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- Keep in mind that these policies are ultimately guidelines. If it's found that a policy restricts something that the reason the policy was created didn't intend to restrict, then the policy should be changed.
This is the Canon Policy of Narutopedia.
This policy is loosely based off Star Wars's old Canon matrix where there are several tiers of canon. As with anything, what is classified as canon is not always absolute and resolutions of all contradictions is to be handled on a case-by-case basis. In short, one mistake or contradiction does not deem the entire work non-canon.
What is "Canon"
Please see the opening for the Wikipedia article on Canon in Fiction.
In fiction, canon is the material accepted as officially part of the story in an individual universe of that story. It is often contrasted with, or used as the basis for, works of fan fiction. The alternative terms mythology, timeline, and continuity are often used, with the former being especially to refer to a richly detailed fictional canon requiring a large degree of suspension of disbelief (e.g. an entire imaginary world and history), while the latter two typically refer to a single arc where all events are directly connected chronologically.
Why Have a "Canon Policy"?
In the past, when the wiki could just focus on the manga and the anime, all that was necessary was making a distinction between what appeared in the manga and what appeared in the anime. However as time went by, the Naruto franchise branched out into more forms of media, such as games, novels, movies, and stage plays. In doing so, many things such as term explanations, plot points, and the like have appeared in one form of media with the expectation that it could carry over into others. For example, the Kiba swords first appeared in the Kurosuki Family Removal Mission arc of the anime before being showing shown in Volume #55.
What this has caused over the years where situations where conflicts in what was stated in one form of media would be argued against what appeared in another. Arguments would flare up over what information is to be presented in the article and where. The purpose of this policy is to bring a permanent end to these discussions by giving everything a classification of canon and have them presented as such.
Tiers of Canon
- K-canon or Kishimoto/Kodachi canon: The highest tier of canon of Naruto and Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. Simply put, everything written by Kishimoto — and as of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations — Kodachi is considered high canon. Elements originating from these two that appear in other mediums, such as magazine articles, movies, ect also count as canon. Example of this would be the The Last: Naruto the Movie, which is a original film but treated as K-canon. When the matter of changes done, the most recent version takes precedence. For example, the Boruto: Naruto Next Generations as of this writing looks to be a retelling of Boruto: Naruto the Movie. Because Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is the latest version, changes applied in this series takes precedence over what took place in the film, thus are considered to be "retcons".
- Things produced by Kishimoto and Kodachi are on higher tiers of canon, but they also must be associated with the manga/anime/movie proper. For example Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie's plot was conceived by Kishimoto but was written by Yuka Miyata. Despite Kishimoto's involvement, Road to Ninja remains under C-canon.
- As of the Author Comments from #46 of Shonen Jump, the Boruto: Naruto Next Generations manga has direct ties with the events of the anime. As such the Boruto anime will be considered of equal tier to the Boruto: Naruto the Movie. In the event of differences between the manga and anime, the manga will take precedence unless specified.
- A-canon or Anime canon: The second tier of canon. As the name suggest, is the anime canon. Due to the nature of the anime, most of what is seen is an adaptation of what we've already seen in in the manga. Given the nature of the anime, the company that produces the series will at times create new stories not found in the manga to explain things that were left vague or expand on things to better use the time slot. As such scenes and explanations given in the anime, that do not directly contradict K-canon, can be presented in article as canon.
- C-canon or Continuity canon: Continuity canon is the third tier of canon, centred around works that act as a continuation of the main series found under K canon created by official distributors or producers, such as Shounen Jump. Continuity canon works on the basis similar to A-canon, if something is not specified, it can be explained in detail here. However, as this is a lower tier than K or A-canon, if something similar is presented in either tier, they overwrite what is found in c-canon. For example Naruto: Mission: Protect The Waterfall Village! (novel) provides most of the information regarding Takigakure, and it is presented in on the wiki as canon, until such a time higher tiers of canon replaces it. As such, all novels and movies, with the exception of the two films in The Last: Naruto the Movie and Boruto: Naruto the Movie, fall under this tier.
- N-canon or None canon: Non-canon are what-if stories, spin-offs unrelated to the main series, such as Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth Full Power Ninja Chronicles and certain OVAs and Specials, such as Hidden Leaf Village Grand Sports Festival!.
- Special Case: Video Games: Video Games are a special case in regards to this matrix. The stories themselves are usually retelling of the canon storyline, with changes made to gameplay and as such, falls under N-canon. However, the games can provide explanations not given in the anime or manga to certain events or abilities. For example, Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations OVA Hashirama Senju vs Madara Uchiha portrayed the battle between Madara Uchiha and Hashirama Senju, well before the battle was portrayed in canon and was treated as canon until K-canon overwrote it. Basically, story and gameplay are N-canon, terms and factoids C-canon.
Use In Articles
Information is to to be put in the articles appropriate to the content. For example, a story about the background of a character will appear under the "Background" section of the article. For information that is exclusive any particular form of media should be noted; for example a scene that is shown only in the anime will start with "In the anime".
At times, there may be clear contradictions between two K-canon sources. For example, the the fourth databook states only Madara Uchiha could use the Complete Body — Susanoo, despite Sasuke Uchiha and Kakashi Hatake displaying the same ability. For contradictions like this, a trivia note should be used. In any instance where two different databooks say something different and contradict each other, the most recent databook takes precedence, with a trivia note referring to the older version.
With the classifications of canon above, this section will explain how information should be used in articles going forward. In general, the official timeline for the series goes Naruto (series) -> Blank Period -> Boruto (series), with the the films and novels following in where they should. As this timeline comes from Shounen Jump, this is not up for discussion.
Following this guideline, all materials from the Naruto franchise is then ordered in the hierarchy as presented above; K-canon takes priority, A-canon comes next, though contradictions with K-canon will be dealt with on a case by case basis, etc.
Status of the Boruto Manga & Anime
As of January 1st, 2017, reports state that the anime for the Boruto anime and manga will run concurrent with each other, similar to how Dragon Ball Super runs its manga and anime separately. Here at Narutopedia, it is standard practice that the manga takes precedent over the anime unless specified. As of this writing, this does not change.