After all this time, I have finally decided to watch Naruto. It’s strange because Naruto is usually the first anime people see or have heard of whenever they think of the world anime, but until now I have never committed to watching it. I did watch a few episodes a few years earlier, but didn’t get past the first few episodes. But now that I have watched a part of it, I can see why people like this anime so much.
As you can see from the title, I have only now watched until episode 20, which isn’t very far into the series. But I’m going to talk briefly about the points that I thought was important to the series and talk about my opinions about the characters and the plot.
The episode comes up and we see the Nine-tailed fox and baby Naruto crying in a scene. They don’t tell us much, but it does arouse some questions and already, the sealing of the Nine-tailed fox in Naruto provided some consequences. We see him as quite the trouble maker in his village and the main outcast as well. And that was ultimately what I loved about this start of the series and about his character. He wasn’t just another boy with a bunch of friends and good life, but he already knew some pain. He was experiencing loneliness and he knew how hurtful it was to be rejected. That really provided some dynamic to his character and made it a lot deeper than other protagonists in other anime.
Let’s jump to episode 5. Here, Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura are being tested to see if they can be upgraded to being a Genin, which is basically the lowest rank of ninjas. If they fail the test, they have to go back to their academy, where they aren’t even ninjas at all.
I really liked how this test was conducted as it was funny to see how Naruto reacted in comparison to Sasuke and Sakura. Their examinee Kakashi had never passed anyone before, so they had a lot of pressure. However, from this episode, I really liked how we could get to know the character more, espeically in Sasuke and Sakura. Naruto is already portrayed as the unserious, “class-clown” sort of type, while Sasuke is the genius ninja and Sakura is the logical one.
After the trio has passed the test and are officially dubbed as Ninjas, in episode 8, they are given a mission. However, I felt that from this point on, this is where most of my problems with Naruto arise.
The beginning of the anime started off really well and I really liked how they introduced all the characters and how the concept of ninjas worked. There are still a lot of unanswered questions, but I’m fine with that since the whole Naruto series is pretty long and I’m sure they’ll explain everything later. However, there were many points that I felt were too rushed or were just too slow-paced.
At episode 8, the three ninjas are now allowed to complete missions. However, they aren’t allowed to leave the village since they are still low-classed. But after Naruto pleads with the Hokage, they are allowed to do a higher level mission. They figure out later, though, that the mission was more advanced than they expected and they could die along the way.
The first problem I had with the episode was the fighting. During the fight with Zabuza, I felt that they were talking way too much and it created too much pauses within the episode that the intensity of the fight just dissipated after awhile and I wasn’t as into the episode as I was before. It was really annoying after a while as they talked casually as if they weren’t in a life or death situation. And when the fight did start, they kept talking as they attacked, which was really distracting and I felt really unnecessary.
The fight focused on Kakashi and Zabuza, and the Sharingan was also introduced. From what they were talking about, it seemed that the Sharingan is a very dangerous and frightening thing. But the actions of the character made it seem otherwise. We don’t really see the Sharingan shine until a few episodes later and it just doesn’t seem as amazing as they described it. From the way it was portrayed, I didn’t feel the weight of the Sharingan as I probably should have.
Though when we do finally get to see the Sharingan shine in the next episode, it almost seems too late for us to enjoy it since there had been so much unnecessary drama and pauses in the fight before that. I still enjoyed the fight and we still get to see how strong Kakashi is, but I felt they could have gotten to the point faster instead of stalling.
This is a few episodes after the last one and Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura have arrived at the village of a man they were to protect during their mission. But Zabuza comes and attacks them again. Sasuke and Naruto are trapped inside a cave of icy mirrors produced by Zabuza’s comrade Haku. Sakura and Kakashi are stuck outside with Zabuza unable to do anything, because if they move, the man they are protecting will die, resulting in a failed mission. Haku is beating Sasuke and Naruto badly until he has Naruto knocked out. Near the middle of the episode, it is seen that Sasuke developed the Sharingan.
Again with the fighting, I felt that it could have been more fast paced. There was a lot of stalling and talking, and it just didn’t do anything to enhance the plot. The other problem I had was with Sasuke developing the Sharingan. I get that Sasuke is supposed to be a genius ninja and he was under some drastic circumstances, but I felt that him getting the Sharingan was a little too rushed. From what I get from it, Sharingan is something only a few are able to obtain. It would have been better if Sasuke had gotten it after he had gained some more experience instead of a few weeks after he had became a ninja. It’s a bit of a stretch. However, I do understand that without it, there probably couldn’t have been any other way for them to survive and that it is a vital part of the plot further down the line.
In this episode, another character goes through a transformation. We see the Nine tailed fox in Naruto beginning to become unsealed and he has a tremendous amount of power that is able to destroy the trap that they’re in, something that Sasuke wasn’t even able to do. Unlike the last episode, I thought that Naruto’s power change was at the right timing because we already knew that he had the power for a long time now and it was bound to come out when the seal was broken. It also showed Naruto’s power and the danger surrounding him, which was interesting to watch and see.
The fight is over and Zabuza and Haku are both death. Again, I felt that the fight could have been considerably done in lesser episodes since there was just so much non-action in speeches and staring and stalling.
Another think I had a complaint about was Sakura. Throughout this entire fight, she literally did nothing at all except for run to Sasuke who was passed out on the ground. That really annoyed me because I felt that there were a bunch of times where she could have contributed and done something.
But the thing I really liked was how the anime didn’t avoid death and murder and blood. Because to be real, in a ninja world, there will be people who die through, often through murder, and you cannot sugar coat that. Zabuza died a messy death and Haku did as well. It was very refreshing– not that I want people to die– but in the fact that people can die. For example, in Fairy Tail, there were literally close to none that died. Those who did “die” came back later on alive and well, and to be honest, there were many times where I was just plain annoyed because it was not realistic. But Naruto feels more intense and dramatic in the fact that the danger was real. You only have one life, and you have to fight for it.
So far, I give Naruto a
Three stars out of five.
The only reason I say this is because of the problems I stated above. However, I did like Naruto overall. The many different hands signs and abilities makes the plot sound really exciting and I have a lot of questions that I’m eager to find answers for. For now, I will definitely be watching more, but I do hope that the characters will begin to develop more.
What do you think about Naruto? What are your opinions about the plot and characters?