NOTE: This article contains Naruto SPOILERS. Read at your own discretion.
If you’ve been near a television set at all in the past twenty years, chances are you know what Naruto is. You may have not watched it, but you knew.
The series revolves around its titular character, Naruto Uzumaki, and the challenges he faces on his quest to become the greatest ninja the world has ever seen. As he tries to win over the disapproving peers within his village, Naruto also battles against the terrifying Nine-Tailed Fox that was sealed inside him twelve years prior.
With over 700 episodes and 700 manga chapters under its belt, Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto has been a part of our lives for fifteen years and has cultivated a fanbase in more than fifty countries.
Though it might be intimidating to start such a well-known and long-running series, here’s a couple reasons why Naruto is one of the best manga/anime series of all time.
Naruto, being a shounen anime, was sure to come out with the most legendary fight scenes. Because the show revolved around ninjas and their otherworldly abilities (controlling elements, creating jutsus, commandeering giant demon TAILED-BEASTS), there were many scenes that were just plain cool.
The action scenes are always packed and well-animated, and not with just senseless fighting. We see in battle that the shinobi of the Hidden villages think hard before they attack, and because of this, every battle becomes a beautifully strategized plan to defeat the opposing enemy.
The incredible thing about Naruto is the very intricate detail put into building the elaborate world of ninjas. In the Naruto-verse, there are a wide variety of countries and villages, each with their own distinct traits. The ninja order has its own specific chain of command, and the diversity of duties and roles assigned are akin to that of real-life armies.
Even more so, the history of each village is ripe with context and holds deep bonds. The ties of the past will often reappear and be of some importance in the present, and the way this is done is complex enough to remind viewers of a very good, hard played game of chess.
To compare the expansiveness of the Naruto world, it’s perhaps most similar to that of the world of wizardry in Hogwarts, or the world of hobbits in Lord of the Rings. When you read or watch Naruto, you can’t help but get pulled into the realm of ninjas and imagine yourself living and fighting alongside them.
One of the more surprising aspects of the long-running show is its long list of heartfelt life lessons. As the characters grow up, move on, and encounter difficulty after difficulty, we are in turn, repeatedly taught what really makes the show special.
In 700 episodes/chapters, we’ve been able to learn the importance of friendship in one’s life, the path that perseverance will take you on, the true meaning of sacrifice, and the genuine essence of empathy and kindness.
Many arcs also go over the values in battle and war and the concept of “an eye for an eye” (literally), which are reflective of the handful of Confucian beliefs the show provides.
But arguably the best, and realest, lesson the show can offer is that people are capable of change. Standards and ideals, whether they are good or bad, are all subject to change after the encounter of an experience, a place, or a person.
In the world of Naruto, it’s never too late to turn over a new leaf.
And that’s a lesson that people of all ages should remember. Maybe it’s another reason why Naruto is so great – it’s relatable through all demographics. If there’s anything that this epic classic has taught us, it’s that values like determination, kindness, and forgiveness are all we need in life.