The immensely popular manga and anime series Naruto receives a lot of love around the internet. Go to any manga reader site or anime viewing site and it will most likely be on the top of the most viewed lists. However, my opinion on the series differs from the general consensus: Naruto just isn’t that good of a series. I’m almost caught up to where the series is at now. About halfway through the series I stopped reading for enjoyment and more so because I was bored and just wanted to see how the series would end (half a million chapters later, it is still chugging along). Here are some reasons why I dislike Naruto (Beware of Spoilers):
- Weak Villains — One of the great things about Part 1 of Naruto were the villains. I really enjoyed Orochimaru (even though his motivation – immortality – was fairly unoriginal), but he was short-lived. Part 1 set up the Akatsuki to be the main villains in Part 2. However, they weren’t as frightening or as strong as audiences were led to believe. They went up against Leaf ninja and they all lost, which made for uninteresting fights. Akatsuki members were taken out rather easily, with the only casualty for the Leaf being Asuma. This leads me to my next point.
- Plot Armor — Even though the Akatsuki are feared and are made up of supposedly very strong ninjas, they never seem to take out any good guys! Throughout the series, there were four main deaths for the Leaf: The Third Hokage (had one foot in the grave anyways), Asuma (supporting character that didn’t matter much), Jiraiya (one of the best fights from Naruto, I’ll give ya that), and Neji. Neji’s death was emotional, yes, but it was the only death of a ninja who actually mattered in a WAR FULL OF NINJAS. Kishimoto didn’t have the balls to kill off anybody of note throughout the Invasion of Pain arc or the Shinobi World War arc except for Neji. Hell, when Hinata threw herself at Pain I thought for sure that she was dead, but nope, Naruto’s vague love interest needed to stay alive. With the way popular characters like Gaara and Kakashi got revived, it reminded me of Dragon Ball a little — there was no tension during fights because you knew the hero would prevail without any losses.
- Overreliance on Flashbacks — I can’t think of another anime that needs so many flashbacks to develop characters. Using flashbacks can sometimes give characters a lot of depth and backstory (think of Itachi or the Kakashi chapters between Part 1 & 2), but when it is used to develop every character it just becomes lazy, pointless, and repetitive. How many times do we need to be shown that Naruto and Gaara were shunned as kids? Does Guy and Lee’s relationship really need flashbacks? I mean, do we really need to know about Choji’s earring?! If Kishimoto had better writing skills he would be able to develop characters without the use of so many flashbacks.
- The Series is Way Too Long — I’m okay with long stories, and I very much enjoy them. However, my enjoyment of them lowers if I feel like they drag on too long. For example, I love Inuyasha, but it could’ve been trimmed down a few volumes. Dragon Ball should have ended after the Cell arc. The thing about Naruto is that it has been going on way too long now and needs to end. There have been plenty of plot lines that have been dragged out too long (the Sasuke Retrieval arc, for example), and pointless story lines (almost all of Part 1).
- Fucking Naruto — Naruto is one of the most uninteresting, boring, and annoying protagonists I have ever seen in any story. He shares the dead parents quality that just about every protagonist has (seriously, it’s like a requirement for being a protagonist), and the whole “I want to be the best!” mentality that, once again, just about every other protagonist has. Also, I feel like Naruto is only powerful because the plot calls for it. Why can he use the Rasengan? Because he’s Naruto. Why can he use the Rasenshuriken (something the fourth couldn’t master — combining his Chakra type with the Rasengan)? Because he’s Naruto. How can he defeat Pain? Because he’s Naruto. But Naruto’s biggest strength is talking. He was able to completely change Nagato just by talking with him. He was able to turn Neji from jackass to likable person just by speaking with him. And, oh my, don’t even get me started on that whole “It’s my ninja way!” annoying shit. Naruto strives to be the Hokage from the beginning of the series, making it so that you can predict the series will end with him in charge. The whole, “Hokage is my dream,” speech gets said so often that it has become repetitive and predictable now. Basically, pick any other Naruto character and they are probably more interesting than the protagonist. (Just imagine a series set in the Naruto universe centering around Kakashi!)
There are other nitpicky things I dislike about Naruto, but these are the main reasons. Thanks for the reading and leave your thoughts in the comment section.