Originally Posted by EbonySeraphim
I haven't been too active on these boards recently, perhaps because I am being less and less of a fan of this series because of the direction its going. This topic is mostly about the character Naruto, but I do have some issues with the quality of the anime. This will be a very long post, so grab a snack if you’re gonna read it. *After Finishing*: I wrote this post under MS word and it was about 7.3 pages. Using the word count, I know this “essay” will have to stretch along 3 posts so bear with me. EDIT: Well, it seems the lifted they 10k character limit for posts on this forum. Yay!
First of all, Naruto’s background and character concept really isn’t that new to me. He’s a kid with no parents, no friends in his past and that has given him some pains in the past. Further more he has been somewhat of an outcast because of the fact that Kyuubi is sealed inside of him and Kyuubi was the cause of many shinobi in Konoha. Naruto is also starts out as a dropout(really just a talentless, and ability-less) in school. He screws around in class and can’t do some of the basic ninjitsu and sucks at almost everything.
Where’s the storyline gonna go? It was obvious from the beginning that this wasn’t a character that really sucked, and was probably going to be on the path to be the strongest later. Anyone who has watched a few semi-action or full action anime knows that the main character is almost always the strongest, or at least has the most potential. Despite being predictable I watch them to see the action, and other plot developments, and perhaps they may even reveal the main character’s strength in interesting ways. This is where Naruto fails horribly in my opinion.
Note: I initially had the next paragraph towards the end but moved it up in the interest of getting to my point sooner, and then elaborating on it. It might make the flow of this post seem a bit broken though.
Perhaps the biggest reason why Naruto annoys me is his drive to become stronger. He says he is gonna be a Hokage and is going to work really hard at it, but what work have we seen him put in thus far? He screwed around in school all the freggin time, and only trains when teachers have a new jutsu to teach him formally. What a lamer. He should really be trying to improve the jutsu he already knows because he almost never uses them correctly (the few he does), or he could be practicing general ninja arts like throwing weapons, taijutsu, and speed – traditional training like what Rock Lee does. Naruto’s shallow pursuit for power is to take the quickest way there through “uber 1337 jutsu” that he really shouldn’t be learning to become truly strong. If he can never use those jutsu properly, then he probably can fight people on his level with it, and is even further disadvantaged when using it against stronger people who exploit it in some way. You can also tell his impatience during the beginning of his trip with Jiraiya to get Tsunade when Naruto wanted him to hurry up and teach him and ultra-jutsu. In my opinion, Jiraiya teaching Naruto Rasengan was a mistake. He should still force Naruto to become better overall. Gamabunta summon was for Naruto’s protection – Rasengan was not. What sickens me about this is that they anime beefs up Naruto as if he really is strong, and really does work hard when clearly he puts average effort at the very best into what he does, has no talent, and still wins. At the same time, hard workers like Rock Lee lose, geniuses (and hard working too if you ask me) like Neji, and monsters like Gaara lose to him – All while Naruto is neither a genius nor hard worker. He’s just a “boy with a dream” with a “spirit that never dies.” That’s a very bad message to send to younger audiences as there are only two types of people that are successful in this world (maybe three or four). There are those that are geniuses, and those that word hard. One or the other will determine your success in life more than likely. It is also SLIGHTLY possible that luck will do it. The last possibility is inheriting success (wealth and status). As I said before, Naruto is not hard working and not a genius. He is possibly lucky, and perhaps you could call him an inheritor of success (Kyuubi). But luck and inheritance isn’t something people can strive to be/have. It just doesn’t work because luck is extremely rare, and inheritance is out of anyone’s control. Then who is Naruto inspiration for? Those with dreams with no talent to back it up, and not willing to put the real effort to work hard for it? No sympathies from me from that group. I don’t think there is anyone in the world that would support someone in such a group so when they is Naruto even a liked character?
Next part is my wave of complaints against things that happen to “demonstrate” the character Naruto’s hard work and path to being stronger. The next…many paragraphs are just me ranting and giving examples. Skip to the next part to save time if you want.
