March 16, 2008

Series I'll never watch: Naruto

I'm a big fan of Dragonball Z. I make no apologies for that. Everything bad that everyone says about it is true, or nearly everything, but I like it. It's slow, and packed to the gills with filler, time wasters, and money savers. But I've gotten to know the characters, and there are pleasures to be had from it. And the powers everyone has are cool. It's fun to fly and toss energy blasts around; I wish I could do it.

There are also characters in it I've come to like a lot. I like Piccolo, for instance. I like Vegeta. I like Krillin. And it's fun to watch Gohan grow up over the course of the series. At the beginning he's 4 years old. At the end he has a 4 year old daughter.

Why would I want to watch Naruto? What does it give me that DBZ doesn't give me better? Well, there are more girls in Naruto. That's it. But the fights aren't as spectacular, and frankly, the characters don't intrigue me.

It's another interminably-long series which shows no sign of ever ending. If there's any kind of long term plot, it doesn't seem to be showing any sign of trying to come to a conclusion.

What's it about? Well, a bunch of trainee ninjas, apparently. The title character is a punk, and apparently he's an incarnation of some sort of evil spirit. Or something like that.

What I gather is that the entire series is one big exercise in "My Kung Fu is Stronger than Yours". That was a major theme in DBZ, but I don't really need any more of it from another series.

What is there that would make me watch it, then? Well, there's Temari. She has the same voice as Nayuta from Shingu. But she arrives late, and she isn't a major character. I gather there are a few other good looking women.

But a fan service show this ain't, and if I want to watch bodacious babes doing kung fu, I'll wait for Ikki Tousen: Dragon Destiny. (Coming soon, from a Media Blasters near you!) There's not a girl in Naruto who can stand up to Kan'u Unchou, in a fight or in a swimsuit.

There's either something really right, or something really wrong, with this series. It seems to have created its own militant fan following, known to disrespectful outsiders as "Narutards". It's like Star Wars and Star Trek in that regard. Even DBZ didn't inspire that kind of thing.

Not interested, not curious.

UPDATE: Is Pete a fan?

As regards "massive ignorance", Pete misses the point of this series of posts. Of course I'm ignorant about the various series described in them. I'm explaining why I treasure my ignorance about them. That's why they're all titled "series I'll never watch".

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Never Watch at 03:54 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
Post contains 476 words, total size 3 kb.

1 It's goofy shounen fun, that's all. I read the manga here and there, but don't really keep up. (It does have the distinction of having the fastest manga release EVER in the US... at one point they released nine volumes in three months.)

The show's fans take more flak than normal because they're a little easier to identify than previous types of shounen-show fans; particularly with those headbands being -everywhere- at a convention.

Oh, and Narutard-ism has actually claimed a victim, which is kind of depressing... kid got himself buried in a sandbox trying to become a sand ninja, and suffocated. (sigh)

I can't make myself pick at it. I mean, the main character is a ninja wearing a fluorescent orange jumpsuit. They ain't even trying...

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at March 16, 2008 05:16 PM (LMDdY)


I read about that kid. Damned pity, but you'd think that ten year olds would know better.

The whole ninja business seems wrong. That's not what ninjas are about, based on what I know. As you said, there's the neon orange suit, for instance.

But ninjas are first-and-foremost assassins. They're not about fair fights against a worthy foe, they're about quick-and-dirty sneak kills against people they don't even know, on commission, for money. Ninjas are hit men.

And I bet the series doesn't even dwell on that aspect of it. No missions, no training of that kind, nothing.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 16, 2008 05:20 PM (+rSRq)

3 One of the Charactors is expressly described as an assassination specialist (This being one of the guys expressly in charge of training the hero). The training system they use starts out with trivial tasks and works the way up to assassination. As of yet, they haven't really assigned any assassinations for pay to any of the younger charactors and showed it 'on screen' in the manga. Some of the younger charactors that have likely done some of that off screen, and one of them finally seems to have which was a long term goal from early in the story. The series may be finally winding down, as all of the pieces seem to be on the field for a finale.

The younger ninjas go on missions, and sometimes people end up dead as a result. There is training, some of it in techniques especially for assassination. Whether that counts is likely subjective.

My under standing is that Dragonball had a fairly strong following in the west considering the size of the anime market there at the time. I think Naruto just fills the same niche now Dragonball did then. I think I'd rather watch Dragonball Z, but I do want to see how Naruto ends, and I might find the Naruto Anime worth watching someday. I do know that the one time I had access to cable, something about the english voice actors rubbed me wrong.

Regarding the Orange jumpsuit, the hero apparently spent his childhood trying to get attention. If he survives to grow up, presumably he will adopt saner procedures.

Steven, I do agree that it doesn't seem to be your thing. (perhaps Grim and gritty, Gizmo Obsession (Jutsu), possible Dead girls, Incomplete, possible Angst, likely Blood and Gore) Two possibles on the interest meter, but I wouldn't have any real clue due to not having seen the anime and not being you. I like the sketch the mangaka did supporting the war on terror I saw somewhere.

Posted by: PatBuckman at March 16, 2008 06:49 PM (nHxTS)

4 What PatBuckman said, basically ( not watched the anime, but have read the manga a fair bit ).  He didn't mention it, but it also suffers badly from author fixation on one particular character, to the detriment of everyone else who *isn't* an ineffective whiny emo boy.  *cough*

Posted by: metaphysician at March 16, 2008 07:05 PM (9Lztf)


And I bet the series doesn't even dwell on that aspect of it. No missions, no training of that kind, nothing.

It flirts with that aspect on occasion (particularly in the earlier parts), and all the characters are shown to be willing and able to kill (even if the story goes to ludicrous lengths to keep any of the three main characters from actually killing on screen).

My personal opinion is that it's a fascinating, well-designed world with a great batch of characters; the first arc/season drags on a little long and is a tad rough, but the rest of "Part 1" is very strong (with the exception of the - deliberate - sidelining of one of the main characters).  Sadly, after the first arc or so of "Part 2" I thought it started going downhill very fast, and I no longer really follow the series.

Posted by: Aaron Nowack at March 16, 2008 07:06 PM (AFfUz)

6 t also suffers badly from author fixation on one particular character, to the detriment of everyone else

Seconded (although without the derogatory language, as when he's not taking over the story I think the character in question is a good one ), and a large part of why I think the series went downhill when it did.

Posted by: Aaron Nowack at March 16, 2008 07:26 PM (AFfUz)

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