Welcome back to another review post! Again, my apologies for the long break that I took due to school work and a brief addiction that I had for Naruto. I know Naruto came out ages ago and I’m extremely slow in catching onto this series but better late than never, I guess.
The friend who introduced Naruto to me must be elated to know that I’m actually writing a review about it now, though this story doesn’t really need one because everyone already knows how good it is haha.
Naruto is written by Kishimoto Masashi and its genres are action, adventure, comedy, drama, fantasy, martial arts and shounen.
Okay to start off, I’ll say first that I began with the anime before trying out the manga. Simply because watching an action story in animation is a lot better than reading it as still images can’t accurately portray and show all the action scenes. I liked the first episode of Naruto so much that I carried on watching episode after episode and even did day marathons of it. Episode marathons are inevitable for long action stories because each episode is only around 20 mins and for some reason, the creators love to drag out the story in anime. So I found myself spamming 10 episodes at one go and realised that the fight wasn’t even near done yet.
Okay so here’s a quick summary about Naruto for people out there who hasn’t watched Naruto just like me a few weeks back:
Naruto tells the story of Naruto, a young orphaned shinobi who is outcasted by everyone in his village of Konoha but rises above all obstacles to achieve his dream and become the Hokage, the leader and most powerful member of the village. Along the way, Naruto becomes friends with Haruno Sakura, the girl in his class that he has a crush on and Uchiha Sasuke, the smartest boy in class who also becomes his rival. When Sasuke defects to join Orochimaru, an ex-Konoha shinobi who had turned to the dark side, Naruto vows to get his best friend back and bring him home, a promise that will run throughout most of the story and bring over from Part (I) into Part (II).
Although I haven’t gone very far yet and am at the first few episodes of Naruto Shippuden, I think I’ll just give my thoughts on the story and characters so far.
I think the story was brilliantly well-thought through and planned out. Kishimoto Masashi, the mangaka of Naruto seems to have that rare story-telling gift of revealing a well-thought out story bit by bit and fit them all together like they’re pieces of a puzzle. The last time I had ever read such a story was actually Kamisama Hajimemashita, involving the time-travelling arc. I’m often envious of authors who can do that because they can manage to throw in side stories to give character growth and development while giving the reader important details about the story’s universe without deviating from the main story. I guess I still have a long way to go.
The idea of jinchūrikis and the various ninja abilities never failed to amaze me as they constantly kept me curious, wanting to know more and more: what abilities do the jinchūrikis have, how many forms do they have, how do they come about, what are the various ninjutsu, genjutsu and taijutsu? The questions I had were endless. As an episode by itself doesn’t reveal everything to you instantly, the only answer to it is to watch the anime in episodes for all these form the story line.
Overall, I really like the world of Naruto. I kind of would like to even live in it and learn the various ninja arts. There are so many things to learn and I’m sure the learning phase never ends, if you constantly train yourself to expand your fighting arsenal. I’m pretty sure I’ll fare badly as a kunoichi though, seeing as I’m totally un-sporty and lazy hahahaha
Even though Naruto can be considered as an annoying brat at first, I really grew to like him a lot because of his unwavering loyalty towards people who are precious to him and determination to never give up. As the episodes went on, I saw Naruto grow out of his troublemaking tendencies to become more serious and mature but still maintain some of his old cheekiness – he basically became a character that I would normally take a liking to instantly.
His unwavering determination to never give up no matter how bad the situation seems is highly admirable, though his rashness to dive headfirst into things makes me facepalm myself countless times. It makes you question yourself how one can jump into battle so senselessly without formulating a plan or strategy first. Of course, I’m describing the Naruto that was in Part (I) from what I remember about him; I’m pretty sure the Naruto in Shippuden became a more tactical thinker due to the two and a half years training with Jiraiya. Honestly, I can’t wait to see more of him in Shippuden and I’m planning to marathon episodes of it once I’m through with this coming week hehe.
Haruno Sakura was way annoying in Part (I). Being the only kunoichi in Team 7 with Sasuke and Naruto, her role in Part (I) was mostly to act tough then step back and be saved by either of her teammates. She was extremely useless and she knows it too. Kishimoto Masashi probably didn’t know what to do with her as a female secondary character. In addition, her attention was constantly directed towards Sasuke, which was understandable for a young teenage girl but just plain irritating. I wonder if I was that irritating and annoying as an immature young girl back in my early teenage years.
Luckily, near the end of the Sasuke Recovery Mission arc, Sakura “sobers up” and realises that she wants to be of use to her team so she requests to become Tsunade’s apprentice, an excellent medical kunoichi who is also Konoha’s Fifth Hokage. From what I’ve seen so far in the first few episodes in Shippuden, Sakura is now stronger and a lot more confident in battle, a character that we can expect a whole lot of exciting things from now.
Uchiha Sasuke is the class’ cool, smart, dark-haired handsome guy; all the girls love him for the cool and mysterious aura that’s around him. Starting off as a rival for Naruto, Sasuke was an interesting character to watch. Although the two greatly disliked each other and often competed to the extremes, there was this underlying mutual understanding that they still cared for each other and would help the other out when the situation called for it. What Naruto and Sasuke had was kind of like healthy competition.
Although I didn’t really think much of Sasuke or even liked him all that much, I was saddened when he defected and left the village in his pursuit for power. I felt that even though both he and Naruto were similar in that sense that they are both orphans, Sasuke allowed himself to get held back by the past. And as a result of his lack of understanding abut bonds and revenge-bent one-track mind, he could never be truly happy until his thirst for revenge was complete. I don’t really like him but boy does this fact about Sasuke really make you feel sad for the poor kid.
As for the other characters, I think they’re all really important and essential to the story and they are a good mix of different personalities and abilities. We have the talented genius Neji, the hard worker Lee, the lazy but intelligent Shikamaru, the wild and boyish Kiba and the silent and observant Shino among the Genins in the village of Konoha. Also, there are the talented sand siblings whose ninja prowess are all amazing in their own right.
Naruto is an amazing work of art that unfolds through the story like a thousand-piece puzzle and I have about 300+ more episodes to go as well as all the movies to catch up on to appreciate and marvel at. I think what makes Naruto a huge commercial success is mainly due to its strong emphasis on themes like family and friendship, as well as believing in yourself. Who would’ve known that a story about a young ninja chasing his dream to become the village’s Hokage would end up becoming one of the world’s most well-known and beloved shounen manga/anime?
Character likeability / Character background: 9/10
Overall story: 10/10
Re-watchability: 8/10 (Naruto‘s a great story, really but to re-watch 220 episodes again? Um no, I think not any time soon)