A background is simply a background. And everything that Kaiten had hailed as having depth is simply that, a background. If a generic background illustration is what you would call 'depth', then I am afraid that the word 'depth' has been insulted.
Superficially? We had multiple incidents of how their actions during the war had an impact on Roy, Alex, and Riza, not to mention the war itself being the bases behind Scar and Winry's actions. The only thing stereotypical about it would the the standard "war is horrible", which isn't that bad and better then talking about it then ignoring the whole aspect. Seeing the thinking and inner struggles of several key characters is perfectly reasonable, as oppose to pretty much dumping such things on a single person.
The things mentioned were hardly just shown in the background and forgotten. Several times the "background" had a pronounced effect on current events, along with consequences. The main point, events had complexity, and thus depth by definition.
On the contrary, there is a lot more depth and intrigue in Naruto's Uchiha massacre, in that what was seen as the absolute justice was merely a perception instilled onto the dezinens of the Konoha village. Itachi knew about it and he kept quiet for the greater good, i.e. to maintain peace at all costs. There is no black and white in the Narutoverse. Everyone was pursuing what he or she thinks was the right thing to do.
However, in FMA, it's freaking obvious that the Homunculus are the black, and Edward and co are the white knights ready to save the world. If this is what you would call depth, I am afraid that you are simply redefining 'depth' into 'what I like best', which, of course, is typical of any sort of biased review that we see everyday.
In fact, I think it's already blatantly obvious that the whole huge paragraph written by Kaiten is simply a large complaint about his own nuisances about the Naruto manga. Had it been presented as his own personal opinion, I would have let it slide, but like many before him, he had to try to convince everyone that his opinion is the absolute standard, and that the manga is a 'complete failure' just because it doesn't follow his own vision.
We need less of these kind of posts in the forums, it fuels negativity throughout the forums. All because the manga doesn't follow his personal vision.
Last edited by Ryr; June 01, 2012 at 10:23 PM.
How was it superficial? Father being behind it was not where it ended. What about the entire upper military being in on his plans and actively assisting him? What about the reason behind his actions and his end goal? Father being known as the villain didn't change that there was a lot going on underneath that we didn't know.
What depth was in the Uchiha massacre? The Uchiha's were gonna start a coup and kill innocent people so they were stopped. It's pretty black and white. There's no perception to maintain. They were clearly shown as the wrong. Heck, them simply being Uchiha put them in the wrong. And they're hardly the first it's been done with. You say everyone is pursuing what they think is right, but that's not really the case at all. All the villains are either misguided, at which point they get forgiven of everything they done, or completely evil, at which point all evil acts are piled on them so that no one else has to deal with it.
The Homunculus weren't the only evil nor were they evil for evil sake. There were reasons behind their actions, which is where the depth comes in. I don't see how you can deny how complex the likes of Greed or Envy were, more so then the majority of villain in Naruto. In addition, unlike in Naruto, FMA didn't skip over the terrible actions the good guys had did during the war.
Labelling the Uchiha as the 'absolute evil' is pretty simplistic. We just found out that the Uchiha clan developed the Izanami to prevent their comrades from becoming too conceited in their own abilities. So, they are not as 'evil' as some people make it out to be.
Really, at this point, if you still believe that the top leadership of the village was the flawless saint, then I am afraid that you have missed out all the intrigue and depth in the Naruto manga. Naruto is full of thoughtful developments, it's just you who ignored all of them and then complain that it has no depth.
Can you explain why were the Homunculus so committed in eradicating humans. It's because Father told them to. Fullstop. Envy was envious of the humans, and greed was greedy because he was greed lulzz, he wanted everything so he betrayed Father.Quote:
In terms of character development, Greed was able to overcome the instinct that was bestowed on him so that was a plus. However, when you look at the number of characters in FMA and the number of character who truly changed, more spotlight on irrelevant characters does not translate to more character developments. FMA is shallower than Naruto in terms of character development and in the development of battle techniques. Ed was the same kid from chapter 1 to the last chapter, with little change to his personality. And in terms of battle techniques, he was spamming stone hands at the beginning, and he was still spamming the same shit in the final chapter. That's totally underwhelming.
Last edited by Ryr; June 02, 2012 at 03:19 AM. Reason: spelling
And you mention the village's dark secrets? You mean Danzo's dark secrets? Because that's who all the evil acts that were committed is being dumped on. Tell me, what terrible things did Hashirama and Tobirama? Minato and Tsunade? Even Sarutobi was written as just unfortunate. Tell me, what development was behind them or even Danzo for that matter, other then to give reason for him being killed?
