Crash Pad (Publisher’s Thoughts):
Back in 2004, I had the privilege of being introduced to the incredibly expansive world of Naruto. At first, I didn’t want to acknowledge it as a serious anime; the characters were too kiddish, the mood initially started of fairly upbeat despite its premise but as I continued watch one episode after another (since 2004) I unknowingly became enthralled by the story and the myriad of different archetypal personalities so cleverly woven into the fabric of the insanely complicated anime/manga world. I began to feel that when I watched Naruto, I was entering a familiar realm where all of the genin, chunin, and Jonin became “my” family. To this very day I still claim Konoha as my hidden village. Let me explain:
The more I absorbed the story, the range of personalities introduced in every episode made it natural to find similar personality traits or qualities in friends and family. Who doesn’t know I bright, loud, rambunctious kid with a heart of gold? Who doesn’t have a friend or family member, that has confidence issues because of weight, but is really a big teddy bear? Who doesn’t know two girls who are dear friends but have had a friendly rivalry since childhood? Everybody knows that “one person” who just feels like they need to exercise / practice something feverishly and often, but this is what makes them an impressive figure at whatever they do. Who doesn’t know a pervy yet wise old man?
Each character in the show is so dynamic and the interactions between such a vast scale of variables made the social dynamics and character interactions engrossing. Overcoming challenges, showing commitment, loyalty, courage, respect of elders, a sense of a belonging to a family and communal growth are all prevalent themes in every episode and movie. So yes, I have a special Naruto name for most people I know based on similar traits of Naruto characters; for instance my nephew is Kakashi, My daughter is Sakura, my mother is Grandma Tsunade, and I am the Yondaime.
Watching my favorite characters grow from season to season was so exciting. To see how far Naruto had grown, matured, and learned was awe inspiring; he is now the big brother and the new loud, rambunctious, ambitious boy with a heart of Gold is Konohamaru. Sakura became a young Tsunade strong and beautiful (I was so proud), Choji is a confident butterfly warrior now (As seen in the current war). I really feel like I watched all of these kids grow up and I was there with them every time tragedy struck my village. I was standing in Konoha ready to die for my friends and family, when Orochimaru attacked, I actually dropped a few tears when Jaraiya, Saratobi, Asuma, died. I had spent years watching and associating Naruto characters with real people I knew that I would be rocked when they died in the season.
As a writer myself, I have to say I don’t believe I’ve ever seen any form of animated television maintain such a real “life-relatable” roller coaster ride over so many seasons; and it still continues. Your favorite characters will die, and you see the echo of that death and pain reverberate for many episodes and they are never forgotten. The creator of Naruto, Masashi Kishimoto has effectively created a detailed realm and story so relevant to real world ideas and in a way where suspension of disbelief was natural and instinctive.
How awesome was it to see all of the parents and elders of the village go out and do what they do well on behalf of the village when crisis arises? Like a little boy in wild excitement I would get chills when I saw tragedy strike and all of the parents came out in their varied awesomeness to fight for those they love; to me it was like getting to see my own parents ready to defend their families, it’s cool and scary at the same time. I remember feeling disgust from the blatant disrespect o
f raising Konoha’s grandfathers to aid in destroying the village they once lived to protect. When I saw the 1st and the 2nd Hokage appear from those boxes on the roof tops during Sarutobi’s final stand, I felt something close to fear.
Re-animation has really played a big part in the later seasons, and now it has been demonstrated as to why it is called a “Forbidden Jutsu”. Without having to explain the in-depth history of Kabuto or explaining the war, or even about why someone has been pretending to be this long lost legend; I’ll only give you a name and a video.
Re-animated – Madara Uchiha
Horrifically beautiful fighting style and power.
One particular aspect of Naruto I love is the way the writers interconnect, past, present, and future generations which I believe makes for immense creative genius. That level of intricacy in plotting multiple lives and family trees over many generations, only substantiate my claims as to just how iconic this IP and its creator truly is.
I highly recommend this series to anyone. There are many seasons and I personally feel like you are doing yourself a great injustice if you DO NOT watch ALL seasons starting from the original (Before Shippuden). Don’t get me wrong, it’ll take few months to years to watch them all but it will be well worth it. Your heart strings will be pulled, you will laugh, and feel pride as you watch your new friends grow into the next generation.
For information about the world and characters of Naruto Check out our friends at naruto.wikia.com
Videos Via Narutoget.com
Naruto Shippuden Episode 1 & 2 English Subbed
Shippuden Episodes English Dub
Special Thanks to crew over at Narutoget.com