Ask any anime fan if they’ve heard of Naruto and 9 times out of 10 they’ll reply you with a yes. The remaining 10 percent that didn’t probably just didn’t feel like talking to you. No hard feelings.
For over 20 years, Naruto has actively been involved in the anime scene, with its manga first being published in 1999 and an ongoing sequel today. It isn’t easy for a show to still be relevant such a long period of time after its inception. So what exactly is so special about this work? 12 years later, I’m finally ready to write about it.
In case you were wondering, this review doesn’t include Shippuden. I’ve still got 500 episodes to go on that one.
- Title: Naruto (ナルト)
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Shonen, Super Power, Martial Arts
- Studios: Studio Pierrot
- Episodes: 220 – 23min (completed)
- Date: 3 October 2002 — 8 February 2007
- Source: Manga
Naruto has been the source of countless people’s enjoyment for many many years. Through puberty, breakups, rejections, failures and the occasional depression, Naruto had been by our side through it all. Of course, even the happy times as well. While it’s far from perfect, it’s definitely one to remember.
Naruto is packed with all sorts of mini-stories, all of which were lots of fun to watch. The central plot’s narrative however revolves around the relationship between Naruto and Sasuke as both beloved friends and arch-enemies, as everything that happens in the anime more or less plays around with their relationship.
But even with its heartwarming arcs, thrilling arcs and even filler arcs, what Naruto does best is its action. Super powered ninjas may sound like a ridiculous concept initially, but these ninjas are by no means ridiculous. We’ll get to characters in a bit. But ultimately, Naruto presented a battle-filled world of ninjas filled with stealth missions and training, and most importantly tons of flashy and exciting action with a touch of sentimentality in its storytelling.
The cast of Naruto were most definitely what gave the show its zing. It’s never easy to create a large cast of characters and give them each an intriguing lore and a unique skill set, all the while managing and sharing screen time with the rest of the highly fascinating characters in the show. But Naruto did just that. We were able to see a vibrant cast of individuals for the most part of the show, many of whom had unique personalities and ideals that gave these characters a certain charm about them. Rock Lee is a good example of an inspirational character.
Naruto’s soundtracks are simply in a class of its own. The songs itself were powerful enough to evoke various feelings. So you can imagine the impact when the music had been used alongside the scenes in the anime. Some were sorrowful, some were thrilling, some were cool while others were just plain awesome. Music aside, a lot of the sound effects in Naruto had this oriental essence of the more ancient periods, which all the more helped with building the world of ninjas. But anyway, here’s one of my favourite openings.
Most of us may already know that Naruto has a ton of fillers, with about 100 or so filler episodes. I get the hate for fillers, and I won’t bother explaining why these hate can be justified. But there were actually lots of very enjoyable fillers in the anime that added in the world building of the anime. From the hilarious shenanigans of trying to reveal Kakashi’s face, to the missions of the other equally stacked teams in the anime, the fillers are always offering something worth watching. Often, something enjoyable. At the very least, they’re not much less special than the main story and its chasing of Sasuke anyway. It was definitely a fun way to spend more time in the Narutoverse.
With that, I’m done with Naruto for good! One rewatch was enough for me. Considering how Naruto had a lot of episodes, I’m quite satisfied for being able to condense it into an easy to read short review. On to Shippuden I go, eventually…
This review wasn’t really much of a review, but thanks for reading! Which characters were your favourites? Did you watch the fillers? Let me know!
(Banner source: Reddit)