Naruto News

Naruto is a franchise comprised of 19 movies, 4 anime series, 8 manga series
| |

There has been a lot of news coming out of the Naruto world ever since its finale was announced two or three months ago; a marketing ploy that has worked if only to keep the word ‘Naruto’ in the limelight.

With the manga finale behind us, there has been a lot of talk about the future of Naruto, a ton of rumors about what we might expect and a surprising amount of criticism about the series' continued run next year, most of which seems somewhat uninformed.

But before that:

+The Naruto Finale
There are a lot of things that could be said about the Naruto manga Finale, but satisfying isn’t one of them. Even considering the positive elements of chapters 600 and 700, the final moments of the series were ridiculously rushed, with so many plots brushed under the rug and numerous characters and villains either forgotten or relegated to one or two panels near the end.

Which makes you wonder, why the rush? What about Shonen Jump’s plans had them determined to end the manga series at a perfect 700 chapters?

Complain as one might about the length of the final arc, Naruto as a series would have been better served had the final moments of its run, even the final villain been assigned to a short, separate 15-20 chapter arc, bringing the series to a close in a slow steady manner.

Are we really supposed to believe that Kishimoto was so tired of drawing his manga that he made the irrational decision to end the long awaited Sasuke/Naruto clash in five chapters? No, it doesn’t make sense, or maybe I am giving the mangaka too much credit.

Whatever the case, it happened, nothing can change that. And while the rush cannot be forgiven, we can show appreciation for a kickass final battle, specifically the hand to hand elements.

Giant and flashy attacks are fine and all, but there is something so much more visceral about two shinobi beating the holly hell out of one another with their fists.

There is every chance that, no matter how these events played out in the manga, the anime is going to make these final chapters the best we have seen in Shippuden.

RATING: 5/10, a massive Naruto fan I might be, but I wanted so much more out of this finale than Kishimoto actually gave us. That being said, there is a rationale to the way that final fight played out.

Considering the fact that the Fourth Great Ninja war Played out over a period of four days, and taking into account the enemies they have encountered in that time, could we really have expected the fight between these two young shinobi to last any longer?

More importantly one has to appreciate the poignant dialogue presented in the exchange between Naruto and Sasuke, Kishimoto using very few words to say so much.

+The Future
It’s happening, we are getting more Naruto. And you are either going to rejoice at the idea or curse.

Either reaction makes sense. If you loved the original series, then the Bolt Story cannot come fast enough.

If Naruto irritated you to the core, then you cannot understand how anyone could waste so much time, money and effort on another 100 or so chapters or even episodes of the series. Otaku are divisive beings with diverse opinions. And to an extent it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks.

Rather than wondering what the fandom (and haters) think, time would be better spent trying to understand the logic behind carving out a few more years of Naruto. A better question would be this:

-Does Naruto Need/Deserve a Third Series?
The number of people all too ready to jump down Kishimoto’s throat at the mere idea of a third Naruto series is staggering, many of them choosing to hate on the manga before they even have the chance to read it.

Who cares if Kishimoto has spent the last 15 years writing Naruto and has shown, on numerous occasions, that he has what it takes to produce some great material? What does it matter that Naruto has managed to hold onto its position in the top 10 best selling manga of each year for 15 years where many of its rivals have risen and then fallen away?

Kishimoto is just a greedy bastard that cannot see further than his paycheck, after all, right?

Why all the hate for a story Kishimoto has even yet to write? The answer is pretty simple. Dragon Ball GT

-Dragon Ball GT VS Naruto
Akira Toriyama was the first so called greedy bastard that so many comments on YouTube speak of, a talented mangaka that supposedly sold the soul of his greatest creation in an attempt to extend the already over-extended Dragon Ball franchise beyond its breaking point.

The obsession with Dragon Ball GT is baffling; it was bad, yes, but the idea that its existence somehow proves the folly of anime and manga continuing longer than they must is erroneous.

Why are so many people expecting the third and final Naruto series to suck? Because Dragon Ball GT sucked.

But let’s be clear here. The comparison between Naruto and Dragon Ball is ridiculous; they might share a few similarities but these two series are completely different from one another.

Yes, Dragon Ball GT sucked, but who didn’t see that coming? The fact that Dragon Ball Z managed to succeed is nothing short of a miracle. Akira’s entire concept has always been flawed, at least in the context of long running series.

When you base a story on fighting, when its core is heavily dependent on the creation of epic battles, there are only so many places you can go before running out of room. Every arc finale in Dragon Ball Z ended with Goku achieving a power-up of such weight that you knew the key to the success of Akira’s next arc lay, not in his ability to tell even more engrossing stories, but whether he could create an even more powerful villain, which would necessitate an even more powerful Goku to emerge.

Guren Lagan understood that once you began down this ‘Who is the most powerful?’ road, there would be no stopping; which is why it went all the way, creating galaxy and universe sized mechs within its 24 episode run.

Dragon Ball kept riding this train for more than 300 hundred episodes; and the result was GT.

Because when you think Dragon Ball, the only question you can ask about any upcoming movie/series/story is: who are they going to fight next?

And like Bleach, whether or not GT succeeded came down to how well Akira could answer this question; once you have fought mercenaries, you have to move on to aliens, androids, super saiyans, and now gods. And once he defeats the gods and becomes the greatest of them all, then what?

The flaw in dragon ball is clear; there is an obstacle that Akira cannot hope to keep overcoming.

NARUTO ISN’T DRAGON BALL. It has never been about Naruto Uzumaki becoming the strongest there is. Nor have any of the arcs ever focused upon creating the most powerful villains the series has ever seen.

Naruto has what DB GT never had, a story and great characters. And every jutsu created, kunai thrown and action scene drawn was only ever purposed to tell Naruto Uzumaki’s story, not his rise to power per say, but his attempts at finding peace in the ninja world, and saving his friend.

Kishimoto has every advantage going for him that Akira Toriyama never had with Dragon Ball GT.

And there is one important factor that so many people seem to forget:

-Bolt
It would be difficult to accuse Kishimoto of pushing the Naruto series past its expiration date when the Naruto Manga we are expect to see next spring won’t even be Naruto.

We all need to understand this: Naruto ended this year, 2014, on chapter 699 (with chapter 700 playing out as more of an epilogue). Excited as some of us might be about the return of Naruto in a few Months time, the next time Kishimoto’s work hits the internet, it won’t be Naruto.

Instead the focus will shift upon Bolt (Boruto), Naruto’s son, and a whole new generation of shinobi. Even with Naruto and group making an appearance every once in a while, the Naruto story is over. 2015 is bringing us a whole new story, one that Kishimoto can be trusted to succeed with if you consider the skill with which he authored Naruto Part 1. And with a whole new cast and an ENTIRE WORLD to explore, the comparisons with Dragon Ball GT more or less lose weight.

-So Does Naruto deserve another series?
Well, let us consider what the future of Naruto has in store for fans. Kishimito intends to tell a minimum of four stories revolving around characters like Kakashi, Shikamaru and Gaara; there is every reason to expect these side stories to entertain, especially with regards to further expanding the Naruto universe and plugging a few holes and gaps in the series.

The anime is expected to continue past chapter 700, under the direction of the same writer and director that developed Naruto: Blood Prison. Which allows for a sense of optimism. Blood Prison was a decent animated movie, very grounded in the Naruto universe.

Beyond merely adapting the novels to screen, we can probably expect to catch up on Naruto’s life between chapters 699 and 700, at least for a few months, allowing Kishimoto enough time to finish the third installment of Naruto, which, according to interviews, is expected to be a mini series and will not run for more than 24-30 chapters.

There has been no indication of a closing date for the Naruto anime, which means it could continue even past the Bolt mini series.

