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Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
Very detailed characters, backgrounds are often detailed too, a lot of stunning panels which I just like to look at for several seconds...
In my opinion the series got better and better when it comes to art.
The best thing about the characters in Naruto is that they act realistic, not many characters are way over the top. And the main character is likable, he won a lot of fights only with his willpower and trains very hard but is not some godly, impossible to beat character, he even faints when things are getting too much...
And it also has my 2 favorite characters of all Manga, Shikamaru and Kakashi.
Well, I don't think much about the themes of a manga, but the themes in Naruto are all very well written.
No Manga ever created such a believable world in my opinion, with all the rules like chakra system or chakra nature transformations, or the long history of the world, the relationships between the different people and clans, etc...
My favorite Shonen Manga along with Death Note (which is better but too short) and Fullmetal Alchemist. In my opinion no Manga has better fights then Naruto and no Manga is that good for so many chapters...
Genres: Shonen, Action, Adventure, Comedy/Drama, Fantasy
Author: Masashi Kishimoto
Artist: Masashi Kishimoto
Publication: Weekly Shonen Jump
Start Date: November 1999
End Date: On-going
Number of chapters at review: 491
Number of chapters read by reviewer: 491
The Hidden Leaf Village is under attack by a very powerful demon:The Nine-Tailed Fox. The village leader, the Fourth Hokage sacrifices himself and manages to seal the demon into a new born infant:Uzumaki Naruto.
The manga follows the adventures of Uzumaki Naruto in his quest in becoming Hokage, but many difficulties lie along the road, so becoming Hokage is more complicated than he ever thought.
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
The art is one of the strong points of this manga.
The most interesting thing is the evolution of the art, since the first chapters. While in the beginning the art can be considered average, in terms of realistic panels, Kishimoto developed his style, transforming his manga in one of the best mangas from art point of view.
Of course one's taste of art is subjective, but it cannot be denied that Kishimoto tends to draw in a realistic fashion.
The complexity of the art is something that's changing over periods of time. While certain panoramic, doublespread panels are very detailed, we can find simple scenes as well, each making the reader to be able to sink into the shinobi world.
While the background's complexity and style changed over the years, the details regarding facial expressions are something solid. Even though we can spot style changes here, too, Kishimoto's tendency of detailing his characters is obvious, since it increases the depth of character development.
The reason why it's not a full 10, is because my subjectivity kicks in and it has to do with the style.
The strong point of the plot is the complexity of it, which can be thanked to the detailed character developments, and the various themes that are employed in the manga.
While themes with more focus tend to shape the main story line, the underlying motives create original characters and thus secondary stories, which are incorporated in a whole in a great manner.
The variety of villains, their motives influence the plot a lot, each time setting a new direction.
The weak points of the plot are certain unexplained elements, or the lack of concentration on certain secondary plot lines, which could contribute greatly to the main story.
Obviously the most powerful argument to start reading the manga or keep reading it.
The characters are very well written, and at first the evolution of certain characters might be obvious, in the background complicated interactions and emotions can be noticed.
There's a huge amount of continuity and similarities between the characters in different generations. So there's a feeling in the beginning that original character traits cannot be found, when observing character pairs, such as teacher-student, or good guy-traitor, but the plot makes the characters evolve in such a way, that subtle, differences can be spotted.
The emotional world of the characters is the most impressive, hardly found in other shounen mangas. The complexity of this emotional background can be thanked to the great number of characters, each bringing a new theme, a different interpretation of classic shounen themes, thus a character's development is influenced heavily by other characters.
The themes employed in the manga are the typical shounen themes that can be found everywhere:friendship, sacrifice, bonds, hard-working, chosen one, worlds peace, revenge.
What's impressive that these themes are interpreted in slightly different ways by the characters, presenting these themes in nuanced versions, thus increasing the number of possibilities regarding character and plot development.
Setting aside the shounen cliches which are necessary in a work like this, the originality of this manga lies in the wonderful universe which was created, and combining the different aspects of Japanese culture(shinobi-samurai ideology, combined with mythological elements).
I thought about how to rate the manga overall, and I was pending in giving a standard average of all the marks, or weighted average.
And I decided on weighted average, since every category's mark has a slight subjective shade. For me the most important things are the plot and the characters, though the other categories cannot be neglected, either.
Hmmmm, a lot of these reviews are very interesting. What many of you praise as Naruto's greatest strengths...I find to be its worst weaknesses. So let's do an informalish review--really more a response to the reviews here. First things first, I grade kind of harshly and can't fathom giving even my favorite series 10s. After all, these people are professionals. They make their LIVING off of this stuff. There's no point in being nice or giving something an 8/10 for being pretty good or average. If they've reached the publication level, an 8/10 means something is absolutely fantastic. A 10 means it's groundbreaking and a 5 is average, banal, mundane, for me at least. When reviewing, it's best to tap our literary snob side.
