change | change source]

Lee has appeared many times outside of the Naruto anime and manga. In the third featured movie in the series, Naruto the Movie 3: The Animal Riot of Crescent Moon Island, Lee acts as a member of Team 7 for the duration of the movie.[30] In the fourth movie, which is set in Part II, Naruto Uzumaki, Sakura Haruno, Neji Hyuga, and Lee are assigned to escort the maiden Shion, who needs to perform a ritual to seal a demonic army.[31] Lee also appears in the third original video animation, taking part in a tournament.[32]

Lee is a character which can be played in almost every Naruto video game. This includes the Clash of Ninja series and the Ultimate Ninja series.[33][34][35][36] In some games, he uses some techniques not seen in the anime or manga. Naruto Shippūden: Gekitō Ninja Taisen! EX marks his first appearance in a video game set in Part II.[37] Rock Lee is also the main character of a spin-off manga by Kenji Taira. The manga was adapted into an anime series titled Rock Lee and his Ninja Pals.[38]

Reception[change | change source]

Lee has ranked highly in the Shōnen Jump popularity polls for the series. At first, he was placed in top ten several times and he reached fifth place once.[7][8] In later polls, Lee lost his top ten status.[39] Also, several pieces of merchandise based on Lee have also been released, like action figures of his Part I and Part II appearances,[9][40] plush dolls,[10] and keychains.[41]

Several publications for manga, anime, video games, and other media have provided commentary on Lee's character. IGN's A.E. Sparrow called Lee one of his favorite characters in the series. They also compared his personality to that of Bruce Lee and Noel Gallagher.[5] Fellow editor Ramsey Isler ranked him as the eight best character on the series and said he "was the true underdog of the series."[42] Isler added, "Perhaps a little too intense, but always fiercely devoted to his cause, Rock Lee added all sorts of flavor to the series."[42] However, Rock Lee's profile on IGN describes him as "kind of stiff" because of his very polite manner.[43] Active Anime celebrated Lee's introduction in the series as a comedic relief to the growing tension of the story at that point.[44] Anime Insider listed him in their top five list for "pure-hearted heroes" from anime and manga publications, ranking him at number five. Insider praised him for "never [giving] up, even in the face of people with actual ninja powers."[45]

Anime News Network referred to Lee as the "star of [the Chunin Exam arc]". They also claimed that he "almost single-handedly rescues this arc from being tossed into the 'entertaining but disposable' bin".[6] His fight against Gaara in the exams was listed as second best one in anime by AnimeCentral.[46] Anime News Network also called Lee the "goofiest looking character" in the series. They also praised Kishimoto's "ninja-punk visual sensibilities" that allowed him to make Lee "damn cool when the action starts".[6] In the NEO Awards 2007 from Neo, Rock Lee won in the category "Best Anime Character".[47] He was also listed as one of the three "Honorable Mentions" from Naruto by Wizard Entertainment's Danica Davidson with comments from the article being focused on Lee's determination.[48] When the Naruto manga ended, writer Yūto Kubota expressed that Lee was his favorite character.[49]

References[change | change source]

