I bought and read like 70 volumes of Naruto but I pirated the last 20 chapters because I heard that the characters have kids and want to see if Naruto and Hinata got together. In the end, that’s the only thing I really care about because the story turned into woman alien planned this shit and Sasuke is so feeble in his motivation that you can lie to him that eating shit makes him strong and he will believe it. Like “Yea, Sasuke, hatred makes you strong, eating shit cause you hatred and make people hate you, you won’t have any friend if you eat shit so your destiny is to go eat shit.” and he will proceed on in eating shit without knowing that you duped him.
To be honest, I am quite impressed by Naruto, sure, it’s not tightly written but it didn’t succumbed to its own weight by having really obvious plot holes( though it did crumble on its own weight by getting overly convoluted and contrived to cover these plot holes). Most shonen manga like Dragonball and Hokuto no Ken gave the shit up and blatantly recon the shit out of things and having tons of plot holes just to lengthen its story. That’s not to say that it’s planned very well because it did pull a lot of things out of its ass and it’s obvious that Kishimoto dropped a lot of things like Byakugan being strong, Zabuza and swordsmen, Rock Lee’s side story and basically all the other side characters arc. He even wanted to salvage Ten Ten by showing that she might be able to use the Six Sage items to do something but nope, Ten Ten is still fucking useless.
The early Naruto is actually pretty good because they have strategic battles and villains aren’t really that overpowered, you feel that anyone could really beat anyone. Even though this lessen the tension because our heroes are in lesser predicament but in the long run, after seeing overpowered shit like Madara and Kaguya, I think it’s really for the better. Because in the end, only Naruto and Sasuke could do something and battles are decided by who could make the biggest kamehameha.It did try to have some strategic fights but after seeing the trick of clone techniques for the one millionth time, you couldn’t really call that smart. In fact, beside Shikamaru’s fights, most fights in the second part are kinda sub-par.
Onto the characters, Naruto’s woman characters are at least league better than most other stuff in term of gender equality and strength. Yea, they are still not good enough but at least the poison is less poisonous on this side. The other characters like Rock Lee, Hinata, Killer Bee, Kekkaishi, Minato, Naruto’s mom and many others except are good to above average characters. Hell, besides Sasuke and Sakura, I don’t really dislike any of them, even if they are useless like Sai and Ten Ten. Seriously, what’s the point of Sai and Ten Ten?
Oh, and the twists. I guess Itachi was planned to be a good guy because I have that vibe since he first appears(It’s a cop-out reason to kill everyone just because you are very evil, Kishimoto had since shown through Zabuza that he at least put some thoughts into character building. Though Itachi’s story is really not that good and sensible and it’s really a disappointment because I expected better written stuff that is not contrived) and it’s very obvious that Naruto’s father is the 4th Hokage earlier on. Other stuff like Tobi, Madara, Black Zetsu, Kaguya and such? Nah, don’t think so, they are all made up as they go. Very contrived, twist for the sake of twisting, I don’t even feel surprise or whatever and just let it goes and accept whatever shit it throws at me without thinking too much.
It may seems like I hate Naruto and think it is a piece of shit story but well, in actual fact, I think Naruto was worth the money and effort. I liked Shikamaru and some of the characters like Jiraiya and Killer Bee among many other likable stuff. The good strategic battles, the really great first 26 volumes, great detailed wtf did he really drew that in 1 week art, the hot blooded and cool lines, the grand scale of chaotic summoning battles, the above average characters that try not to be generic and really inventive jutsus far outweigh its flaws. It’s not even far fetched to say that Naruto is one of the best Ninja anything because honestly, name me another serious, non b grade good ninja anime/novel/manga/movie whatever. Basilisk? Dagger of Kamui? Ninja Trilogy(Ridiculously awesome but not really serious) movies? Ninja Scoll that is more like samurai than ninja? Path of Assassin maybe. I like Flame of Recca better but honestly, Naruto is the better written work.
There’s a justified reason why it got so popular and ran for 72 volumes, it has its own charm and a veneer/illusion of depth that are league better than run of the mill generic shit even though it’s not good enough to be in the top tier, unlike One Piece.
Themes? What themes? I just want to see ninjas fighting ninjas and don’t really care for consistent theme. I don’t learn moral lesson from this shit. Fuck moral lesson but children should really learn from Naruto because beating up dog is very cool and talent reign supreme over hard work. It’s all about the genes and bloodline dude. Hard work is bullshit without talent because you can’t be the best without talent. Children should understand that and don’t hope for anything that’s untrue.
P.S: Woah, I read the internet and Naruto fans love to over think shit. Maybe you can analyses why it got so popular but hell no should you over-analyses the plot of Naruto so much, it’s not that even that deep. There’s even delusional fangirls that still ship Naruto and Sakura by finding things that are not even there. Woah! Dude(err, woman dude so GAL?), move on.