Thursday, May 3, 2012

My Thoughts on Naruto

Experience: Chapter 1 - beginning of Sound Five arc. I know most of the story through friends and Naruto Storm games.

I'm going to start out by saying what I usually say when people ask me "what do you think of Naruto?": Naruto has it's moments. That's what comes to mind every time. There are many moments in the Naruto manga that I found to be pretty memorable and impactful; however, these moments were usually surrounded by less than stellar or boring moments.

To start off, I'll talk about the art. Kishimoto can draw some pretty cool looking and scary monsters, as well as some artistic splash pages, and can create interesting perspectives to battles. Aside from that, I have to the art is pretty mediocre. Character designs, while varied, lack detail and many characters look really similar to others. Overall, the art can be pretty distracting at first, but you get used to its quality. Its unfortunate the Kishimoto's never really improved over time, as I would've liked to see his art more refined and detailed.

When it comes to Naruto, my main problem with the series is how disappointed I am with Kishimoto for not utilizing the story to its potential. At its heart, Naruto has a great tale of acceptance and friendship, but it's muddled and basically ruined by the comedy and large cast Kishimoto employs in the first half, and the shift in focus to Sasuke in the second half. If Naruto's story was more focused on Naruto and the critical people around him, such as Jaraiya, Tsunade, Iruka, Pain, and Gaara, the story could be much more concise and effective, imo. That's not to say we didn't get some good moments out of the way the story is now, but if a lot of the fluff was cut out of it, I think Naruto could have been a much more emotionally impactful series with consistent emotional moments instead of one every other arc. Focus. It's focus that Naruto truly needed to be great, instead, it feels as if it was fueled more by the fanbase than Kishimoto's own input.

Overall, I think Naruto is a decent series that started out pretty well despite mediocre art, a few weak characters (Sakura), and some inconsistant pacing, but after the superb Sound Five Arc, things just fell apart due to a severe loss of focus. The original heart of Naruto as a story of acceptance and friendship in a mystical world, just started trying way to hard to impress its fanbase and try to be something different. There's a mature story in the heart of Naruto, but we don't see it except for some brief moments throughout the series. Like I said, Naruto has its moments, but you have to rough it through a lot to get to these moments.

No comments:

Post a Comment