What began as a simple coming-of-age story turned into a roller coaster of drama, action, and hope. Naruto, the story of an orphan hoping for his big dreams, inspired anime fans around the world and is commonly regarded as the gateway to the genre for many American fans.
Although the series as a whole is not without its flaws, it was, on the whole, a resounding success. So much Naruto as Naruto: Shippuuden stood out enough to last for over a decade, and that’s partly due to the way it dealt with some old shonen anime cliches. The way this anime went against the tide was what made it special and what makes it timeless.
9 fanservice fans are not welcome in Naruto
As long as you anime like Kill La Kill o Bleach have an overwhelming amount of fanservice, Naruto you have less as you go. There is much more shipping than anything else, and although there are many perverted moments that involve adults, they are brief and do not detract from the characters. What’s more refreshing is the fact that kinky moments only happen with adult characters.
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None of the younger characters are over-sexualized, except for the very brief scenes involving Naruto’s sexy jutsu. At the beginning of the series there is more fanservice, but when the main characters are teenagers, even sexy jutsu is only mentioned a few times.
8 Naruto is not your typical “simple minded protagonist”
It is true that Naruto insists over and over on becoming a Hokage to the point of being annoying to others, but his dream is more than just“want to be the best”. Having grown up alone as an orphan, Naruto’s dream joins in with his deep desire to be loved, making his incessant jokes completely understandable and meaningful, especially as he grows up.
As the series progresses, Naruto is forced to feel the sting of harsh reality, which is not to say that he has never stopped knowing her. He still has a certain immaturity, but his goals and even parts of his personality change. There is even a scene in Shippuuden in which he states that he shouldn’t be Hokage since he couldn’t save Sasuke. Naruto is not the typical shonen protagonist, as he has several layers and each of them has a purpose.
7 The main heroine does not fall in love with the hero
The shipper wars started early and it looked like NaruSaku was going to become canon with little hints that Sakura was developing feelings for Naruto. It wasn’t like that, and not just because Sakura was so in love with Sasuke. Naruto fell more and more in love with Sakura, but lost his respect for her when she lied to him about her love.
Sakura loves Naruto in a way and saw the danger he was in chasing after Sasuke, so she came to the conclusion that lying was the best thing to protect him, which was not the case. Naruto may have promised Sakura to bring Sasuke back, but it was also a personal goal of his. For her to fake her feelings to take away one of his goals was selfish. Disgusted by Sakura’s actions, Naruto pushed her away, forever killing the two protagonists’ ship.
6 The power of friendship doesn’t always work … at least not right away
“The power of friendship” is a common trope in shonen anime in which the day is saved thanks to the support given by the main hero’s friends. Although Naruto starts with the idea of “teamwork makes the dream work” with Team 7 beating all the odds together and Naruto already changing people’s hearts, as with Neji, the idea is challenged after the Chunin exams are over.
Between Sasuke’s fall into darkness every minute and the revelation that the world is not as peaceful as the young ninjas once thought, it takes a lot more than a declaration of friendship to turn things around. Naruto himself is on the verge of despair, but learns to hold on to his optimism and focus on establishing peace and love in the best possible way for himself and his friends. It costs him a lot, but in the end it is worth it.
5 The hero’s rival is not just an obstacle to overcome
Sasuke is one of the most complete rival characters in anime, as he goes from a supporting character to an antagonist, then to an evil villain, and finally to a standout character. It has its own scenes without the need for other main characters, and it has a story and a life of its own.
Sasuke grows as strong as Naruto, and the general question of who will win in the battle is surprisingly unanswered. Normally this would be a huge disappointment for the fans, but the tie makes more sense. It can be said that Naruto won because he brought Sasuke out of the darkness, but in the end they were both equal, turning the rival’s trope upside down.
4 Adults are important too
Too many shonen anime have young heroes running around without any adult supervision or guidance. This may work for an audience of young children who can’t wait to go on their own adventures, but it is unrealistic and loses the value that older characters can have, especially the protagonists. Naruto you benefit from that and much more.
Each young ninja is led by a more experienced one, unless you are Naruto or Sasuke and have a large number of mentors. Rather than acting as mentors, the adults of Naruto They have their own personality, purpose and goals, and some of them also add more lore to the universe.
3 The Chunin Exam is a purposeful tournament arc
Most of the time, the cliché of the “tournament bow” is overused, adding nothing special to the series. Naruto is one of the few popular anime today that only has a tournament arc that stands out for enhancing the plot and characters. While the first arc introduced the concept of the ninja for hire, the jutsu, and the main characters of Team 7, the Chunin Exam was the next big step in their careers as a ninja.
Here the audience is introduced to all the main characters that will be important to the rest of the series, and a great deal of world-building is done to bring to the events that take place in Shippuuden. Most importantly, it’s a huge turning point for Team 7, both as a team and individually. The Chunin Exams could have just been an action packed tournament, but it was much more than that.
2 Heroes really sweat training
A shonen anime is not the same without the heroes preparing for their next battle, but training in Naruto reveals much more than most anime. Throughout much of the series, the idea that hard work pays off is shown in how much effort the characters put in while training. Characters like Rock Lee and Naruto have passed out or been injured while training to get nowhere. In the end, they get stronger, but that doesn’t mean they are ready for every battle.
1 The hero does not always defeat the villain without help
This is especially true when Naruto is younger and never single-handedly defeats any enemy. Even when facing Gaara, he has a little help from Gamabunta. Also when fighting Pain and emerging as the hero of Konoha, Naruto continues to have allies on the battlefield with the frog warriors of Mount Myoboku acting as his support.
Naruto didn’t even win that battle without savoring a small defeat himself, having come close to being captured by Pain and rescued by Hinata. The bottom line is that Naruto is never the only line of defense against the villain, as most of the time it is a team effort.