Yup, I've come out of my shell for a little while! That's because, have you heard the news? Everyone's heard the news...
It's time to say goodbye to a great manga. 15 years in the making! Though I'll admit I wasn't with it for so long, it's definitely something that's given me and millions of others a great amount of joy. I would say I'm sad to see it go, but good stories end, and I'm curious to see what it might've inspired in its run
I'm sure a lot of you out there have more inspirational stories than me, I just enjoyed it as a fan, I didn't get into it as a kid, but it definitely lead me to new friends, a new way to look at art and stories.. all that wonderful stuff! Feel free to share your stories below / link to your own homages in the comments
So, yes, that's it. Naruto is... finished.
Apart from a movie and spinoff series or two. But anyone who watched the Dragonball series (and any DragonballGT) know where that is going.
Overall, Naruto was a great series with solid themes, that've appealed to a large audience, (I can't say I've ever been the target demographic, but it still works, mostly) Coming up to the end, it did dovetail in quality and lost its grip on me, but I think that was mostly from editorial pressure rushing the story line, so I won't hold it against Kishimoto, he's a great author and did a great job with what he had, and I won't hold it against others for being deeper into it than I, as it really is a world class story.
I found the storytelling techniques, the pacing, the depth, the art style, all so accessible. I do think maybe it would've ended with a crescendo if a little sooner, - or even a little later with more build up / focus on sasuke, but ending on chapter 700 was clearly important, for whatever reason.
So, onto review!
--|--|--|--|Chapters 699 + 700 - spoiler warning! though you've totally been spoiled already so hahhh.
I'd like to be honest, I consider chapter 699 to be the actual ending. I'll explain why! It's a bit rushed, but it's definitely an ending. Sasuke apologizing and being nice... naw..... turns out he was just a massive, massive, massive tsundere. And all you had to do was keep chasing him. Because he was scared of the pain of losing loved ones. Aren't character monologues the best?
I'm not even sure what to say to Sasuke's turn around, because as far as I'm concerned, he went waaay past the moral event horizon. I mean trying to kill the people you love? *cough* there are multiple ways to get around that fear, and that is probably the stupidest. Still you pull adorable 'the tsundere has been tickled!' faces. So hhh. Whatever! My suspension of disbelief for this story was shattered a long time ago, so I won't try and rationalize you and your team's insanity. =X
I actually consider the last chapter (chapter 700) more shoe-horned in for the spin off to try make the spin-off feel more canon. I can't help it, there's been so little romance IN Naruto that I can't think of chapter 700 as the natural 'last chapter'... if Kishimoto thought that knowing official pairings would be the most satisfying thing for all fans, he would've started earlier) Maybe I wouldn't think it was a prequel if; - they hadn't all had kids at exactly the same time... and they were doing something with themselves other than having kids. Yes, Naruto's Hokage, which could be the focus of the chapter in itself (seeing him pestered by his peers, handling paper work, some remark from Sakura about how he's 'really shown the whole world his ninja spirit', I would love that) but Naruto's-hokage-now-let's-get-to-know-his-kid. I may think the storytelling has decreased in quality in the past 100 chapters, but I don't think for a second Kishimoto's the kind of author who'd ignore closing the main characters stories to focus on their offspring, -unless- he was told they -needed- offspring for the spin-off.
And, because offspring are needed for the spinoff, you get to know the pairings. Pairings by proxy, by corporate decision... ah. Isn't that the best kind? And, naturally, all the most popular pairings are canon. Except for Choji because --- he wasn't a most popular pairing, (BUT I LOVE HIS KID. SHE IS THE BEST.) and Neji-Tenten, because Neji wasn't important enough a story (bitter sarcasm) to live.
And on the topic of Hyuugas... Hinata is amazingly cute... she has such a nice basis. When I got into Naruto, I immediately gravitated towards her, I love her type... softly spoken, shy, proper, not too dazzling, a Yamato Nadeshiko. But she does nothing. Hinata is inactive... in fact I'm only bringing her up because her and Naruto getting together is presented as a happy ending, and I just can't do that with so little character involvement. Sure, she stalks him, and says his name, and thinks about how awesome he is... but is that enough?
After I read far in enough to the story to realize she wasn't going to do anything, I started to ignore her. Which was incredibly easy. I don't even care if she marries Naruto- there's nothing there for me to look at... I mean I sincerely wish there was, but I've been pretty darn happy focusing on the plot of Naruto, and the characters I like, (for their own sake, not their pairing potential) I ship Naruto's plot, and character integrity, things that contravene that, I don't like.
Neji had to die so Hinata could do something, (which was hold Naruto's hand, and in these two chapters, be at Neji's grave.) I was properly curious as to how Naruto would be able to correct the slavery problem, in a way that didn't involve the slave dying saying 'I did it willingly, because I had HOPE you'd help me /accept my fate'. Oh jeez. Revolutionary plot tie up there.
Maybe she'll do something in THE LAST movie. It's a bit of an afterthought, I honestly, -honestly-, wish she'd had more story within the manga, whether she marries the main character or not. I just like characters that do things...
Something like stopping Naruto from cutting their daughter's hair. For shame! He probably used a wind shuriken rasengan... (*cough*goodlordthekidisugly.)
And as for Naruto's parenting skills! Now he's married to a chick who thinks he can do no wrong, no-one's told him to not say to his son, 'I hold everyone in this village just as important as you'. Agh. But I'm sure in the spinoff series, poor little Bolt, (who has to have issues, so he can be just like his daddy.) Poor little Bolt will learn the important lesson, that Naruto is always right, and he really shouldn't expect fatherly attention. Mind you- the standard in american movies is always: 'Hey, your son misses you! You keep missing his baseball matches for work!' 'Oh. OH! OKAY I QUIT WORK!' - yeah, that'd be stupid too. But so is not at least telling his son he loves him MORE than other people. I mean, holy hotpocket... are we allowed to say 'OOC' for canon? We've spent 700 chapters following him around. Yes.
On the subject of terrible parents... Sasuke. Sakura is CLEARLY unemployed. What are you doing, man? And Sakura... why... are you only shown at home wearing an apron? If you were a real person, of course I'd say, 'I respect your choice' and I would... but it just seems, in Naruto, everyone made the choice to settle down and do nothing? (Except Tenten, who had no Neji to be paired with?) And all this character destruction is so there were kids ready for the spin off? I mean the implication here is, that it really WAS Sakura's dream to marry Sasuke, and so all that cool stuff she did, that was just stuff she had to do to seduce stinky-pants mctsundere? Cry. Cry.
Team 7... so many unfortunate implications.
Well, that's my thoughts on it! Add your own, here, there, wherever! It's the last time we get to do this... so it's special! =3
--|--|--|--|Now what should we read/watch!?
Stumped? Terrified of life without Naruto? Let's share suggestions for anime and manga series to check out! I'll share a few... not the most oblique but not the most popular that you might like to check out: Magi The Labrynth of Magic - (shonen) (manga and anime), Nurarihyon no Mago (shonen) (manga and anime), Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika
(anime) (mature shojo? political and horror), Baccano (seinen/mystery/horror) (I only watched anime), Angel Beats (shoujo) (I only watched anime), Kaichou wa Maido-sama (shoujo) (manga and anime), Kamisama Hajimemashita (shoujo) (manga and anime)