Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: Naruto, Naru-toppled

Happy Monday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! How was your weekend? Mine was pretty bitchin’, and now I’m eager to start my week and make the absolute most out of it. And what is a better way to start the week than by examining an abused, almost corpse like state of a once great anime so that future shows can learn from its incredibly obvious mistakes. What fun! ūüėÄ ¬†Here’s how¬†Nartuto¬†became shitty and how other anime can avoid this happening to them in the future.

Naruto 1

Even if you do not watch anime, you have probably heard of¬†Nartuo. It is arguably the most popular shonen anime globally right now, and, in many ways, ¬†is anime’s lowest common denominator. It was created by Masashi Kishimoto and plot revolves around the titular character, Naruto, as he attempts to becomes the strongest ninja in his village and overcome the demon fox sealed within him. The show became popular globally due to a main character having an appearance that could be identified with in the west, fights and plot lines that continuously grew in complexity and scope, and a universally appreciated message of never giving up and trying to achieve your dreams. Naruto’s popularity really cannot be understated. This program introduced a lot of people into anime and is at least partially responsible for anime becoming more popular in the west in recent years.

Despite everything good that¬†Nartuo has done, both as a show and for the anime industry as a whole, there is no denying that it is inexcusably bad today. Like, REALLY bad. Like, the most recent episode got a 0.8/5 stars on¬†Anime News Network bad. I believe that the cause for the show’s massive decline is threefold: the plot took a weird turn, the people behind the show got greedy, and there is an overabundance of filler.

Naruto 2

The plot of¬†Naruto¬†is fairly straight foreword, until it gets to the last boss fight; then it gets weird. The anime is just now depicting this part of the story, when it’s not showing filler, however, I have read the now complete manga (partly because I’m a weeb and partly because my internet struggles with playing videos) and have had a good while to ponder the ending. Without spoiling too much for perspective readers,¬†Naruto ends with the reader and characters finding out that the person they though was the main antagonist was actually being manipulated by previously unmentioned even more evil character and the protagonists have to beat this new character up. This ending left a sour taste in my moth both because¬†Naruto¬†pulled this narrative twist a couple times earlier in the series, to much better effect, and because the new mastermind evil character really is not well developed nor is her motivation made very clear.

Poor endings for a series can be forgiven, though. Now that I think about it a bit, for a series that is a popular as Naruto there really was no possible way for any ending not to upset at least a small portion of the fandom. However, what cannot be forgiven is the way this series has continued to be milked for profit ever since it became popular. The Naruto franchise is never going to die, which is impressive in some ways and concerning in others. Now that the manga has ended and the anime will be ending in the near future, it would make sense that content regarding the series would stop being released, at least for a while. That is not happening, however. A movie about events that take place after the end of the series has been released, a string of Naruto video games is set to be released in the near future, and the anime is going to be extended for as long as feasibly possible via filler episodes. Normally this would be a good thing, the more Naruto the better, right? However, the quality of this extra material is severely below even the lowest points in the cannon and really only brings the franchise down while simultaneously making money for the owners of it.

Naruto 3

My last criticism of the¬†Naruto¬†anime is easily¬†its most sever. The anime has far too much filler. Filler is the term used to refer to additional content and episodes used to extend an anime’s run and, usually, give the series’s creator more time to continue the manga so that the anime does not move past what it is being adapted from.¬†Naruto¬†is notorious for its extensive amount of filler as, during the series’s halfway point, it had nearly caught up entirely with the original manga. This resulted in dozens of filler episodes being created and the series being re-branded in its second half. Now that the manga has ended, the show theoretically has no more need for filler as it cannot move past the ending point. However, filler continue to air in a very poor attempt at extending the shows run and making more money. I honestly cannot describe here awful and annoying it is to watch a series I used to love be slowly ruined each week by poorly written extra and unnecessary episodes that contribute noting to the series overall.

Naruto¬†was a good anime. There is no way it could have become as popular as what it is if it was not. However, it has since become a shell of its former self. What was previously a boiled down version of some of the best elements of anime has now become a combination of some of the worst practices in the industry right now.¬†Naruto¬†will always be respected by me for what it was originally and for sparking a lot of new interest in anime, but it has since then betrayed me far to many times for me to fell much beyond contempt for it. So, in short, Naruto is the “Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all” of anime, and that’s kind of a bummer.

That just about does it for today’s installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday. If you enjoyed it please give it a like and if you disagree with my views please leave a comment down below and we can have a civil discussion about it. Or a flame war. I’m game for whatever ūüėõ . If you would like to stay up to date with this blog, you can subscribe to it in the upper right tab by using your email. Alternatively, you can keep up to date by liking the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog Facebook Page, or by following me,¬†@LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope you all have a great rest of the week and be sure to come back on Wednesday for the next installment of Pop Culture Wednesday.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

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Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: Naruto, Naru-toppled