Just shy of two weeks ago, I did a summary post of my thoughts and feelings of Naruto as a first time sitting down to just watch it all. I am pleased to say that in less than a month, I’ve finished one season – Yeah, yeah, I know, some of you are laughing at that child’s play, I struggle to binge watch. Anyway, now that I’ve completed season 1, here are my thoughts of the series so far.
Let me give you an example of why I think Naruto has such strong characterisation:
I’m a fan of Dragonball Z and Goku is an incredible character. He’s rather one-dimensional – He wants to fight and get better. That’s his mission statement and that’s what he aims to do and he does it. This is why Goku is a great character; but other than that, he’s considered a bit of a klutz, a bit dopey and that’s the whole character. Okay, so that’s a typical Dragonball Z character, which is a fairly common type of character in shōnen as a whole.
Along comes Naruto himself, who starts off as a bit of a trickster. He slowly learns to work with Sasuke and Sakura, even though he still has a deep resentment for how popular Sasuke is. He’s able to overcome this, seeing that he has a purpose and he can work with Sasuke to achieve his goals. With that in mind then, it’s fair to say that Naruto (and even Sasuke and Sakura) learn from one another, growing as people.
Can you truly tell me that Goku would learn from others? No. He’s not supposed to; but Naruto and co must learn from one another’s experiences. They are treated like they are there to learn – and they adapt to each other. Which brings me onto…
The Combat Is Fluid – Although Very Shōnen
Some anime does a fantastic job at portraying combat. It can be a brutal fight, in which each hit really takes away from a character. In Naruto, it definitely feels like this. Each time someone gets hit, they make it look like it was a brutal hit. Blood starts pouring out of everywhere, to the point where you wonder how they have any blood left. Yes, combat is simple to follow, hard hitting and great to watch…
… but it is so shōnen. This isn’t a dig, I find this quite endearing about it. If you’re an avid shōnen fan, you’ll know that combat must have a lot of dialogue and yes, Naruto is filled with it. A huge point of this, there was a fight between the team of Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura and Kakashi and a powerful duo in Zabuza (Known as the Demon of the Hidden Mist) and an androgynous boy called Haku, a ninja with the power of his nations Kekkei Genkai. This was filled with constant one upsmanship, which is s typical of shōnen.
I’m not afraid to admit it, the aforementioned fight was an absolute tearjerker. They really tapped into the idea that these ninja are supposed to be stoic and just tools. They are to meet the end goal of whoever pays them, a harrowing feeling. This goes into excruciating detail by Haku, who explains that he was an orphan. He explains that no one gave him the time of day, how he had to fend for himself – Until Zabuza had come along and had given him a chance.
Naruto continues to impress me and now that I’ve finished season one, yeah, I’m certainly going to keep going. I’ve gotten into the Chūnin Selection Exams, I’m looking forward to seeing what sort of path the series takes. With even more zany characters like Rock Lee and his amazing instructor, Guy, I’m ready to keep going with this! Anyway, if you know the part I’m at, or if you’re watching this along with me, share your thoughts in the comments below, or on Facebook and Twitter. I’d say spoilers are welcome, if you’d like to talk generally!