Naruto (2002-2007)

Naruto aired from 2002 to 2007

Overview

Since I will be giving my opinion on the entirety of the show, I will be giving a brief explanation for those who may not be familiar. However, I will still be leaving out a lot of the individual details for the sake of not making this three thousand pages long. Before doing this however, I will take a moment to explain some basic terms so no one gets confused.

  • Shinobi: a ninja, there are various types but they are all shinobi.
  • Jutsu: special skills that every ninja can use, also having various types.
  • Kage: A rank reserved to the leader of one of the five great hidden villages.
  • Sensei: teacher, mentor

Naruto is a young boy who has been ostracized his entire life up until this point and he didn’t know why. As the story goes, when he just a newborn, the leaf village was under attack by a powerful nine-tailed fox demon and the fourth hokage performed a ritual to seal the spirit of the demon into Naruto. This cost the fourth hokage his life, and the third hokage came out of retirement in order to lead the village once again. Returning to the present, the series begins with Naruto being tricked into stealing a valuable scroll from his own village, having been told that if he stole the scroll and then managed to learn one of the jutsus within it, he would be able to become a shinobi and leave the academy. Of course, this is all a lie and he ends up having to save his sensei Iruka. Thus began the adventures told in Naruto.

The rest of the series is seemingly one battle after another as he and his fellow shinobi face various opponents throughout the course of a little more than a year. Through the course of the show he grows a lot as an individual and acts as a true protagonist, leaving an imprint on everyone he helps and comes across. The show ends with him leaving with his Master Jiraiya in order to train to become a formidable shinobi, ready to deal with his next enemy; the akatsuki clan.

In the following section you will find my unfiltered thoughts concerning the show as a whole, so if you do not wish to be spoiled about anything, here’s your warning.

My thoughts

I haven’t watched an anime in a long time, but I have only ever heard such great things about this one that I finally caved and watched it. I have to say, I really enjoyed it. The battles were always really entertaining to watch, albeit some of the earlier ones felt as though they went on forever. Along the way we meet a lot of characters, villains, heroes, and those right in the middle. I came to learn how to understand what brings some individuals to do bad deeds, while there were others that I saw no humanity in them. The main trio for a while was that of Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura. Naruto and Sasuke seem to always be at odds, because Naruto is considerably a lot more jovial while Sasuka is in a constant state of contemplation and brooding.

When Sasuke chooses to leave the leaf village, I felt for Naruto because I knew that he doesn’t give up easily, especially on those he cares about but you cannot help someone who does not wish to be helped. As Sasuke said, he is on his own journey that no one can follow him on, but that didn’t mean that Sakura and Naruto weren’t going to try. There were moments throughout this show that I did feel my heart strings get tugged on, and there were parts that successfully creeped me out. I know a major complaint of this first installment of the series is how many filler episodes there are, but for me personally,I never truly mind fillers. They usually act as a good reprieve from the tension that the ongoing plot is providing, plus they add to the overall world of a show.

Characters I Adored & Characters I Didn’t

  • (+) Shikamaru: When we first are introduced to him, he doesn’t seem to be anything more than just some lazy kid but throughout this series I really came to enjoy his character. Especially his strategy skills and his loyalty to his friends. He is the only one of the group to move onto the next ranking due to his skills and I think that was well-suited to his character. He’s easily one of my favorites.
  • (-) Ino: Don’t get me wrong, she grows on me but it really isn’t until the end that I come to like her, when she chooses she wants to train and become a medical ninja. Other than that, I think she’s a very cliche character that is shown on more than one occasion to be self-absorbed and shallow. While I know that there is a lot more to her, since she is shown to be smart and thoughtful at times, I think her growth is overshadowed by her attitude.
  • (+) Kakashi: I was really disappointed when we didn’t see much of him towards the ending of the show, even in the end, he only showed up in the last ten minutes which was disappointing to me. He is another character that at first glance, he doesn’t seem to be all that much. There’s an air of mystery to him because we don’t know what he looks like fully due to his face mask, but other than that he looks pretty normal. Only to find out that he is super powerful and skilled and is known around the villages due to this.
  • (-/+) Sakura: In the beginning, I couldn’t stand her. She was made into being this annoying, dependent, needy girl that didn’t have anything particularly useful to offer during battle apart from her chakra control and ability to see through certain types of jutsus. However, I was very happy when the writers began giving her depth, having her become a medical ninja out of a want to be do more for those she goes on missions with. I really came to enjoy her character.
  • (+) Naruto: I don’t know, there’s something about him that keeps him charming the entire time. Perhaps it is his ability to go from rambling on about ramen, to protecting his friends with a ferocity that is unmatched. I understood pretty quickly why he was the hero of this story.
  • Some honorable mentions would be; Kiba, Temari, Gaara. I enjoyed their characters a lot, with Gaara intriguing me the most out of these three. Also, Jiraiya reminded me a lot of Miroku of Inuyasha and I’m sure you can all guess why.

Have any of you watched this show? Did you continue on to watch the next installments? I plan on continuing and watching Naruto: Shipp┼źden, but that will definitely take some time considering how long the show is. Let me know in the comments if you are a fan of anime, and if so, which ones?