When I started this series, it marked when one of those transitions in my anime life style. At the time I wasn’t nearly as familiar with the vast library of what anime was comprised of. I also hadn’t watched many subtitled series at this point. Naruto ushered in a new age for me, so allow me a little slack in my praises for the series. Take the ridicule for the series however way you want. I’m not quite caught up to the current releases, but I’m getting there.
So I’ve been watching Naruto in order to catch up to the recent releases and what do I get? Fillers. Fillers. Oh, and more fillers. The best that these episodes get out of me is faint amusement. I think out of the Naruto fillers I’ve seen, there was only one good one. The ratio of normal episodes to filler episodes is just plain ridiculous. How I wish there could be more anime releases like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, where there is absolutely zero filler. It would be nice. If it weren’t for the fillers I’d be able to rate the Naruto series so far as high as an 8/10, but with things the way they are it’d be more like 5/10. In the past I’d skip fillers, but lately.., “what the hell, I’ll watch the fillers.” Sometimes you have to anyway, since they’ll sometimes mix in real material with the filler.
When it comes to filler episodes, I’m trying to decide which method I like better: integration or separation. I would probably have to go with integration, because if the filler is separate from the ongoing story, than there is too much freedom in coming up with things that are incompatible with the original intention of the story. Throwing in things that make no such when compared to the built up canon is something I want to avoid as much as possible. Of course if I could, I’d just have the series with no filler at all.
Over the long haul
Without exception, long series face a number of common problems, but I’d say that Naruto does a decent job of handling them. One such problem is character growth. Characters in a series like Dragon Ball or Bleach have a tendency of over reaching their limits. Being able to blow up an entire planet for instance is reaching the limit I would think. Once characters reach the limit, it’s hard to curb anything realistically down. If a character reaches a point where there should be no more room for growth, but they still have to grow as a character, then there is a problem.
So far Naruto has been doing a good job of maintaining a believability in the growth of its characters. There are some cases that come to mind where limits have come to bear, but throughout there has been mostly a gradual leveling of its characters and I’m highly appreciative of that.
Another problem I’ve seen in these long winded series is that when the main protagonist takes on the brunt of the action (which is normal to expect), they completely overshadow all the other supporting characters. The supporting characters usually become nothing more then one time saviors or movers of the story. They carry no real weight behind them after they’ve served their purpose and become nothing more than useless baggage. Most of the time these supporting characters can’t even get the job done themselves and eventually rely on the main protagonist to finish the job for them.
Naruto does a good job divvying out the fights to various characters in Naruto and building those characters up. Characters you’d never expect to be in the spotlight have a way of making their debut in surprising ways. In this way we get to see many different characters fight it out, with a large variety of fighting styles clashing against each other.
There are probably other reasons, but supporting characters from other shounen series I’ve watched (with the exception of Hunter x Hunter) have disappointed me in losing out too much to the main character.
There are times the animation goes into serious mode and those fights are just crazy spectacular. I don’t quite know what the conditions are for the animation change, but they are some of the best fights I’ve seen in anime. I’ll put the first of these fights aside though (I didn’t enjoy that one as much). If you’re new to Naruto and you come upon this animation change, just be sure that you’re about to witness some crazy s!*$#.
It’s Been Ten Years
Oh.. god its been this long. For most of the series I watch, I watch through the marathon method. Which means they are usually complete, done. I can watch it all relatively quick. There aren’t many long series that I’ve watched, so to still be watching a series that I watched what seems like way back feels so odd. It’s going to be sad when it finally comes to end.
Who Raised Naruto Anyway?
I’ve been wondering this recently after some flashbacks, but who raised Naruto? It’s bugging the hell out me.