Whether or not this is a good thing is difficult to tell; at the rate at which the anime is progressing (taking into consideration the upcoming filler), Shippuden should reach chapter 700 by the time the first chapter of Bolt’s story hits the internet, which makes one cringe at the thought of the amount of bad filler we might have to endure.

Yet, there is only one thing you can take away from this; Naruto isn’t a one trick pony. There is clearly more to the story than Madara and giant chakra beasts. The victory against Kaguya was just that: a bad guy was beaten.

Does that mean the shinobi world stopped moving? Is their peace the world over? Clearly not. You wouldn’t suggest that the defeat of Hitler somehow brought the hard times to an end, and that the world has been enjoying peace ever since.

Of course not. There is still turmoil and drama and chaos.

IN a similar manner, Kaguya was one person. Life continues. Naruto has spent the majority of its run within the confines of the hidden villages. What do we even know about the real world in the Naruto Universe?

Nothing, that’s what. There is still so much story left to tell; it just won’t be a story about Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura.

+EXPECTATIONS
The anime has a lot of potential, specifically when it comes to closing all the holes in the Naruto story and providing us a glimpse of events yet to be explained, starting with the filler in January which, if the internet is to be believed, will chronicle how the Konoha 11 became Chunin and Jonin, basically covering the gap between Naruto part 1 and 2.

A recent interview with Kishimoto also further unraveled the mysteries of the upcoming third series. And if the translations are to be believed, Orochimaru and Kabuto are going to be the final villains of the mini series, essentially capping off the remnants of old Naruto stories and putting the previous two series to a final rest.

If Kishimoto can provide fans all the answers he promised and failed to deliver in the final arc, then the new era of Naruto seems set for greatness.

It is worth keeping in mind that, for us anime only fans, Naruto hasn’t yet ended. We are still marching forward with the final War arc; so maybe this question of Naruto’s future is fairly irrelevant to us until we actually wrap up with the Naruto story
| |

Welcome everyone to the Anime Vice's Naruto Manga Roundtable! Whoo, are you ready to hear some of our folks' thoughts on the manga series and its ending? Our speakers are ...

  • Dream - Battle Mod, Ani Crap Reviewer, and a fan who has seen over a hundred different anime series
  • Taichokage - Toriko Wiki Expert, Shonen Connoisseur of all sorts, and Hall of Famer
  • Katmic - Claymore, Magi, and Seven Deadly Sin Reviewer
  • UsaChanMan - Lover of Romance, Shonen, and Shoujo genre and a closet nerd writer/artist

Questions were written by me.

Which character is the most memorable?

UsaChanMan:
Of all the Naruto characters, Jiraiya was the most memorable character for me. I feel that he played such a big role in Naruto's life, and quite arguably, one can say that he was one of the key characters that made him into the ninja he is. From training Naruto to harness the Kyuubi's chakra, to teaching him the Rasengan and finally, inspiring him to become a sage - he truly was both Naruto's greatest teacher and the closest thing to a father figure he had.
Dream:

Nagato/ Pain in my case. Unlike many of the major Naruto villains who only got their back story told just as they were about to die, the series devoted time to focus on how his character came to be and what led him to be part of Akatsuki and desire to gather the Jinchuriki.

Taichokage:
Hard to say really. I guess for me it would be Orochimaru. He was the longest lasting villain in the series and the earliest major one.
Katmic:
Gaara- He has one of the most complete stories in the entire series alongside Neji; Neji's death was timed perfectly because his story had ended back in the first part of the series. Even after his impressive storyline in Part 1, Gaara remained rather prominent in the series and his battles against the former kages were among the more impressive.

Where did the manga series perform well?

Dream:
It's high point came during the middle of its run when Akatsuki became more active. Unlike Orochimaru who was the apparent villain before the title's timeskip, the Akatsuki were a more convincing threat since their plans affected many of the major characters and involved the many ninja countries. Their presence led to some major characters in the series to be killed off that offered a more serious edge to the story compared to its earlier chapters.
Taichokage:
Part one. I even liked the majority of part 2. Where it fell starkly for me was the early stage of the 4th Great Ninja War. I remember the last good arc and great fight to me was the Kisame Arc (if you can call it that). Love the villain and the final fight between he and Guy was amazing.
Katmic:

The first part was of Naruto was one of the best, which is why i am looking forward to the new series. Kishimoto clearly shines when it comes to working with kids. It's with the adult elements that he seems to falter. The first part of shippuden was pretty well paced in reintroducing the characters and all the changes they had gone through over the years even while giving a spotlight to lesser known characters like InoChikaCho, the Sand Siblings, Itachi and the rest of the Akatsuki and even Tsunade. This trend culminated in the Pain Arc, the best and most coherent arc to date.

The Second portion of Shippuden faltered, starting with the Five Kage Summit Arc on wards; certainly the series shined with the 'Taming the Nine Tails' mini arc, in between the Summit and War arcs, but other than that, the second part of Naruto Shippuden was Hit or Miss.

To my own surprise, I would Disagree with about the beginning of the Great Ninja war. A few months ago i would have downgraded it as one of the worst sections of the Naruto series; rewatching it, however, completely changed my perception, making me realize that what i thought failed to deliver, and what i was quick to complain about was the lack of action, at least to the level that i expected. And this is the advantage of watching the anime over the manga. Watching over a few weeks what manga readers would have read over a period of months to a year provides an understanding manga readers simply do not enjoy.

Certainly Madara rocked the second part of the war. But the first part of the war has a level of depth that most of the series hasn't seen in quite a while; from Gaara to Mifune to that sand shinobi no one remembers, the first part is actually the most memorable of the war, packing whole years worth of character development into a select few moments. Gaara vs the former kazakage could have been a storm of sandy battles, and i personally would have preferred that approach. But the action wasn't essential to achieving Kishimoto's purpose for unleashing Edo Tensei, which was to bring character plots and storylines to a solid and final close even while raising new questions.

It is easy to dismiss the Mifune vs Salamander clash as one of the worst clashes of the war, only to realize that it might not have provided the awesome samura/shinobi clash we wanted, but it was filled with fairly interesting back story and depth regarding human determination, the regrets that emerge from failing to reach one's ambitions and the strength they can eventually generate.

Admittedly Kishimoto squandered even this opportunity, choosing to ignore most of his undead shinobi; none the less the complaint has about the second part of the war, the unfortunate focus upon Naruto and Sasuke, he has to admit Kishimoto tries to deal with in the first part before the pair arrives on the battlefield, by basically spreading the action around. Again, this perspective comes from watching that entire portion of the war as a whole.

What are its flaws?

Dream:

The series started going downhill following Pein's defeat and never really recovered with the really lazy means employed to undo much of the drama that affected Konohagakure when Pein appeared in the village. It dragged really badly in the Great Shinobi War arc with Madara being a pretty overpowered character, power upgrades galore being milked and a poor attempt at introducing a "true" final villain in the form of Kaguya.

But I think the biggest criticism I have towards the series is that it got too focused on Naruto and Sasuke for later chapters. The other Konoha ninja we were introduced to at the start of the series got little focus as the plot progressed further after the timeskip and the series did a poor and unconvincing job at trying to make it seem like Sakura was as important to things in the series as Naruto and Sasuke when her character development grinded to a halt long before the Great Shinobi War arc started.

Taichokage:
Kishimoto forgot or neglected far too many cornerstone characters for far too long. You could tell he was trying to force their relevance towards the end but it was too late. In some cases like Rock Lee I don't feel that Kishimoto even tried very much. Everyone was waiting for the 8th Gate to happen. I think Lee is one of the few prominent characters that did not scratch the surface of surpassing his master. It could have been Lee's chance to shine since part one had it been he that entered the 8th Gate not Might Guy. Lee is just a prominent example though. This applies to many formerly notable characters.

