First of all, sorry if there is already a thread for this, I didn't feel like searching...
Do you feel that Naruto would be better off in a seinen magazine than in Shonen Jump?
In my opinion Kishimoto is a great writer, especially when it comes to speeches; so many of his characters' quotes are memorable. But I can almost feel the restrictions that the shonen genre has put on him, like all that peace and hatred stuff (the way they're handled, not the concepts themselves) and the (almost-)no-major-character-death policy. I think that the same story would be on a higher level were it serialized in, for example, Young Jump.
What are your thoughts on this?
I find it interesting that the first Arc of Naruto was so much more brutal then so many of the following ones. Kakashi murdering Haku to everyone's shock by accident. Zabuza dying. Sasuke could have easily died (How much of a twist would that have been if he died there in the first arc :P), Naruto coming an inch (and absolute coincidence) away from personally killing Haku with his own hands on purpose, something that in my opinion would have made him a much more mature character if it was followed through with.
I think it is not so much it becoming a Seinen that was needed, as it becoming one of the more mature Shonens. It had all the ingredients to become it without crossing over into the truly over-mature territory, I think, but it decided to up-play the idealistic peace through harmony themes.
Naruto certainly has the themes to become a Seinen. Genocide, genetic augmentation, assassinations, the idea of world peace, etc.
Not to mention, as Boris noted, the brutality of Part 1 which seems to have been lost in Part 2.
From a marketing standpoint I think Kishi could have made Part 2 a Seninen considering his orginal audience would have grown through Part 1 and would have been reader for a more mature piece of fiction. You see this somewhat is something like Harry Potter.
Granted, instead of using Part 2 as an evolution of Part 1, he just kept with the same formula and gainied more auidence members, and essentially didn't lose any of his orginal auidence.
I personally would have loved for Naruto to be a Seinen but I can see why it isn't. If it was I think it would be a huge critical success, but wouldn't be drawing in the same money over in Japan as it is now.
Personally Kishi is perfect as a shounen writer, the very messages he relies best are those in line with a shounen:
friendship, trust, peace stuff and whatever.
He severely lacks in the emotional department, since he seems to be, in fact, too simple, so I doubt Naruto would be as interesting as it is now.
Now if you are talking about the Narutoverse better suited in a seinen then yes, hell yes. The ninja world Kishi created, characters like Danzou and Orochimaru would be way too perfect in a more mature setting
Oh my god no
First demographic has nothing to do with content. They are publisher terms to help advertisers and retailers know the target audience. Seinen means the magazine has ad's for whiskey and cars, rather than video games. Content means fuck all. K-On! is seinen, despite having no objectionable material, adult themes, complex ideas, violence, or nudity. It's seinen because otaku between 15 and 35 are magazines target audience.
Demographic is not a detriment to popularity. St. Young Men, from an obscure semi-alternative seinen magazine, sells almost as well as Naruto. Kimi ni Todoke sells as well as Naruto, despite being shoujo. Already popular, a recent movie and anime have turned Uchuu Kyoudai into one of the hottest manga in Japan. Without a new volume, all previous have returned to the Oricon charts.
That being said, Naruto is to indebted to shounen tropes and stereotypes to even be discussed in this manner. Look at this weeks chapter: Zombie Itachi defeated Kabuto using a previously unknown, secret sharingan technique, never mentioned before this fight started. Virtually every cliche of bad shounen has been used in the space of one fight. A beloved character returns after seemingly dying, complete with a change in personality. A previously unknown, super secret, forbidden technique of an established super power is introduced specifically for a single fight. A character with nothing to lose sacrifices everything to defeat one of the last remaining villains. If izanami is only used one time, in this fight, than every bad shounen cliche will have been used in this fight. Nor is this new for Naruto. Every new arc requires training, a new, a power up is needed to defeat every enemy, and every power up is novel, completely unexplained previously.
Kishi tries very hard to explore deeper themes and has failed miserably. Compare his handling of the Uchiha massacre to Ishvalan genocide and civil war in Fullmetal Alchemist. In Naruto, one little boy is left seeking revenge. Yet the consequences of slaughtering so many innocents is never explored. In comparison, the trauma of the Ishvalan War is ever present in Fullmetal Alchemist. The survivors huddled in refugee camps, the lone man seeking revenge, the divisions and prejudice left in society. Many of the protagonists of the series were guilty of taking part in the genocide. All are depicted to harbor some degree of guilt, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and anger directed both inwards and outwards. The government who ordered the massacre is the primary antagonist in the series.
The consequences for other "deep" themes have never been explored. Assassination is part of the job, world peace as only a teenage would imagine it, and genetic engineering without any repercussions. Has there been any negative effected caused by shodai genes? Sure Orochimaru was depicted as "bad", but did his experiments have any consequences? No, the themes explored in Naruto are superficial only. This is not a complex, multifaceted series that explores great themes in a complex, adult manner. If that is what you are looking for read Blade of the Immortal or Fullmetal Alchemist. At it's peak Naruto was little more than an above average kids manga, never more, and now frequently less.
---------- Post added at 02:12 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:10 PM ----------
Last edited by Kaiten; May 17, 2012 at 01:14 PM.
I'd just like to say that a better question for all this may be "Do you think Naruto would be better off if it went in a more mature and for lack of better words "dark" direction. And I think on this website the answer would always be "yes".
That aside, it would never go that way and best way to get your fill for that desire is find good fanfiction and get into that, because being perfectly honest, there are writers out there who drive into the characters and issues that Kishi made but cannot flesh out due to his limited week to week space.
@Kaiten, while I agree with some of what you are saying, you have to keep in mind that if Naruto was in a Senien magazine, it would have the oppurtunity to be more mature in a way it doesn't in Jump.
