Honestly, there are a lot of shonen series that can rival Naruto. While in the beginning Naruto held a great deal of potential, it has mostly been squandered. It's still a good series, and I'll put it in the top 10 shonen, but it never really reached the greatness that it's early chapters hinted at =/
If you are looking for stuff to read that's similar, you can check out One Piece, HSD Kenichi, Fairy Tail, ES21, Hajime no Ippo, etc
kingsenol great points You have in Your review. While I was reading it, it came out to me, that you actually was writing all the thing, which I would write myself, if I would try to be ..hmm.. more objective <3
I really liked how You mentioned in Art thingy the way Kishi draws some things better and some worse ^^" How You actually said, that you give points for Plot in shonen category <yeah, shonen xD I don't like comparing not compatible genre style, just like you> How You gave characters 9 and said how they are well written <and in good proportion actually xD> About mentioned Sai - maybe it's a waste of time, but I think on the longer thing, he actually is also unique from all the characters, and people can start talking how they like it or not <and just the way Naruto is better than anything else in shonen category if it means for characters: there are likeable characters, non-likeable, those who you hate of detest, those who you love, and so on xD> And originality.. hmm looking on 10 seemed to me non realistic, when I read the parts before, but actually I must say, that people can only give in originality 10, if They know anything about myth stuff from Japan, China, real fighting styles, and know, how Kishi handles it.
I think it's fair to say 8 for overall in shonen category, is someone is objective.
Before we get onto the whole review business, let me first say that this is a nifty new forum section; although I have been using the site for over a year, this new development inspired me to finally register. Now, onto Naruto.
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
Art: 8.5 (Sufficient)
While Naruto's art doesn't leap off the page in epic glory, it's definitely sufficient for conveying pretty much everything that occurs, and its style fits the manga well. Although I've rated this a 8.5, I'm going to declare the artwork "perfectly fine". I'm not really sure how it could be improved on, but it's not eye-bogglingly splendiferous...and it doesn't have to be.
Naruto started with a nifty interpretation of a rather old plot. There's your classic outcast boy with some special, hidden power that isolates him from just about everyone; in this particular work, Kishimoto chose ninja as his theme, and it worked surprisingly well. He managed to deliver interesting (if not particularly brilliant or original) storylines that showcased his characters and their development. True, it wasn't a masterpiece and it didn't feature a deep, intricate storyline, but it really didn't have to. It was the growth of the characters, both as people and ninja, that was so interesting. Every time a member of team 7 unlocked a particularly power, we were all right there, absolutely thrilled. However, as manga are particularly wont to do, the writer couldn't pace himself and ran out of room, both in terms of plot and character growth. Soon enough, these powers stopped becoming cool and became overrated, gimmicky, cheap tricks. That's right, the show developed a DBZ complex with characters getting regular obscene power boosts in a manner that made it all seem ridiculous and left us feeling robbed and let down. Any characters who didn't have their own little super-saiyan mode are left behind as useless baggage, a blatant mockery to the crucial, jaw-droppingly awesome roles they once fulfilled.
Naruto isn't a bad manga; rather, its characters outgrew themselves too fast, leaving them nowhere left to go. There are very few manga that can thrive after its protagonists turn into big-shot-powerhouses, especially when they're big-shot-powerhouses-of-cheapness, and this is not one of them. And with the characters dragging, so too does the storyline, leaving us with a slow-as-molasses plot with disappointing progressions. Right now, the manga is still coasting off of all the momentum it accumulated in its glory days, but it can't continue as such for long before it simply becomes tiresome and runs the glory-bank dry.
Naruto is filled with the best, most likable one-dimensional characters I have ever seen. Each character seems to have been assigned a unique fighting style, a quirk, and the physical appearance to match. In the beginning, it seemed that the fascinating characters had intentionally been portrayed so as to only scratch the surface, implying there was even more to back up an already strong character. Now that we're about 400 chapters in, it seems that, in fact, there is only surface to each and every character, and they, like the plot, are getting tiresome and drawn out. At this point, now that he has introduced so many dozens of characters, each working exclusively with their own group, it seems doubtful that Kishimoto could focus on developing a few characters further, even if he wanted to. But let's face it, it's a lot easier to reveal the "omg uber uber" abilities than it is to actually work any character into his characters, and as long as people keep buying so they can see the exploits of the characters they feel loyal too, why should he change?
