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Naruto is a Shonen anime based on the manga written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto and published by Weekly Shōnen Jump that ran from October 3, 2002 to February 8, 2007.
Why It Rocks
- Great animation during the most important moments, which includes fight scenes, dramatic scenes and a few other select scenes.
- A great and varied cast of characters with distinguishable personalities.
- Incredible fight scenes that can be compared to a fighting game. Some of the most notable include Sasuke Uchiha vs. Gaara of the Desert during the Chunin Exams finals, Rock Lee vs. Gaara during the Chunin Exams preliminaries, Naruto vs. Sasuke at the end of the Sasuke Retrieval Mission (or, hell, any of the fights in that arc), along with many, many, many more.
- Unique character designs in the anime.
- Excellent music in the anime, especially during the most important fight scenes and dramatic scenes. In addition to the insert songs, all of the opening and ending songs are good as well.
- Naruto has some of the most iconic opening themes in all of anime, probably the best of which being Go! Fighting Dreamers by Flow.
- Good voice acting in both the original Japanese and English dubbed versions.
- Naruto utilizes lots of Buddhist symbolism in order to help relay its themes.
- The most famous are three techniques utilized by Itachi Uchiha: Tsukuyomi, Amaterasu and Susanoo - which are three Gods in Shinto religion, the Gods of the Moon, the Sun, and Storms, respectively.
- There's also the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox, which is the take on the Kitsune, a mischievous fox-like creature with multiple tails from Japanese mythology.
- There's also the heraldic symbol of the Uchiha Clan, which is a type of Japanese fan known as an Uchiwa (which may have also been the inspiration for the name of the Clan, too). These fans are used to exorcise evil spirits by blowing them away. Sasuke discovers late into the series that he has the ability to blow away the influence of the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox on Naruto.
- Also regarding the themes in Naruto, Christopher A. Born notes that the Naruto storyline contains traditional Confucian values, and suggests that students who analyse manga such as Naruto and Bleach will learn more about Confucianism than they would from studying its abstract ideas. Norman Melchor Robles Jr. evaluated the portrayal of both positive and negative ideas in Naruto by counting words in the script which were associated with either violence or positive values; he found that a small majority of tagged words were violent, but commented that the portrayal of violence seemed organized to show how positive strategies on the part of the protagonists could overcome the violence. Sheuo Hui Gan considers the series to have a set of "traditional ethical values". She also compares the treatment of alienation in Naruto, which Naruto overcomes by proving his worth to society, to the portrayal of alienation in Akira and Neon Genesis Evangelion, where the main characters remain alienated before eventually turning evil and renouncing their humanity.
- Naruto has some of the best, most interesting and unique villains in all of Shonen anime, with some of the biggest standout villains being Zabuza Momochi, Haku, Orochimaru, Kisame Hoshigaki, Itachi Uchiha, Kimimaro Kaguya and the Sound Four.
- The combat system of Naruto is incredibly unique and well fleshed-out. It's split into three fighting styles: Taijutsu (the art of hand-to-hand combat), Ninjutsu (the art of chakra techniques) and Genjutsu (the art of illusionary techniques), with other styles such as Kenjutsu (swordsmanship), Dojutsu (eye techniques) and Kekkei Genkai (bloodline limits) thrown in there to give it even more variety.
- Early on in the series, the fights, despite the characters having tons of abilities that could be considered overpowered, focused mostly on strategy and one character outsmarting the other.
- There are so many characters in the series that you're almost guaranteed to find one that you like and/or relate to, whether it's one of the heroes or one of the villains.
- While he can be obnoxious, one of the most relatable points of the series for some people, especially kids and teens, is Naruto Uzumaki's character.
- Naruto has some of the most creative and cool abilities in all of Shonen anime. Some of the best standout abilities include the Cursed Seal of Heaven, the Sharingan, the Byakugan, the Rinnegan, the Summoning Tool Technique and the Eight Inner Gates, along with many, many, many others.
- While the animation in the most important fight and drama scenes can be pretty great most of the times, the animation in some other scenes is quite lacking, and is sometimes downright terrible.
- The anime adaptation is notorious for having several years of filler after the main storyline concluded, which ended up lowering the overall quality and popularity of the show, and was a contributing factor in the demise of Toonami's first run in 2008.
- Sakura Haruno is often considered to be a weak character overall. Even worse, she sometimes punches Naruto for absolutely no reason whatsoever, ruining the "straight man/girl" joke.