Hi I’m Simon and today I decided to exploit the remaining hype around Naruto. I honestly don’t think I have to tell anyone about this franchise so I’ll say some words before I start the actual review. I am not a huge fan of Naruto. I’ll try to be objective, but if you are a Naruto fanatic and don’t like hearing opinions that differ from your own I recommend stopping at this point. I don’t have any particularly good or bad feelings about neither manga nor anime and I’m not gonna be all emotional about it just because Kishimoto had the dignity to end it. I had a good time reading/watching it but in the end I’m ambiguous towards it and that’s gonna show in this review.
PLOT: No, really now? Ok, ok, for the sake of continuity then… Naruto is a little mischievous kid growing up in a world of ninjas. His strong desire to be accepted by his peers makes him wish to become Hokage, the strongest and most trusted ninja in his village and also its governor. Of course, for this to work he has to become strong and fight many more or less terrifying enemies.
Characters: Neither do I like them nor do I think they’re in any way special. Sasuke alone makes so many 180° turns just to advance the story it’s outright ridiculous. Despite starting out as a somewhat cool and tragic character, the need for a driving force behind the story makes him develop into an asshole. Additionally, the romance between Sakura (and Ino) and him is laughable. I’m sorry but I just can’t see how a crush on a cool guy at 10 years old develops into a life-long, unconditional love one would die for. Not happening. On that note, even the “friendship” Naruto imagines is only there because the story demands it. But who am I to question friendship in a Shonen. Naruto himself is in no way an intriguing or deep character. As such he doesn’t have any major flaws but it’s only natural that there are no flaws where there is nothing to begin with. He is the typical idiotic, immature but oh so peace-loving protagonist of any shonen manga/anime and he does his job. Now, here’s one thing many people and especially Kishimoto himself don’t seem to get: A tragic background is neither good enough to justify action of any kind, nor to make a character I can feel any kind of emotion towards. Every time any character does something especially evil or is about to die we get a flashback of their childhood, loving memories, past trauma, good comrades or everyone they loved being killed. You know what I’m talking about. Everyone else is not in any way positive or negative, except some being cooler and better liked by the fanbase than others. You know, Kakashi, Itachi, Pain and stuff.
Story: Bigger but not better. Starting off in an admittedly awesome and intriguing way, after some time all it amounted to was whether it could outdo itself time and time again, resulting in new techniques and powers stronger than everything we saw before being scrapped only a short while after they were even introduced. Sage Mode, people! Another thing is the fact that villains are not beaten or over and done with. They’re not even given a respectable conclusion to their respective storylines. Rather, they just add one after the other, fabricating ridiculous plot twists like Orochimaru being still alive after someone killed him for the fifteenth time. Now, the great ninja war. I mean, seriously? If you’ve read a recent chapter of Bleach you know how ridiculously stupid it is to introduce too many characters at once or close after another. Especially if you make them out to be so frickin strong and with every single one comes a new power or technique and everyone’s shitting their pants, the characters and the audience alike, in anticipation of the battle. And then poof, the character is scrapped and along come 5 new ones. That war was too big for its own good. Rather than being totally awesome because of its scale, the quality suffered a great deal. And along comes Kaguya. A life or death battle with the future of the world riding on it can be oh so grand but if the participants aren’t people I have some kind of bond to it doesn’t do shit for me. I’d rather the last opponent was Obito or even Madara (who was ridiculously strong to the point of being unbeatable already) than some new evil god or whatever that’s just been introduced a few chapters ago. Thanks to that the fight everyone has been really looking forward to, the one between Naruto and Sasuke, felt rushed and paled in comparison. Not saying it would’ve been better as it was without the whole Kaguya thingy beforehand, but had Kishimoto ended the great ninja war arc or whatever it’s supposed to be called at an earlier point, he’d have had more time to develop the conflict between Naruto and Sasuke leading to a final confrontation, rather than Sasuke coming out of nowhere for the hundredth time saying he wants to kill something. Naruto, in this case, once again. This pretty much concludes the issues I have with the story. The story had its perks and drawbacks but I feel as if most of them are personal issues everyone has a different view on.
Art/Animation: What can I say about the animation? It’s fine. The art is fine too. I personally don’t like it but I don’t see any flaws with it. As so many long running series, it becomes more simplistic as time goes on, but that’s only logical as the artist optimizes his process and sheds unnecessary, troublesome things.
I have to give it to the anime, I’ve never seen such a streak in awesome openings.
My Recommendation: Give it a try if you haven’t already. It’s a shonen, so it’s light entertainment with its epic and funny moments, but don’t expect much more. If you want a good shonen, give Psyren a try, for being one of the best shonen manga out there. Beware though, the end is rather rushed. I suppose if you’re younger you should give the older shonen anime a try. Dragonball, Yu Yu Hakusho, Inu Yasha and the like.
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Thank you and have a nice day 🙂