In the first episode, Naruto follows the advice of a corrupted Chuunin, and steals a forbidden scroll in the village to learn some jutsu and learns the holy Kage Bunshin no utsu in a few hours. First of all, how can this talentless boy learn a jutsu more advanced than the simple stuff he’s supposed to be doing in school in a few hours? If he really is that talented, then it shows how much of a dropout he is in school being that he doesn’t put any effort at all into it. Further more in the first episode Naruto beats a Chuunin, as much of a crappy Chuunin he may have been, Naruto wasn’t even a genin at this point, and was at the lowest end of the academy. Perhaps the fight was anime balanced, and I let it slide in my mind for the first episode.
As Naruto makes it on the same team as Sakura and Sasuke, they play the bell game with Kakashi, further showing how much is he a dropout. You see him go after Kakashi and make every bad possible decision. It’s Naruto’s fault again when Sasuke and Sakura give him food, and in doing so they all should have failed. Failure once because Naruto sucks, and twice because Naruto couldn’t be strong-willed enough to not let his teammates fail and beg for food. To redeem his character, we have the weak notion of “teamwork” presented here. It’s all good that they are trying to preach about something good, but they broke a rule, during a test. To say “they were supposed to break it” was a retarded lesson/thing to teach. Obviously they weren’t allowed to break the rules under the 1st Chuunin Exam, when those who broke the rules failed automatically. In my opinion, the first “fix” (teamwork) was the lame thing that was put there to take the focus of Naruto’s inherent crappiness.
Move to example, we look at the Water Country arc when Sasuke and Naruto fight Haku. In the beginning of this arc, when the 2 Chuunins attacked, Naruto’s freeze up showed his crappieness again. At this point though, I wasn’t bothered because it was allowing more room for improvement. The story did a decent job in showing Naruto getting stronger later though, as he got pretty decent chakra control and matched Sasuke in this area. In doing so they completely trashed Sakura’s usefulness though. Anyways, move to the demonic mirror right. So Naruto was supposed to be better right? NOT. The dumbass jumps in the mirror and almost got his teammate killed. Good job with the teamwork there. Sasuke would have had a lot more time to live without having to defend Naruto and stood more of a chance at winning the fight – through normal means and ability. So after Sasuke is creamed, and Naruto gets up, we get presented with this ever-so-present theme of the main character’s wildcard. Some battle rage mode that makes him go crazy and kick everyone’s ass – that is Kyuubi in this case. Obviously Naruto wins the fight easily as this element in any anime is pretty much unbeatable/undefeated. The issue here is that Naruto isn’t in control of it when it happens and he can’t draw upon that strength at will. I get to that more later though. Perhaps this was still too early for Naruto to show major applicable improvement being that it was early in the anime and they had to have Naruto go crazy to win the fight. Next slide -
So water country is over, and we move to the chuunin exam – where the first part is a written test. Seems like no teamwork is allowed here – and this time it’s for real because anyone who tries to cheat fails. Really now? When are the rules supposed to be followed? Only when the anime makers see it benefiting Naruto? Perhaps. So, in this exam the conditions were not to cheat, and if anyone failed(got a zero) they could never take the chuunin exam ever again in addition to failing. Also, when the tenth question was presented, that question alone was the deciding factor. Obviously, Naruto is the weakest point on the team, and his lack of education and talent would actually put him in danger of getting a zero, and thus screwing over Sasuke and Sakura forever. Naruto being so “determined” and strong-willed stuck through this exam and didn’t back down. That was EXTREMELY stupid of him being that he had NOTHING answered thus far and stood little chance of knowing the answer to the final question. Why would someone even put their teammates in such a position/risk when he didn’t know he was going to pass in the way he did? Of course they sugar-coated what Naruto did as courage that a chuunin should have courage when leading a team on a mission, but one still has to look at reality in situations and not do what’s dumb. The difference between a mission and the exam, is that the exam could be backed down from without penalty. Oh sure, you have to wait next year for the chuunin exam – whatever. Young people still have a lot of years left in them. Be smart with it, not irrational. Just a small step back – before they even started that part, Rock Lee owned Naruto like he was his bitch. Of course he did so to Sasuke too at the time. But at least he could somewhat keep up with what was going on and how he got owned.
