takashichea (Level 25)

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Japan Animator Expo is a showcase of 30 shorts presented by Dwango and Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno's Studio Khara. It was announced at the Tokyo International Film Festival's The World of Hideaki Anno on October 26, 2014. Dwango and Hideaki plan to release weekly shorts in that announcement. Part of this project is to increase exposure on a global scale for the new animators. Right now, there are 3 shorts available legally online.

I have listed links to these shorts on Japan Animator's website for you to watch. Hope you enjoy them.

Note:

I will add these shows to the wiki database and continued updating this blog.

ONAs

Me!Me!Me! (ONA)
  • Trailer
  • Directed by Hibiki Yoshizaki
  • Music: "ME!ME!ME! feat.daoko"TeddyLoid
  • Character Designer/Animation Director: Shuichi Iseki
Plot:
**NSFW contains nudity***

You are attacked and ravished by many girls. Animation music video by Teddyloid x daoko x Studio Khara

Hill Climb Girl (ONA)
  • Trailer
  • Director: Azuma Tani
  • Animation Director: Studio khara digital department
Plot:

Hinako, a high school girl, loves to ride a bicycle, who respects a professional road racer. Every morning she competes with a boy of her classmate to the way to their school on the hill, riding her mama chari bicycle, but she loses the game every time. Frustrated Hinako gets a chance for winning the game from the video of her favorite cycle racer and is ready for the game next morning…

The Dragon Dentist (ONA)
  • Trailer
  • Original Creator and Script Writer: Otaro Maijo
  • Animation Director: Kazuya Tsurumaki
Plot:

A girl comes there to become a dentist of dragon. She is with other new freshman applicants, but there is no announcement from a senior as a guidance. They are confused and taken along with the senior. The only way is just to walk through freshman's path, which is dark and strange. They do not know where they are. Not knowing what to do, she is approaching to the secret of dragon, but she does not realize yet. The adventure has already begun.

Sources

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Welcome to the last week of DVD and Blu-Ray releases for the states! I hope you guys have a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend.

Familiar Series I would Recommend

  • Nisekoi - This one is hard for me since harem series tend to be generic or a hit or miss with folks. Nisekoi doesn't deviate from your average harem shows. Plus, Nisekoi has a underwhelming cast which can be hard if you don't like their characters. It's better for me to say, just try the first episode to see if you like it.
  • Road to Ninja - Some folks love it while some folks didn't. I'm the ones who liked it purely out of fan service. It was still a rinse and repeat of most Naruto films, but it has a lot of old favorite characters in an alternative universe. That what appeals to some folks.

Shows I would Try

  • Amagami - I'm not much of a slice of fan, but based on the cover, it looks like a harem. I can get used to slice of life harem shows more easily than pure slice of life shows.

I would love to hear your recommendations on these series. All comments are welcome. Thank you.

Disclaimer: I'm just promoting the official release and the publishers. I'm not selling you anything. This is to combat piracy and get fans to support the official release. All summaries are from ANN.

Sources

Notes

  • Right Stuf has Nisekoi Blu-Ray listed.

DVD and Blu-ray Releases

Amagami SS - Complete Collection
  • Distributor: Sentai Filmworks
  • Suggested retail price: $89.98 (Blu-Ray) $69.98 (DVD)

Junichi Tachibana has never been lucky in love. Ever since his date stood him up on Christmas Eve two years ago, he's pretty much given up on the whole idea; however, there are quite a few girls who would all make wonderful partners for Junichi if he would only open his eyes. Could he have struck up a meaningful relationship with any of them if he'd done the right things and said the right words?

Well, it's time to find out as Fate steps in and decides to see what would happen if Junichi were to snap out of his funk and take a chance. It's a whole new twist on the idea of love at sixth or seventh sight, and if one boy and a whole lot of different girlfriends-to-be sounds like a lot of wishful thinking... well, it is! But wishes have a habit of coming true and the statistical odds are definitely on Junichi's side as the guy without a date's luck with the ladies goes from bad to multi-verse!


Contains episodes 1-24 plus two specials. Special Features: Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation. Spoken Languages: Japanese, English subtitles.

Kite Liberator
  • Distributor: Media Blasters
  • Suggested retail price: $16.98

In this second installment of the Kite series, teenage assassin Sawa has discovered the man behind her parents deaths, and reaped her revenge. Now the story of a new killer, the Angel of Death, has begun to circulate around the city. By day, the Angel wears a different face: that of an ordinary high school girl. But which one is she really? The icy Angel of Death, or the kind Monaka?

