Rock Lee is a character from the Naruto anime and manga.
In his early childhood, Rock Lee was frequently picked on by his peers because of his inability to use Ninjutsu or Genjutsu. He believed himself to be worthless and to have no chance at becoming a ninja at all. Then, he met Might Guy, who convinced him to train exclusively in Taijutsu (physical combat), at which he became a master.
Rock Lee's first appearance in the series is one where he challenges Sasuke. After flawlessly brushing aside Naruto's counter-challenge, he proceeded to just-as-easily beat down Sasuke, before Might Guy stops him just short of a dangerous technique. Later, he tries to save Sakura from the attacking Sound Ninja in the Forest of Death, but was defeated and this helped trigger Sakura's inner change.
His has the most heartbreaking battle in the Chunin Exams. He is matched up against the psychotic Gaara of the Desert, who has never once bled or even successfully been hit with an attack. Though he puts up an extremely good fight, the strain from his overuse of the Eight Chakra Gates allows Gaara to crush Lee's arm and leg; Gaara probably would have killed Lee too, if not for Guy's interference during the exam, and Naruto's and Shikamaru's later in the hospital. This injury keeps him out of action for a long time, and is initially thought to be career-ending - it is not until much later that we see him undergoing surgery performed by Tsunade, and even later that he returns to action.
His first fight after his surgery is against Kimimaro of the Sound Five (during the Sasuke Recovery Mission arc), who he begins fighting to give Naruto time to catch up to Sasuke. Though he again puts up a good fight, his injuries still have not recovered enough to allow him his full strength. Fortunately, Gaara shows up and saves him.
Rock Lee is as fast as the human body can tolerate, and is a master of the Strong Fist school of martial arts. He also possesses the forbidden ability to open the Chakra Gates, which removes the body's limits and makes him even more overwhelming, but with high risks and physical costs.
Rock Lee has a very low tolerance for alcohol, becoming a savage master of Drunken Boxing after just one sip.
In Part II, he appears in the first major arc, backing Team Kakashi up as they try to rescue Gaara from the hands of the Akatsuki. He does not do much, but he does beat a clone of himself. When the Shinobi Alliance formed divisions to fight against Akatsuki, he was placed in the Third Division under Kakashi and alongside his teacher Guy and Sakura.
In the AWA fics, Rock Lee is a student at the AWA Academy and is part of Class 3.
In the XP4 fics, Rock Lee debuted in XP4 Heroes Coalition - Kick-Off!.
Lee has shiny black hair, round eyes with prominent lower eyelashes, and very thick eyebrows; as a result, Naruto calls him "Centipede Brows". As a child, his hair was quite long and fastened in a braid, though he cuts it short by the time he joins Team Guy, letting it curve out and upward. Lee originally wore a white, short-sleeved kimono-shirt with a martial arts belt and dark pants, giving him a more traditional Chinese appearance. He also sported a forehead protector and shinobi sandals.
Lee later changes his appearance considerably to emulate his idol and sensei, Guy: his hair is now in a bowl-cut style; he wears a green jumpsuit, orange leg warmers, and a red forehead protector worn as a belt. He has bandages around his forearms up to his fingers, covering a set of stitches on his hands that were caused by his rigorous training. Like Guy, Lee's appearance remains largely the same over the years, though he adds a standard Konoha flak jacket as a chūnin in Part II, and its redesigned version in The Last: Naruto the Movie. As an adult, Lee grew noticeably muscular with more-defined cheekbones, and now wears a sleeveless jumpsuit with an orange neckwarmer.
Under Guy's leadership, Lee has acquired a number of his sensei's personality traits: he is energetic, optimistic, and hot-blooded, and shows the epitome of a "nice guy". He believes that one cannot dislike food and shows strong dedication to his promises; when this promise is broken, just barely, he assigns himself arduous training to prevent it from happening again. Lee speaks respectfully to others, never using contractions or swear words and always addressing people with appropriate honourifics (except his teammates, since Lee feels they are close enough to be spoken to informally). He also carries a small book and pencil to recall advice that Guy gives him over time.
Despite his passionate nature, Lee has also shown strong instincts, staying focused at the task at hand and rarely losing his composure. He has a keen sense of honour and respects his opponents, refusing to hold grudges against those who have defeated him, and returning favours to those that have helped him. This was shown by his befriending of Gaara, forgiving him for crushing his arm and leg — injuries that nearly ended his career as a shinobi. Lee feels others should show the same respect towards their opponents, and is disgusted whenever someone is unnecessarily cruel to their enemies.
One of Lee's recurring themes throughout the series is his drive to succeed, believing with enough hard work and perseverance, he can surpass a natural genius. He can be prone to depression when faced with setbacks. Neji, Lee's more talented teammate and rival, found Lee's efforts to be in vain, believing a "failure" could never defeat a "genius". As such, Lee became determined to defeat Neji in order to prove him wrong, though was met with defeat every time. When Neji himself was defeated by Naruto Uzumaki, another so-called "failure", he rejects his belief in fate and now holds great respect for Lee, believing that he will surpass the gifted with enough work.
During Part I, Lee revealed he had feelings for Sakura Haruno. Although she did not reciprocate his feelings and even considered him weird, she later become more appreciative and friendly towards him after he helped saved her from the Otogakure genin during the Chūnin Exams. After the exams, Lee's interest in Sakura went largely unaddressed in the manga, though it is sometimes referenced in the anime; while having a match with Lee, Naruto transformed into Sakura, distracting Lee long enough for Naruto to attack him. However, Lee's Infinite Tsukuyomi dream was of winning Sakura's affections, implying he still had romantic feelings for her. These feelings apparently have changed by adulthood, as Lee ended up marrying someone else and had a son named Metal Lee.