Even more than that however is Kishimoto's unreal failure to follow the logic that he established within his own story. The last year of Naruto had more plot holes than probably the prior 10 combined. I could make a whole blog on this but I don't wan't to hate on a series that I won't deny has some sentimental value for me.

The main issue with Naruto for me is that I think Kishimoto really was trying to cater to a younger audience from the get-go got a bit darker when he realized there was an older demographic that appreciated his work, then went full circle at the very end. An everyone lived happily ever after minus Neji Hyuga, all the dead aside from him forgotten, all the villains still alive are either forgiven (Sasuke) or not elaborated on (Orochimaru and Taka), and the romance is skipped completely and just cuts too the end results. Very childish in my opinion. However, it was not without it's pros. I would not have stuck with it for years had it been all faults. I have dropped series' before and Naruto is not among them. I caught up over 6 years ago and first saw it over 9 years ago. It was not for nothing that I saw it through to the end. I also think that a marathon of Naruto would be more enjoyable. The dragged out parts will not seem very dragged and the plot holes are easier to miss.

Katmic:

Manga readers are always quick to complain about the so called Talk no Jutsu as the series' primary failing; and i have always defended the series in this arena. This is mostly because even the most surprising villain transformations are never as 'out of the blue' as people make them out to be. There is no so called BS on the part of the plot because previous revelations and character developments always provide a rational explanation for the change.

Pain was never more than an Obito puppet, merely twisted by his own grief but never truly evil.

Obito was, well, crazy; listen to him speak long enough and you will realize that his monologues display some disturbing levels of denial. None the less, even explaining away some of these elements doesn't change the fact that Naruto has waaaay too much talking. I personally find the Jubito elements of Naruto's Talk no Jutsu to be the series' lowest point, a waste of a villain and an anti-climatic end to a very messy battle. Sometimes, even if it makes sense, a story works better when fists do the talking, like Naruto vs Sasuke part 1.

The unnecessary focus upon Naruto and Sasuke, basically the failure to capitalize on its large cast, is the only arena in which One Piece, at least in my eyes, supersedes Naruto. An interesting issue to note to though is the fact that, had Kishimoto made this war about all the rookies and peripheral shinobi, rather than just Naruto and Sasuke, it might have run longer than four years, albeit a more entertaining four years. Then again maybe not.

I would however dispute with other Naruto fans about the abundance of logical flaws; Kishimoto does ignore his own rules in some case, but these instances are very rare if one takes the entire Naruto series into consideration and what Kishimito stated or showed can and can't happen. Again, the insight of an anime viewer.

For Naruto, should it end early? Which arc?

Taichokage:
I felt it would have been fine even up to the the final arc. The issue is the Great War Arc took well over 4 years to wrap up. It could easily have been done in 2-3. I would have personally shaved about 18 months off. The pacing of 2013 and early 2014 in particular were nothing short of a snails pace. Unbelievable re-telling of events we already knew or had seen. It was the only period since I caught up to Naruto that I considered dropping it.
Dream:

They should have wrapped things up with the Great Shinobi War arc much earlier and then devoted time to properly wrap up ongoing developments with characters, the latter they didn't even bother addressing thanks to the lazy "what are they doing now"-style ending.

Katmic:
The First Naruto/Sasuke fight could have been a great enough place to end. Once it hit shippuden the series couldn't have ended early though. There were way too many loose plots to close and questions to answer. The War arc could have been shorter by a year. In utilizing his entire cast rather than stretching Naruto's presence, Kishimoto could have allowed for more memorable battles to emerge even while wrapping up most of his plots at a faster pace. This as opposed to focusing on a single large never ending battle. I wouldn't say that the last fights were dragged out, because they actually kept things fresh with each new chapter. Things were changing, new strategies were being tried. This wasn't just Ichigo throwing Getsuga tenshou over and over again. But i can see how some people might have found it tiresome.

How does Naruto distinguish from its fellow Shonen series?

Dream:
I wouldn't say it sticks out too greatly from other long-running shounen titles I've seen. It has a gimmick that appeals to its target audience and employs the typical cliches and character types used for it. Seemed to work well enough for it to be as popular as it was the past 15 years.
Katmic:

I am going to suggest something controversial and say that Naruto isn't as cheesy as One Piece and maybe those elements of depth in its Story lines have transcended through to new shonen series. Calling One Piece cheesy isn't negative in itself. The reason so many people compare One Piece to Fairy tail is because they share the spirit of adventure. However Fairy Tail takes those elements to the extreme and comes off as very cheesy with its nakama elements.

One piece maintains the perfect balance in its presentation of an action shonen series; yet, to an extent it is just an anime, mostly rooting its plots in basic action and entertainment. Naruto can get tiresome with all its talk about the will of fire and friendship (and Naruto's endless speeches about Sasuke). Yet the series has always presented a more philosophical message to its audience, with interactions between many of its characters providing a lot of insight into humanity as a species, the concept of death, sacrifice and grief. It was shonen at its heart, and yet Kishimoto would often speak with an adult, very grounded voice, with the shortest lines of dialogue often speaking mountains. Not to offend anyone, but when i think of One Piece, i see Luffy shouting or crying at the top of his lungs in an exaggerated manner, running after meat and fighting to become the strongest. Sure his spirit to explore makes One Piece a joy to watch.

Yet in watching Naruto fight, not to become the strongest, but to find an answer to world peace, an answer that three generations of shinobi had failed to locate and which simply came down to endurance and perseverance throughout the hardships of life, made Naruto a much more somber anime, one whose will i can see emerge in new shonen, many of which are placing less emphasis on fighting and more on plot progression. Hopefully they can find a better balance than Naruto, which sacrificed waaay too much of the action in favor of talking.

As one of the HST, do you believe Naruto affects upcoming Shonen manga series in the last decade? And how so?

Katmic:

Naruto, One Piece and Bleach didn't create their respective formulas; but they popularized them and breathed new life into the shonen genre. I can see how many upcoming shonen series might pick a leaf or two from Naruto, particularly in telling the same old thing better. We knew from the first page that Naruto would become the final and greatest hero of the series. Yet Kishimoto meandered and detoured so much along Naruto's story that readers were kept on the edge of their seats about how the final story story would play out and whether Naruto would really triumph.

After all, it was until 200+ chapters later that Naruto finally acquired the power to finally stand against the lowest members of Akatsuki and even then, all he had was a truly scary attack. It would take another 100+ chapters before he came into his own, at a point where heroes from previous manga were already giants of their series.

We knew that the fox would become Naruto's final weapon; yet the way Kishimoto cast it aside and had Naruto seek out alternative sources of strength kept the mystery of this dark power hidden long enough to have readers doubt the future of this plot. IN other words it has become a thing, for new shonen manga to do the same old think but in a new way, keeping readers interested with plots that some would consider overdone. One might impute some credit to manga like Naruto that, rather than being extremely original, focused upon simply telling a good story.

Which battles were your favorite? Your least favorite?

Taichokage:

  • Kisame Hoshigaki vs Might Guy
  • Naruto in 4 tailed Kyubi mode vs Orochimaru

I'm probably forgetting something though......

My least favorite was a toss up between Obito Uchiha vs the Shinobi alliance and Kaguya Ohtsustuki vs Team 7.

