I've had to reserve judgement until the final ending came out. Now that it is here, I can safety and without a doubt state that the manga is not worth it.
Darker themes are brushed aside, as the ending we get is the Happily Ever After (yawn!). This is a world of ninja's...there are GOING to be dark themes associated with such a thing. Death, betrayal, child soliders...
Th story focuses so much on bringing one character back, that other characters suffer for it. I would rather have seen the village develop as a more close-knit group after the character's betrayal, and watch as our main characters cope with the fact that life is not fair (bloody hell, they live in a SHINOBI world).
Early story arc were actually interesting, but once you get to this last arc (the war arc), things just....detrail. The whole war just had so many random, silly things thrown in it was hard to me to take it seriously.
Anything that has been built upon, forget it. It's thrown out. Redemption (one of the most difficult things a person has to do after they betray their friends, in my opinion) is rushed. It just sort of happens. LOLWE'REFRIENDSAGAIN! I hardly bought it. It's all fine and dandy to believe in someone, even after such a thing has happened...but at a certain point it is destructive and unhealthy, and I'm left wondering if you're living in la-la land. It's so much harder to regain someone's trust after you've lost, unless you live in the world of Naruto. Your friends will just pull strings for you to get you out of trouble.
I'm just not a fan of stories that set up heavy themes...and then just shy away from them. Especially in the ending arc.
I've been thinking about doing a review for this manga for a very long time and the more I postponed it the smaller the grade became, I have a kind of love/hate relationship with this manga and being the series that got me in to anime and manga it is a bit more personal I'd say, well I've read/watched DBZ before it and some others but I wasn't very familiar with the whole manga/anime thing, in fact I don't think I even knew what the were, but I was small back then and well that's enough about me, let's get on with the manga.
The first part of the manga was really great, in fact if I was going to give it a grade based on that it would probably get a 8, it had a lot of diverse characters with a lot of different techniques, they all had their stories and were well developed, much more so then most supporting cast in any other manga I'd read at that point and even after it's still rare that I find one that is as good in that respect.
The story in the first part was not amazing, it was however good and it had a focus, it moved forward and knew where it wanted to get, it was straight forward and it told a story of discrimination, sadness, hard work, friend, etc. , it was well told and it made you want to read it.
The villain in the first part was also great, he was evil, no I actually want to save the world or create peace but I'm misunderstood, he was pure evil, a freak and a bastard that wanted to gain power and destroy the village that exiled him, he was easy to hate and made for a very good villain, he was also much more threatening and scary really.
The growth of the characters was well paced in the first part and it made sense, there were no tricks and little to no shortcuts, there were less huge powerups and characters needed to do more than just spam one ability usually.
When the second part started I actually thought it would be good, it's hard to blame me though since it started quite nice, there was action, drama and generally the plot was moving on, there was a purpose and it wasn't just about getting more powerups so that you can show them off and then go get some more powerups.
However not long in to the second part it became obvious that most of the supporting cast were all but forgotten and so probably the main strength of the manga up until that part was just squashed, now you'd think that with this there would be more focus on the main character Naruto cause it is named after him right ? well... not so much, naruto doesn't show up that much either, not only that but he doesn't really develop further in fact for the most part he was probably more mature in part one and the worse thing is that when you think he's grown up, when you finally think he's changed he goes and does something silly or stupid just for some random scene that tries to be amusing, I said try because it isn't.
The only points at witch you'll see naruto in this manga is when he's training or when he's showing off what he gained through training, other then that you'll only see him be humiliated by the author by doing something stupid and thus nullifying his entire progress up to that point.
Now you may ask, if the supporting cast isn't shown much and naruto isn't shown much then what the hell is ? The answer is simple, Sasuke, you see enough of him in the second part to make you puke, and it is even worse because as with naruto his character is much worse in part 2, by the time I'm writing this review he's raving, powerhungry lunatic that's blindly set on revenge based on what some other stupid character told him, so he's basically a brainless puppet for someone just as stupid as he is.
