And so today marks the end of my favorite Manga created by Masashi Kishimoto, fitting as a gift for my birthday on November 10th. I’m filled with positive emotions right now, and I’m going to remember this series very fondly. I’m not spoiling much in this blog, rather I’m just going to reflect on my favorite moments of the series, and show what it has taught me as I grew up through my angst filled teenage years.
1. Never giving up or giving in-
This was always the primary theme in Naruto, hard work and dedication pays off vs natural genius at certain tasks. I always related to Naruto being the underdog with how I’ve developed into playing my music. I had to struggle to understand music theory and how to play instruments better when I first started.
2. The Fight Scenes-
Sure, DBZ characters can destroy planets in their base forms, but the fights in Naruto were always very well thought out (the ninjas always use strategy) and escalated in very climactic fashions. My favorite fights were definitely Itachi vs Sasuske, Naruto vs Pein, and Might Guy (eight gates) vs Madara Uchiha. I just fan-gasm every time I read and see these fights in because they are just so epic!
3. Obito Uchiha-
“I am no one, I do not wish to be anyone. I just care about completing the Moon’s Eye Plan!” Obito manipulated a lot of things behind the scenes from the start of the series, and was known as the masked man and Madara Uchiha for many years. The reason I will miss Obito is because I enjoyed the arcs in his character development. Sure, starting a war to revive his childhood crush was week, but he still served to be a bad ass villain for most of the series. And he later redeemed himself in the fight against Kaguya before his death. Also, I respect Madara Uchiha; but I feel like Obito was a better character because he had to work for his power. Madara was just born into the series with God like powers and an annoying cocky attitude.
4. The philosophy behind the “talk no jutsu”-
The talking scenes and flashbacks have annoyed a lot of people through the years (myself included), but when they are used correctly these scenes can have a lot of emotional impact in building up a fight or teaching us life lessons. These scenes helped me cope with my inner demons many times. One of my favorite scenes is where Naruto moved Nagato to revive the people he killed in the invasion of Konoha arc, thus having Nagato redeem himself. I’m pretty sure Naruto defeated more villains using words than he did with actual fighting.
5. People Doing Manga Reviews-
My two favorite online reviewers of Naruto are Sawyer7mage and Forneverworld for their funny and smart reviews. Sawyer’s jokes always made me laugh, and Fornverworld was always good at picking up on things that I had missed from reading the manga. Of course, I tried to get into the swing of things with reviewing this and other manga, but my hands are tied between working and writing about my regular topics (life, TV, music). I’ll miss the jokes and fan theories, but most of all I’ll miss the discussions in the Naruto fandom community that Naruto (the series) had created over the last 15 years.
6. Brightening Every Wednesday Morning-
I mostly read the series through online scans of the manga, though I think I’ll pick up the series in paper form now that all the books will be out soon. In college I would always look forward to Wednesdays for the Naruto manga, and Thursdays for the anime (and my bi weekly paycheck every other Thursday). The weeks where Naruto would take a break would be very dull Wednesdays indeed, but I still survived to see the end of Naruto.
7. The Villains-
From Orichimaru and the Akatsuki, all the way back to Zabuza and Haku, this series had some very memorable villains and anti-heros featured in it. I already mentioned who my top favorite villain was earlier (Obito), but every villain in the Manga (aside from Deidara and Kaguya) was quite memorable. They all had interesting abilities that distanced them from their humanity, and they all had memorable back stories. Many villains always pulled an Anakin Skywalker and turned over a new leaf. As for the ones that stayed evil like Uchiha Madara, they were so overpowered they needed to be killed by plot-no-jutsu, thus ending the joke “Madara’s so powerful even Kishimoto can’t kill him”.
8. The Tailed Beasts-
From the start of the series we see that many of the tailed beasts (“the bijuu”) are seen as menacing and evil from when the Nine Tailed Fox attacked Konoha, we later came to understand the Bijuu as misunderstood creatures who just wanted to live free lives rather than being trapped inside their Jinchuriki hosts. Kudos to Naruto for helping the Bijuu to become happy with life again and helping them achieve their eventual freedom.
9. Naruto’s Mentors-
Naruto had a tough time growing up in the leaf village having never known who his parents were, so throughout the series he had many mentors including Jiraiya, Kakashi, Yamato, and Iruka for being like father figures to him. In Naruto Shippuden many of the villains who wanted to kill Nartuo eventually became friends of his, and he even fought for them to honor their memory. I relate to this (in a sense) towards my music teachers and Journalism professors who helped me through my struggles to become a better musician and writer.
10. Naruto and Sasuke’s Rivalry-
This was the core the story line in the manga that had been built up for quite a long time, and also how the series reached it’s epic finale. For a while people were doubting how the fight would happen when Sasuke began working alongside the Shinobi Alliance, but Kishimoto came through for us in an epic fashion. I’m going to miss seeing these two fight each other, not just in battle, but their philosophies of isolation and revenge (Sasuke) vs friendship and peace (Naruto). I’m happy that their rivalry ending signaled the end of the manga, and led to an amazing epilogue in chapter 700.
And as I finish writing these words, I feel a sense of sadness and joy at the same time for realizing the manga series that I started reading back in college is over now (despite the mini series coming out next Spring). So the only thing tougher than writing this blog as I’m feeling so many emotions was deciding the right song to send off the series. And I found the right one after borrowing an idea from major anime pages on Facebook. “Wind / ウインド” which was the first ending ever used for the original Naruto anime.