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Time To Watch: Naruto (Season 2 complete)

Okay, I’m not going to lie, I set out to watch maybe half the episodes. I ended up binge watching this whole season in under two weeks. Again, I’m a slow watcher, take it easy on me, would you? Nevertheless, this has been an excellent season which shows a lot about the characters. Most of this season revolves around two parts of the exam, one part being a survival experience and the second part being a sort of tournament. The Chunin exam section is pretty much complete and yes, as I mentioned, I’m going to watch this whole damn series, no matter how big it is. So, here are my thoughts of season 2 of Naruto.

Characters Come Into Their Own

I think season 2 has been all about getting the characters to be more familiar to the audience, which I love. I’m loving the fact we’re seeing more of characters like Rock Lee, as well as small exposures to guys like Gaara and even Hinata. There are so many cool ideas behind the characters, with some relatively quieter ones coming out with pretty radical skills. A comparison I’d like to make is to Boku no Hero Academia (or My Hero Academia). There are lots of characters who make up the series, who you don’t always see, but when the show puts a bit of spotlight on them, they genuinely excel.

One of my new favourites is Shino Aburame, who has been fairly quiet throughout, though he always makes me think of a serious Vash the Stampede. What’s great about this guy, he’s so quiet and so forgettable, that when you do get to see his skills, he comes out unto his own. He’s genuinely a craft, clever character who has a fantastic technique, giving him a competitive edge. He’s not the only character I ended up liking more, as I loved the sessions by most ninjas in the Chunin exams. Effectively, all characters, even those who are relatively forgotten about, come into their own here.

Naruto Himself Is Still Developing

A huge issue with Shonen, at least in my opinion, is that the characters simply get there. They simply are that good, or after an encounter, they suddenly are good enough. However in this series so far, Naruto has struggled at each and every point. Another character from the series that’s touches upon such a concept is Rock Lee, who is shown to be the most dedicated, hard-working ninja of them all. He doesn’t have the skills the others have, so he trains extra hard and puts in lots of effort. After you learn that about Rock Lee, it’s fair to make the comparison to Naruto himself, who als has to work hard.

Naruto isn’t a fairly standard Shonen character, however his attributes have been ramped up. He constantly needs to improve, which appears to be the theme for the end of the last episode, where he’s effectively training non-stop and failing a lot, but slowly getting there. He’s got an aptitude, but they don’t rush him through to victory. Instead, they show that it takes time and a lot of hard work to be good at anything, which is an excellent message to send.

An Excellent Tournament, An Ominous Villain

Just a short point here, but the whole Chunin tournament in season 2 has been fantastic. The tournament was well paced, giving us typically one fight per episode, or one fight in two episodes for longer bouts, such as Rock Lee vs Gaara. The winners and losers all felt logical, with a few relatively surprising picks to boot. It’s interesting how far they took the characters in a relatively short space of time. We saw a lot of unique powers, a couple of near “mirror matches” and a lot of fun shonen action.

I will start on Naruto season 3 soon, so I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to watch the series before. I’m loving the action, the drama and of course the characters. There are some dopey moments which feel like they’re just going along and I didn’t even touch on Orochimaru, who appears to be the primary antagonist of the series thus far. I’m looking forward to seeing more, seeing the characters develop further and also seeing howo far Orochimaru fits into this all.

As ever though, if you’ve been watching Naruto, or have previously watched the series, share your thoughts in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.

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