Katmic:
Faves
  • -The Pain Arc Battles were all great.
  • -Itachi vs Sasuke
  • -Naruto vs Sasuke (both battles, even if the final fight was a little rushed).
  • -Jiraiya vs. Pain.
  • -The masked man vs Minato.
  • -InoChikaCho and Kakashi Vs. Hidan and Kakuzu.
  • -Taka vs Killerbee
  • -Obito vs Konan

Least Favorite

The Jubi/Jubito battles simply got too big, with too many players on the field for the fight to make any sense. Kishimoto would have been better off splitting Madara and Obito, and having the pair face off against different enemies.

Same for Story Arcs

Katmic:

The Fourth Great Ninja War. It was hit and miss

Dream:

Favorite story arc was the Pein arc since it properly explored a clash of ideologies between Pain and Naruto based on their differing tragic pasts and got us quite the big major character death with Jiraiya.

Worst story arc for me was Great Shinobi War arc. Was really dragged out and Madara was a poor excuse of a villain for the arc with how overpowered and shallow he was in terms of character.

Taichokage:
Unfortunately my least favorite was the Final Arc, the 4th Great Ninja War Arc.

My favorite is is either the Sasuke Retrieval Arc or the Pain Invasion Arc. Probably the former if I had to choose.

How do you feel about the ending?

Rushed. Was there some Editor at Shonen Jump demanding that Kishimoto end his manga at 700. Because their was a clear obsession to end at 700. The final Naruto/Sasuke fight was alright, provided equal amounts of large scale battle and hand to hand combat (which is preferred). But it could have been so much more. The series needed an entire arc to close all its loose threads. However with a third series we just might get all the answers we need.
Taichokage:
Not bad but tremendously rushed. Many of the relationships is not most of them had no basis within the context of the story. Even the main character did not have any on-panel romance or bonding with his "to be".
Dream:
A big waste of time. The Great Shinobi War arc was already dragged out enough and they did a poor job incorporating Kaguya into the title's storyline. While Naruto and Sasuke's final battle was an expected development by many for Naruto's finale, the buildup to it was horrible and the whole "what are they doing now" style final chapter is something that has been done to death in long-running shounen titles like this.

Are you a shipper? Did your dreams come true in the ending?

UsaChanMan:

I’ll admit I can be a shipper at times; however, my dreams did not come true in the end. I found it a little unrealistic that most of the girls ended up with the guys they wanted… and I did not like how the match-ups seemed to be based off of very shallow romances. I definitely did not like the Sasuke and Sakura pairing whatsoever, and the fact that Sakura still has feelings for Sasuke still baffles me to this day. As stated by a lot of Naruto fans in various forums, the Naruto couples looked like they came right out of fanfiction stories.

Despite my disappointment, I won’t pass judgement just yet, seeing that the last Naruto movie still hasn’t been released and I have a feeling a lot of loose-ends will be tied up then.

Katmic: Not a shipper. But Naruto and Hinata worked for me. It made the most sense. One is right to question Sakura's character and her obsession with Sasuke despite all that he did to her. Sasuke didn't actually do anything to Naruto. But, for lack of a better term, he was pretty mean to Sakura.
Dream: Was never big on shipping with this series. Romance was never Naruto's major focus and this was reflected in the lack of proper relationship developments between couples.
Taichokage: Unfortunately no. I was glad that a certain young man achieved his dream but otherwise no. I have never been a fan of major time skip endings or little ones running around at the end. That's why I dislike the manga ending of Full Metal Alchemist more than the 2003 anime version.

How do you feel about the upcoming movie?

Taichokage:
I look forward to it a good amount actually. To me it looks more promising that the manga ending and very refreshing in general.
Dream:
No different from how I feel about other movie tie-ins for long-running shounen titles. Judging from the trailer, the movie exists as both a final attempt at a cash grab for the series and to satisfy shippers of Naruto x Hinata, despite the little interaction Naruto has had with her throughout the whole series.
Katmic:
The Last in supposed to be a love story so i suppose it will be something different; considering that it will answer a number of important questions, i am looking forward to it. Specifically watching Naruto's growth. He doesn't even look like Naruto. A hair cut can't make that big of a difference.

Which was more enjoyable: anime or manga?

Taichokage:
I dropped the anime some years ago but I think perhaps the anime, filler content aside was more enjoyable. Naruto is not a dark series nor is the art it's forte so very little needed to be censored and the animation did not drop the quality of the manga art most of the time in my opinion.
Katmic:
If anyone has the option, i would advise that they simply stick with the anime. Ignoring the fillers, events do not drag as much in the anime, which covers numerous events at a go, where the manga will naturally struggle to provide as much material a week.

How did Naruto fail to become mainstream? Does Naruto represent the generation of anime and manga today?

Dream:

At least in the mainstream for America, the series came to the states just as the anime boom fizzled out thus it never got much traction to be able to attract a wider audience. Toonami in the 2000s was on its way out and this was rather obvious with its reduced lineup and attempting to kill off anime programming from the network. By the time Toonami in the 2000s folded, Naruto was at its lowest point for its first series with the large number of filler arcs that were aired following the Sasuke Retrieval arc.

But among anime/ manga fans, it still attracted a large fanbase as such where it is among one of the top 5 all-time selling manga titles to sell internationally as it has sold over 205 million issues (surpassed only by One Piece and Dragon Ball) and was one of Weekly Shounen Jump's top 3 best-selling titles. It is an easily identifiable series for many anime and manga fans of this current generation thanks to its large popularity and regardless of its quality, Naruto will likely be a remembered series for fans of this generation years from now.

Taichokage:
Naruto DID become mainstream. It was superseded by One Piece however. I personally don't think a repeat of Naruto would be as successful though. Just like I don't think a Dragonball copycat can beat Dragonball.
Katmic:
Naruto is Mainstream, to an extent. One Piece is the biggest manga in the world (no matter what people say about Attack on Titan's hype driven rise) but there are countries with anime fans that have never heard of One Piece but who cannot get enough of Naruto. Here in Africa, the only anime that is as well known as Naruto is Last Air bender/Korra, which is actually even more popular. After years of bad press (from some badly informed Anime fans) people here are only now jumping onto the One piece train (though those who loved it initially can see nothing beyond One piece). If we are talking globally, Naruto is the dragonball Z of today. It is the face of anime and manga. One piece's domination is still largely rooted in Asia.

Closing Remarks

UsaChanMan:

The Naruto franchise is very close to my heart. . It’s safe to say that Naruto was what reintroduced me to anime during my teenage years. The first manga I’ve ever read in my life was the first volume of Naruto, which I came across at my high school library. I remember being hooked instantly and marathoning Naruto episodes the night prior to my grade 10 math exam.

I definitely recommend the anime and manga, not only because of its popularity, but because of its underlying theme of never giving up on your dreams or your friends.

Taichokage:

I should close by saying.....

Thank you Kishimoto Sensei for 15 years of Naruto. I was there for most of the ride. At the end of the day, I'm glad Naruto was in my younger years up to the current time.

Katmic:

I agree with about Naruto struggling to find its identity. It is, in fact, similar to Doctor Who. Doctor who has what it takes to create some really dark and enjoyable arcs and seasons; except it always seems to catch itself halfway, remembers its young audience and chooses to gear its efforts towards pleasing the kids, which is where it fails.

Naruto could have been so much more if it had kept its trajectory of growth and transformed with its audience into something much more serious, with lasting consequences; instead Kishimoto chose to settle for something in between.

None the less it has been quite a few years of fun and excitement. There will never be anything quite like it. Even if better anime and manga emerge, they cannot replace the spirit of Kishimoto's story. We can only hope that the mangaka can learn from his mistakes and provide us a true masterpiece in his third manga series. Because that is what it is, a manga series set within the Naruto Universe. It won't be Naruto.

| |

When I first saw The Last Airbender, starting out of sequence, from Earth, probably the episode of the Face Stealer, I was immediately taken in. The characters, the cliffhangers, the weird animals and the world building. The movements were all martial-artsy. But most of all, the style of animation was what gets to you. Isn't that what it's known for, after all? An American cartoon drawn in the Japanese style? Naruto was blamed for "the death of Toonami" and hugely unpopular, while Avatar: The Last Airbender is acclaimed as the best animated series in decades. But they have so many similarities and I'm wondering if they have some connection. And this connection if it exists, would be one of lightning, orange jumpsuits and scarred faces.

