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He's the Japanese version of Napoleon Dynamite.
I do agree though, Kishi's given Naruto and Sasuke too much screen time. He should focus more on Konoha 11, majority of them never got to grow or shine. The only ones we've seen that had some kind of change or attention were Neji, Shikamaru, Chouji, and Sakura (who regressed). There's Ino, Hinata, Tenten, Rock Lee, and many others left.
Though not sure about Rock Lee.
I think that generally Kishimoto's plotting is strong and when he wants to be is a master of double-speak and misdirection. As a world builder, he's phenomenal. But I think he goes a little too broad with the themes and emotional beats sometime.
Although Naruto's the main character, Kishi also established the importance of other characters in Part II. Whereas in most shounen the characters were filler fights before the boss fights, the Konoha 9 were actually important, as well as to Naruto. They should be developed as well, as they along with Naruto will take charge of the world and lead it as well as the next generation. Most action shounens don't really have kids fighting, it's usually adults. I think DBZ fucked up majorly by keeping Goku as the main protagonist instead of letting Gohan hold the torch.
Right now Naruto has less screen time than every other main character in all successfull ( and not ) shounen mangas, I fail to remember a manga that gives so little screen time to the main character ( if we count the chapters Naruto was not displayed/ had 1 or 2 panels, I have no doubt it would be around 50-60 chaps ), hell give him even less screentime and Kishi can just change the name of the manga.
I too would like more screentime for the rookies, but Kishi failed to pass the torch with them, only Naruto, Sasuke and Gaara are realistically on their way to surpass the previous generation.
Story wise right now they are almost irrilevant
And while I would never accuse you of this, many people would hate on this small occurrence because they hate Sasuke, when again, in the grand scheme of things him summoning a hawk means nothing.
My problems occur with things like Nagato turning good and reviving everyone he just killed after a short speech by Naruto. Or Kabuto using Edo Tensei the way he did and reviving people who have been dead for 70 fucking years. This list goes on from things like Naruto and Sasuke's growth spurts in terms of power and ability, to stupid shit like Naruto fainting.
Half of these aren't even believable even within the realms of a manga that has demons and ninjas and shit. The fact that a psychotic killer with a messiah complex would suddenly pull a 180 thanks to a 16 year old's words isn't plausible in any universe.
And let's not even get started on the fact that Kishi won't kill anyone anymore, or the fact that he's simply forgotten about nearly all of his awesome characters from part 1.
why bother reading the manga if you got so much to complain about and not happy with how kishimoto writes HIS manga
An unfortunate side effect for Shounen manga for the most part in my experience is that their main protagonists must be simple, easily likable, and must be relate-able to the widest fan base possible. The downside to this is that the characters tend to be rather one dimensional and simple.
Look at Naruto. He's the funny, happy go lucky idiot underdog. And what happened to him? He grew up, is still an idiot, but is now probably the strongest ninja in the manga. His story has revolved around his rivalry and friendship with Sasuke and literally nothing more. Kishi has not let his star character grow intellectually much, nor emotionally either.
I ask you all, in 600 chapters, has Naruto changed all that much aside from his height and skill set? Sure he's had moments of growth, yet those moments haven't translated to his overall character much. If i'm way off here, please let me know.
---------- Post added at 01:54 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:50 AM ----------
That aside, Naruto has given me some of my favorite moments in comics/manga. Jiraiya's death to me is a death that is so resonating it's unreal. His story, his life, all summoned up and was worth while because of his death. It was poetic, masterful.
The Immortals Arc and Kakashi being the fucking badass I knew he could be coupled with Shikamaru making leaps and bounds and taking on Hidan alone was fucking epic.
The Wave Arc which was the whole reason I haven't given up on this manga for 7 or so years, and is essentially the thing that got me reading manga and not just American comics.
I hold on to these moments and hope Kishi can pull his from ass for recapture some of that magic again that gave me chills. THAT"S why I still read.
And its all true, but it is how Shounen is:
did Ichigo grew that much? Hell did Luffy grew all that much? Did Goku grew at all?
The conventional shounen hero must have:
-same powers throughout the series, with a lot of support abilities
-same ideals since day one
Naruto didn't grew that much, true, hell part 1 Naruto is >>> part 2 Naruto in my opinion, while its true that he experienced a lot of things ( Jiraiya's death and everything connected to it ) not much really changed.
We can say that now he wants to be Hokage for better reasons than "being aknowledged" since he's a national hero, and after Itachi smacked some sense into him though
Its hard to accept but Delbi is right. Most Shounen heros are extremely one dimensional.
I always had hopes that Naruto would grow up after the Pein invasion. It looked promising with his whole understanding of peace and pain. But he reverted to being the same old goof with the same techniques and same idealism.
Sasuke is not any different though, his story is more interesting true, but he is still as one dimensional as Naruto is and both suffer from emotional stuntness. But like you said, he does have some very interesting dialogue, moments and an overall feel to him.
I guess, if we do have a part 3 then we can hope that Naruto matures (though i see absolutely no point in a part 3 anymore) and starts acting like one who should be considered a leader. Though the chances are slim and we know that even if he was a goof of a hokage, he would still be accepted by the majority of the Ninja world and the fanbase :/ which IMO is sad.
Kishi holds Naruto back because he doesn't want to lose his readership. Naruto still being an idiot and a dreamer thinks "World Peace" and ending the cycle of hatred is possible, when in reality, it certainly isn't. Of course this is Kishi trying to prove a point, which is fine and dandy, but his main character suffers because of it.
