The Naruto franchise is one of the most hyped and popular series in the anime world. After 10 years, 500 episodes and a bunch of movies the moneymaker Naruto franchise is finally put to rest.
Naruto was one of my favorite shows as a kid, it was better than anything else on TV and I still remember rushing home from school to catch Naruto on TV, good times. After the original series “Naruto” ended, I was thrilled about the sequel show, “Shippuuden”, that was about to start airing but little did I know what a disappointment it was going to be.
Story: 3/10 (Cannon: 6/10 & Filler: 1/10)
Naruto Shippuuden is a continuation of the original therefore the concept of the story remains unchanged but the execution and pacing are a different situation.
Naruto Shippuuden follows Naruto Uzumaki as he aspires to become Hokage and at the same time tries to bring back his friend, Sasuke, but the story is much more complex than before, now we have Akatsuki hunting down all the Jinchuuriki, Sasuke seeking revenge for his clan , Naruto's struggle against the Kyuubi, Danzo's plot to take over Konoha, the 4th great Ninja War, Madara attempting to end the world and so much more. Yeah, the story gets way more complex but not for the better.
Unfortunately what was a simple straight-forward and fairly enjoyable plot, soon got covered with pointless subplots that turned the show into a mess, a complete wreck filled with plot armor and plot conveniences. We still have Naruto aspiring to become Hokage while trying to bring back Sasuke but those story-lines get smothered with useless boring subplots and endless filler episodes (not that the main plot was good). That combination ruined my enjoyment of this show.
On to the next flaw. The pacing of the show is just unbelievably bad, with dragged out scenes that put you to bed, important moments that are rushed and not properly explained, hundreds of filler episodes interrupting important and hyped-up fighting scenes and a lot more is wrong with the pacing/execution.
What bothered me the most, as it did many others, were the filler episodes, particularly the ones during the 4th great ninja war that were inserted in the most intense fighting moments. Naruto going full power against his opponent, what an epic scene…why not insert about 20 filler episodes?
This series has so many twists that you stop caring mid-way. The main antagonist got replaced 3 times because the writers fked up and made them too OP for Naruto to defeat… so the next logical step is to introduce someone twice as powerful. Referring to Obito who was replaced by the stronger Madara who was replaced by the stronger Kaguya, what a mess...
While Naruto Shippuuden is a shonen show that follows the generic path of “get beaten> yell/scream> rise up> win> repeat” and employs cliche themes such as “the power of friendship conquers all”, despite all of that, I never cringed while watching it and these flaws never stopped me from enjoying the show.
Sure, it can get a bit annoying to see Naruto rehabilitate every “evil” guy he meets and turning them into his friends but it ain't that bad.
To be fair, Naruto Shippuuden does have amazing fight scenes that get you hyped, sad moments that bring tears to your eyes, artistic scenes that inspire the viewer, lighthearted scenes that put a smile on your face... In this area, Naruto did great and exceeded my expectations.
The characters are generic, cliche and many are one-dimensional or have very little development but that doesn't stop them from being likeable and unique in their own way.
I will talk about the characters I consider important to the series.
Characters worth remembering are: Jiraiya, Tsunade, Kakashi, Madara.
Naruto is a young ninja who had a harsh childhood during which he faced many difficulties and sad moments. The difficulties he experienced as a child traumatized him and made him the way he is, a cheerful and friendly guy who would do anything to protect those he cares for. Naruto’s dream is to become Hokage but he will not be blinded by that dream and even if it means straying away from it, Naruto will offer his help to whomever is in need, he will put everything on the line to save those he considers friends, no matter the circumstances and that is the quintessence of his personality.
Even though it is not evident, throughout the series Naruto’s character slowly changes and matures after facing and overcoming the obstacles in his path.
Sasuke is the “last” of the Uchiha clan after its bloody demise at the hands of his older brother, Itachi. His only goal in life is to avenge the death of his clan and seek revenge on Itachi, not caring about others or the consequences of his actions. Sasuke’s character is stagnant and does not develop until late in the series, he is the “rival” that makes Naruto strive to be better and stronger.
Itachi was arguably one of the greatest shonen villains until the writers reduced him to a generic, plain good guy.
Itachi is the "prodigy" child of the Uchiha clan, a skilled shinobi and a good brother until one dark night when he murders every member in the clan except for his younger brother. His character was intriguing and a great addition to the series but ended in miserable failure as the writers decided to rehabilitate him after his death.
Obito, another victim of the “power of friendship” theme. He has lost everything, his dream of becoming Hokage is gone, his loved one is dead, his friend betrayed him, his body is ruined therefore he decides it is best to destroy the world and yet he is easily turned into a good guy by our great hero, Naruto.
Kurama/Nine-Tails is one of the nine tailed beasts. Centuries of being regarded as a mindless monster and sought after as a tool for war caused Kurama to hate humans. After being sealed into Naruto Uzumaki, Kurama attempts to maintain its negative opinions about the world, but with Naruto's insistence on treating it with respect, the fox overturns its hatred and willingly strives to use its power for the world's salvation.
Kurama's development is quite inspiring and a model we should all follow, with the racism, sexism, homophobism, etc. that is happening in the contemporan society.
The art and animation was originally good, fluent with nice colors but it went downhill and resulted in the overall animation&art being bad.
In order to save money, the studio decided to use lots and lots of flashbacks, entire minutes of already aired scenes from previous episodes, still facial expressions, pointless starring, etc.
Although the show started airing in 2007 and ended 10 years later, not many good changes had been made to the animation.
Most of the opening themes and ending themes are decent and the OST is fairly good. The voice actors did a good job interpreting the characters but not an outstanding end result. I couldn’t find a song I loved but nor could I find a song I hated so I guess the sound department is fine.
I highly enjoyed the canon episodes even some of the filler episodes but the overwhelming number of shit filler episodes and flashbacks ruined my enjoyment of this series. Not much to say about it…
My bias won't let me rate this below 5...
Naruto Shippuuden had its good moments that made it shine but it was quickly clouded by the huge amount of filler episodes, flashbacks, inapt characters, subplots, etc.
I will certainly remember Naruto for the rest of my life, it is a show I grew up with and it holds a special place in my heart.
As advice to the people who have't watched it yet: skip some of the fillers, a great experience awaits you!