The 5th element

I think the most notable similarity in the 2 cartoons is the use of elements to delare the different peoples and political systems of their worlds. However, how common would it be to use the law of elements? I might as well compare Avatar to Pokemon by that logic. But the thing here is that they both use elements to desribe politics. Yet, they're not exactly the same. Naruto was FROM the Konoha, a village in the land of Fire, while Aang fought AGAINST the Fire Nation. In Avatar, there were cultural differences between the peoples, (such as Fire Nation gathering under the banner of it's Lord and striving to take everyone over, Earth Kingdom presumably being stable and economically well off, under it's King or emperor, the Water Tribe forming it's familly bonds and Air Nomads wandering, living in temples and dying,) while all the sects in Naruto pretty much had the same political system, except for their use of resources and economy.

Apart from the traditional 4 elements of Water, Wind/Air, Fire and Earth, Naruto recognizes a 5th, that of lightning. Now, the Chinese Zodiacs recognize different metals and wood as elements, but lightning (although used in other places) is not one of the regular elements, and is used by Kakashi and Sasuke for the speial move Chidori. Avatar too recognizes this element, a little later in the show, I think by the last episode of the first season, first used by Azula. As explained by Zuko's uncle Iro, it's "refined fire", and not a separate element, but they're both present together.

Another thing about elements that they both use, is sand. Gaara of the Sand village, and later it's Kazekage, could manipulate sand, and was a huge deal. But his attribute is wind, and would be equivalent to what is an "air bender" in Avatar. Sand is light and easily lifted by the air, and how would you recognize winds, essentially energy, if not for particle matter? You may remember in one of the episodes of Earth, Aang finds a library in the desert, and Abu the Air Buffalo gets kidnapped. The people who kidnap Abu are sand benders and where lothes not too different from Gaara's buddies, but they both also reflect actual clothing used by actual sand people.

Characters

The two main characters both wear orange, Aang a little more so than at least what Naruto wears in Shippuden. They both have insignia on their forehead representing where they come from. In Aang's case, he's the last of the Air Nomads and is therefore unique, and also the only person with an arrow tattoo on his head. Everyone in Naruto has a headband. But both the arrow and the spiral "leaf" serve the same purpose. One character has hair and the other one is bald. Speaking of the arrow tattoo, which lights up when Aang goes into the "Avatar state", Naruto reaches a "Sage Mode" that's close to it, but way later.

Both of them have the orange colour in common with Goku from Dragonball. In fact, Aang's stick makes him more of a Goku than a Naruto, (and Naruto's Super Saiyan hair makes him a Goku) They also share other character stereotypes or "stock characters" with DB. Both Naruto and Aang surround themselves with a group. Now you can't compare Sokka to Sasuke, exept for their names, beause one's a badass and the other is a joke, but Sakura and Katara may have something in common. But all anime have certain recurring characters. A promiscuous monk, like Miroku. The funny old man who turns out to be the strongest of them all, (Roshi, Iro, Jiraiya) a friendly girl sidekick who is the first to discover the main character (Bulma, Sakura, Katara) and is a healer, but that comes from sword and sorery too. There's also the strong rival, (Sasuke, Azula/Zuko) who is not always the same in DB, though Yamcha, Kuririn, Tien and Picollo Jr have all played that type of thing, and Vegeta even more so, for longer. Vegeta may have lent that haircut to Sasuke.

But, the Sasuke/Azula/Zuko comparison is a little stronger than mere rivals. Zuko's eye, what's the deal with that? It's just one damaged eye, with a story behind it, a FAMILY HISTORY, and it's comparable to two people in Naruto. Kakashi, the one eyed ninja also carries Sasuke's family trait, the "Sharin gan" in one eye, his damaged eye. Sasuke has it in both. Kakashi and Sasuke are teacher and student, and Kakashi passes on his Chidori to Sasuke, which is lightning, like what Azula uses. Zuko himself had a mentor for most of the story, his uncle Iro, who helps Zuko with his lightning. Groups in Naruto work in 4s, until Naruto's team loses Sasuke, while Aang starts with 3, until Toph, the blind badass, makes a fourth.

Other than appearance, the core of the title characters have something in common too. Naruto is the self titled "number one, knucklehead, hyperactive" ninja, the one who always barks first, driven by emotion and loyalty, and optimism. Although Aang is over a 100 years old, he too is a kid at heart. When Aang starts out on his journey, he likes to try stunts in the air, play with balls made of air and he sets up his route so he can travel to exotic places.

Line of succession

Both the Avatar and the Kages, be it Hokage, Kazekage or Raikage, are lines of succession. Naruto aims to be a Hokage, his father is a Hokage and he befriends Konohamaru, grandson of the Third Hokage (who he also annoys the heck out of). In his spirit state, Avatar Aang could speak with the old Hoka- pardon me, Avatars. Jiraiya teaches Naruto something about the same, and writes a book of encrypted secrets, which may have been passed on to Naruto.

Volcano scene (non-Naruto related)

In Dragon Ball, there's an episode where the "Z warriors", the B- listers of the team, Yamcha, Kuririn, Tien and Chiaotzu have to save a village from a lava flow. How they did it without any powers, I cannot remember. You can see the same thing in Avatar, except it's all of them, Aang, Katara and Sokka, maybe Toph. 3 benders and a non-bender, but Sokka definitely plays a central role here. Come to think of it, Aang kinda looks like Kuririn. A LOT actually.

But how do we judge this? Dragon Ball and even Thundercats had obvious references to Superman. The cover of Death of (Ultimate) Peter Parker mirrored Death of Superman, in homage. The Fantastic Four are based on the elements, and Superman may look like Jesus. So can any work of fiction then be completely free of influences by other sources? but how far should something be allowed to copy off another?

| |

So here we are 2014, not just another new year, but the final 12 months of Naruto, or so Kishimoto says; this wouldn’t the first time a manga ran a year or two beyond its expiry date.

The end of Naruto leaves me with a disturbed feeling; all series come to an end, and Naruto can only ran on for so long before entering Dragon Ball Z territory, yet i cannot deny that its exit will leave a massive hole in my Anime and Manga world.

Yes, i have been following Naruto for that long, since the very beginning of my life as an Otaku; this will be nothing less than the end of an era in the otaku realm. Besides merely re-confirming what we already knew, several elements struck me about Kishimoto’s 2014 interview, particularly two in fact, which i thought i would make a comment about.

--First, Kishimoto- he comes off as a rather interesting character, more humble than i presumed; i don’t think i have ever given Kishimoto the person much thought, but i always imagined the life of a mangaka as no different from that of a Hollywood super star.

Part of me expected to see his and those names of more famous mangaka littering architecture of major cities where i to ever visit Japan, thousands whispering his name as he made his regular rounds to the store.

Sections of this interview however present Kishimoto’s life as a relatively simple one, quiet; which makes sense i guess, because as a mangaka, you are likely to spend more time drawing than partying.

But then again Kishimoto did admit to spending 36 hours of his week drawing, little more than 3 days, which allows him four days of downtime; subtract one or two days for idea generation and story structuring, and you still have a few days of down time each week.

