Naruto written by Masashi Kishimoto is an interesting pick to read. It’s an extremely popular shonen manga, and one that truly popularized and defined the genre. It follows the tale of the young ninja Naruto, who is shunned and despised by his village and his journey to become the Hokage in order to earn respect. Naruto is above all else a coming-of-age story about a boy and his dreams.
Naruto is somewhat of a mixed back. For the most part, it’s an extremely solid series, but eventually, it begins to dip in quality, leading to both its highest of highs and lowest of lows. Despite this, it still has many positives, more positives than negatives I would say. For one, the characters of the show are for the most part, amazing. Most characters are memorable and receive their own development and character arcs alongside the protagonist. The antagonists are all amazing in their own right, and more often than not, end up more likable or memorable than the protagonist.
One of the manga’s biggest draws is its fights. The fights of Naruto are simply incredible. Each one is a showcase of incredible choreography and ingenious battle tactics. This is aided in full part by Naruto’s world and power system, which are both insanely well thought out.
However, this positive does come with a negative. In the later parts of the series, the manga begins to lose quite a bit of steam. Characters become more one note, antagonists become more generic, and the fights become more about flashy spectacles than strategy. This isn’t to say it isn’t enjoyable, it just betrays the core themes of the manga and makes for a slightly less satisfying ending.
Despite the downsides, Naruto is still a series I wholeheartedly recommend. It deserves its title as a genre-defining shonen series, and will one hundred percent make for an enjoyable read. Even though the ending may leave a bad taste in your mouth, it only slightly taints what is otherwise an absolute classic shonen tale. Check it out if you ever get the chance.
By Eythan Aegard