Though very simplistic, the themes present in the naruto series have been well-executed and easy to agree with... So, while the emotions the series evokes are present, Kishimoto seems to take the easy way out of virtually everything. Themes are...well done, but neither unique nor ambitious.
I really had to divide this category up; the first ranking refers to originality in plot, characters, themes, and everything you'd expect in a manga. Even I, a longtime fan of the series, must admit that Kishimoto does absolutely nothing new. I know it may be difficult to find anything new to do, since there are so many bodies of literature and so many graphic novels out there, but even relative to what possibilities he could have taken, Kishimoto consistantly takes the easy way, and that's no fault. It just doesn't get him originality points. Characters are extremely archetypal and the plot...well it's about as classic as you can get at every turn. Kishi does rather well what everyone else has done before.
Now, for the SECOND category: this rating refers to the world which Kishimoto has created. The Naruto universe is...simply incredible. The author provides enough details for us to have a fairly solid idea of what's going on, but leaves just enough open to the imagination that it's not rigid and contrived. The idea of the hidden villages, the three major types of jutsu, the presence of bloodlines (though I differ with their execution...), the ninja ranking and training systems...everything about it is fantastically done. It is this aspect that has me hooked on the series, and it is for this that I would advise any prospective readers to pick up at least the first few volumes. I feel that this is what people refer to when they say: "Naruto had such promise, but it took a wrong turn." The initial setup, how Kishimoto has set up the board...it's all extremely well done. With a setup like that, virtually any story can succeed.
A manga with high initial aspirations, this series promises but doesn't deliver; although many parts of this series are drab, dry, and rehashed, Kishimoto uses his splendid universe like a crutch to carry his story through, regardless of how many flaws drag it down. Definitely read at least first few volumes, the ones that lead us to hope, though be forewarned...you may fall in love with the world Kishimoto has set up and continue reading, even when deep inside you'll wish you'd stopped while the going was good.
Last edited by Luckas; April 14, 2008 at 11:37 AM.
Naruto has potential... but we're stuck in a pretty bad slump right now. The story focuses too much on Sasuke now, after building up so much excitement about Naruto...
They should just rename the series Sasuke: The Uchiha Chronicles... :S
One of the things I enjoy about Naruto is the simplicity of the story, the way it does hint at darker things but you have to imagine them yourself. The artwork does have good moments and bad moments but I would say they hinder the manga in any way. The clans, systems and ranks are enjoyable; the humour can be silly at times. I like that some characters may not be strong but are clever (sometimes both); also that not everyone has some badass jutsu. They are good at what they do, even if they are 'weak'.
I am a bit biased as I enjoy ninja the most. So for me, all the jutsu elements are great.
I've said it before, but I'll spell it out a little more this time; I really think a lot of the reviews are missing the boat here when it comes to the theme category. One of the excellent things about Naruto is that it's main theme is actually quite subtle, yet it remains central to every character and encounter in the entire series. Things like "friendship" and "protecting those important to you" are secondary themes at best. The main theme is "causality". What makes a person behave the way they do? What actions can change the course of a person's life? If you read the series with that in mind, you can see the skillful way Kishimoto weaves that theme into practically everything.
Just something to keep in mind.
None of the current reviews really reflect my views so I'll add my own.
Start Date:November 1999
Number of chapters at review:391
Number of chapters read by reviewer:391
General Overview: A story about the life and adventures of a loud and fiery young ninja named Uzumaki Naruto.
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
Naruto is a manga in which allows you to truly watch Masashi Kishimoto evolve as an artist. In the first chapters the art is average at best but he steadily improves as the series goes on. In the more recent chapters he even incorporates some more classical art styles for things like fire almost giving you the feeling that your looking at classical Japanese art. Throughout this manga the characters are expressive and his backgrounds are as creative as they are vibrant and alive. Subtracting one point for the early artwork hurts me, but its unavoidable.
You just never can tell where the story will go next. Twists and turns litter Naruto's life. You also never get the feeling that the characters in Naruto are drifting along, there is always a goal that they are rushing toward with everything they have. If i had to pick a flaw it would be that the rules of the world seem to stretch sometimes to provide a happy ending to events.
I give Naruto a full ten here because i can't think of another cast of characters that is as fascinating as the ones in Naruto. Every character you meet, friend or enemy, is deep and compelling. Which almost becomes a problem because so many of them are so interesting that they feel like they deserve their own manga.
