I love Naruto. I really do, it’s one of those shows that hit me deep in the feels long ago and I can’t help but still feel it. It’s one of those shows that at times was brilliant, beautiful and truly awesome. It has characters I adore, some of my favorite fight scenes ever, and a deeper psychological world than your average battle anime; and though I say all of this with sincerity and love, I also kind of hate Naruto.
Now when I say I hate it, I don’t mean the character, in fact Naruto Uzumaki might be my favorite character of all time period. The most underdog of underdogs, hated by his village for existing. driven for power not for revenge, but for acceptance, Naruto is a perfect role model for people in general, because he perseveres in a very dark and unfair world. He never gives up, lives by his own principles (his ninja way!) and protects the weak and innocent no matter how much the odds are stacked against him. On top of that, everyone seems to be trying to kill him, like all the time. He stands up against the powers that be in his own village if it’s the right thing to do and he can laugh even though he’s had a lot of pain in his life.
His positivity motivates me to be a better person, he’s not full of rage like Eren Yeager or selfish like Goku, he’s not one-sided like Luffy or kind of a prick like Soma, he’s happy, sad, joyful, lonely, tough, stupid, and smart. The more and more I think of Naruto, I feel like he’s not only more human than most anime heroes, he’s what all humans should try to be like.
All that being said, this show has filled me with more fury and spite than most shows for the pure reason that even though I can gush for hours about it, I can’t recommend it to anyone because it’s the king of filler episode shows. Unlike DBZ, that stretches fights and power-ups for several episodes, Naruto has tight, exciting action scenes, and when it’s sticking to the manga storyline, really enjoyable plots. However when it’s time to waste time, they are remarkably vigilant in making people watch YEARS WORTH OF FILLER EPISODES! The first series, Naruto, has 100 filler episodes tacked onto the end (just stop watching after Sasuke leaves the village and start Shippuden), and the 2nd series, Naruto: Shippuden, has various long stretches of filler episodes. It’s exhaustively frustrating.
It’s like being in love with someone who lives across the country, sure when you’re together it’s great, but you can’t help but wonder if it would just be better to find someone closer to home. I can’t imagine starting Naruto from ep. 1 and watching through to the final 500th episode of Naruto Shippuden, it’s just too much (both series are a combined 770 eps!). I will definitely watch some of my favorite moments again, The Chūnin Exams, Naruto training with Jiraiya, Madara taking out an entire army by himself, and maybe the best thing ever, drunken Rock Lee! The Naruto/Pain fight is one of my favorite TV moments of all time. But if I watch one more episode starring a grumpy ostrich or Naruto’s clones pulling a mutiny I’m going to flip out.
This article is clearly not a review of the final episode, because frankly we stopped watching a while ago. After going episode by episode with almost nothing going on, I just decided to stop until it was over, which at that point seemed like never. It’s funny when I was younger I always wanted my favorite tv shows to just go on forever, they’re always going to be good, right? No! Things need to end, stories need to be told and then shelved. I’m a fan of DBZ ending in the 90’s and eventually continuing again after almost 20 years had passed (I’m not counting GT, F that show). Naruto, however, is so stupid popular that they already have a sequel series about to start, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, that’s going to continue the story, but star everyone’s kids. Now that Naruto: Shippuden is ending we’ll start back up where we left off, not so sure, however, if we’ll end up watching Boruto.
Anyway, I really do love Naruto, and I understand that a lot of anime catch up with their manga and often stretch plots out, they want to make all that sweet $$$ on the weekly shows, but I think it degrades the legacy of a show when you do that. Attack on Titan will be re-watchable for future generations because they take breaks in between seasons, but for shows like Naruto, all these filler episodes really kill them.
All this being said, Naruto will always be one of my favorite shows, and when it was on the canon storyline, it was one of the best things I’ve ever experienced. If you only watched some of the series and never plan on finishing it, I recommend checking out The Last: Naruto The Movie, it’s a film that takes place after the events of Shippuden and it’s a really rewarding send off for the character.
I would say I’m sad Naruto is over, but I’m not, and really, this thing is never going to be over. I guess it’s just their ninja way.
– David Lacey (Geek World, former host of Anime Vice)
When we finally finish Shippuden , we’ll do another video or article on what filler episodes to skip. You can watch this older video we did about which eps to skip below (we say some of the names wrong, we never watched the dub and some of the names were hard to decipher, get over it).