Log Horizon - Collection 1
  • Distributor: Sentai Filmworks
  • Suggested retail price: $69.98 (BD), $59.98 (DVD)

Elder Tales has become a global phenomenon, immersing millions of players in its online fantasy world. However, something goes wrong with the twelfth expansion pack. Eight-year veteran Shiroe and 30,000 other players suddenly find themselves trapped in the game's no-longer-fictional universe!


Except it's not even exactly the game they knew: things are in different places, the portals don't work, and if a gamer was playing an avatar who wasn't a physical match for their real self... well, let's just say that everyone who's been playing is going to have to make some serious adjustments to their new world view.

On top of that, the former Non-Player-Characters are now self-aware and working towards their own ends. This collision of the Elder Tale people and players with seemingly impossible skills, abilities, and knowledge promises to be cataclysmic. Get ready for heroes to rise and new legends to be forged as Shiroe and fellow players Naotsugu and Akatsuki discover what happens when sword and sorcery becomes real!

Contains episodes 1-13. Special Features: Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation. Spoken Languages: English, Japanese, English subtitles.

Nisekoi: False Love (Blu-Ray 1 of 4)
  • Distributor: Aniplex of America
  • Suggested retail price: $64.98

10 years ago, Raku made a secret promise with a girl he met that they would "get married when they reunite." Since then, he never let go of the pendant she gave him...

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Like any average high school student, Raku lives with FAMILY pressures... Unlike most teenagers, he's the sole heir to the head of a Yakuza Family.

One day, a beautiful girl named Chitoge transfers into Raku's class. Their chemistry was more than off. Not a moment went by without them fighting. But, through a weird turn of events, Raku and Chitoge agree to become fake lovers. Although his heart is really interested in his classmate Kosaki, Raku must pretend to be Chitoge's boyfriend.

What will happen to this false [NISE] love [KOI]?!

Contains episodes 1-5, plus collectible ending card pinups and a deluxe poster, all housed in a box designed by Character Designer & Chief Animation Director Nobuhiro Sugiyama! Special Features: Textless Opening, Textless Endings. Spoken Languages: Japanese, English subtitles.

Road to Ninja: Naruto to the Movie
  • Distributor: Viz Media
  • Suggested retail price: $29.99 (BD), $19.98 (DVD)

Long ago, a masked shinobi unleashed the Nine-Tailed Fox onto the Village Hidden in the Leaves to spread chaos and destruction. But the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze, and his wife, Kushina Uzumaki, sealed the Tailed Beast into their newborn son Naruto to save the village, foiling the shinobi's plans.

Years later, Naruto and his friends succeed in driving away the infamous Akatsuki, who have mysteriously returned from the dead. Upon returning to the village, the young shinobi are praised by their families for completing a dangerous mission. Reminded of how alone he is, Naruto begins to wonder what it's like to have parents, when a strange masked figure appears before him - the same masked shinobi responsible for the death of his parents!

Spoken Languages: English, Japanese, English subtitles.

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Welcome everyone to the 2 week's weekly manga releases. I'm sorry for being late last week. School, Church, and other projects in Anime Vice were taking a lot of time. They were of higher priority for me.

This blog is unfinished since I have class in an hour. I thought I can knock out 5, but I only did 3 in an hour. Last week has a ton of manga releases, so this month's manga releases is the most I seen since the first week had over 30 releases while the third week had over 20 releases. It's pretty insane workload to catalog these releases.

I would love to hear your recommendations on the rest of the manga series featured this week. All comments are welcome. Thank you.

Disclaimer: I'm just promoting the official release and the publishers. I'm not selling you anything. This is to combat piracy and get fans to support the official release. All summaries are from ANN.

Sources

Notes

  • ANN listed Attack on Titan Junior High Vol. 2 for Nov. 18 while Amazon, comic stores, and Right Stuf has it for Nov. 24 or 25.

Manga Releases

Ani-Imo Vol. 1
  • Distributor: Yen Press
  • Suggested retail price: $12.99

When sweet and docile Hikaru swaps bodies with her beloved twin brother, Youta, her personality does a complete one-eighty and she starts taking brotherly affection to a whole new level! Will Youta ever get his body back in this forbidden love comedy?!

Attack on Titan Junior High Volume 2
  • Distributor: Kodansha Comics
  • Suggested retail price: $16.99

The holy Mr.​ Erwin makes his debut,​ and it seems Eren's the only one not in love with their new teacher.​ Then,​ an odd set of circumstances pit Armin and Levi against one another!

