No, this is not a meme. It may sound like a complete fabrication, but it seems anime has breached it’s way into real life. While plenty of burglars focus on snagging electronics or expensive jewelry, some prefer the finer things. And what could be more valuable than thousands of pages of ninja techniques and knowledge? Atlanta may need to start watching out for people running on walls and spitting fireballs. It looks like even criminals can’t get enough of anime and manga.

Ninja in NARUTO can regularly be seen running up trees, on ceilings, or even over the surface of water! | Image: Comicvine

For those unfamiliar with the anime, NARUTO is one of the most popular series to ever come out of Japan. Titular character Naruto Uzumaki works his way from a fledgling ninja to the strongest in the world.  He dreams of becoming Hokage, the strongest ninja in his village and someone acknowledged by everyone. Naruto has a demon sealed within him though, and most villagers shun him for it. Despite that, the orange clad hero trains nonstop and defeats many foes until he becomes a heroic presence in the village.

The manga and anime series have been over for several months. Despite that, the signature aspects of the series are still surprisingly ubiquitous across pop culture.  The series iconic running style, with two hands behind one’s back, have popped up in several Facebook events across the country. On top of that, plenty of memes recreating classic scenes from the anime are all over social media.

Here’s Your Chance to Scream Like Anime Characters

An Unlikely Heist

The Dunwoody Police Department reported the bizarre robbery with a Facebook post midday on the 9th. Twenty-five year old Christopher Zahyeer Atkins was arrested after police found him in the area of a robbery. A man triggered the alarm of a Target store, and video surveillance matched Atkins to a T.

To Atkins’ credit, the ninja techniques in NARUTO manga would be an incredible asset for someone trying to break into a store. Unfortunately, fictional ninja don’t have to deal with modern surveillance systems, so his training may have been a little off base. Even more unfortunate is that the contents of NARUTO Volume 5, which Atkins claims he was reading, hs almost nothing at all to do with techniques useful for stealing.

Anime to Real Life

Criminal activity is certainly no laughing matter, but this is pretty damn funny. While it would be more ideal for NARUTO to be mainstream amongst non-criminals, the popularity can’t be questioned. NARUTO has become a series with crazy name recognition. Even after the series’ end, video games, sequels, movies, and fans have kept the incredible story more alive than ever.

Even more than that, social media allows these stories to spread at a rapid rate. In seconds, this odd crime story became perfect meme fodder, and even made its way to my timeline eight states away. Even if you aren’t a fan of anime, you’ve got to respect the speed at which it caught America, and the world, in its crosshairs.

Featured image from Crunchyroll.

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