is a fictional character in the anime and manga series Naruto created by Masashi Kishimoto. Kishimoto considers Lee his favorite character to draw, and at first designed Lee to symbolize human weakness. In the anime and manga, Lee is a ninja affiliated with the village of Konohagakure, and is a member of Team Guy, which consists of himself, Neji Hyuga, Tenten, and Might Guy—the team's leader. Unable to use most ninja techniques, Lee dedicates himself to using solely taijutsu, ninja techniques similar to martial arts. Lee dreams of becoming a "splendid ninja" despite his inabilities. Lee has appeared in several pieces of Naruto media, including the third and fourth featured films in the series, the third original video animation, and several video games.
Numerous anime and manga publications have commented on Lee's character. IGN compared Lee to Bruce Lee and Noel Gallagher, and Anime News Network called Lee the "goofiest looking character" in the series. Among the Naruto reader base, Lee has been popular, placing high in several popularity polls. Numerous pieces of merchandise have been released in Lee's likeness, including figurines and plush dolls.
In an interview in Shōnen Jump's Naruto Anime Profiles Episodes 1-37, Masashi Kishimoto claimed that he enjoys drawing Lee more than any other character in the series. Kishimoto has noted that he originally designed Lee to symbolize human weakness; Kishimoto's design of Sakura Haruno was also intended to carry the same symbolism.
While attending the Ninja Academy, a school for prospective ninja in the village of Konohagakure, Lee's fellow students mock him for his inability to perform basic ninja techniques. As a result, Lee begins training constantly to become stronger. After graduating from the Academy, Lee is assigned to Team Guy, a four-man cell of ninja led by Might Guy. Inspired by Lee's determination to become stronger, Guy takes a personal interest in him, deciding to help him achieve his dream of becoming a splendid ninja. This relationship with Guy causes Lee to acquire many of Guy's traits. For example, Lee's green jumpsuit and shiny mop-top haircut are the same as his teacher's, as is his dedication to keeping promises and seeking rivals to develop his skills. Lee believes he can surpass the natural talents of others through hard work and passion; throughout the series, he attempts to surpass Neji Hyuga and Sasuke Uchiha, both of whom are labeled "geniuses".
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