Btooom! Volume 8
  • Distributor: Yen Press
  • Suggested retail price: $13.99

Sakamoto and Himiko have thus far succeeded in hanging on to their lives on the mysterious island battlefield, using their BIMs to compete in the murderous gameplay of live-action "BTOOOM!" The two find themselves pitted in a life-or-death struggle with Date, a victor from an earlier round, who has all sorts of knowledge about the game unfolding around them.

After being cornered by Date, they escape his clutches and rush to the side of their third ally, Kiyoshi Taira, only to find that his state of terror and his horrific wounds have caused him to lose his mind...?! As the first half of this brutal game winds down, the action picks up, rollicking to the speediest climax yet!

Devils and Realist Volume 3
  • Distributor: Seven Seas Entertainment
  • Suggested retail price: $12.99

When William's butler Kevin abruptly takes over as campus pastor,​ William can't understand why he's suddenly given the cold shoulder.​ Meanwhile,​ a political conspiracy is brewing,​ and the Church is rallying to uncover the demonic possession of a member of the British government.​ When William stumbles upon a secret government conclave,​ all Hell breaks loose! With the battle for William's soul heating up between the forces of good and evil,​ can William hope to live a normal life?​

Dragonar Academy Volume 4
  • Distributor: Seven Seas Entertainment
  • Suggested retail price: $12.99

Learning to ride and tame dragons comes easy to most students at Ansarivan Dragonar Academy—except for first-year student Ash Blake, who is known by his fellow classmates as the “number one problem child.” Poor Ash is the laughingstock at school because, despite his unfashionably large star-shaped brand that marks him as a future dragon master, he has nothing to show for it. His dragon has never appeared.

Until now, that is. One fateful day, Ash’s dragon awakes in full glory, but appears different than any dragon ever seen before—in the form of a beautiful girl! What’s worse, Ash soon discovers that this new dragon has attitude to spare, as she promptly informs him that she is the master, and he, the servant.

Durarara!! Yellow Scarves Arc Volume 2
  • Distributor: Yen Press
  • Suggested retail price: $12.99

The Yellow Scarves are threatened when an unknown individual infiltrates their hideout. Just when the Yellow Scarves have their quarry cornered, the Headless Rider, urban legend of Ikebukuro, comes to her rescue. The incident leaves the entire neighborhood unsettled once again, and the resulting turmoil forces Masaomi Kida, leader of the Yellow Scarves, to come face-to-face with the painful past from which he once fled...

Gangsta Volume 4
  • Distributor: Viz Media
  • Suggested retail price: $12.99

As Hunters infiltrate the walled city of Ergastulum,​ more and more Twilights fall victim to the violence and chaos that result.​ The Cristiano Family,​ traditionally (and secretly) charged with overseeing the Twilight population,​ is keeping a close eye on events - and they don't like what they see.​ The young Cristiano boss hires the Handymen to escort Twilights to a safe place for protection,​ but a new,​ even more dangerous threat is on their doorstep.​

Gou-dere Sora Nagihara Vol. 1
  • Distributor: Yen Press
  • Suggested retail price: $14.99

Shouta Yamakawa is in love with manga... and the 2-D girls in it! So when a casually uttered wish to have the lovely, frail Sora Nagihara - his favorite comic heroine - by his side comes true, Shouta can't believe his eyes! But he quickly learns that while this Sora is just as cute as the one in his comic books, "frail" is the last word that comes to mind for her personality! She's one bold, brutal babe, and she's ready to bring the world to its knees for him, her new master!

High School DxD Volume 3
  • Distributor: Yen Press
  • Suggested retail price: $13

When unlucky high school letch Issei is murdered by his first-ever girlfriend on his first-ever date, who should jump to his rescue but the hottest girl in school, Rias-senpai! She informs Issei that he's been reincarnated as a demon and that it's about time he got to work-for her! Caught in the bosom of an age-old war between angels and demons, Issei soon discovers that being enslaved by a demonic beauty isn't quite all that it's cracked up to be!

Higurashi: When They Cry - Dice Killing Arc 1 Volume 26

Distributor: Yen Press Suggested retail price: $13 Over the course of a hundred years, Rika relived her brutal murder over and over again through countless fragments before finding the world where she could live in peace. But even without the threat of certain death hanging over her head, this world is fraught with dangers. When she's in a terrible accident, Rika wakes up to find herself in the nurse's office-however she's not in her peaceful new world, but rather in an alternate June 1983! Rika is desperate to find a way back to her ideal fragment, but it may require her to do something drastic... The thrilling continuation of Higurashi WHEN THEY CRY!