Two days that probably find Kishimoto holed away in his house, if he is indeed so isolated as to, as he says, not realise just how popular his manga is; its an interesting admission, because on the one hand it shows that Kishimoto should take a leaf out of Kubo’s book and do a little travelling, engage with his fans in the different manga and comic conventions out there; something he clearly does not do, not often anyway.

But maybe it’s a matter of a humble outlook on life; or, more than that, simple dedication to his craft, drawing his manga not for the fame or money but for the satisfaction of creating something of considerable brilliance; it makes sense he would struggle with the itch to draw even on his off days.

And that probably goes to the advice he gave about dedication and success in the manga business; because unless you’re ready to give 200% to your art, success is likely to remain ever elusive. Here’s to hoping that, for his honey moon, Kishimoto chooses a location close by, because that is one individual i would be interested in meeting.

Because even after all those interviews, i still cannot envision him as a person; despite having seen numerous pictures, as i am reading his voice in his numerous interviews, it is always that character, Ando from heroes, that jumps to my head. Strange. Anyway.

--Secondly Naruto- something in this interview struck me, the comment Kishimoto made about his editors, that got me wondering if we as fans are always a little too quick to jump down the throats of Mangaka for shoddy manga chapters.

Because we know (or so Bakuman tells me) that the editor, especially of a powerful brand like Shonen Jump, will wield some power with regards to the content produced by the mangaka on a weekly or monthly basis.

I mean, would it be too irrational to consider the possibility that editors do contribute to bad chapters and plot lines as well as good ones? One needs to ask just how much power the editor has in commanding his charge to kill off a character, save another, turn a two chapter shinobi battle into a ten chapter brawl between super powered beings.

It’s an interesting consideration in a field as competitive as manga-and as a Fairy tail fan with a lot of complaints to launch at Hiro, i have to wonder how much control Mashima-sensei has over who lives and dies.

I have to wonder what Kishimoto might have been referring to when he made that remark about remembering to reference upon ideas at an earlier stage before expanding upon them in the future. Can’t say i have come across any concepts in the series whose introductions i found to be unsatisfactory in terms of pacing and explanations.

I really can’t say that i care about seeing Kakashi’s face and would prefer it remained a mystery.

-With March approaching fast, the year is still fairly young; which means there are many more months of Naruto still to come, more months for me to locate a worthy replacement for his juggernaut of a series.

As Naruto fans all we can do is cross out fingers and hope that Kishimoto gives us one heck of a finale, worthy of the legacy of Naruto; i was struck by Kishimoto’s words about the end that he would finish the series conclusively; clearly he has no intention of leaving Shonen Jump or anyone else with room to expand the series into Dragon Ball GT style chaos.

| |

A few weeks ago i might have been able to make a pretty strong argument about the central importance of a story to a manga over any aesthetic elements; in other words the art matters little so long as the story and characters are awesome.

Then i tried to read Attack on Titan, just out of curiosity, and dumped it two chapters in. That is how bad this manga is; not average, not passable, but down right terrible. Truth be told if not for the anime, i don’t think 90% of otaku raving about Shingeki no Kyojin would have ever known of its existence.

And unless they intend on proceeding with the series in the anime, i don’t think i will bother following its progress in the manga. That’s how bad it is. Seriously though, why the hell is SNK monthly in the first place; because by the time i am willing to wait four weeks for a manga chapter, its because i know great effort is being placed into creating some breath taking art works. What’s SNK’s excuse?

What’s that got to do with anything? Well, for one thing i am forced to admit that art is indeed a crucial element of great manga. More importantly that is what this blog post is about, looking at the Manga and Manhwa that i thought were most aesthetically pleasing to read in 2013.

Now i suppose this least will be somewhat restricted as it only takes into account what we have read, which largely consists of shonen/seinen action series; yet i believe those are the best kinds of manga and manhwa through which to judge one’s artistic abilities.

Anyone-maybe not anyone-can produce beautifully drawn manga about high school kids struggling with daily life in a slice of life genre; it’s a totally different ball game trying to depict great gods partaking in epic battles.

Anyway, the top ten best drawn manga of the year as i saw them are as such:

1. VINLAND SAGA (MAKOTO YUKIMURA)-

Vinland saga is a masterpiece in so many ways, not only in its story telling but the art, the series containing the most vivid images i came across in all the manga i read in 2013.

Most manga try to tell stories; not all of them can do so purely through art as Vinland saga will do, the facial expressions of its characters considerably unique, the environment rich and dynamic, each scene infused with the sort of violent life that the Vinland saga story tells.

I like reading manga and being able to recognise characters even without their favorite sword clanking behind them or that special scarf they always wear; and Vinland saga is surprisingly good at creating characters that are distinct not only mentally but physically.

One would think that a series like Feng Shen Ji would automatically top a list like this; and while it is indeed more beautiful than Vinland saga, it fails to achieve the life and mobility of this series.

Vinland saga is without a doubt the most impressively drawn manga of 2013. No competition in fact, at least as far as i am concerned.

2. THE BREAKER: NEW WAVES (PARK JIN-HWAN)-

Noblesse should have taken this spot, if i wasn’t being objective. Yet if i am to consider all matters at hand, it is difficult to deny just what this manga does without the advantage of color that Noblesse has.

If we are looking at this topic purely from the angle of action, Breaker is only challenged by Vinland saga. The fact is the action in Vinland saga is so beautifully drawn its scary.

Yet placing it aside nothing comes close to the madness of breaker, which not only presents to the readers amazingly sharp backgrounds, but makes the bone breaking, flesh tearing moves in the series so vivid they seem to pop off the page.

Truth is Breaker will rise even a step further than Vinland, if only considering how explosive the series’ battles can be, the way each fist seems to tear out of its panel, each explosion so….explosive. Basically what Breaker has mastered is the art of creating IMPACT in its fights, without sacrificing the detail of its characters and their surroundings.

3. NOBLESSE (LEE GWANG-SU)-

I won’t deny it, i am a little crazy about Noblesse, have been for the past three or four months since i began reading it; yet i can’t say i hype it for no reason, as Noblesse has some of the best art i have ever seen, largely because of how eye popping the colors are with regards to the action scenes and the amazing abilities displayed.

Noblesse does what makes Manga and Manhwa so great, allowing one scene to flow into another so organically, each strike, dive, swipe sinuous as to seem real, always easy to follow and to marvel at.

And that doesn’t take into account just how amazing the unique capabilities displayed in the Manhwa look, the richness of the blood and the glowing eyes of the nobles as they so elegantly do their thing. Noblesse is a must read if only to marvel at its artistic successes.

4. THE GOD OF HIGH SCHOOL (PARK YONG-JE)-

This was probably the first Manhwa to blow me away-well, maybe the second after Veritas which i read years earlier. Really looking specifically at the action scenes, specifically the martial arts, GOH is only inches behind Breaker in the masterful way it presents its art.

Looking at both series it is difficult to determine which is the superior work; because as amazing as Breaker is in displaying impact in its fights, it is nowhere near as inventive as GOH is in allowing us a glimpse into the intricacies of Martial arts.

And maybe that could be described as the crux of GOH’s success, its ability to base its story around real martial arts techniques and methods-The breaker taking a more mythical theme- which should prove difficult to adapt, bringing complex martial arts forms to the page.

GOH however benefits from the inventiveness of its author, the means through which he displays each move and strike, or really a sequence of moves so fast as to fuse into one, like nothing i have seen anyway.

Truly GOH is inspired artistically; admittedly in terms of color its rather simplistic, the detail within the images nothing to gasp over, certainly not within Noblesse’s league. Its backgrounds and even martial arts scenes aren’t nearly as vivid as those of Breaker or Vinland saga, but that doesn’t take anything away from this amazing series.

