Naruto has always been a fan favorite. From captivating background music to adrenaline-filled battles, the anime has won the following of people from all around. While this action-packed tear-jerker has toyed with your emotions far too many times, it has also given you some seriously questionable moments.
While addressing Naruto’s strong points, it’s also time to shed some light on certain aspects of the anime that could have been handled a lot differently. Here are 5 things that Naruto did justice to, and 5 that were straight-up poor choices.
10 Got It Wrong: Disappointing Female Characters
It seems as though this issue is persistent among most of the anime you might have seen. Female characters are always written to seem inferior to their male counterparts. Aside from Kaguya and Lady Tsunade, the list is pretty subpar. In fact, Tsunade might be the only character in Naruto that female fans of the show could possibly look up to (villains shouldn’t be looked up to, so to speak). Aside from that, the male characters are very noticeably more powerful. Sakura’s role gets an ‘honorable’ mention in this regard. Her character gradually became more and more useless throughout the show. Her antics of being the damsel in distress and fangirling over Sasuke are nothing short of pathetic. Unfortunately, this is one issue that requires cultural reforms to fix.
9 Got It Right: The Naruto-Sasuke Rivalry
What has always gotten fans riled up during the show is the rivalry between Sasuke and Naruto. Whenever these two would even lock eyes, it would be a show-stopper (not even one-bit exaggerated). Arguably, this is one aspect where the anime could not get any better. During the Shippuden series, the entire anime became more of a pursuit of Naruto trying his best to bring his best friend back from the dark side. Who can’t relate to a heartfelt story about a best friend’s betrayal?
8 Got It Wrong: Sasuke’s Feeble Motives in Shippuden
In all honesty, Sasuke’s character did a whole 180 in the show (and not in a good way). He went from the mysterious and engaging hero to your average one-dimensional ‘sideline’ character. After discovering the truth about his brother, Sasuke leaves in pursuit of vengeance from the Leaf Village (understandable). But whatever Itachi did was in the hopes of restoring peace within the Leaf Village just so that Sasuke could go on and have a better life, pursuing something other than bloodshed.
So, what does he do? He decides to let his brother’s death be in vain by doing the polar opposite of what Itachi had wished for him. This could have been a revelation moment pretty early on in Shippuden but his villainous role is unnecessarily dragged out till the very end. Fans turned from admiring the cool, laid-back person to hating the boring, emotionless wanna-be bad guy.
7 Got It Right: Surprise Revelations
If it wasn’t enough that Itachi was actually the good guy all along, they throw in the fact that Obito isn’t Madara. The anime has had some pretty juicy revelations throughout the series but these two were THE defining moments that shocked all fans. Itachi was the main bad boy of the show in the Pre-Shippuden Naruto realm. He was famously the heartless guy who massacred the entire Uchiha clan and left Sasuke scarred. But later on, the revelation of Danzo being the mastermind orchestrator of it all took fans by quite the surprise. The next honorable mention is when Tobi took off his mask and revealed that he’s actually Obito and was pretending to be Madara all along. Fans definitely did not see that coming, there was no hint that the real Madara was still alive. It was another damn good reveal.
6 Got It Wrong: Obito’s Role
You have to admit that the Tobi you knew with the mask on was a pretty cool guy. But as soon as it came off, he became Obitou — just another unlikeable, boring character that should be cast-off in the background. Obito’s backstory was totally riddled with plot-holes. His motives were not believable at the very least. The fact that all his actions were because of Rin, a girl whom he liked for a couple of minutes, was highly illogical and made no sense. His character is pretty much all over the map throughout the show. There was always a lot of hype about his deadly and mysterious powers yet he still used the same plain old couple of tricks. It feels as though he was written to be a poor man’s Nagato. His redemption was utterly unearned.
5 Got It Right: The Theme Songs
Naruto arguably has the best opening and ending songs in the whole anime game. Do you remember the adrenaline pumping as the “Hero’s Comeback” music would start? Truly, when it comes to getting fans hyped up and in the mood, the anime creators have never disappointed.
This song was the best fast-paced tune to set-off the action-packed Shippuden series with high spirits. On the other hand, fans have also been able to connect on a more emotional level with some of the songs. You might be familiar with that pleasant-sounding song that beings with a dramatic violin tune, “Michi To You All.” The final verdict: they could not have done a better job with the music.
4 Got It Wrong: A PG-13 Revamp
So many of the original gore scenes from the manga have been covered up in the anime because the show needed to be a little more kid-friendly. Consequently, a lot of the intensity is also lost which often makes it difficult to kindle the same level of emotions as with the manga. For example, Orochimaru’s lab is much more techy in the anime with bodies contained in jars. However, in the manga, it looks a lot more like a torture chamber with bloodied bodies hanging from the walls. Much more morbid and an apt portrayal of his vile deeds and interests.
3 Got It Right: Likable Characters
Leave it to Kishimoto to make characters likable. Even the villains end up being fan favorites in the end with some meticulously-crafted story that sets sentiments ablaze in under a minute. Most of the bad guys have relatable characters; with understandable childhood traumas that would explain their behavior and poor choices. Like the case of Haku — the poor misunderstood underling of Zabuza who had no one but him. Even Zabuza was a trained assassin but did fans hate him? No way! He was an admirable character, to say the least.
2 Got It Wrong: The Animation
Naruto’s poor animation has always been a highlight topic. With such popularity, you would expect nothing short of high-quality content. However, that wasn’t the case. Most of the fight scenes in the anime are fast-paced, and that is bound to accompany poor animation. Recall Naruto’s fight with Pain. Yeah, that brings back some haunting memories. Just pause anywhere between that fight and pick your favorite look. Don’t go to bed with the lights off.
1 Got It Right: Tactical Fights
Well, this one is more for the pre-Shippuden era when the fights were more focused on pure ninja techniques and quality swordsmanship. The original series had some of the most tactical and well-structured ninja battles that one could hope for. Although that took quite a shift in the Shippuden series — with considerably more explosive moves and less tactics — Naruto fights still go down in history as some of the most enticing battles (Dragon Ball could never).
The Naruto anime is iconic, but there are definitely some parts of it that have aged better than others.