How the heck did FMA have shallower character development then Naruto? I think you're getting the two mixed up. Edward greatly matured throughout the series, going from a somewhat immature and selfish to more adult and understanding of the world. Same with his brother and Scar. And FMA was never about the battle techniques but the story itself, so that's a moot issue. Naruto use to be like that too, before it became DBZ for ninjas. What significant character development has happen in Naruto? All the characters continue to maintain the same roles as they always did and if they ever did get a chance to change, they're thrown right back to where they were.
I don't think being Seinin would have helped Naruto avoid the problems that I feel currently exist.
Naruto's problems in the last two arcs seem like they stem from poor plotting, lazy writing, a ton of bad ideas, and fairly bad character work. Being Seinen wouldn't have helped the series avoid that. The only thing that really could have helped is a really good editor, to help Kishi work his way through this difficult time he seems to be having.
Being Shounen isn't as limiting as people tend to think. Off the top of my head Death Note, Full Metal Alchemist, Claymore, and Gintama would all be examples of shounen series that tackle the things that the Naruto narrative runs away from.
So I think Naruto's problems are ones of writing, not of being stunted by it's genre.
Last edited by Jammin; June 09, 2012 at 09:38 AM.
Demographics, as Kaiten said, isn't the problem. There are seinens that can be shounens easily, but due to the target audience, aren't. If Kishi didn't focus on selling Naruto to the kids, I think the manga would be much better and much grittier. Of course, I'm assuming he's focusing on appealing to the kids and relying on his years-old fanbase that have grown up with Naruto.
As with many media, when they start targeting mainly kids, that's when the quality in my opinion goes down. Kishi was far more thought provoking in Part I than he is now. Naruto would be better if Kishi didn't look like he was targeting the manga towards the kids, allowing death and less cheesy stuff.
It's very much possible to kill off characters while targeting a young audience, Death Note, Full Metal Alchemist, Claymore, and Gintama (even Hunter X Hunter to a small degree) all targeted the same demographic Naruto does yet didn't suffer from the same problems. And I would argue Naruto didn't either until about 2 arcs ago.
Which is why I think the only likely result of making the story Seinen would be a gritter version with all the same problems (it might even make things worse). Just making something Seinen doesn't make it more mature or improve overall quality. To-Luv-Ru Darkness and Freezing are both Seinin titles and suffer horribly for it.
I just think the problems with Naruto don't have anything to do with the age of it's target audience and everything to do with, to be honest, a stretch of bad writing.
Last edited by Jammin; June 09, 2012 at 02:01 PM.
How young an audience were those manga targeting, though? Naruto looks like it's also going after a much younger audience. Even One Piece stepped its game up and started focusing on adults as well, with the whole racist theme and deaths of WB and Ace. The most impactful death so far has been Jiraiya's, and the closest we've come to mindfuckery is Anko being captured alive and close to death. Feels like Kishi's watering it down for much younger demographics. The things we've seen in Part I wasn't really kid-friendly compared to now.
I'm not talkin about making Naruto seinen though, just aim it more towards teenagers or older people. The war had potential and shown deaths of many characters that Naruto knew to make him grow up. Though it could be a stretch of bad writing, but that's hard to believe since even then, there was no death or mature themes.
During the Pain Invasion of Konoha Kishi showed us just how far he could go if he wanted. Kakashi and Shizune were killed. Numerous characters were critically wounded, Hinata in spectacular fashion. He undercut all that later on with Rinnegan silliness, but all that did still happen. He also set up Hidan to kill Asuma in fairly brutal fashion and let Shikamaru, Ino, and Chouji watch him die.
Also, like you mentioned, there was the whole death of Jiriaya thing and it's personal fallout for Naruto. It was all well handled.
My point in all that is that Kishmoto has shown very recently that he can do mature serious things. Meaning the problem isn't as broad as all of part 2. It's specific to these last 2 arcs. Kishimomto wouldn't downgrade his target age from 10-16 to 6-10 just for his final war arc would he?
Last edited by Jammin; June 10, 2012 at 04:29 PM.
Naruto is no where near as mature as FMA, Death Note and Claymore. Just from a gore standpoint it isn't even that close in Part 2 anymore where the enemies that are dying are almost all monster or like or not even human. The whole Edo Tensei device allowed Kishi to be more violent without the gore.
Also, while Naruto sure does have heavy themes, they aren't addressed in the same way as other manga's.
So while they may have the same target age demographic, the maturity level of the auidence despite their age isn't as high for Naruto as it is for the other manga's mentioned I would think.
I apologize for the thread necro but I was hoping to get more discussion out of this thread.