Kokoro Connect Volume 2
  • Distributor: Seven Seas Entertainment
  • Suggested retail price: $12.99

The members of this school club have a very deep connection! The very best of friends are about to become the worst enemies. When five normal and well-adjusted teens at Yamahoshi Academy form the Cultural Research Club, all is right with the world. The closeknit club of girls and boys are perfectly happy in their daily school life—until a supernatural being known as the Heartseed enters the picture.

Now the lives of the five friends are turned upside down, as they start swapping bodies and minds. Inner secrets, hidden pasts and dark urges are revealed to one another. Will the Heartseed and his mindbending powers pull the five friends apart forever?

Monster Musume Volume 5
  • Distributor: Seven Seas Entertainment
  • Suggested retail price: $12.99

What do world governments do when they learn that fantastical beings are not merely fiction, but flesh and blood —not to mention feather, hoof, and fang? Why, they create new regulations, of course! “The Interspecies Cultural Exchange Accord” ensures that these once-mythical creatures assimilate into human society...or else!

When hapless human twenty-something Kurusu Kimihito becomes an involuntary “volunteer” in the government homestay program for monster girls, his world is turned upside down. A reptilian lamia named Miia is sent to live with him, and it is Kimihito’s job to tend to her every need and make sure she integrates into his everyday life. While cold-blooded Miia is so sexy she makes Kimihito’s blood boil with desire, the penalties for interspecies breeding are dire.

Even worse, when a buxom centaur girl named Centorea and a scantily clad harpy named Papi move into Kimihito’s house, what’s a full-blooded young man with raging hormones to do?!

My Little Monster Volume 5
  • Distributor: Kodansha Comics
  • Suggested retail price: $10.99

A BRAVE VENTURE

Shizuku is now more determined than ever to make Haru aware of her love for him, but Haru is too preoccupied with fending off Yamaken to notice! Shizuku thinks Haru has nothing to worry about, but competitive above all, Yamaken has some plans of his own. Meanwhile, blossoming feelings turn the popular but romance-hating Natsume into a maiden in love?!

Ooku: The Inner Chambers Volume 10
  • Distributor: Viz Media
  • Suggested retail price: $12.99

Aonuma and his disciples in Holland's studies are closer than ever to finding a way to prevent the spread of the Redface Pox.​ But even as they work ceaselessly for salvation for their country,​ shadowy political machinations threaten their endeavors.​.. and their lives!

Noragami Volume 2
  • Distributor: Kodansha Comics
  • Suggested retail price: $10.99

Yato is a homeless god. He doesn't even have a shrine, not to mention worshippers! So to achieve his ambitious goals, he's set up a service to help those in need (for a small fee), hoping he'll eventually raise enough money to build himself the lavish temple of his dreams. Of course, he can't afford to be picky, so Yato accepts all kinds of jobs, from finding lost kittens to helping a student overcome bullies at school.

Pandora Hearts Volume 22
  • Distributor: Yen Press
  • Suggested retail price: $12.99

A question is posed to Oz Vessalius once more. The answer he deduces after overcoming the chains of infinite despair that bound him becomes a blinding light, piercing through the jet-black darkness. As though hope can be spun out of the fragile threads of one's heart...

Prophecy Vol. 1

Distributor: Vertical Suggested retail price: $12.95 The Tokyo Metropolitan Police has developed a Cyber Crime Division to take on the increasing threat of high-tech crime. One day, a man wearing a bag over his head releases a YouTube video notice of crime that will be committed. The crime occurs and the pattern is repeated and repeated, again and again. Now the TMPD must investigate this serious threat before, like many things on the internet, it is replicated and exploited.

Real Volume 13
  • Distributor: Viz Media
  • Suggested retail price: $12.99

Real is a tale of triumph over adversity told in the unmatched illustrative style of one of Japan's most popular and talented creators,​ Takehiko Inoue (Slam Dunk,​ Vagabond). The series' main characters,​ three young men in their late teens,​ have one thing in common—their love of basketball.​ As they experience harrowing personal tragedies,​ their love for the sport provides an unexpected lifeline and a path to redemption.​ This series has sold over 12 million copies worldwide.​

Resident Evil - Maruhawa Desire Vol. 1
  • Distributor: Viz Media
  • Suggested retail price: $12.99

At the prestigious and elite Marhawa High School in Singapore, a female student suffers a horrifying transformation. Called in to investigate, Professor Doug Wright and his nephew Ricky find themselves caught up in a deadly and growing tragedy. As things get rapidly out of hand, Chris Redfield and his team from the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance arrive on the scene - while behind it all, a mysterious figure looms. Prequel to Resident Evil 6.