  1. Studio Pierrot (February 27, 2003). "名乗れ!現れた強敵たち!!". Naruto. Episode 21. TV Tokyo.
  2. Studio Pierrot (January 28, 2006). "Identify Yourself: Powerful New Rivals!". Naruto. Episode 21. Cartoon Network.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Kishimoto, Masashi (2006). Naruto Anime Profiles, Volume 1: Episodes 1-37. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-0657-2.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "One Piece". Shonen Jump. Viz Media. 4 (5): 4. May 2006.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Sparrow, A.E. (2007-11-09). "IGN: Naruto Reader's Guide". IGN. Archived from the original on 2012-02-20. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Kimlinger, Karl (2006-11-02). "Naruto GN 8-10 - Review". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 2018-06-17. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Kishimoto, Masashi (2005). "Chapter 60". Naruto, Volume 7. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-875-9.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Kishimoto, Masashi (2006). "Chapter 107". Naruto, Volume 12. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-0242-9.
  9. 9.0 9.1 " Shonen Jumps Naruto Rock Lee". Amazon. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  10. 10.0 10.1 " NARUTO ROCK LEE 12"PLUSH TOY". Archived from the original on 2008-06-19. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  11. Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Uzumaki: the Art of Naruto. Viz Media. p. 130. ISBN 978-1-4215-1407-9.
  12. Kishimoto, Masashi (2014). NARUTO―ナルト―キャラクターオフィシャルデータBOOK 秘伝・陣の書 (in Japanese). Shueisha. pp. 378–387. ISBN 978-4-08-880263-3.
  13. Aoki, Deb (October 14, 2015). "Masashi Kishimoto at New York Comic-con The Anime News Network Interview". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on January 12, 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
  14. Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Uzumaki: the Art of Naruto. Viz Media. p. 133. ISBN 978-1-4215-1407-9.
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Naruto: Ninja Destiny :: Voice Actor Interview". Archived from the original on 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
  16. Neon Alley (April 16, 2015). "NARUTO Spin-Off! Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals". Facebook. Archived from the original on February 11, 2016. Retrieved November 18, 2015. English dub cast
    Rock Lee played by Brian Donovan
    Might Guy played by Matt Mercer
    Neji played by Steve Cannon
    Tenten played by Danielle Nicole
    Sakura played by Johanna Luis
  17. Studio Pierrot (January 28, 2006). "Identify Yourself: Powerful New Rivals". Naruto. Episode 21. Cartoon Network.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Kishimoto, Masashi (2006). "Chapter 84". Naruto, Volume 10. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-0240-2.
  19. Kishimoto, Masashi (2004). "Chapter 38". Naruto, Volume 5. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-359-5.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). "Chapter 213". Naruto, Volume 24. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-1860-2.
  21. Kishimoto, Masashi (2005). "Chapter 52". Naruto, Volume 6. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-739-6.
  22. Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). "Chapter 87". Naruto, Volume 10. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-0240-3.
  23. Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). "Chapter 173". Naruto, Volume 20. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-1655-4.
  24. Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). "Chapter 180". Naruto, Volume 20. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-1655-4.
  25. Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). "Chapter 209". Naruto, Volume 24. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-1860-2.
  26. Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). "Chapter 211". Naruto, Volume 24. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-1860-2.
  27. Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). "Chapter 212". Naruto, Volume 24. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-1860-2.
  28. Kishimoto, Masashi (2008). "Chapter 253". Naruto, Volume 28. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-1864-0.
  29. Kishimoto, Masashi (2013). "Chapter 612". Naruto, Volume 64. Shueisha. ISBN 978-4-08-870628-3.
  30. Naruto the Movie 3: Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom. Viz Video. 2008. Archived from the original (DVD) on 2013-03-21. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
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  32. ついに激突!上忍VS下忍!!無差別大乱戦大会開催!! (DVD). TV Tokyo. 2005.
  33. Bozon, Mark (2006-09-29). "Naruto: The Complete Fighter Profile". IGN. Archived from the original on 2018-06-18. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  34. Alfonso, Andrew (2004-09-26). "TGS 2004: Naruto Gekitou Ninja Taisen! 3 Hands-on". IGN. Archived from the original on 2018-06-18. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  35. Naruto: Ultimate Ninja English instruction manual. Namco Bandai. 2006. p. 26.
  36. Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 2 English instruction manual. Namco Bandai. 2007. pp. 21–30.
  37. "Naruto-ナルト- 疾風伝:TV東京 - Goods" (in Japanese). TV Tokyo. Archived from the original on 2008-05-22. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  38. "Shueisha to Launch Super Strong Jump Mag for Kids". Anime News Network. November 9, 2010. Archived from the original on December 2, 2016. Retrieved November 10, 2010.
  39. Kishimoto, Masashi (2008). "Chapter 245". Naruto, Volume 28. Viz Media. pp. 8–9. ISBN 978-1-4215-1864-0.
  40. "NARUTO-ナルト-疾風伝 忍形コレクション" (in Japanese). TV Tokyo. Archived from the original on 2008-06-07. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  41. "Naruto - Rock Lee Character Keychain". Amazon. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  42. 42.0 42.1 Isler, Ramsey (2014-11-12). "Top 10 Naruto Characters". IGN. Archived from the original on 2015-04-29. Retrieved 2015-04-20.
  43. "Rock Lee Biography". IGN. Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
  44. "DVD Reviews: NARUTO UNCUT BOX SET 2". Active Anime. 2006-07-03. Retrieved 2008-06-15.[dead link]
  45. "Pure of Heart - Our five favorite pure-hearted heroes". Anime Insider (39): 74. December 2007.
  46. "Friday Feature". AnimeCentral. Archived from the original on December 12, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
  47. "NEO Awards 2007". NEO Magazine. Uncooked Media (40): 06–11. January 2007. ISSN 1744-9596.
  48. Davidson, Danica (April 4, 2008). "NARUTO: HONORABLE MENTIONS". Wizard Entertainment. Archived from the original on July 18, 2008. Retrieved September 4, 2009.
  49. "Shonen Jump Manga Creators Also Send Off Naruto With Comments". Anime News Network. November 8, 2014. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved October 24, 2017.