It would be no exaggeration to say that Naruto has been a huge influence on me for most of my life. In 2005 (ouch, eleven years ago) it aired on Toonami, the anime segment that played nightly on Cartoon Network. I got into it because I thought ninjas were really cool. Granted I still do, which goes to show some things never change.
So Naruto is what got me into anime and manga in the first place. The funniest thing about that is that I still haven’t finished it. I experienced it through pretty much every medium. I watched the dubbed version first, then got into the fighting game(s) on the GameCube and later the Wii, read the manga, watched some of the subbed, and here we are now. I used to read as the translations would release online, but I started collecting the actual books early on, and I enjoyed them a lot more that way. So I stopped reading them unless I had the manga in my hands. Long story short I’m missing the last five books. I could order them all online right now if I wanted to, but for some reason I want to wait for the chance to buy them in person. Psychologically speaking, I could very easily just be prolonging it, because I’ve literally grown up with this story. I’m not going to pretend I’m ecstatic about ending it.
In other news, on to the actual review, it’s funny that I don’t recommend it to people. Naruto has literally more than seven hundred chapters, and that is a time sink that nobody wants to jump into. I know I wouldn’t want to jump into it if I wasn’t already invested. What’s worse is that the first few hundred (the first part of the series) isn’t even that great. It’s alright, but it’s nothing special. And if you’re watching the dubbed version, It could literally be bad. Believe it. I don’t recommend Naruto to people because the second part, Shipudden, is what’s good, and it takes so long to get to that point that it is dozens of hours (over a hundred if you’re watching the anime) of perseverance through the first part. For an adult getting through life, it’s imply not worth it. I’m not going to sugar coat it. Nothing is worth that kind of time investment unless its good from the start.
So as much as it kills me to say this, you’re better off elsewhere. It may be my favorite thing ever, but my circumstance isn’t like the average person who would go and experience it themselves. Yes, it’s got crazy awesome action. Yes, it’s got my favorite thing ever (normal Joes eventually racking up their super powers until they reach godhood). Yes, it’s even got character development. But other shows have that, too, and some even accomplish them better (and in the very least in a much shorter span of time). While I’ll talk about my favorite animes another day, I’d say Naruto isn’t worth your time unless you have all of it.