This time, I have no comic background. I have stepped out, for once, purely out of disappointment.
Anyone who knows me from high school (or knew me on the early anime threads back in the day) knows that I was obsessed with Naruto. The story of underdog Naruto Uzumaki, trying to become the leader of his Ninja village whilst evil ninjas wreck havoc, spoke to the little misfit inside me that wrote emo poetry and listened to waily music. In fact, I’m pretty sure most anime lovers in my age range took to Naruto obsessively, with large fans taking to the interwebs to write, read, and photoshop their hearts away. Not everyone, of course, but most of the people I talked to certainly did.
In fact, I’d be lying if I said I lost all love of the series.
Pictured above: Deidara’s Akatsuki Ring made into a necklace and a real piece of geek swag I own.
However, while certain characters will still hold my heart, the series itself has died down in my eyes. There are parts of it I still love but attempts to go back to this series just inevitably piss me off. I have given up on Naruto, not just for some later plot decisions (as stupid as they were) because the heft is just not worth the result any longer.
I gave up on Naruto, for three distinct reasons.
Incoming harsh criticisms, Naruto Fans. Ye be warned.
1. Oy Vey, Are You Done Yet?
Long anime needs to be exciting. If you’re gonna test my patience for five years or more than you need to get that fish hook in my mouth and drag me like a bass in the arcade. I need exciting plots that fit together, not just random events that happen to be cool, and the plot needs to stay fresh. Furthermore, this long plot better be well paced, or you will lose me faster than an AP Calculus class loses students.
Or I’ll just end up hate watching to see if the trainwreck ever comes to an end.
In this case, however, I don’t think I possess the patience to play Snarky Ebert this time. Naruto lost me ages ago with its overuse of the flashback sequences and fights that draw more from a Word Bank than a Move Pool. It also boasts some truly terrible pacing, with fights that take up five episodes at a time and an overabundance of filler episodes that add nothing to the overall plot.
2. Much Ninja, No Development
I stand by my statement that Naruto had some really good characters. But, when you have more than you can handle, those good characters are gonna suffer.
I like to write stories, so I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. The problem with creating characters is that, like your tools at home, you have to give them proper care lest they rot and turn useless. When you have characters wandering around just to take up space, as opposed to pushing the story forward, it clutters up the story and makes the plot drag. Authors need to take care to create only as many as they need, else they’ll have a bunch of loose pieces that they can’t do anything with running around like crazy.
All around me are blank faces, worn out places, no faces….
Naruto has too many players on the board. Thus, several of them don’t get the proper development they need, and they just end up stagnating. I would even argue that Naruto himself doesn’t change very much through the course of the series, something that bothered me more and more as I wrote for myself.
3. I Don’t See a Benefit to Catching Up
Even if I could stomach the over-abundance of flashbacks, misused characters, and stick-in-mud-slow fight scenes, I don’t see myself trying to catch up. Not only is the girth of episodes ahead of me just too great, but I don’t see much in a payoff to make the investment.
There are anime that stretch on for miles in terms of episodes, and some of them I will take the journey for. In that regard, I’ve seen flashes of the stories to come thanks to the information cloud that is the web, and I’ve been spoiled on various awesome events to come. My logic, then, is that surely even more awesome happens, so I’ll pack a bag and head on down the story road.
But with Naruto, I didn’t like what I saw in the slightest.
Reading the Wiki is also a great way to develop an aneurysm.
I saw characters making absurdly stupid decisions (I’m looking at you, Sasuke), villains that came out of nowhere, and a protagonist that didn’t really change no matter what got thrown at him. I see nothing but disappointment in my future if I cruise down Naruto’s bumpy road, so I’d rather take the car elsewhere.
In Short Summary….
Naruto has become a Shounen Monster that reeks of stagnation and bad endings, and I have no desire to step into it. It impressed me before with its solid story and cool fights, and even with the drama it had sprinkled in, but it’s evolved into something horrific. To try and catch up now would mean months of boredly watching a screen — months better off spent on anime that intrigue me more. I never discourage my readers from exploring what interests them, but don’t expect me to follow along with this one.
What do you think of Naruto? Am I off in my criticisms? Feel free to ask, discuss, or just comment in the box below, and feel free to like and follow for more content just like this.