Lee is a member of the Heroes Coalitions and is part of The Flaming Honor. He also attends the Vanguard Academy as a student.
XP4 Heroes Coalition - Kick-Off!
In Chapter 6, Lee, alongside his team, The Flaming Honor and another team called The Mighty Never Kneel, are seen in Magnum City taking on a group of Emotionless and successfully defeated them.
During his time in the Academy, Lee's performance was looked down upon for his inability to use either ninjutsu or genjutsu. Guy, who sensed in Lee the same hardships and determination he had as a child, took him on as a student, encouraging and training him to help him achieve his dream of becoming a splendid ninja. Under Guy's tutelage, Lee improves greatly as a late bloomer by Part I; evidenced when he defeated Sasuke Uchiha (a natural prodigy), posed a challenge against Gaara in the Chūnin Exams, and held his own against Kimimaro. As a chūnin, he was capable of defeating the legendary taijutsu master Chen, as well as destroy a meteorite by himself. By adulthood, he had advanced to the rank of jōnin.
Since discovering he has no talent for ninjutsu and genjutsu, Lee has made it his life's dream to become a famous ninja who uses taijutsu. With gruelling training and unwavering support from Might Guy, Lee developed great proficiency in the art, becoming a taijutsu master as a child using the Strong Fist fighting style. Lee's arduous training has given him strength great enough to unearth a massive tree root from the ground, and speed fast enough to outpace a two-tomoe Sharingan. As per his training, Lee has worn heavy ankle weights, which when removed, increases his speed vastly, enabling him to become the first person ever to bypass Gaara's Shield of Sand and strike him. He could also intercept a charge from Haku, a shinobi known for his own high speed. As a chūnin, Lee learned to perform the Leaf Great Gale (Konoha Daireppū). In the anime, due to Lee's extensive training, he has shown to be able to run and fight even while unconscious or asleep, using nothing but pure muscle memory. As an adult, Lee is considered to be one of Konoha's best taijutsu users.
Lee's very low tolerance for alcohol gives him a natural predisposition for the Drunken Fist style. When he consumes as little as one drop of alcohol, Lee becomes an unpredictable and nearly unstoppable force of destruction and chaos, attacking anyone whether they are friend or foe. This gives him considerably greater speed and dexterity, allowing him to strike and effectively dodge from various positions. Kimimaro, one of Orochimaru's strongest subordinates, was ultimately overwhelmed by Lee's attack patterns with Drunken Fist, noting that they were too unpredictable to follow.
Through Guy's teachings, Lee learned to open five of the Eight Gates at age 12, the sixth gate at age 17, and (in the anime) the seventh gate some time after the Fourth Shinobi World War. He is recognised as a genius for this feat by Kakashi Hatake, who notes it is highly difficult for even the most talented ninja to open even one gate. With each gate he opens, Lee's strength, speed, chakra levels, and bodily functions increase tremendously. However, the longer he maintains any of these gates, the more strain and potential physical damage his puts on himself from pushing his performance so far behind his natural limits. For this reason, Lee is only permitted to open any of the gates during the most dire situation or to protect something very dear to him. Through his continued training, Lee has become able to open some of the Eight Gates instantly and shows a faster recovery rate from using them, but he nevertheless succumbs to the pain or exhaustion they cause.
Lee has learned to use a number of taijutsu techniques that he can perform once certain gates have been opened; with the first gate, he can use the pile-driving Front Lotus; with the third gate, he can use the more destructive Reverse Lotus; with the sixth gate, he can perform the Crane Wing Formation in collaboration with members of the Suicide Corps, which proved to be powerful enough to destroy half of a giant meteorite.
Although Lee cannot use ninjutsu externally, he can still mould and use chakra to walk on surfaces, as well as water. In the anime, he also developed enough skill to dispel genjutsu.
- Rock Lee's name is derived from the rock musical genre and is a play on Bruce Lee, whose given name is pronounced the same as blues in Japanese. The pun continues with his son, Metal Lee.
- Rock Lee has his own spin-off series called Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth Full Power Ninja Chronicles by Kenji Taira, an assistant of Masashi Kishimoto.
- Like his sensei, Rock Lee's character seems to be inspired by Bruce Lee, as shown from his name and having the same birthday and hair style. The outfit Rock Lee wears in part one may have been based of Bruce Lee's jumpsuit from the 1973 film Game of Death.
- Rock Lee's injury are also similar to the one Bruce Lee once received, both were also expected to never walk again.
- Rock Lee placed very high in the first four Naruto character popularity polls. He finished 5th in the first and second polls, 8th in the third poll and 7th in the fourth poll. However, his popularity slipped in the last two polls, finishing 13th in the fifth poll and 18th in the sixth and most recent. In the 3rd Databook, a combination of the previous six polls ranked him as the 9th most popular character overall.
- Studio Pierrot has consistently given him the height of 158 cm at 13yrs, instead of 158.5 cm as his Databook profile gives him.
- Kishimoto's official sketches of Rock Lee show that he is 177cm in The Last: Naruto the Movie.
- According to the databook(s):
- Rock Lee's hobbies are his and Might Guy's intense taijutsu training regimes.
- Lee wishes for rematches with Neji, Sasuke, and Gaara, and for an all-out match with Naruto.
- Lee's favourite foods are medium spicy curry rice and curry pilaf, though, like his sensei, he finds it impossible to dislike any sort of food.
- Lee has completed 61 official missions in total: 25 D-rank, 21 C-rank, 4 B-rank, 10 A-rank, 1 S-rank.
- Lee's favourite words are "Endeavour" (doryoku), "Guts" (konjō), and "Love" (ai).
- In Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Heroes, Lee calls himself "Leaf Village's Noble Savage".