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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Naruto Review and Retrospective
Posted by Vintniv in Anime / Manga September 03, 2009 at 02:29:04 PM

It should be nothing new to say that you know what Naruto is. Much like Harry Potter and Star Wars, Naruto is either something you hate or like and really doesn’t have much to offer in between. Also, because the anime and the manga are essentially the same thing, excluding the anime’s fillers, I figure it would be easier to just collectively do this instead of just making two.

So it’s around 450 manga chapters, some 250 episodes and several movies, and as I said, you either like it or hate it. I do think I know why. Whenever we think of something like that, we tend to also think of its fan base as a type of example of those who read or watch it like we do. In this case, we have the eloquently named ‘Narutard.’ Now, this is kind of mean if one thinks about it. Remember back in the days when you used to watch childish animes like Sailormoon, Dragonball Z, or Pokemon? Do you think those who watched anime or other stuff before you thought very highly of you? How about another one, you grow up as a child and a love Sesame Street, and then you hit an older adult age, and then you say that you hate Dora the Explorer just because it’s for little kids.

Honestly, we always look towards a fan base as a reason not to like something, even if it’s not really as bad thing we make it out to be. Sure there’s some crazy people fanning Naruto, the occasional one goes nuts, but all that aside and Naruto is actually a pretty good manga, so I guess this starts the review part.

Naruto is a kid in the Village of the Leaf (Konoha) who is also a ninja wanting to basically become the village’s leader, known as the Hokage (Fire Shadow). There is some back-story about how the village was attacked by a great Fox demon, but the demon was sealed within Naruto by the 4th Hokage. Now, as any person who has read or watched Naruto up until now, all of that isn’t important because it’s quite old, and that’s true. But also, because the story doesn’t exactly stick to that story line for too long and actually only flickers on and off about it early on, so it feels kind of pointless to be given a back story that has nothing to play on. It should also be noted that 400 chapters ago, we all knew the 4th Hokage was Naruto’s father, if that wasn’t already too obvious.

One of the reasons I think this manga works so well is how it’s explained. Chakra, the mystical power within a ninja that allows him to do his techniques, is actually very well laid out that it’s made to be believable. Along with that, techniques, powers, etc are also well used too; even something so complicated such as making a clone of yourself is explained to a degree that it adds a nice sense of realism to how the story flows. Same with the combat, most of the combat is usually played out one step ahead of the reader, and usually one chapter as well. After a while it might feel kind of insulting that at the end of a chapter you expect someone to die or something, and then you wait a week, and the person is still alive because of some super, amazing, last minute technique that saved them that had never been used before.

The characters are a bit too varied. The dark, evil looking guy who’s after revenge, and the girl who’s in love with him, although she never spends one second actually learning anything about him. It should also be noted that none of the main characters on the good side actually die, although there are numerous points where the whole ‘this technique could kill me’ come up several times, which is too much. The people opposite to them aren’t exactly very lucky, but they typically die within about 50 chapters of their introduction.

There’s really a lot of everything in this storyline, love, action, drama, suspense, violence, the occasional blood letting, but there is not solid theme. If anything, that would have to be my main criticism, the fact that it takes an incredibly long time before a really long, interesting battle takes place. To be honest, this is a storyline trying to play every field to draw in a larger crowd, which is fine, but it gets rather annoying. People who want action will probably be turned off by the extensive periods where its nothing but characters talking, and those more for the drama will find the action annoying. The thing about his manga is that it seems less to be after any theme, but being a type of introductory manga, which helps set the path to others. The action person will be more attracted to something like Bleach, the drama person will be more attracted to Fruits Basket.

In all honesty, I would probably recommend this manga first and foremost to the new comer and let them find out for themselves what they like. Although the movies of Naruto are a bit much, the massive 100 episode filler arc in the anime was utterly stupid, it’s actually pretty good if you exclude those things. But it’s doing what a popular manga does, it expands, and that really shouldn’t be a turn off to this series.

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