Soul Eater Volume 23

Distributor: Yen Press Suggested retail price: $13 Kid, accompanied by an escort of witches, enters the witches' realm to appeal for help. Though they have been DWMA's enemies for years, the witches share a respect for order - and are equally threatened by the Kishin. Kid's immediate goal is to deal with the situation on the moon, but he hopes that the negotiations will forge a new pact between DWMA and witches in the future - assuming anyone survives the Kishin's madness!

Soul Eater Not! Volume 4
  • Distributor: Yen Press
  • Suggested retail price: $12.99

Tsugumi Harudori is in love with life at DWMA, but she still hasn't made a decision on whether to take Meme or Anya as her meister. Anya has delivered an ultimatum: Tsugumi must make her choice by Halloween - and the clock is ticking! Can Tsugumi make up her mind in time, and without hurting one of her friends? It's a savage but super-fun life!

Sword Art Online: Fairy Dance Volume 2
  • Distributor: Yen Press
  • Suggested retail price: $12.99

Kirito jumps into a new VRMMORPG called ALfheim Online (ALO) in search of Asuna, who still hasn't regained consciousness. On his quest to find the World Tree and reach Asuna, he meets a sylph girl named Leafa. A veteran player experienced with the sword, Leafa recognizes that Kirito is motivated by serious circumstances and decides to help him. But...Leafa's identity in the real world is Suguha Kirigaya-Kirito's sister. And it's the glimmer of her beloved brother she sees in Kirito that prompts her to lend him a hand. Now, despite the conflicting interests guiding them on, the pair set off on a journey to the World Tree!!

Terra Formars Volume 3
  • Distributor: Viz Media
  • Suggested retail price: $12.99

A new mission to Mars,​ Annex 1,​ is under way.​ Their mission: crucial research into the A.​E.​ Virus currently plaguing mankind.​ The mutant Terraformars,​ giant humanoid cockroaches,​ may hold the key to a cure.​ Unfortunately for the crew of the Annex 1,​ the Terraformars have somehow gotten on board the ship and have only one goal—total extermination! Led by Akari Hizamaru,​ the crew will need to rely on their superhuman powers to survive.​.. if those powers don't kill them first!

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Volume 20
  • Distributor: Yen Press
  • Suggested retail price: $13

When Kyon arrives at school, it seems like another average day-until he realizes Sasaki has wrapped North High in a closed space. Led to the SOS Brigade clubroom by Sasaki and Tachibana, Kyon knocks (just in case) and is surprised to find not a costumed Asahina, but instead a girl he's never seen before...and a very familiar face!

Triage X Volume 8
  • Distributor: Yen Press
  • Suggested retail price: $13.99

Even as she rampages through Black Label's high security wards, Sayo Hitsugi teeters between life and death. The team has always been glad to have Hitsugi's fearsome strength on their side, but now under barrage from her blows, they're starting to appreciate just how much! Sagiri holds her teammate at bay, her heart in turmoil as she recalls the last time she was forced to stop Hitsugi's violence... by driving a blade through her...

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Hello everyone, welcome to the first step of Anime Vice's Top Anime and Manga of 2014! Every year since 2012, sickVisionz, one of Anime Vice's senior mods, started this community project and making voting sheets for the community. He wanted to create a community wide poll to see what our community love.

In 2013, I started the Top 10 Manga of 2013 Voting Project using sickVisionz's formula except I had 10.

For this year, the top anime and manga's calcs will be done by sickVisionz while I'm in charge of maintaining the gdoc voting sheets for the anime and manga. sickVisionz and I worked on the anime and manga sheets since summer of 2014. We did finish the anime gdocs but the manga gdocs hasn't been finished yet. I don't think we get every manga, but we get the most we can.

Voting Gdoc Sheets

This is where you can help us. This is a very huge project with a lot of time invested in making an archive.

I set up two archives:

which made our lives easier to make the manga sheets as accurate as we can.

How can you help us

Report any manga series ending in 2014, just the name. Double check the Wikipedia, Anime News Network, and any credible/official sources. I will check with you as well to confirm the information. Don't worry about the columns B to I. That's for extra research for myself.

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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.

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