Move to Forest of Death – Supposedly this is where Naruto was shining, and Sasuke was the scaredy cat. IMHO Sasuke did the right thing. He was good enough to know that Orochimaru(without knowing his true identity) was way over his/their level and that he would die fighting someone like that. The only reason he didn’t(and the rest of the team) die is because Orochiimaru didn’t want to do that – of course Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke don’t know this. For all they know, Orochimaru was trying to kill them to take the scroll away. As before, this is sugarcoated with some notion of courage and facing death when you need to. Once again – if it’s a life or death situation, you should not fight if you don’t stand a chance unless you can’t back down. Team 7 could have backed down, but Naruto forced the team to fight a battle that he knew no way of winning. Of course, Naruto shone a bit here due to his anime character “wildcard” that would never let him completely lose(die). Sasuke was completely right when he said “nothing changed” when Naruto shows up. I guess this is a slight improvement over Naruto jumping in the Demonic Ice Mirrors from Haku where he made the situation worse by showing up.
Next moment of improvement for Naruto was towards the end of the Forest of Death and he fought the 3 clone/gas/ink or whatever dudes. Supposedly he thought of a brilliant plan and allowed his team to rest, but it was far from a calculated thing. Naruto does have crazy chakra capacity, but he wasn’t conscious of what his limits were and just did whatever. I guess I’ll let Naruto have this moment though. He at least did demonstrate that he has a monster chakra capacity and stamina. No skill improvement though – none at all.
Fight with Kiba – skill wise, Kiba > Naruto. The whole match, you see Naruto get his ass kicked by Kiba. Naruto doesn’t even come close in skill to touching Kiba except with stupid attacks don’t that mean anything (biting). This fight really should have been Naruto’s loss, but they make him magically get from every attack Kiba throws at him, even his major ones. It’s pretty clear that Kiba is over his level as Naruto doesn’t come close to having a real defense against Kiba’s attacks, and even all of the observers except – *gasp* - the people that know the real Naruto. So yeah, Naruto delivers one grand combo, and Kiba is out cold after taking no real damage before then. That was not a convincing or satisfying victory. Watching fights like that are so horribly “anime balanced” that it disgusts me to watch it.
After this exam portion, we meet a temporary mentor for Naruto (Jiraiya). Under his teaching, Naruto learns how to draw upon Kyuubi’s chakra and learns the frog summoning jutsu(s?). This was a normal/real mark of Naruto getting better. You know, the step that makes the character’s fights from there on out more serious? Similar to Kenshin learning his ougi and stepping up to the highest level in strength? Yeah, it was ssupposed to be like that. So in Naruto’s next fight with Neji we get to see him demonstrate that ability.
First of all, as the fight with Kiba, we still see that Naruto sucks when it gets down to a normal fight and is as much of a loser everyone says he is. He doesn’t come close to putting a scratch on Neji. Even at the moment when it seemed he was close because he used his wits a bit for once, he was still a world away in ability as Neji still dodged the attack. Perhaps this fight showed slight improvement as Naruto did manage to dodge a rather serious attack from Neji aimed at his tenketsu. But still, the different was greatly shown, as Naruto had nothing to do in the face of kaiten. And he showed the lack of ability to think his way out the situation such as using long range attacks continuously – even though Naruto probably isn’t skilled enough force Neji to use kaiten against his long range attacks. Then we see Naruto get nailed by Hakke Rokujuuyonshou (Divination Circle - 64 hands). Not only did Naruto not come close to defending it, but he lacked the ability to realize the presence of the Divination Circle and know to try to get out of it. It is invisible, but the concept of a fighters range is universal – you gotta realize that in a certain range, you are venerable to certain attacks. If you can’t defend them, then stay out of it as much as possible. But of course, Naruto has to get up from every attack as any resilient main character would do. Then Naruto get’s his “final wind” and willingly draws upon Kyuubi’s chakra, which I thought was a good step in showing improvement from him. I wasn’t fully convinced of his victory though as they still only showed Naruto fighting equal to Neji’s level, and Neji was knocked out from only taking two hits – one was partially reflected by Kaiten, and the other was a normal uppercut from Naruto. That isn’t enough if you ask me to make him all beat up after what Naruto had been through. I still enjoyed the fight though as Naruto took this step up.