For me, I think this manga would've developed a lot further had it been introduced as a Seinen. For summary:
- Improved character depth (Kishi had a backlog of history to share so this would be an incredible boon for just about anyone involved)
- The entire story line wouldn't be anchored down by the idea of friendship
- Room to delve into more sensitive content like espionage and inter-country politics (e.g. Feudal lords brought back in the mix along with monetary and questionable exchanges)
- Emphasis on deception and subtle tactics rather than DBZ-esque power
- Naruto would've taken a much more interesting route to becoming a Hokage
Most of my complaints are centered around the lore treatment of the rookies. I can literally taste the incredible tension built up through the Chuunin Exam arc today as I did almost a decade ago when I picked up the series. They could've made their mark in the story in an arbitrary number of ways, rather than being normalized as combatants (e.g. Rock Lee post injury).
Lastly, as the years have gone by, the more I wish that Sasuke was a female and Sakura being someone else entirely. And I think the Seinen version of Kakashi and post time skip Naruto would be off-the-fucking-grid badass.
A brilliant example for this would be number 2. "Anchored down"? Friendship and companionship in the human experience is a pretty deep philosophical concept. Look at your sig, for instance. It's almost universally agreed on by great thinkers that the best aspect of life is sharing it with others. So why is it that you feel that this concept anchors down the story?
Because it's handled badly. Not because it's not a mature concept. That's why I don't think it being a seinen would make it any better in the regards that you're mentiong, because... well, because it already has pretty deep mature concepts. It just handles a lot of them badly, and I don't think that's related to it being shonen. It did very well handling deep concepts in the past, back in the days of the Land of the Waves and whatever, right? He just chose to write a different kind of manga now, I guess.
For the record, I really don't think seinens are inherently more deep than shonens. In fact, I think a lot of the values in shonen (such as friendship, working hard, caring about what actually matters in life like your dreams) are a lot more applicable to real life and philosophically important than what seinen is categorized by. That is, if you're stereotyping shonen as friends+ambitions+dreams, then you should probably stereotype seinen as the-world-is-shit-and-everything-is-shit-and-dark-and-you-are-going-to-die-brutally-and-it-wont-matter.
It seems to me most great thinkers would argue the shonen values are more valuable, don't you think?
So yeah, I don't think the concepts are failing here, and even if they were I don't think they'd improve by making it a seinen. I just think it's bad writing, that's it, nothing more and nothing else. Saying seinen will change it is... well, it might be true, but it feels like excusing the story for being bad "just because it's shonen." We have been shown that shonen can handle mature concepts well, they just haven't been doing their job right.
Well, I might just be oversimplifying seinens, but I'd love it if you could redirect me to some genuinely deep ones.
First, the homunculi are not deep, their actions are driven by the vice or sin that they anthropomorphicically represent. Greeds actions are dictated by his greed and desire not to share power (all of his reservations only come from his host). Envy is envious of humans, and thus wistful and somewhat bitter, gluttony is obvious, as is sloth, pride etc...
Father isn't very complex either, he needed the souls and thus he set up a situation where he could obtain them, his goal? Godhood, a pretty common final villain trope.
It does delve into some cool stuff in regard to the morality of Ed and Als quests for identity and body, and about the value of obtaining something if you have to lose your humanity to do it, in contrast to father, who resents his, but it isn't very far removed from shounenesque qualities itself.
The Uchiha massacre is no more or less shallow than the Ishvalan conflict, granted, FMA does a better job confronting the racist ideations imparted by leadership to justify genocide better, thus exploring one aspect of it wheras Naruto explores whether an action was right even if it is seen as neccesary at the time by otherwise (somewhat) just and legitimate leadership. It turned out afterall, that it wasn't the Uchiha that summoned the Kyuubi collectively, and that the proposed coup was largely in response to the isolation and marginalization of the Uchiha in Konoha's society, which was unwarranted and motivated by fear and suspicion.
It used, at least to do a good job of exploring the concept of mercenary life, the constant killing and assasinations are justified as just being part of the job, otherwise good people toss aside moral reservations so easily just because they are told to by authority, including children, who are trained killers.
The things that ninja do on missions just because a piece of paper and their leadership tells them to isn't really that different than the upper levels of government being in on the Ishvalan genocide either, they did it because that was what they were ordered to do.
Sure the leadership of Konoha didn't seem to "enjoy" it as much as some members of government did in FMA, but Konoha, here, is collectively the good guys, both manga treat their protagonists as somewhat good and pure people. Sadistic upper leadership is the enemy in FMA, it isn't really different than the unjust and terrible actions of the bloody mist, or the suna/kumo villages.
If you want really deep and more morally ambiguous literature I suggest a different medium, Western Graphic Novels perhaps by Vertigo or Independents? Or of course real literature, certainly not teenage oriented manga, of which both Full Metal Alchemist and Naruto are.
And there is nothing wrong with that, I enjoy both of them for what they are, entertaining reads with cool art, and "neat" concepts, but I don't, and you shouldn't really act like either of the two being compared are actually all that profound.