Nov 6, 2014
Naruto (Manga) add (All reviews)
KappaKappaKappa (All reviews)
It's done! The end of Naruto marks the end of an 15-year period, about half of which I spent waiting for weekly updates for the manga that was my very first.

Was it worth it? Maybe. I have a gut feeling that Naruto is going to be one of those manga that took great benefit from having a long-ass run time, and that a lot of the attraction towards Naruto was the fact that, well, "everyone else was reading it too." Reading Naruto was as much of a social exercise as it was a reading one, since it's mega popularity ensured that there would always be one or two people that you know that would be following it as well.

As far as the actual writing is concerned, I'd have to liken it to Harry Potter: ultimately flawed, but relatable. The themes of believing in yourself and the Power of Friendship™ have been explored numerous times before (and in a much better fashion by other manga/anime), and Naruto itself is a manga that I'm pretty sure could have been written in 200-300 chapters as opposed to the monstrous 700 that have presented over its 15 year run. Many, many, many characters are introduced, given their time in the limelight, and then thrown away because ultimately, it's all about Naruto. Kishimoto doesn't understand how to use scale to properly create climactic moments, and by the end, Naruto's supreme dominance over any of the other characters makes their attempts to seem relevant laughable and almost pitiable. The fact of the matter is, there are so many "oh, but this isn't my final form!" moments in the manga that reading the damn thing became a chore near the end due to the fact that Kishimoto isn't a very creative writer.

So why did I read all 700 chapters of what seems to be a quite mediocre effort? Well, Naruto was my first manga. Arguably, this fact combined with its existence as a social phenomenon made Naruto quite enjoyable to read (see my enjoyment score) despite its glaring flaws. It was fun to discuss the manga's weekly happenings with other people through its ups and downs--the experience was similar to that of following a sports team with other fans.

So, should you read Naruto? Probably not, unless you really, really like shounen's. It's a stunningly middle-of-the-road affair with little original thematic content that was made enjoyable to read due to the fact that it was mega-popular.

Story 4, Art 5, Character 2, Enjoyment 8, Overall: 5 (4.75).