For quite some time I have followed Konohagakure’s most famous ninja through the world of shinobi and now that the story is heading towards its climax, it’s time to properly review it.
If you see an orange flash in the periphery, the son of the yellow flash may have just passed you by. No idea who I’m talking of? It’s Naruto Uzumaki, the one you would have never thought to become a ninja – not even in his own alternative universe, the shinobi world. This world is divided into countries, guarded by ninja villages, and Naruto aims to be the ledaer of his village: the hokage. So far so good, as we are starting off from the basics, meaning an annoying brat with little to no talent or friends. Luckily enough, we soon get past that and get a glimpse of what may become of this rascal, if he gets it together. Best motivators are, of course, the girl he’s infatuated with and his rival and later best friend. And that’s where the trouble starts…
While the first part of Naruto is basically about Naruto growing up to be somewhat responsible, the second part (Naruto Shippuuden, after a time skip) is mostly about Naruto trying to convince his best friend to come back. What a luck we also have some very interesting side characters (the Akatsuki, Jiraya, Tobi) that set a great final into motion.
The anime suffers under the fact, that it frequently catches up with the chapters and as such has to resort to making filler episodes, that are nice extra, but sometimes pull the actual plot apart a bit too much. Thanks to its success, the series wasn’t cut short so I am more than thrilled to see how the ending will turn out animated.
Naruto isn’t one of the most successful manga series for no reason. We have a wide spread of characters, serving us with action and fun galore. The problem is that such an amazing series has to deal with huge expectations. Personally, I find the god-modding is going a bit over the top in the recent chapters, on both sides, good and bad. I am quite curious about how Kishimoto plans on tying the ends together.
Looking back, I have to say that I had incredible amounts of fun, reading Naruto, that is to say, once I got past that thoroughly annoying brat in the first few chapters. That is when the really strong side of Naruto hit, it’s gorgeous side characters! )If it’s gambling Tsunade from the good side or constantly bickering Kakuzu and Hidan from bad-boy-group Akatsuki, they would always keep me entertained.
What I also like about the series is the development, from an actual comic for fun, to a story that takes you away. That the protagonist has grown into an actually respectable hero shouldn’t be neglected either. The series has definitely grown along with its readers.
All in all, after the first few chapters, which really might freak some people out, it’s a cool series for pretty much everyone. Sooner or later, all tastes will be served. Little minus is for those, who look for something a little more serious and wonder if they could simply kick in after the time skip. Though you surely can try, I wouldn’t recommend it. Any kinds of basics will be discussed until the end of the Chuunin-exam arc, which is pretty early in the story.
Naruto – FACTS
by Masashi Kishimoto
Published in 1999 by Shueisha and TV Tokyo
Age: 12+, later 16+
Recommended for: Every manga fan has to at least have read a few chapters of Naruto. The real Narutards end up being people with a soft spot for idiots and kick-ass action.