I agree with the anime not being the best, but I have to say the manga is still very great.
Especially right now in the latest chapters where we finally are beginning to get some answers on questions many have asked before. I won't spoil anything for those who only follow the anime or/and hasn't come that long in the story yet, but Kishimoto really is a great story-teller. Chapter 612 for an example- just WOW!
I have nothing against mainstream shounen. There are some that are good (One Piece and Hunter x Hunter), and there are some that are great but have come to pass (GTO and Fullmetal Alchemist). But I am against Naruto. I'll admit that it was one of my first manga/anime, and sure I liked it as a kid, but now that I've grown up I can see all the faults that really make both the entire manga and anime series stupidly bad. If you liked it though, then note that I am not trying change your preference but am simply trying to give points on what makes it bad.
-FIRST: Length. This is a flaw that even One Piece suffers (that's why I'm not in love with OP), it never ends. It's the cash cow of the anime industry and one of the prime gateway anime to date (bar DBZ). It earns for the anime industry so I cannot really slap it stupid for feeding the industry that I love, but I wouldn't say it's good (quality wise). Naruto's story is stretched (even pre-shippuden). It goes into multiple arcs with varying degrees of quality, which ultimately culminates into a blob of mediocrity.
-NEXT: Characters. I've seen some flat characters before, but this is just ridiculous. There is no development in the series. You'd think after 100 episodes, someone would change. Naruto is still the typical shounen "believe it" character he's always been. Sasuke just went on a slow and sloppy decline from being angsty to being emo. Sakura is still empty in every way. Hinata still likes Mr. "Believe it". And everyone else is one dimensional. There are some characters that really don't need development (Gintoki and Onizuka) but that's because they're already fully developed characters who don't need to change and serve a singular purpose. In Naruto's story, since they start out as kids, steady development into maturity is essential to the story. If you want to see development in shounen, look at Edward Elric from the first adaptation of FMA.
LAST: Handling. How the story progresses is already pre-formulated by its spiritual predecessor Dragon Ball. Special kid, gains power, fights bad guy, wins, trains, fights another even larger bad guy, wins, trains, repeat infinitely until you gain tons of money and worldwide love (also hatred). There is no mold-breaking, in fact, the use of the formula isn't even perfect (One Piece perfected it [not necessarily a good thing though]). The entire thing was crafted to follow a pattern that was already predetermined to be loved. If you want something that does this but took some risks look at Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (an incredibly stupid anime with so much stereotypes in it, yet it manages to transcend all its flaws with some great handling).
I'm sure you have some counter-arguments (you may also think of me as a hipster, I don't mind) but let me finish with this one note. There are two kinds of "bad" in art. The offensively horrible bad, and the mediocre bad. Naruto falls in the latter category. And if I'm being honest, I like the extremely horrible art more. They have more memorability.
I'm not saying that anyone who dislikes Naruto is a hipster, especially if they can give some proper arguments I really agree with you on almost everything but the show has been around for like 10 years now and I know it sounds rather silly but I guess you could say it has had a rather big influence on my life. So maybe I'm not being completely objective about this matter.
The only difference between Naruto and OP and DBZ imo is that the villains in Naruto are introduced quite early into the storyline. Like Akatsuki and Orochimaru and you know kind of where the story is going (it's gotten quite out of hand now though). Whereas DBZ just randomly spawns aliens into the storyline. And in OP the makers can decide how many Islands they pass through untill Luffy becomes pirate king.
Regarding character development I completely agree. One would think that the dramatic events that occur in the Naruto world would have somewhat of an impact on the characters. But I think because the target audience also includes kids they're trying to send some messages across like never give up and always stay optimistic. But this ofcourse is no excuse for flat characters.
Thank you. I've finally had a nice discussion with a Naruto fan. And I'm with you on this one. Compared to OP or DBZ, Naruto (at least pre-shipuden) sets up it's villains quite well. I can't say that they were better villains (a majority of shounen villain has illogical motives) but the story set them up really well.
And if it's personal reasons that you're attached to Naruto, then I have no complaints on that. Like whatever you may like. I'm actually happy I found someone who could acknowledge faults yet still hold his own.
