16 of 31 people found this review helpful
220 of 220 episodes seen
Opening sequences: Due to their amount, I will simply summarize it: Some of them were good, mostly at the beginning, the rest turned out to be rather mediocre.
Ending sequences: Same as openings.
My Age Rating: 8: There is some violence here and there, some blood but that’s it. It doesn’t have suggestive content outside of a few instances and the violence isn’t brutal, again, outside of a few instances.
Naruto’s plot is panned out on 220 episodes and even then, it leaves on a "To Be Continued" note so obviously it’s more intense during some parts of the show than others. They are basically three important storylines: Naruto’s struggle to save his friend Sasuke, Orochimaru’s schemes and the Akatsuki; an organisation who also as Sasuke’s brother as one of its members. All three storylines are good but some are more interesting than others, for example, the main plot is about saving Sasuke while I couldn’t care less about that SPOILER-He betrayed his friends, tried to kill his best friend, put the village in danger and joined his enemy, the man who killed the Okage, out of his own free will to be able to have his little revenge. To me Sasuke’s trash.-SPOILER I’m much more interested in seeing how Orochimaru’s schemes will turn out and finally find out what the Akatsuki are all about.
Now the most entertaining episodes are the first 50, as they deal with the characters being introduced and going through some trials, the plot is also introduced and we see the series’ best battles as well. Then the plot basically gets underway during the next 80 or so episodes and its pretty good, but still a drop from the initial episodes. Then there’s the part people dislike, episodes 136 – 220: They are basically fillers as no plot really gets fleshed out so someone who hates that can go straight to Shippuden, providing you watch episodes 215 – 220 of course. But for me, they were good. I always saw Naruto as a series about the characters and their ninja missions, so since these episodes were mostly that I rather enjoyed them. They also develop some characters, their abilities and provide some more background. I don’t think someone who just watches the series for the main plot elements can really enjoy Naruto, they’d be missing out on most of the series and what actually makes it good.
The characters were almost all great, one of the reasons I enjoyed the series so much. Of course Naruto truly annoyed me in the beginning but as the series went on, he grew on me. Most characters are very distinct; they each have their own background, clan, style of clothing, fighting abilities and personalities. The cast is diverse and very likable, it’s easy to go through several episodes in one sitting with them around. They also pulled their relationships quite well, though don’t expect heavy romance or anything, this is a shounen, and I guess the target audience doesn’t go for that. The characters go through many ordeals, from their academic days to fighting each other, going on missions together, learning to trust each other and their own personal troubles; I truly believe there’s a character for everyone in Naruto. But some elements did fall short: One of them is how some characters start out godlike in abilities but later are reduced to being simply another ninja after they’ve been defeated or join the good guys which did annoy me (Gaara anyone). Also, characters always end up friends, even when their personalities are light years apart or if they start as arch enemies, but it’s a shounen so I guess it comes with the package.
The cast did a good job with their characters, that’s all I can say. I didn’t notice anything excessively good or bad, which means it was well done but not outstanding. The important thing is every character is played as he should.
The themes are what you’d expect of shounen: friendship, teamwork, loyalty, working hard to succeed, never giving up… Of course it did emphasize on some themes such as betrayal and revenge which made it more interesting. It shows how much revenge can hurt not only you but those around you and those who believe in you and how it can make you oblivious to the fact that you’re not alone, that you have friends and people who care about you. In fulfilling one’s revenge you often forget about everything else, throwing away your life and becoming the person you’re trying to destroy, thus becoming exactly the opposite of what the people you lost hoped of you and that is all very well portrayed in Naruto and as the main focus I would have expected nothing less.
You’ll have plenty to keep you occupied when watching Naruto, it has great action, as you’d expect from a shounen, and some humor as well. As you’d also expect from a shounen it doesn’t offer much in the way of fanservice. Betrayal, revenge, war, friendship… the series is packed with excitement and great themes and also offers more than just ninja battles, it as full blown wars at some points and keeps you entertained with side adventures along the way.
To summarize, Naruto isn’t the dreadful wreck the haters are claiming it is and it isn’t the awesome one-in-a-lifetime experience the elite fans are proclaiming either; it’s a fun and action packed adventure that should probably entertain you if you’re into shounen and the likes. Personally, I liked it, and I’m looking forward for the second series.