But then, a few episodes later, at the start of the invasion – Naruto is woken up Sakura. We see a ninja appear behind him, and for a moment he was a gonner as he was completely frozen AGAIN. Seriously, wtf just happened to the step up he had a few episodes earlier? Naruto’s ability just seemingly took a step up, and right after he shows his lack of ability in a real situation. Next fight is against Gaara turning demon:
So this fight I don’t really give too much credit towards Naruto. His Nisen Redan move was quite delicious, but was nothing more than a brute force move well placed against someone so large and unable to move. And the reason he wasn’t able to move, was pure luck in my opinion. It was quite impressive to see Naruto at least use a generally good tactic by attaching an explosive note to a kunai, but the effect was luck. Gamabunta summon did come at a rather desperate time, I would have been more satisfied if they animated/realized it better in the anime though. From here on out, Naruto is fighting a type of battle that is one only the main character in a series can take part in. From here on out, I wouldn’t really call it Naruto’s strength too much as Gamabunta was summoned and doing most of the fighting at this point. Though at the end, he did draw on some of Kyuubi’s chakra inside him to keep going. In the end, this fight wasn’t really a show of how much stronger Naruto is than the rest of his peers, but rather the result of a single jutsu he learned, and his wildcard in the end.
Next step we get Naruto when he was learning Rasengan from Jiraiya. This is another crazy high level jutsu that if Naruto uses against people on his level, they are pretty sure to not get up if they are hit by it. Naruto learning this jutsu, was not proof of his skill/improvement in my opinion. If you ask me, the reason why lower level ninjas like them don’t learn high level jutsu is because they probably won’t use it effectively and would end up wasting their chakra trying to do such. The chakra control Naruto exercised for this jutsu is unique to only it and is something anyone is physically able to do. Naruto’s training didn’t show much ability either has every step of the way he had to get help and figuring out what to do. On top of that he demonstrated a lack ff ability in doing the justu with one hand as he had to use two hands. Of course this was cleverly sugarcoated by Jiraiya calling him “clever” for doing so. I don’t know about other people, but I wouldn’t think someone was clever if they “figured” out how to do something with two hands that I showed them I could do with one.
Anyways, so Itachi comes to town and Naruto gets smocked yet again – supposedly calling Kyuubi’s chakra at will. Too bad it was stripped away by Kisame because Naruto is too slow at doing it. I guess this doesn’t count for much being that Kisame and Itachi are way over his level. If Kishimoto actually had Naruto inflict damage at this stage, then Naruto would have to have taken a huge step up in his fighting ability, which is clearly not shown.
Naruto vs Kabuto – Come on now. This whole fight was Naruto getting his ass kicked like every other fight. His opponent was way over his level and he shouldn’t have been able to hit anything. But of course we have Naruto’s dreams being attacked, such that he is pissed off to the utter point of desperation and always getting up from anything the enemy threw at him, we have Naruto pulling off a lucky Rasengan. I really wonder how Naruto gets up from everything that no one else does. Shizune was out like a light from one attack from Kabuto. Perhaps Kabuto was just taking Naruto too lightly and Shinuze he gave a much more serious attack. Either way, it gave Naruto an opportunity he wouldn’t have if his opponent was actually taking him seriously. Even despite this, the way Naruto connected his Rasengan wasn’t convincing at all for me. First of all, his left arm vs Kabuto’s right. Kabuto also being much older than he is and on a much higher level, he should have been able to throw someone like Naruto away using the same hand assuming Kabuto is really on Kakakshi’s level. Also, he still had a left hand completely free to do whatever he wanted defensively or offensively. In the end, Naruto still lost as Kabuto already had a defense planned, but in my opinion, the move shouldn’t have even connected.
Skipping all of the anime filler that occurred…cuz I didn’t watch a single episode of it….
We move to the current arc – chasing Sasuke. Naruto initially fights Sasuke on the roof of this hostipal supposedly to and even match. Why am I not convinced of this being a mark of Naruto’s level? Where was Sasuke’s sharingan? Where was his Lee taijutsu like speed? Excellent nerfs were placed on Sasuke to match him up with Naruto. In my opinion, even with Sasuke turned retarded – he is still stronger than Naruto by far. His choice to use Chidori against Rasengan – it shouldn’t have come down to that. Like what Kabuto did the first time, he could have evaded it and countered, especially if he has close to Lee’s speed, Naruto shouldn’t even come close to hitting him with that.