Everyone knows this story, I've read all the chapters, and we really need no summary, so let's get started.
I'd have to agree with most of what's been said here. Naruto's art is EXTREMELY detailed and very clean, exactly what you'd expect of a highly successful mainstream manga. Personally, I think the art is a bit "too good", in its own way. It feels...very...soul-less. Mechanical. Precise, but lacking distinctive style. Like it could have been done by a computer. While this certainly does the job well enough, it feels very empty. A top class artist, one who gets a 10, inserts his or her own style while still making the action easy to follow and detailed. So overall, this art is extremely good, but lacking a certain something to push it towards the one-of-a-kind masterpiece or perfection level.
One thing I really DO like about Naruto is that the characters are very uniquely drawn. This is a huge part of art that's often overlooked. While reading some series like Air Gear or Claymore (especially when it's a weekly series that I'm caught up on and haven't read in the last few days), I have to stop and think about exactly who I'm looking at. Pretty much never have that problem with Naruto.
Chock-full of deus ex machina, tedious plot turns, and extreme plot derailment. Kishimoto is a good artist with a great creative mind. He is NOT a writer. A good author does need increasingly ridiculous plot turns and shark jumps to keep the audience engaged. These are gimmicks. And Naruto is EXTREMELY reliant on its gimmicks.
I sometimes suspect that Kishimoto had a vague inkling how his story would turn out, but didn't think his story would get so big and successful and perhaps...didn't bother fleshing out the details until far later. This lack of planning definitely hurts the story and sometimes leaves the audience wonder why on EARTH he's making some of his storyline decisions, which just seem silly and wasteful from a storyline perspective.
A major example of this tendency: the elemental system. It happens what, around Chapter 300? Kishimoto out of nowhere decides to introduce a pokemon-style rock-paper-scissors system of elements. Out of NOWHERE. It becomes a major aspect of the manga and the focus of all the combat. And after a few dozen chapters it's completely dropped again, to fade away like it'd never been there. This is extremely indicative of how Kishimoto plans and lays out his manga. It's very half-hazard and poorly done. A lot of people praise Naruto's story, but I can't imagine that's really an objective analysis. It can be easy to get wrapped up in something and then love every aspect of it. It's much harder to acknowledge the major flaws in something you like.
Oh yeah, and pacing is kind of an issue at times. Not a constant huge problem dragging the series in the dirt, like with Bleach, but definitely a factor.
Naruto has the best cast of two-dimensional characters I've ever seen. Every significant character has been assigned an appearance, an exaggerated personality quirk, and a fighting theme. The bigger ones get semi-tragic/moving pasts. And then, nothing really happens. Nobody REALLY changes. They're all just oversimplified caricatures and cliches. It should be noted that the score does not mean the characters are poorly conceived or not entertaining. More that they're a lot of wasted potential. LOTS of points for the initial setup, but terrible terrible follow up. Thus the 5/10.
Also, Kishimoto allowed the cast to grow far too large earlier, though he seems to be dealing with that much better of late. Still, though, that spread him very thin with character development and also slowed down the plot.
Another unfortunate tendency I find in Shonen, which are often guy-centric and written by, well...men, is that the women have pretty much no independent character. Their driving motivations, personality, decisions, etc...are all in relation to the men they're enamored of. Or the female character's defining traits and characteristics have to do with her being female. Far less diversity than with the men. Naruto, while it has some exceptions and is better than some, definitely follows this trend. Take Sakura, Ino, or Hinata, for example. Their entire purpose in the story is to be irrationally in love with some dude and that dictates all of their subsequent actions. Hell, Tsunade has her moments. It's really pathetic.
If I had to find a positive theme in this manga, I'd choose something like struggling against fate. A lot of characters have had their lives manipulated or are wrestling with vast forces out of their control at the social, political, economic, and magical levels. Perhaps this is one reason the series has such an emphasis on individuals, perhaps to the detriment of plot development.
When people consider a manga's themes, they usually say things like friendship, strength of will, or hope. That sort of stuff. And this manga certainly has that stuff. BUT, and this is a huge but...
Why on EARTH does everyone always leave out the bad themes? Things like this:
You can't really make a difference unless you're a genius. Without some ultra-great super-special genes, you'll never succeed at life and the world is shaped by an oligarchy of these people, collections of ultra-special people that matter. This is a message in virtually all shonen and it's stronger in Naruto than in almost any I've read in a pretty bad way.