The plot in the second part is just all over the place, and worse it is ridiculous, you'd think that with the war that's going on atm it would become better but no.. it just continues to disappoint.
That's not to say that there are no good points in part 2, there are some here and there, the occasional 1 in 5/8 chapters that's actually good, and the entire pain arc was really good up until the end where it just shit all over itself.
The main villain in part 2 is also a very bad joke.
So what is Naruto ? it had potential but it basically became a benchmark for mediocrity, it's not that bad, but it's just average, run of the mill, and it's sad because it could have been so much more.
Alright, to say I'm a fan of Naruto is an understatement. However, I'm aware of the flaws, and the ups and downs.
The only legitament comlaint I've heard about Naruto is that it's too long. That's true. 700 chapters is a lot and there are many more episodes. I will always recommend the manga because the anime has fillers that can and will put people off of watching it. Now, I'm going to do my best NOT to spoil everything but still give a decent review. But, WArning mild SPOILERS.
Right, you can read the basic synopsis somewhere else so I'm going to jump right in.
The Naruto experience isn't for everyone. Some people just can't get into it. If you are into it then you know that it can suck out your soul and tease you with pairings right, left, and center. It can make you laugh, cry, rage all while keeping you hooked. The story line is steady and gives you just enough of all characters introduced to get you attached to at least one. The character deaths themselves may not get to you, but other characters reactions to the deaths will. All of the characters are relatable on some level, the way Kishsimoto writes about loneliness and hatred is truly amazing. The way it ends, is so clean. It's wrapped up in cute bow and if your personal OTP is cannon then you die happy. If not, well may I say, fanfiction exisits a link :enjoy.
Speaking of the characters here are some thoughts on them...
Is Naruto the best thing ever? Honestly no. There's definately a pattern throughout the series but that doesn't mean it's bad. You appreciate it for what it is.
Do I love it? Yes. There's nothing more satisfying for me then to think about all the character development in the series.
Is the art good? It gets better. In the begnning it's very cartoonish and feeling lopsided almost. However the drawings she simplier and smoother over time and the end result is satisfying to say the least.
The day has come... I may not have followed the story from the very beginning but it has still touched my heart in every way possible. Seeing every character grow up both physically and mentally has been a great honour. To have experienced the friendship and strong bonds between Sasuke and Naruto has taught me many things. I would really like to express my heartfull thanks to Masashi Kishimoto-sensei for giving me this extra life!
Now, that the series has ended, I just do not know what I should do. It is like where I was once whole a hole has replaced it. The end may have been predictable but that made the story even better. It was the perfect end to a perfect story! (On a side note - why can't he make Kakashi show his face? That has remained a mystery for years...)
I am really happy to know that this world will not die completely. But the great tale of Naruto Uzumaki is at its end. His adorable children and their friends will have big shoes to fill now.
Once again, thank you Masashi Kishimoto-sensei for giving this girl the chance to experience a fantastic world, for giving this girl the meaning of friendhip and love, and for giving this girl the most important things she has to know in life. Thank you for introducing me to the magical world called Manga and for being the first series I read and enjoy as fan. Thank you!
To summarize it, Naruto is a story about a young neglected orphan who has the dream to grow and become leader of his village so that everyone will respect him.
At first, it's clear that Naruto (the character himself) doesn't have much going for him. He's the dead last of his class in the ninja academy, his crush is chasing after his cool and aloof rival, and no one really respects him much in the first place. But, as the series goes on, the small circle of people who respect and care for Naruto slowly begin to build up as he matures and gets stronger.
The characters are engaging and interesting, almost each named character has had some of their pasts exposed which leads to the reader becoming aware of why that character does what they do and why they act the way they do. The journey of Naruto to becoming leader of his village is long and arduous as he faces opposition from those who wish to hurt him or his loved ones, and those who wish to keep him away from his dream or respecting his values.
All in all, it’s a very good manga and the story is pretty good if you read it long enough. It may start off slow but it does get better and better as more plot elements become exposed and explored.
If you want any more information, read the manga and find out, trust me you won't be disappointed.