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Naruto
by residentgrigo on February 15th, 2015, 12:53pm

Rating - 7.6 / 10.0

User rating of this review - 5 out of 5
Story/Plot - 3 out of 5
Characters - 4 out of 5
Drawing Style - 4 out of 5
Enjoyment - 4 out of 5
Overall - 4 out of 5

Click here for series information

I have written a real and spoiler filled novel as my review so it should fit here just fine:

Part 1: I started reading in 2002 and was and still am into this part. Real human Euros were paid. The art is stylish from the start and becomes really good during the chunin arc. The story itself can hold it´s own against the well choreographed fights and the spirit of Akira is strong in terms of design and the occasional moment of eye-catching violence and slight punk esthetics. The characters are all inherently lovable from the start. Stand outs include Rock Lee(the definition of a shonen hero), Neji(great use of a tragic back-story), Shikamaru(best BFF on could dream of) and Hinata(has a more likable Yamato nadeshiko ever existed ?). Kakashi is obviously Kenshin levels cool and Orochimaru is the best villain of the series. Gaara is a very strong rival. Another strength is the constant explanations diagrams of the jutsus and the reasonably grounded use of them. Yoshihiro Togashi would be proud. The theme of generation hits hard when Jiraiya comes a-perving. Ah yes the daytime anime- adaptation friendly light perving does not happen. Apparently Masashi cares about the intellect and attention span of his readers. Build upon themes of legacy over pandering of all forms like titz, shipping and a dozen new different attack modes for everyone per arc so we can keep selling figures are missing as of now. You don´t want to know my opinion on Negi, Fairy Tail, Kenichi, Beach and the lowest hanging fruits they keep on grabbing to stay in print and of my reading list. Even the humor works too at this point. Hiruzen´s big hero death(what a fight !) is expected by well done and casts a reaching shadow. The weaknesses are the the use of SJ formula to a tee and some very big logic holes like the sheer number of pointlessly dead children and crazy bullying that path the road to happy endings. The more then weird society need to be mentioned too. Does everyone go to ninja school ? How does money and the power/mission ranking actually work ? Wouldn´t clone jutsu make working obsolete. Can ninja crime even be fought ? How is Naruto so clueless about his heritage ? Is ninja sex as crazy as i expect ? Even teenage me had these questions constantly. The anime adaptation is very well done outside of the expected pacing problems and the limited animation is used well and to stylish effect. I haven´t seen the filler and neater should you. This part is a 8,5.

Part 2 till invasion of Pain: The world building really gets going and the new designs are great. The art becomes less quirky but noticeably good for a weekly shovel fest. When and how did Kishimoto meet his wife anyway ? The exploding cast starts to turn into a problem. At least Kubo Tite syndrome(no resolving ideas before the next deadline you say, have 20 new characters with fabulous mullets instead !) never happens. The till now likable Sakura sadly takes a nosedive here. Good god is she LOYAL. Gaara´s offscreen sprint to redemption turned him into nonsense too. Look at this sub-forum to learn more: "Anyone think Sakura is an idiot?". I wish Hinata who now climbed the opularity poles would step in but her role is being a meat-shield with almost no screen time. Waste of a character- no-jutsu ! Sasuke´s journey as secondly anti-hero is well done and Akatsuki builds greatly and logically upon the beloved snake lord. The path to Pain is well integrated into the generations theme. Asuma´s and Jiraiya´s hero deaths are very effective but the small ones keep happening way less frequent. BUT the big war against Pain hits a wall called redemption. The pulled by the arguably long hair revelations about Itachi´s motives and his gentle soul manage to spiral Sasuke down a journey that both character almost don´t recover from for the next 30 Volumes. The musical chair of Sasukes true feelings and motivations almost killed him for me. Lead 2 takes nosedive. Pain´s motivation that is the same as Seymour from FF X(suffering needs to die so i will kill the world !) is a giant problem too. So is the revival-a-thon that makes death meaningless from now on. Akira Toriyama would be proud. A lot of good fight keep on happening but the second half of the arc runs into problems too. Way too many modes of attack and the constant needs of power ups destroy the grounded nature of the choreography. Especially with all the constant summoning of random crap. The action aspect still pulls through well enough the humor becomes a non-issue halfway in and is just there out of obligation. No Kenhsin level fight anymore but still better them most action comics worldwide. We aren´t pandering completely by now but things are getting critical. This part is a 7,5. The anime looks like it is animated by vietnamese slaves half the time so i dropped it after a year. Kind of a shame. At least the soundtrack stayed strong.