Another bad theme, though this one is a bit more minor: obsession. Sakura with Sasuke, Hinata with Naruto, Naruto with Sasuke, all these fixations...people determine their life's path from strange arbitrary fixations. It's really unhealthy. And this manga frames these preoccupations as admirable.
Oh yeah, and then there's the whole gender role thing. Which is pretty bad.
Originality: 10/10 (UNIVERSE) and 2/10 (what he's done with the universe)
Now, this is the REALLY interesting category for this series. Naruto is clearly the work of a very imaginative artist. He just isn't a terribly great author.
Kishimoto has managed to set up this AMAZING world. All the jutsu styles, techniques, ways to rise up, the clan structures, buildings, political relations between the major countries, economies, etc... It's all just marvelous! Forget the story, I'd be content to just read about this masterful universe for 500ish chapters.
And here's the bad part. The story WITHIN this wonderful, artistic universe is just...well, it doesn't stand up. Best world ever, most tired, tried, cliche, dull story ever. The two combine to make a decent manga. So top marks for originality of the universe, no marks for originality in what he's done with this universe.
Kishimoto is a good artist relying entirely on his creative vision and coasting off of the success of the universe he's created. What he's DONE within his universe is very very flawed. I'd love to see what a real author could do with the setup he has. And hell, I'd love to see some more works set in the naruto universe, perhaps from the perspective of an average genin trying to rise through the ranks, not somebody with ridiculous inflated superpowers who learns so fast that he skips over the interesting stuff and breaks the power structure of his universe.
Overall, I'd say this manga really illustrates the differences between comic books and graphic novels. Naruto is, without a doubt, a comic book. Plot and character development, etc...they're not really priorities in the same way. Instead, the series goes for cheap gratification time and time again. And for some people, that's just great. I'm more of a graphic novel man myself--I'm engaged by material with a bit more depth and craftsmanship, even if it has less pizazz.
Last edited by Shinichiro; April 20, 2010 at 01:20 PM.
^^It was a very interesting read...
Of course that looking at the marks I have to disagree with some of them...
First of all, the art...this is just a little thing, not an actual disagreement, but Kishi changed his art style over time...in part 1 there were some original silhouttes, and the panels themselves more simplistic...but if we consider the characters, I don't particularly find them empty...after that he tended to change towards realistic drawing, which ended up in "empty" characters, but sometimes, incredibly detailed panels(e.g. panoramas)...but even so, emptiness is used when they are unable to transmit the necessary emotions or message right?Especially the sad moments, I don't find those empty
The plot...while obviously it's not the carefully constructed like One Piece, it still deserves more than 3/10 IMO. Judged as a whole or in parts, the plot is really complicated even if it revolves around 1 or 2 characters...the circumstances of their character development, are essential part of the plot, and together with the world which is presented, I think a passing grade could've been given at least.
Characters, plot and originality are key elements for the manga, and one influences the other, so if the originality scores 10/10, then that hsould at least drag the other categories up a bit, since discussing them completely separately is a mistake IMO...
I understand deus ex machinas(though it seems like an excuse of not understanding the manga most of the times when it's used, so I object it as hard as I can), but the tediousness of the plot turns are a matter of taste...I agree with a small amount of plot derailments as well, caused mostly by the great number of characters introduced at the beginning and their slow withdrawal from the plot.
Regarding the characters love is very important:
Pardon my ranting, but some categories are really downgraded IMO
Love it or hate it if your posting about it then it must fascinate you whether your just reading to see how it ends your still fascinated. What's the point of comparing it to manga's you think are perfect if you thought it was awful. Just admit it as bad as you think the character's, story, art and creator are you like it.
good one I think...It is like everybody loves this manga....but now, it is a bit slow i think, many flashback but then, there are so many things that people dont expect to happen came out...It still amaze me...
Yup! that's a great review about my favorite anime/ manga show Naruto. I m currently enjoyed latest Naruto shippuden spoiler chapter, which are just awesome. and i m sure, in present time Naruto is one highly rated anime show among all anime fans.
I think theme and originality should switch.. since theme isn't suppose to confuse with originality .. if it is a good theme, and well written then theme should be 10 but if the theme is a bit overused then originality should go down...
anyway.. good review..
The characters are well designed and the backgrounds range from simplistic to lavishly detailed. The action is generally well executed, but the real artistic achievement is Kishimoto's cinematic sense of style. It should be noted that his art style is initially uneven; although, it steadily improves throughout the series.