IMO, the Shikamaru x Naruto friendship was always fascinating for me. Shikamaru I think aside from everyone on Team 7 is Naruto's closest friend. He taught Naruto that he had to grow up and take ownership, and become a leader, but that leader we want Naruto to be never really evolved. Sure he taught Kono, but where is his leadership? Changing the Kages minds, and making all these older people believe in him is great and all, but its terribly unrealistic.
People follow Naruto not because they think he's intelligent or that he's a good leader, but because they believe he'll always win, and he just has a magnetic personality. That to me is a problem, because he's always been like, and thus his character hasn't grown. I would have liked nothing more than for him to have fallen against Pain, and then had to be rescued only for him to mature and become stronger after. To lose Hinata, Shizune, Kakashi, and Tsuande would have forced him to grow up take command of his village essentially. But again, this is Kishi's failings.
As for Sasuke, I find him terribly interesting despite his irrational behavior which I chalk up to mental stress and trauma. Say what you will about Sasuke, but he gets much less credit than he deserves. He's essentially taken on the world alone, and while he's only survived in large part to luck, he's stuck to his guns and is still moving foward, whereas Naruto is simply stuck like a stick in the mud.
Last edited by Delbi; August 03, 2012 at 01:56 PM.
I suppose thats what makes Sasuke interesting, his destiny is not exactly bound to one path, where Narutos is always to be a savior. It would have been interesting to see Naruto succumb to the Kyuubis hatred, fail against Pein (as you said), leave the village to learn more and be completely absent in this war only to find out about it later on. It would, IMO give him a dynamic story and personality.
Though i do not think the deaths of Tsunade and co. would have been needed for Naruto to grow, it would have been interesting to see what Pein would have done with Naruto. I mean, i sort of wanted Pein to capture him, but at the same time i wanted Nagato to digest his words but still take him and have Naruto escape his grasp while on his way to the hideout - insitgating a new adventure for Naruto.
We might get something in Part 3 if it does ever happen, but to me there is no other direction i see this manga going. The whole war completely killed any and all suspense i had. I wanted the other kages and such to be revealed in a different manner, know theyre stories and not just have them fodder to the "new generation".
Personally I think having Tsuande, Shizune, and Kakashi die would have allowed for the Konoha 11 to grow. There are too many characters that dwarf each others growth, and using death as a plot device helps you. Just look at Jiraiya, he died, and Naruto instantly grew in like 20 chapters. Kakashi is the essentially Konoha's field general, so if he died boom, who steps up? Tsuande and Shizune dead? Hello Sakura growth.
Hinata dies? Holy shit, Naruto goes off the deep end and grows a pair. Neji and Hinata's teammates also grow. Even Hanabi, who is supposed to be so strong, yet we haven't seen her since Part 1.
As fior there being a Part 3, if there is, the villages themselves have to be destroyed. Madara or Tobi must be the new big bad. Naruto and company must be decimated to a small resistance force. People need to die. Sasuke and Orochimaru are then this splinter faction with their own motives. There is a possibility for it to happen, and for this manga to really stretch but Kishi would have to do pull a Game of Thrones and actually kill people and make the plot progress in a way that made sense.
Sasuke is far more dynamic than Naruto. Look at Part I. At first, he was a loner who cared about no one. Then after working with Naruto and Sakura, he slowly changed to caring about them and wanting to protect them to the point that he was willing to die to protect them. After encountering Orochimaru, Sasuke became more oriented towards revenge again and resentful towards Naruto's growth, leading him to abandon the village. Part II, Sasuke was unwilling to kill innocent people regardless of what they were meant for. After encountering Tobi, he sought to kill Konoha, but we saw that he cared somewhat about his teammates, both old and new, when he saved Karin. Then Sasuke became a murderer after Zetsu betrayed them, and when he was face-to-face with Danzou. And now, Sasuke is unsure and wants the truth.
Naruto however, has had the same character for the most part, with some changed ideals. At first, he wanted to become a hokage to earn respect of the villagers (Sakura and Hinata's recollection of Naruto made his fight with Kiba all the more epic in my opinion) and then he wanted to be a hokage to protect the people he cared about. He didn't care about peace, but now he does. However, Naruto's still a goofy idiot outside of fights. The only thing that has changed is that Naruto has thrown strategy out the window for the most part. I started reading this manga because of Naruto, and in my opinion, Kishi messed him up after the timeskip.
Naruto growing and maturing shouldn't have alienated readers or hurt the series. I dunno why Kishi feared that, if he did. If anything, Naruto would look more dynamic. Look at his fight with Nagato, he was brilliant. He was serious, smart, and pretty epic. Even when he went into Kyuubi Mode, he was dealing with a serious problem that was realistic (apart from peace issue), especially with Hinata's supposed death. Then Kishi messed up by making Naruto faint and making him forget Nagato could absorb chakra.
Unlike with most shounen action heroes, Naruto's growth is plausible here. Dragon Ball series is centered around fighting, Goku doesn't really need to grow since everythign is black and white. Naruto has had more grey areas, like in the Land of Waves arc and Pain Invasion arc. Hell, we even found out Konoha isn't the shining example of good. While Naruto might remain socially stupid, he still can grow into someone who realizes that killing must be necessary or something.
Naruto fighting to prove himself was the best Naruto, in my opinion. Dude never gave up, had an amazing willpower, and came up with strategies that made people rethink their negative opinions of him.
Sasuke's growth has been more like a ping pong match...one day going in this direction, other day going to the other. Naruto on the other hand was opposite to him just like in almost every other regard. His development has been more stable and continuous. About him remaining a goofball, i don't think it hurts him at all. What hurts is him not getting exposed to an new 'environment'/situation...so that we could've seen the other aspects of his character more often. Kinda like jiraya, he didn't have much chance to be goofy all day , right? Kishimoto should've thrust naruto in more serious positions more often.