5. NARUTO (MASASHI KISHIMOTO)-

Since i have made it abundantly clear what i think about Naruto-basically my favorite series of all time, without a doubt- this might seem a bit biased; except its difficult to deny the true skill that Kishimoto possesses in displaying some of the most amazing yet most complex structures of battle in manga-and the fact that i didn’t place this at number 1 proves that i am being objective.

2013 has been Kishimoto’s year to really bring forth the grandness and epicness of the naruto universe, the images that much sharper and the message that much easier to translate, making for an absolutely brilliant story.

6. FENG SHEN JI (TANG CHI FAI)-

It seems a little crazy, placing a Manhwa like Feng Shen Ji so low on this list. If you haven’t read Feng Shen Ji, trust me when i say you will be hard pressed to find a manga so beautifully drawn. Even i couldn’t ignore it, despite my reservations over its execution.

Sure the Manhwa is AMAZING aesthetically. However its also a little stiff for my taste; also arranged a lot like a western comic book, with speech bubbles crisscrossing all over the place. And as such the panels simply do not flow as they would normally do in any given manga or Manhwa.

Basically i am not entirely impressed with the structure, and the battle scenes are simply too immobile for my tastes. Yet that doesn’t take away from how alluring the series is to read, how beautiful the colors are blended to make some impressive landscapes, the uniquely designed characters, the attractive attacks and impressive looking techniques, many of them so epic and so grand in scale yet so powerfully presented.

Simply put Feng Shen Ji is the best drawn series i have ever read-well, Vinland saga would probably be superior if its was colored. It simply suffers in several places in the static manner of its execution and story telling.

7. SUN KEN ROCK (MUJIK PARK AKA BOICHI)-

There isn’t much i can say about Sun ken Rock, mostly because it isn’t the most intriguing story i have ever read. As with most Manhwa i have read-precluding two or three titles- its overly simplistic, be it dialogue or narration, in a manner than just turns me away.

Yet i cannot deny how brilliantly drawn this Manhwa is, the shading so masterfully applied as to perfectly translate to page the brutality of the story; i specifically appreciate the presentation of the characters, the uniqueness and ‘heftiness’ of their features.

I don’t know if i would recommend Sun Ken Rock as a story, but its art is certainly something to gawk at.

8. DEADMAN WONDERLAND (KONDOU KAZUMA)-

It really irritated me that just as i began to read this manga-having just given up on the return of the anime adaptation-it suddenly ended. Though maybe it wasn’t that sudden, considering how events were progressing.

Deadman wonderland has always been rather aesthetically pleasing and 2013 was no different, this manga bringing to life the rather violent world of the deadman wonderland theme park with clean, sharp and pleasing images.

It wasn’t just the impressively presented surroundings that did it for me this year, as they were being torn apart, but the expressive nature of each character’s face, the bloody format of each unique power and ability so convincingly presented even without the luxury of color. A tragic story so vividly constructed.

9. ONE PUNCH MAN (MURATA YUUSUKE)-

Any first time reader of one punch man will quickly dismiss it for its rather tame look; and they would be right, because One punch man would be number two on this list if it could only be a little more consistent.

But i don’t think this is a failing on the author’s part, merely his choice with regards to the level of effort he chooses to apply to each chapter. Because when he determines to let loose, to truly show to use what he can do, One punch man becomes amazing.

And most of the time it’s quite good; because if you pay close enough attention, you will realize just how detailed and impressive some very basic and tame looking scenes really are.

But the best parts of One punch man, like that 20 page chapter that was nothing more than 1 second of a battle between two combatants, the initial strikes unleashed by either side; those portions of the manga make you want to scream, at the unnaturally realistic looking yet uncolored images, at the fluidity of the events playing out in each panel, the vividness of each character, explosion, beam of light…

Some sequences in one punch man are so skilfully drawn they are basically only awaiting animation to begin moving.

10. AREA D (YANG KYUNG-IL)-

I don’t know if i have said it before, but i am not a fan of Area D. It’s been a while since i actually read it, since August 2013 or somewhere along those lines; so maybe it might have undergone a few changes.

But last time i read it, the story didn’t impress me, in fact seeming somewhat too rushed for my tastes. That doesn’t change the fact that the author knows what he’s doing when he draws his characters and the impressive presentation of their generic yet uniquely displayed abilities.

Area D is indeed worth reading if only to admire how sharp and attractively the story is displayed, if a little lacking in detail and over all presentation.

WORTHY MENTIONS:

--WITCH HUNTER (CHO JUNG-MAN)-

I have said it before, that Witch Hunter, kind of like GOH actually, sets its self apart not through the clarity and sharpness but uniqueness of its art; each character is designed, expressed, curved, in way i haven’t really seen anywhere else, and this always translates into some amazing action scenes, always sinuous and gorgeously presented.

--TERRA FORMARS (TACHIBANA KENICHI)-

Terra formers is in the same category as Feng Shen Ji, another series so brilliantly drawn it should stand at the very top of this list; yet the way the story is translated by the art is somewhat…lacking. I find myself incapable of being impressed by what i have seen.

Then again i only read five chapters of the series before i dropped. Truth be told this is rather subjective opinion. I will say that that artistically, Terra Formars is what i thought the Attack on Titan manga would look like.

I think its the great art that makes this manga so bloody disturbing in some places, or maybe its the cockroaches-which i am not a big fan of.

--BE BORN AGAIN (LEE CHANG-JUN)-

Relatively recent manga, still showing little more than potential but worth reading considering the efforts the mangaka injects into making this story as visually stunning as possible.

And that’s it from me with regards to what we thought of as the best drawn manga and manhwa series of 2013. What were yours?

N:B-Bleach probably deserves a mention. Kubo is nothing if not unique in his artistic approach to the manga.

| |

I wanted to babble on about what a year this has been but truth be told i would be lying if i said i remembered most of what happened in these 12 months, with regards to anime and manga that is.

It took me a while to realise that at the beginning of this year the otaku realm was raving about how big of a hit psycho pass would be; now i barely remember its existence in light of the many series that have emerged as the months have progressed.

Anyway, i thought it would be a novel idea to sit down and critically analyze the year 2013 in anime and manga, but not through that most general of lenses that is ‘best anime and/manga’, instead delineating the best of manga and anime this year into some of its finer points; and because no anime or manga would be worth the hype or loath it attracts without that most important of elements that is the villain, I thought I would kick this little 2013 anime and manga ‘best of’ series off by looking at the best villains anime and manga has produced this year.

So here goes:

1. Uchiha god Madara (Naruto)

Madara Uchiha has somehow managed to reign as total bad ass, not only in the Naruto anime but the manga as well, his initial appearance in the anime, his utter decimation of the shinobi alliance only surpassed by the madness he has unleashed in the manga, his conflict with the kages and consistent ability to bring absolute destruction upon the Naruto world

2. Don Quixotte Doflamingo (One Piece)

it is disturbing to see just how far Doflamingo has come in One piece this year, this initially unimportant warlord some how breaking into the upper echelons of the pirate world as a true threat. No doubt one piece's run this year wouldn't have been the ride it has turned out to be if not for the revelations made regarding Doflamingo.

3. Shogo Makishima (Psycho Pass)

Looking back on it Psycho pass was basically the Kogami/Makishima story, and why wouldn’t it be, these two proving to be some of the most brilliant minds in the series. The reason the show reached its great heights was because of how well the Makishima/Kogami dynamic played out; and the reason this relationship played out so well was because of how devious and down right psychopathic Makishima could be, basically a virus in the perfect system of the Psycho pass world.