So many; the will to never give up, vengeance, loyalty, friendship, loneliness, betrayal, bravery, guilt, and greed to name just a few. Every character seems to have their own underlying theme and thats part of what makes them so great. This manga uses the way in which all these different characters, each representing their own theme, interact with each other as the primary theme. For example Naruto represents "Friendship and the desire to protect friends" while Sasuke represents "Revenge and the inability to heal old emotional scars". It falls short of ten because a few of the themes are a bit simplistic.
I've certainly never read anything quite like it. Kishimoto created an incredible world with its own rules and history all of which is so well done it almost feels real. It's almost comparable to Harry Potter in terms of world depth and originality. I can't score it below a 10 in this area.
I've read more manga than i like to admit, but Naruto is in a class all it's own. The characters are deep and the art is beautiful. Both of which come together in intricately woven story. If you are going to read one manga make it Naruto. You'll be glad you did.
Last edited by Luckas; April 14, 2008 at 11:31 AM. Reason: Rethought some points
There are a couple things I'd like to say about the Naruto reviews so I'm going to get them off my chest haha..
First and foremost!
If I was evaluating Naruto on a weekly basis I would give it a 5/10...there just isnt much going on every week and it takes a long time to get any payoff. However, Naruto is simply an amazing read when you can dive into it about 30-40 chapters at a time. It's one of the few shonen where every chapter is meticulously plotted out as part of the whole rather than a week by week cliffhanger.
For comparisons sake, Naruto and One Piece are both terrific if you have the time and can sit down and read an arc...there is almost always emotional payoff and great fight scenes. On the other hand...many other popular shonen titles will leave you feeling empty after important arcs, and wondering what the hell did I just get all excited for over the last few weeks (Bleach is the absolute champion of this).
Secondly, the series would definitely benefit from only Naruto being the protagonist. There is always a drop off in quality when the story shifts to Sasuke for long periods of time, and no character development occurs. It feels very similar to how Dragonball got worse because Toriyama stopped writing the way he wanted to and started to cater to peoples interests.
If i had to rate Naruto i'd give it a
Not One Piece, but its still very good
Naruto. A massive 10/10 before the time skip. A 5/10 after it. Naruto was by far the greatest shounen but the potential was simply ruined. I really don't think that early fans of naruto still enjoy it as much now. I said it many times but the magic is gone. Naruto had that little something but lost it. But it's almost always the case with shounens: at some point, imagination is gone and there we go through the "cosmic power boost" for some characters while neglecting completely early characters
Kishi lost it. It was a great story about a weak boy struggling to become hokage and now we have some B-scenario about a
One piece was weaker in the beginning but now ... it should be a crime to put One piece and Naruto at the same level.
I'm harsh but I'm disappointed.
Added spoiler tags, the review section aims to be spoiler free. ~ Luckas
i always forget about spoilers. sorry, unintentionnal
Last edited by Luckas; July 09, 2008 at 03:12 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
Lol Id actually put Naruto above One Piece.
I really think Naruto is one of the most unfairly judged manga's out there. It's a weekly manga but it has artwork and writing of the quality typically only found only in monthly mangas. It also has an rate of production that makes those monthly mangas look pathetically slow. If Naruto was released in a monthly fashion it would be somewhere in the area of 80-90 pages! Considering the quality of the artwork, i find that just stunning.
One of the great things about the review template here on mangahelpers is that it makes you justify and explain your rating. I think too many people are judging Naruto not on it's merits as a manga but on plot points they personally don't like.
Granted a lot of people may think my rating was a bit high, but i don't. I tried to judge it as fairly and unbiased as i could on each merit and 9.5 is what i came up with(as i said in my full review on the previous forum page). If you did the same and you came up with a lower rating then that's fine. Just please try and make sure you aren't letting one judgment area, like plot, color your whole review.
Last edited by Jammin; July 11, 2008 at 10:48 AM.
One of the problem when talking about Naruto I think it is the big difference between Part 1 and Part 2 and also the lenght of the manga.
part 1 and part 2 are not destined to the same public at all.
And I don't think you can judge this manga fairly. Everyone will have a reaction reading the manga because of the change between part 1 and part 2.
Part 2 is exactly like DBZ. I'm just hoping for the manga that we're not going to have a GT finish.
IMO, Part 2 is much more spectacular than Part 1 ... BUT to make that possible, we have cheap tricks ... and even worse, complete plot holes.
Last edited by zelllogan; July 11, 2008 at 01:48 PM.