As much as I hate to even write it's name, the Twighlight Series did this as well by waiting so long for their main characters to have sex because the vast majority of Twighlights readership is made of young girls.
On the flip side, the True Blood series on HBO and it's source material The Southern Vampire Series have an older targer auidence and thus is much more graphic in all natures.
K-On! is thus an exception, not the rule. Why 35 year olds in Japan are drawn to high school girls in a band is beyond me, yet the vast majority of Seinen series to my knowledge have more mature and dark themes to them unlike Jump series.
People don't read magazines for the ads, they read them for the content. Young boys and girls read Jump because they like Naruto, Bleach, etc. They like them because they appeal to them, they aren't overly complicated, and don't delve into heavy issues that much. Seinen for the most part is opposite of that.
Now I could be wrong, but like I said I still think that if Naruto was a Seinen it would be granted more oppurtunities to grow.
I think one of the reason its so tempting to consider Naruto being written in a more mature way is because the world (not the storyline) was actually created in a way that implied a rather mature setting.
One piece practically dances around the premise of rather simple, fun adventure (though I do realise it also delves into serious things on occasion). Bleach is a world that really is all about some idealistic balance, hollows vs shinigami etc.
With Naruto, the world almost seems to me to have been created to be god damn harsh, mature and complex. I mean think back to the things that were emphasized in the very beginning. A ninja must lie, must kill from behind, must make harsh decisions where both choice lead to loss. A world of true, harsh, not always honorable conflict. - Of course then the author has spent the entire manga discrediting that very complex idea and inserting simpler, lighter ones.
This isn't 'bad' but it seems to go contrary to the 'feeling' the world originally gave us which is why this debate has come up. Yes, the story as it is written is quite clearly goes in a simple, childish direction. But its base wasn't so.
On an only slightly related note, I once put forward the idea that Itachi would have made a bloody amazing main character in a mature manga.
Last edited by Boris999; May 18, 2012 at 02:33 PM.
notwithstanding I like the seinen genre more than the shonen, my favourite mangas are all shonen. that's why I can't make up my mind. I'd just like naruto and otehr mangas to be more adult,crueler and more brutal,just to avoid meaningless and unbearable scenes
I think Naruto works fine as it is, but if it were a seinen, Kishimoto could get more mileage out of its pet themes. For a series so focused on war and conflict and the effect growing up in violent surroundings can have on one's nature, there's not really that much darkness here. Part of me thinks Kishimoto could go further in showing how war compromises individuals and corrupts societies. Part of me thinks that there's enough tragedy already: Hanzo's betrayal, anything with Danzo, Orochimaru story, Itachi's story, Haku and Zabuza's arc, Konan's death, war profiteering, genocide, the threat of civil war when an oppressed people have enough.
Naruto is fine as a shounen, but I'd love to see a seinen spinoff, the same way that the Rock Lee series was spunoff in the kiddie magazine Saikyo Jump.
Something like a digest series which just has short storylines exploring the underside of the Shinobi World at various points of time. Stories about ANBU missions, torture and interrogation squads, renegades and hunters, bounty hunters, the Kaguya clan's war, the Seven Swordsmen, Root, and so on.
sense.) the reader care at all about the characters or their tragedies. The only characters this was done WELL with is probably Haku and Gaara (and look how stupidly Gaara's ultimate story turned out. Seriously, I liked it just fine when his father was just an asshole). Orochimaru and Danzou are just lame scapegoats made into the darkness of the whole world so no one else will have to be an asshole. And now even recently Itachi has been knocked down a few pegs when he was probably the best character in the entire story. This fight diminished him considerably in my eyes.
I think this manga would have done far better as a seinen, or maybe if the author would just let go of the idea that every character is "good" deep down, or that people actually give a crap about seeing a bunch of all powerful zombies get owned, or having a war with virtually NO DEATH. The issues I have at present could go on and on, and I used to be one of the biggest defenders, so this current BS makes me that much more disappointed.
I wish Naruto had even a fraction of the depth that Code Geass had. Naruto touches on similar themes as Code Geass, but those themes seem like a joke in comparison in Naruto.
Code Geass: Warhead hits Tokyo settlement, massive death toll (what was it, like 10 million people? Or was it 20?)
Naruto: Massive bomb-like attack on Konoha, virtually no loss of life, or rather, any lives taken were magically restored on a scale that would make even Akira Toriyama raise an eyebrow.
The trauma of the Ishvalan War is spread out across too many insignificant characters to have had any significant impact. "The survivors huddled in refugee camps" and "lone men seeking revenge" - these are the typical scenarios that you'll see in any war-torn countries, how they came to embody 'sophistication' and 'depth' is beyond me.Quote:
By focusing the inner struggle of a few, rather than spreading it across too many insignificant characters, Kishi has shown how the actions of the previous generations can shape and mould the personalities of the present characters and their future. That is depth. The mistakes that we can learn to avoid now, and the people that we hope to change in the future. That is depth.
Last edited by Ryr; May 30, 2012 at 09:12 AM.
I would disagree. In FMA, the events during the Ishvalan War had some sort of impact on all the characters, and was an important factor in the decisions of several of the key characters, being reflected on several times. Even though it wasn't the main focus, it still had plenty of focus in the background and we saw how terrible it was to people. The Uchiha Massacre on the otherhand has only had an impact on Sasuke and has barely been a factored to the rest of the story outside being a reason for his actions. Even the other wars have been barely looked upon except to show off the greatest of a few and despite how horrible the experience of war was suppose to be, the characters current experience during war has really not been that terrible.