The writing is good in general and the dialogue is often inspired. However, the emotional beats can come across as maudlin and there are minor plot holes here and there. Overall, the plot is engaging, with plenty of twists, and consisting of many shorter story arcs that build towards a larger mythology arc, which is one of the strongest part of the manga. Elements of the history of Naruto's world are gradually introduced in bits and pieces and offhanded pieces of information figure into the larger design of the story later on. The tone of the manga darts between comedy and tragedy. The fights themselves are well orchestrated and often end surprisingly.
Almost all of the characters in Naruto are well designed. Each has his own ability set and backstory and grow in different ways as the series progresses. The villains are fresh and unique, most of them containing tragic pasts that explain their motivations. The main character, Naruto, starts out as an outcast prankster but reveals himself to be surprisingly serious and wise as he grows.
Some of the themes the manga explores are typical of the genre: friendship, talent, hard work, responsibility. Where Naruto shines thematically is in its exploration of war and human nature. By having many of the characters live or grow up during violent times, Kishimoto uses his characters to represent different philosophical arguments on the various facets of war and revenge.
Some of the characters and plot points are loose adaptations to Japanese history and mythology, but these allusions are transformed so that the result is a mythology unique to Naruto. Even the sprawling cast of characters is varied enough so that the many of the abilities displayed differ from one another.
As a series, Naruto transcends the genre to become an exemplar of how to build up a mythology in a work of fiction. Moreover, the manga excels in creating memorable characters that are both charming and tragic.
Never had any kinda of problems with the art, i always managed to understand what Kishi was trying to show us so i have nothing to point to the art. I like it and i don't think that no one can really point the art as an excuse for the lack of interest on Naruto, though it could be obviously a lot better. But for the style of the story i think it suits very well.
I simply love Kishi's writing. Naruto plot's is an extremely complex one, with useful information about everything. The characters are very well explained and he gives to them a "depth" that is incredibly difficult to found in a lot of other series. The story might have plot holes, but they are nothing more than minor and don't affect the story coherency and at the same time the love that i have for it. I praise definitely Kishi for the fact that he during all time, i can't remember seeing him dragging the story. Every chapters is useful and we can find everything on them, starting on comedy and ending with drama.
I give nothing less to the characters. If i could i would even give a 11
Kishi IMO is a genius dealing with characters. Kishi explained to us very well each character, something that is quite difficult to found in other series, and he makes me able of completely understand their decisions. The characters don't look "plain" and that is awesome. Naruto cast is IMO one of the best ever created. There is a bunch of characters that are nothing less than epic, though there are others that are not that interesting
I give to the theme this high rating, though most of the other shounens out there also deal with these stuff.
But what i love about Naruto is the fact that i feel the boldness of Kishi, and i feel that he is trying to take this already very "studied" themes to a completely other dimension. Most people might see this as one of Naruto greatest weakness but for me that is quite the opposite. Kishi explained everything so well, that this themes are been analysed to the fullest and it doesn't end sounding a bit cliché or weird at all.
The story is completely unique, never saw anything like it, and the world that Kishi managed to create is nothing else than amazing. The different Villages, plus the different ranks of the Shinobis, the missions, the jutsus, ... are just some examples that prove my point.
And don't even make me start talking about the battles. There isn't a shounen that can compare to Naruto on this category. Naruto battles are much more than raw power but manly about strategies and intelligence. Simply beautiful
One of the best shounens out there, with a bunch of characters that are forever going to remain in my mind and that at the same time kinda inspire me. Naruto popularity is definitely well deserve cuz this story has everything. For me what makes Naruto really this special is the story in itself, that is nothing else than simply beautiful. It's not quite normal to see shounens creating a story with this kinda of depth and i totally thank Kishi for his work. Naruto has something that makes my heart completely astonished. Naruto is a masterpiece for me
^^When speaking about the arc...what do you mean that Kishi could do it obviously a lot better? I mean his art evolves throughout the years, so it's hard to pinpoint an exact style, and say that it is bad or good, or that it could be better or worse...
When i say it could be better i am being a little unfair, cuz i was thinking on the awesome art that some monthly mangas like Vinland Saga have. But those mangas are monthly and Naruto is weekly and the different between the story of these two mangas it's too big.
I was manly comparing the difference between shounen's and seinen's art, but there isn't really a comparison possible, cuz what we see in one is completely different of what is expected to see on the other.
It was a mistake of my part, but i only said that something like this, so people don't think that i am that subjective, when talking about Naruto.The art is great the way it is and i don't really have any problem with it. I love the design of which character so i don't have really anything bad to point to the manga.
When i read to Vinland Saga, i feel that the art makes the manga much better.