4. Juha bach (Bleach)

Juha bach is nothing less than the man credited for bringing soul society to its knees and murdering the man that had led it through the last millennium; and this year he cemented his determination to bring this ancient enemy of his people to its knees by launching an all out assault against the remnants of soul society. Truth be told though, i am crediting Juha bach for the actions he executed last year, as he has been largely unimportant to bleach in 2013. Normally he should have featured at the very bottom of the list, but you do not kill yamamoto Genryusai everyday.

5. Rachel (Tower of God)

There is something about the innocent nature of this character that makes her so damn unlikable; playing the desperate damsel in the early portions of the series, Rachel stands above all the villainous entities we have seen emerge on the scene in Tower of God this year, the woman that took Baam’s heart, ripped it out of his chest, crushed it, pushed the bits back in and did it again, inflicting immense amounts of hurt to her greatest proponent.

I don’t know if i can call Rachel devious; i don’t know if that word fully encompasses how manic she has proven herself to be in the manhwa this year. On the plus side though, she gave us the awesome Viole.

6. Orochimaru (Naruto)

Orochimaru is...well, Orochimaru, the original Naruto devil, his reemergence onto the scene at the beginning of this year not only shaking the structure of events in the Naruto world, but portending great things to come. As a source of great turmoil for Naruto Uzumaki one can only ponder at what his next move will be, following his efforts in resolving the Madara incident.

7. 9arts dragon (The Beaker: New Waves)

Maybe i am jumping the gun here, and maybe Nine arts hasn't yet struck villain status; and truth be told i hope this hero of the first Breaker series never turns to the dark side; but things aren't looking too good for him, especially with all the violence that has been been committed in his name. Whatever the case nine arts is the ultimate good guy turned evil character this year, and i expect events to take an explosive turn in 2014 now that he has chosen to finally come to the fro and take Seoul.

8. Hisoka (HunterXHunter)

Hisoka has been a part of the HunterXHunter world from the beginning; yet despite his early appearance, Hisoka has managed to hold his own against more recent villains more powerful villains as a truly despicable member of the HXH world; or maybe despicable isn’t quite the world to describe him. Creepy maybe…yes, creepy, disturbing, sometimes gross, but in a good way, the sort of manner villains are expected to present.

9. Chrollo Lucifer/Phantom troupe (HunterXHunter)

I don’t know if it is really possible to separate the awesomeness of the phantom troupe from Chrollo’s epicness, a villain that in truth is yet to make his mark on the HXH world, at least in my opinion, but whose presence on screen has the ability to shake the foundation of our heroes. One might go so far as to say that the phantom troupe arc was the pinnacle of the HXH anime.

10. Reiner (Attack on Titan)

The ability to infiltrate and yet remain inconspicuous to your enemy is god-sent, and Reiner did just that! Imagine walking, working, trusting the evil you so much wish to eradicate yet you’re just so blind to it.

Reiner is…well, one of SNK’s many tragedies.

Worthy mention:

-Shiro (Deadman Wonderland)- This manga didn't only have one of the more epic finales i have seen this year, it created quite a monster in shiro while also laying her bare, allowing us to explore the inner workings of her twisted mind.

Really, what allowed Shiro to shine as such a great villain this year was how tortured she seemed even as she unleashed hell against Ganta.

-Priscilla (Claymore)- Priscilla from Claymore was epic this year, especially with the revelation regarding her secrets, the nature of her power as the abyssal one with the power to create her own matter, basically making her a new kind of beast, that and the revelation about her one true weakness.

-Zephr (One Piece Film Z)- my thoughts on Film Z are somewhat skewed by how the series chose to end things, specifically the rather cliché battle between Luffy and Z at the end; none the less i liked Z as a somewhat tragic villain, wronged far too many times and taking the law into his own hands to a bring justice to the world; and his end somewhat helped cement the character in my eyes.

-Bils (Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the gods)- i liked Battle of the gods and truth be told that was largely because of Bils, a character that, though irritating initially, began to endear himself to me as the sort of villain the series hasn’t produced since the dragon ball era. More importantly they managed to avoid the clichéd ending that Film Z had with regards to the final battle between hero and villain.

And that’s it from me and this year’s list of best villains; what was your 2013 like in anime and manga? Which villains most rocked your world?

| |

Toonami has been on a roll lately with some major announcements including the world premiere/dubbed simulcast of Space Dandy coming this January. On the same day as this (which is projected to be January 4) Naruto Shippuden will be taking over the original Naruto’s 12:30 spot starting from the beginning of the series. The original Naruto has aired on the block since last December and will be ending after only 52 episodes on November 30 with a 3 week schedule of movies clearing that spot through most of December. Shippuden dub premiers will continue to air on Viz’s Neon Alley streaming service. Naruto will have 168 episodes unaired from the series so completionist might want to get moving on that.

source: http://toonami.tumblr.com/post/66229144430/another-big-honkin-toonami-announcement-hey

This article was originally posted on my blog at: http://realjpoe.com/

| |

I have one thing he can solo all ANIME!

the guy literally defeated a god as a human and then was regarded as a true god he is literally the strongest anime character to begin with he is the first of his ninja world and is the only being currently who can defeat the juubi 1v1 name any other character that was human and defeated a god without immorality you cant because Naruto has the most undefeated able character he can warp reality with his imagination this is the "Highest" form of nigh or omnipotent abilities i am a fan-boy with more knowledge then anyone about Naruto and he even created 2 beings from nothing with no side-effect.

Pokemon Black and White Looks Delicious in Motion

First video of a Pokemon battle in Black and White.

Comment & Win: One Piece Vol. 52, 53

Time for a giveaway folks! Now, act civil, we don't want anyone to get hurt in the mad rush to win.

Beginner's Guide to FLCL

Gainax's madcap, surrealist anime, broken down for new viewers.

Ballz Deep

Steve gets intimately close to Dragon Ball Z, for science!

Top 3 Awful Anime Dubs

Grit your teeth and get your ear plugs ready cause this week we're taking on the three most amazingly bad dubs of all time!

BLEACH Ch. 616 Review

But does the right hand know what the left hand is doing?

Anime Vice RPG Spotlight -- 3/2/15

What adventures has our RPG community been getting into lately?

DEATH PARADE #7 -- Watch & Learn

No one knows what it's like to be the sad man... behind blue eyes.

ONE PIECE Ch. 777 Review

Roronoa Zoro is a man with several plans.

JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE - BATTLE IN EGYPT #8 -- Watch & Learn

The original anime chibi...?

DRAGON BALL Z: FUKKATSU NO F -- New Movie Trailer!

FRIEZA! FRIEZEA! FRIEZA! FRIEEEZZZAAA!

DRAGON BALL Z -- The Live Action Web Series?

Ever think you'd see "History of Trunks" like this?

DRAGON BALL Z: XENOVERSE -- Quick Impressions

At last, I can rewrite the Majin Buu saga with myself in the leading role.

DRAGON BALL Z: FUKKATSU NO F -- New Movie Trailer!

FRIEZA! FRIEZEA! FRIEZA! FRIEEEZZZAAA!

BLEACH Ch. 616 Review

But does the right hand know what the left hand is doing?

Anime Caption Contest! -- 3/2/15

It's Anime Crossover madness!

DEATH PARADE #7 -- Watch & Learn

No one knows what it's like to be the sad man... behind blue eyes.

ONE PIECE Ch. 777 Review

Roronoa Zoro is a man with several plans.

JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE - BATTLE IN EGYPT #8 -- Watch & Learn

The original anime chibi...?

DRAGON BALL Z -- The Live Action Web Series?

Ever think you'd see "History of Trunks" like this?

Anime Vice RPG Spotlight -- 3/2/15

What adventures has our RPG community been getting into lately?

Top Editors
Mandatory Network

Submissions can take several hours to be approved.

Save ChangesCancel