This was the show to get me to despise and be skeptic of most anime. The problems I saw in this show riddled many others. I've never watched any TV show worse than this. I watched up to that emo prick leaving the village and realized I could be doing better things with my time like watching my carpet grow. Course this is all my opinion.
Oddly. At the moment I am watching some of the latest episodes of Naruto with my roomate on my computer while I am on my desktop. It is what you say, the earlier episodes where better, more planned out had a stronger plot and so on. I use to be a fan of Naruto and Bleach, but I gave them both up because it got very silly as you have already pointed out. I use to watch quite a lot of anime, now I only read manga such as Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Astro Boy and Pluto.
Yes Bleach is also a great example. This show really peaked at the arc where they enter the shinigami world. But like Naruto Bleach really produced some memorable characters with sick designs! Have you read Death Note?
I wish they'd continue the UN series instead of the Ninja Storm series. UN was really the most pleasing game series of the Naruto franchise.
Ninja storm has potential though but it just isn't quite there yet. Have you played Rise of a Ninja and Bonds on the Xbox? I remember one game on the Gamecube where you could play 2v2, that was just so much fun.
Yeah, the ninja do seem to be a wee bit overpowered lately. I liked the simpler characters and their clever fighting styles. A show about shinobi shouldn't be about who has the most powerful jutsu, but who can take the most basic ones and yet still do devastating things with them. Kakashi was amazing because he could take the most basic jutsus (Headhunter Jutsu, Substitution Jutsu) and yet still wipe the floor with the main characters' faces. Now it's all kekkei genkai, jinchuriki, and other "innate" talents that overpower the characters to the point where I'm like "Oh wow, you could kick ass from birth. Amazing, really." Kakashi and other characters were amazing because they worked hard to become the badasses of the series.
I'm only reading Naruto because I'd feel bad dropping it after reading it for so many years, but I don't really like it that much anymore. :/ Back in the day I was the biggest narutard, and in Naruto-Arena I was one of the best players: I made it to the 23rd position in the worldwide ninja ladder! But then the characters got more and more powerful, suddenly the best ninjas like Haku or Zabuza or Kakashi were like babies compared to new ninjas, or our old ninjas who got more powerful.
I also miss Sasuke, kinda. It seems to me like Kishimoto can't mantain his story balanced. There was a point where everything seemed to revolve around Sasuke, to the point many fans were saying the second part should be called 'Sasuke Shippuden', and now he totally forgot about him!
But I'm happy the series is finally coming to an end.
Finally Tobi's identity was revealed, but all the drama around it was useless because it was SO friggin' obvious. Madara is there too, and they finally managed to summon the Ten Tails. I'd prefered if they somehow stole the kyubi for the summoning. I wanted that after hundreds of chapters of Akatsuki catchin' em all so they could summon it, and being able to do it without two bijuus seemed like a poor excuse for me. It'd been interesting if the ninja world had to battle the Ten Tails without the aid of bijuus.
But I loved the Ten Tails design. It looks pretty weird, and doesn't have even a hint of human feel to it like the rest of the bijuus do. n.n
You raise a valid point. I predict that somehow the full 10 tails will be summoned somehow and than the war will be decided by all of Naruto's friends. Just to teach the kids that no matter how strong you are, you can't do it all by yourself. Just like how the story of Naruto teaches never to give up.
It sounds kind of cheesy but this is the feeling I get from Naruto
As I see it, it nose dived when it came to NA(can you say watered down, on top of which it became a prentous cash cow, that was milked a million times over). I wish it was never localized, and didn't turn into "mainstream" crap sigh.
What do you mean with NA? I agree that it's been milked a whole bunch of times now but it's kind of come to a point where the huge amount of episodes are kind of nescessary to bring this story to an end..
You really didn't read did you, they watered everything down, and turned it into a meaningless cash cow, when they brought it over(nevermind the english VA ranges from good to meh, needless to say, they didn't put much effort into casting roles). Sorry with anime, poor localizations can, and does ruin a anime often.