Reviews · The Foundry

Manga/Anime Review: Naruto and Bleach

Hi all,  Ru here and back with a review and my general thoughts.

After turning 15 years old I discovered comics, but not western comics. No, I found Japanese manga and anime, what has followed is a love for all things Japanese. To the extent that in college I learned Japanese, by the time I left I was mildly fluent in it. It is an accomplishment I am proud of, less so of the fact that I have not practise Japanese properly.

Anyway, I have read the manga for over a decade now and love it. Two of which I will speak about in this blog post, they are Naruto and Bleach. These are two mangas that I discovered in my first year of college and have read over the past decade. They have both recently come to end, with differing receptions.

Now Naruto is what I discovered first when I was 17 years old. My sister-in-law bought a box set of the first 3-4 seasons, while she was planning to send it to her brothers and nephews I had a few weeks to watch the anime.

I fell in love with it.

Naruto was about adventure and action. I liked the main character as a boy with almost no prospects trying to persevere in a world of highly competent ninja’s. The whole formula hooked me from the start, from even the very first showing of Naruto and his boisterousness.

I then read through the manga, buying the issues from my shop before travelling into London during Uni to buy the later ones. I have grown up with Naruto from 17 to 28 years of age when I first started it I had just gone to college and didn’t know what I was doing with my life. Now I work for a large company in central London, but every step of the way of my own journey I followed Naruto’s. His desire to become Hokage was inspiring, through every type of adversity he pushed passed, and obtained his goal.

Naruto is the main character, to which the manga is named after. At the start of the series, he is an overconfident young boy, at 12 years of age. This world looks to post-apocalyptic, through the whole series you can easily tell the dichotomy in the technological level of the place. From modern appliances such as computers to the way, gunpowder seems to have never been invented.

The world is ruled by ninja, who appear to have a mission based society. The ninjas are assigned missions to complete to earn money and be promoted higher. Naruto himself is a 12-year-old boy starting out on his journey, however, he is really bad at being a ninja. Until he is tricked into stealing an old scroll by a crooked teacher, he then learns a spell or Jutsu as it is called and graduates. The crooked teacher is caught and Naruto gains recognition by his favourite teacher, who grants him the opportunity to be a ninja.

The fight with the crooked teacher is also where Naruto discovers that he harbours an ancient powerful evil, which is also why he has been looked down upon by the townspeople. I like the end of this fight between Naruto, the crooked teacher and Iruka his favourite teacher. It gives Naruto the recognition, gives him the confidence to push forward and fully cements in his mind that Iruka would always look out for him.

The story progresses to his time as a ninja, fighting rogue ninja and evil masterminds with his team. Consisting of himself, Sasuke a survivor of a clan massacre and Sakura a ninja from a civilian family. Finally their teacher, the aloof Kakashi Hatake.

The manga was split into Parts, part one focused on their early missions and time spent together. Leading onto their promotions exams and the turmoil around that. Part 2 started off a few years later, they had grown up a little and matured in their power. This part has gotten a lot of derision from the fanbase, some of its warrant. I do wonder at other points if people were just nitpicky, there were some chapters that were not as great as others, but they got ripped apart by the fanbase.

I do understand some of the comments towards Sasuke, the second main character. Some people thought he was shown to much favouritism or had become to overpowered, I felt that some of his chapters were a less good in comparison to others. At some points, his decision makings left me questioning him. However he is a troubled character who has been tortured mentally, so I did give him a certain leeway in his decisions.

I myself enjoyed the whole manga immensely, from the good chapters to the not so good. Rarely did I find a chapter I didn’t like, sometimes there were boring bits but I didn’t think there were any truly terrible chapters. It gave a nice ebb and flow to the story being told, about a boy growing up and being accepted.

I feel sad that it has ended, again it was something I have grown up with into my adult life. There is the sequel which is something I haven’t been able to get into but will try and read in the next couple of weeks. The manga ended on a nice touching note, maybe not all plot points were resolved but I feel the main ones were mostly resolved.

Anyway, these are just my thoughts and how I feel in regards to Naruto, a manga that I truly do love. I hope to find something else that will replace it. As this post is already so long I will end this here, I was planning to talk about Bleach. The other manga I grew up with, which also ended around the same time as Naruto. I will polish up that portion, and hopefully post it very soon!

Anyway, see you guys next time.


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