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NARUTO #2 -- Retro Review

Is this actually the Naruto you know?

Seemed like it was about time to go ahead and watch these first episodes for myself. My first thought…?

It’s patently ridiculous that there was any kind of backlash against the ROCK LEE show for being too silly. Aside from the rendering being super-deformed, it’s… pretty much right in tone with this stuff. They’re equally light and frivolous. In fact, the tone of this is so far away from the quite dour SHIPPUDEN opener I watched a while back, it’s quite clear that this major part of the Shonen formula. You lure a younger audience in with a gentler show, then steadily replace it with a grimmer one that appeals to an older audience. ==TEASER ==

Sure, that isn’t rocket science - - but it’s a kind of a science, all the same. When people point to HARRY POTTER and say it grew up with its audience, it at least seems like that was more due to J.K. Rowling looking at her own mythos differently as the years went by. Put this in sequence in with BLEACH, ONE PIECE and the mold-maker, DRAGON BALL, and it's clear that there was a long ball storytelling plan from the beginning.

I’ll never get over how ONE PIECE had the crew chasing a poodle around for a whole episode early on, and eventually got to graphic depictions of drug addiction. Naruto and Luffy fit pretty much the same character profile - - they even laugh the same way - - so I can only imagine what dark corners this show will venture into since it starts with a team-up with the ninja clan version of Captain Underpants.

What’s also striking here is the way that Episode #2 doesn’t exactly flow directly from Episode #1. Again, I feel like a lot of relevant backstory’s been skipped over for the sake of getting to the more fun and interesting stuff (there’s always room for that later, no?). Naruto went through a life-changing, dramatic ordeal last time and learnt some terrible things about his past. Yet here he is, goofing off like it’s just another Saturday? That's probably part of the formula, too.

Watch “My Name is Konohamaru!” and decide for yourself, then read my comments about the previous episode.

About the Author

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk
Juubion March 18, 2014 at 2:13 p.m.

This isn't a shonen anime phenomenon, though. This is called Cerebus Syndrome and happen in all kinds of media. Things are wacky in the beginning and get serious after.

What happens in One Piece....One Piece is exaggerated in all senses. Comedy,tragedy, drama, ridiculousness. And this get a little too ridiculous after some time. And let's leave at that.

FoxxFireArt moderator on March 18, 2014 at 2:25 p.m.

The first few episodes of NARUTO are little more than exposition dumps and introductions. Especially in the anime. There are characters that appear in the first episode of the anime that don't appear in the manga until much later. It gets better when you finally hit the first arc, after Naruto and his team's training is completed.

The series does grow the with audience. Consider that when the anime first started, that target audience is now in their early 30s.

Marshal Victoryon March 18, 2014 at 2:32 p.m.

@Juubi: Agree with this totaly. Stoped at 155 because the cloud stuff just did not feel epic like the rest did in its extreme feel. Actualy it did not even feel fairy tale epic like just silly.

Naruto will make you understand filller is bad. It will make you wish they did not bake the filler into the flashback cake episodes. Those have some new information at the start an end but has a gut full of flashback. When Naruto is good its great an when its bad its awful.

That said Naruto an Luffy both have bigger than life goals. Both are goofy but Naruto is the underdog. Where as Luffy never feels like a underdog at all.

Speeking of long form story telling that pick in this article is foreshadowing. Naruto uses alot of foreshadowing tho maybe by acident.

Petiewon March 19, 2014 at 9 a.m.

I think Naruto got too serious for its own good, kind of in the same way Dragon Ball or Tsubasa Resevoir Chronicles did. One Piece keeps its goofy and wacky humour throughout the whole series so it doesn't feel out of place even in arcs dealing with slavery and drug addiction.

Naruto on the other hand kind of throws its humour away, and gets far too melodramatic and brooding. When the humour comes back it just feels really out of place and cringeworthy since it's such a stark contrast. The armadillo penis is probably the weirdest example I can think of.

Naruto was the first anime I ever really watched subbed but with the direction it went I don't even have the desire to read the conclusion, if we ever get there.

YotaruVegetaon March 28, 2014 at 6:23 p.m.

Who hates Rock Lee? He's the best!

takashichea moderator is online on April 10, 2014 at 3:21 p.m.

Like Petiew said, Naruto doesn't transition really well with its humor and serious moments like One Piece. Naruto divides its audience because of this. It's not good for fans who want a serious show compared to fans who watched it for their favorite characters goofing off. That's why Rock Lee's Spin off series cater to fans who were in for the comedic moments.

Naruto is just a Shonen show that reuses the Shonen cliches and themes, and it's just another show whose concoction happens to hit the right people at the right time. It won't hit nationally like Dragon Ball Z did with the Toonami craze back then. Anime is becoming less mainstream.

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