Five Kage arc till 700: Let the bitching begin but the art has to be mentioned first. Who has the time for such non digital background week after week ? It has become good enough to follow along alone. Nine-Tails and friends have always only been misunderstood ? Naruto fights his own Dark Link ! EVERYONE comes back as zombies and or ghosts(how many final conversations with his parents did he have ?). At least Kishimoto understood that Jiraya needed to stay dead. Repeated nostalgia milking so no new plots have to be woven went on for about 2 year of my life thanks to this. The fights against an army of clones are as pointless as i expected. Why was i looking forward to this ? Talk and flashback-no-jutsu manage to become memes by now too. The shipping especially gets weird by this point and the female characters become completely pointless now. Hinata´s near deadly confession that the whole village saw lacks a follow-up is the biggest offender. You know what ? The number of characters is now over 9000 so nearly everyone is now a random superpower on legs. Am i secretly reading a X-men event comic ? Kishimoto designed the ninjas as superheroes after all. The avengers run a school too by the way. Another big problem are the now pointless action scenes. All big characters can now turn into japanese gods, have more might in one hand then the lord(ninja Jesus shows up too) and stand around in the air while screening at the moon. Akira Toriyama would be proud. I guess Kishimoto started to pandering to the internet in all forms but nudity by now. Le sigh. „New“ big bad Obito was a very good at first and his backstory leads to great use of Kakashi. But he also went to the FF X school(i swear i like it) of villainy and friendship is magic by the end of his arc too ! Madara is also nice at first but how many turtles deep are we now on the villains front ? And he is basically Orochimaru with a unkempt hair and even he gets some stupid thing about friendship thrown in at the end. How high a mountain of corpses did he build again to get that final handshake? Will Griffith get that one too ? That one is a joke of course. Berserk for live ! The web of connections for good and bad guys is now incomprehensible due to the ret-cons that happen every third week. Naruto Wikia is now mandatory and the data-books will thus turn into bestsellers. Brian M. Bendis would be proud. Kishimoto himself admitted that he didn´t plan all these(maybe a record of non superhero fiction ?) in advance but they hold up reasonably well till now. But we are 50+ volumes in. Even Cerebus Syndrome has kicked in hard so the humor is long gone too(at least Dave Sim´s misogyny stays at home). Two identical Wars in(Hinata as a meat-shield again ?) is the breaking point for both action, internal logic and nearly my patience. Neji ´s big hero death is emotional for sure and sealed the shipping deal for Naruto for good. It may have been the right characters to burry but it was the wrong way to kill him. He has perfect eyes(!) and he could have kicked that stupid tree with both hands behind his back. Or final Ghibli princes(the manga has finally turned into Asura's wrath by now) that needs to be defeated is Ultimecia from FF VIII and she even brought the evil tree from FF V and a pile of random black goo that was the mastermind all along(M. Night Shyamalan would be proud) has to show his ugly bug too. Most should agree with me that this part of the arc is nonsense of the highest order ! Worst of all is that google now links the word Kaguya to her and not the folktales ! I guess everyone and their dog were reading the manga by now. At least i now know that Kishimoto may have been a gamer before his life turned into 15 years a slave. The canon „the Last“(sure you are) looks like FF VII and Majora's Mask after all and this and the triple Hyuga kidnapping or the existence of a fourth Kaguya child could turn into a problem. The only reason i didn´t even think of dropping the series is because of my by now deeply rooted love for the characters, the art and shining points like chapter 605 and 699. Kishimoto may be a complete Shueisha slave at this point but his life blood was in it somewhere. The YouTube anime clips looked a bit better but this part needs a rewrite and a diet not an adaptation ! This part is the lowest and most unjustified 6 i have ever given.

The END: 700 is good and croud pleasing enough(unless you shipped like a madman) but only a setup to ultimately print money. It still helped to move the final rating up by 0,5. My full opinion and another one of my novels can be found here: „So, Naruto Came To ? The End ? !!“. I even talk about kunoichi feminism ! At least they keep their clothes on while fighting and were aloud on the battlefield at times. SJ is apparently slowly moving forward from their Hokuto no Ken days. Isn´t nearly half their readership female and technically adult by now ?
I like Naruto himself but i think that he is less alive then his other worthwhile peers like Luffy and Gon. Meaning that he is tied to his Hokage quest and search for acknowledgment a bit too much. I can see him eating ramen an being Baka(his grade school antics and naivety should have stopped shortly after the time jump) outside of the page but not living a rounded life. The next comparable shonen fighting bestseller on my list are now Hunter/Titans(arguably something else) and Ippo/One Piece(i am trying my best not to drop these two but it is getting harder due to unmoving and repetitive arcs). It is not that i outgrew the formula but a weekly release schedule for years will break even the most talented writer. The genre apparently needs new blood and less One Piece/DB Z copies. A length of no more then 30 volumes is vital or a Berserk style Hitaus X Hiatus needs to take place to not turn into a mind killer. Naruto after all started almost as good as a certain alchemist and almost ended as a certain laundry detergent in it´s 40s. But don´t be that „new“ writer to Kishimto. You gave me(and US) joy and I care about you and read your interviews. Please retire in grace and don´t be the a slave to the system that keeps chasing his lost youth and relevance! Go home and be a family man even if Naruto himself ironically doesn´t have the time now(is this some Bakuman level commentary on working for Jump?). You deserve better and your wife and family miss and need you ! Take that honeymoon you kept on delaying for a decade and only do passion project on your own schedule(no more Mario please). And if you need to return to the world of ninjas then stick to Orochimaru and Kakashi miniseries in Ultra Jump only. Your journey is over and i have reached catharsis by way of this review too. Let the other Jump slaves do the now beginning river of spin-offs. If anyone cares about my opinion of the movies i think that Land of Snow is the „best“ and „Road to Ninja“ is a big waste of setting. They are close enough to canon and NONE other exist as of now to me. I vow to never write such a master's theses till Berserk ends and inspires me to write my second and last review novel. Thank you for your time and a great and first-time retrospective reading of the series can be found here : http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/house-of-1000-manga/2014-11-06/naruto/.80741
 
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Great review by ALT+CTL on March 18th, 2015, 8:37am Rating: 5

Nice review
 
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