After the rescue team is assembled they quickly run into the fat earth dude. Here we see Naruto flex his absolutely unintelligent mind and not manage to not say anything at least SEMI useful. We also see him trying to use Rasengan with no logic reasoning on why/how it could possibly break open the prison. After they got out, while he and Kiba were going after the earth dude, again, Naruto just utterly lacks the ability to do any damage or use intelligence while attacking.
Back to analyzing:
That brings us to the current stage in the anime thus far. So far I’ve been trashing Naruto’s ability in battle both intellectually and physically. The couple of tricks he comes up with are lame and only are allowed to happen because he gets up from everything while no one else does. His physical ability only increases after he gets his ass kicked normally AND he is in complete desperation because of someone else dying or someone insulting him to the bone and telling him his dream will never come true. Unfortunately that leaves a big weakness for Naruto – those that just want to kick his ass for the sake of it. Perhaps this isn’t a complete weakness as if Naruto is slowly being life threatened, there can be enough time for Kyuubi to kick in, but if it all comes at once, its over.
What is Kishimoto trying to say with this series? At times it tries to be realistic, but then we have people like Naruto who have a “dream” and all of a sudden that is what’s right. The notion of strength they are trying to focus on is never giving up. Well, that’s all fine and dandy, but if you get killed by someone who would give up assuming they didn’t see a chance at winning, what does that mean? Not giving up just means you won’t give something away or throw it away. That does nothing to prevent someone taking something from you. Not giving up means nothing if the ability isn’t there.
Also, what annoys me with Naruto is his empty promises. “I wont lose to Neji!” -granted he didn’t lose, but he really should have. “I wont give up!” - even though he stood no chance of passing the test(written) through normal means. “Sasuke wont leave!” – oh wait…he did. “I’ll definitely bring Sasuke back” – can Naruto really stand up to the 4 nins when he showed nothing worthy against the weakest one(probably).? If you ask me currently his path doesn’t warrant the statement “I will become Hokage.” Rock Lee is in a much better position of accomplishing that task.
So you read my essay up until this point. Congratulations, I’m not done yet. So you ask “then why, Ebony, has Naruto never lost a real match up until this point?” Aside from his bullshit wins that had huge anime balancing involved or just didn’t make much sense, Naruto is always given the perfect circumstance for him to win the most important fights. Against Haku in the demonic ice mirrors – we see that when Sasuke isn’t in trouble Naruto up front, can’t to anything really effective. His strength then only came after he thought someone had died. It’s not even fathomable for Naruto to beat Haku if he were alone in there. In the Forest of Death – how else would Naruto have been effective if he wasn’t put just close enough on the brink of death for him to recover and Kyuubi’s chakra with him? Against Neji we have the same deal. Neji atttacked Naruto’s dream/philosophy for so long, while slowly beating the crap outta him. This was a perfect scenario for Naruto to get roused up enough to actually be effective in a fight. Against Gaara – what can I say? He was trying to kill Sakura. Man protects his woman. If this wasn’t the case, I’m sure nothing greater than the almighty Gamakichi would have come out of his summon and the fight would have been over when Shukaku came out. Similar deal happened with Kabuto calling him a loser during the Sannin fight. Naruto’s latest fight in the manga was probably the strongest Naruto’s ever been (with the exception of the out of control Kyuubified version in water country). How else could he fight to that level other than from his favorite rival telling him some things he finds absolutely wrong.
I could still perhaps be wrong about it somewhat and maybe what’s going to show Naruto’s increase in power is this 3 year jump that is coming in the manga. So far though, IMHO Naruto hasn’t gone anywhere significant since the beginning and anime that doesn’t progress is frankly wasting my time to watch. At the very least, the first 65 episodes were entertaining to watch, but since then there haven’t been any really spectacular fights to watch from the anime. The quality of the manga presentation remains the same and I’ll still keep reading it to see how the plot unfolds. Watching the anime has become a chore for me instead of a pleasure and has been for some time.
EDIT: Added a note at the top.
EDIT: Goodness I need to learn how to freggin type.
EDIT: OMGWTF I forgot the manga label...thankgoodness I haven't been banned yet.