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Attention all Naruto fans, the main franchise has now come to an end and moved on from the original characters’ stories.  While watching the last episode of this long and amazing Shounen classic, I realized that I am going to have to let this series go, which will be so hard because I have been so attached to this series for two years and it has been a huge part of my life!  When I started the Naruto series a few years ago, I was going through some tough times and this show led me away from reality for every single twenty minute episode I watched and brought me into a world full of amazing ninja.  At the same time, Team 7 and the rest of the crew gave me some insights on what the future may hold and a handful of memorable life lessons to pass on to the people I meet in the next however many years, which makes it twice as hard to say goodbye.

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For those of you who have no idea what Naruto has in store, the synopsis seems very simple: Twelve year old orphan named Naruto Uzumaki, goes to the Ninja Academy to become a Gennin and hopefully become Hokage of the Hidden Leaf Village, yet he struggles with accomplishing his goal because of how poorly his pupils and citizens of Konoha treat him.  One night as all of his pupils graduate the Ninja Academy, a neglected Naruto feels left out and ends up performing a forbidden jutsu (ninja power), resulting in him in becoming a Gennin with his peers.  After being put on a ninja team with pink haired Sakura Haruno and Sasuke Uchiha, Naruto’s rival, the team go through what it takes to be a ninja and how to survive the adventures of their new ranks.

There are many great aspects of this series and one of them has to be the characters in the series.  Yes, Naruto falls into the Shounen category, which means there are instances where most of the characters have their own spotlight whenever a big battle happens in a clip of episodes.  Since there are a ton of episodes in the Naruto series, there has to be instances of character developments for almost every single person in the anime, right?  When it comes to this anime the character growth does not always happen in the canon episodes of the show, but creator Hashashi Kishimoto does an excellent job in squeezing in room for the bunch of wonderful characters in this franchise, especially my favorites.  “Who is my favorite character?” some of you might be asking.  Well, it’s hard to choose just one, but my top three are…well, besides the main protagonist…

Hinata Hyuga, a timid yet corageous girl who has a “slight” crush on our main protagonist…

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Iruka Sensei, Naruto’s teacher…

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Itachi Uchiha, one of the most amazing antagonists I have seen in the anime I’ve seen…

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and…Neji Hyuga, Hinata’s older cousin…

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Along with great characters, Kishimoto brings in a lot of memorable symbols and themes for the anime.  When the symbols reveal themselves on the screen, they tend to stand out in a way that will stay in the viewers’ minds, especially during the amazing opening theme songs.  Some references include the Hidden Leaf Headband, Naruto’s favorite ramen, roses, a singular kunai, etc.  And with each of those symbols, the audience will be able to figure out the themes behind the objects.  I can’t even stress this enough when I talk about the symbols and themes because they are just so dear and special to me.  Whenever I have a horrible day, I tend to think about the quotes and/or themes and my day goes from bad to joyful in an instant, just like it did when I got to the Chunin Exam Arc in the original series.

Now, onto the animation!  All I can say for the art used in this anime is that it’s fantastic at times…but at other times, the animation can look quite awkward.  There are sequences in the show that have amazing transitions during battles, stellar cinematography, and colors toned out just right for the simplest backgrounds.  For a series airing for so long, it surprised me to see the animation stay almost constantly the same…until about episode 370 of Naruto: Shippuden.  At that point, the art tends to look somewhat different from the original art.  The colors look almost faded, glassy, and almost cheap-looking.  This will probably disappoint the viewers as the anime loses its originality in the animation aspect of the series, as it did to me.

Instead of sticking to one genre of music for the anime, composers Toshio Masuda and Yasuharu Takanashi add a variety of genres to both the original and Shippuden soundtracks.  In the original sound track, Masuda uses a bit of traditional Japanese music, rock, and some softer songs to convey the setting and emotion to each scene the piece of music plays.  Examples include Sadness and Sorrow, Rock Lee Game, Go Naruto, and much more, but these are some of the main pieces used in the anime.  As for the openings for the original series, especially in Rocks, Haruka Kanata, and Fighting Dreamers—they all have a rock/punk tone to them, which can be appealing to the ears of people who enjoy rock music.

For the Shippuden series, there is a variety of genres used to reveal the tone of each mesmerizing scene, opening theme, and ending songs.  While most of the songs are part of the rock/pop genre, there are some instances where Takanashi adds some pieces of music that are sentimental, electronic, and even a folk song called Newsong is used as an opening song!  Some of my favorite openings from Shippuden include Hero’s Come Back!!, Distance, Sign, Silhouette, and the last opening, Kara No Koroko.  Gosh, I love the music in here a ton—so much that I have both of the soundtracks saved on YouTube and listen to them constantly.

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Let’s move on to the voice acting for both Japanese and English versions.  Both languages are definitely cool to listen to, especially for Shippuden.  When I first watched the series two years ago, I had the episodes in Japanese audio and English subtitles because I was more into watching anime in Japanese at the time.  I did not mind it because all of the voices sound decent and just right for the characters, but by the time I saw an episode in English right after starting Shippuden, I was shocked!  All of the voice actors and actresses have the right voices for the characters they play and I enjoy watching them improve their acting throughout the long franchise. A few voice actors I will like to mention here, Yuri Lowenthal (voice of Sasuke), Dave Wittenberg (voice of Kakashi), and Troy Baker (voices of Yamato and Pain) have some of the most awesome voices for their characters and the growth in their voices make the English Dub really entertaining!  I am currently rewatching the Shippuden dub on Adult Swim and I have to say, I am in awe of how much the voice acting progresses in every single arc.  Most of the characters’ voices improve after each season, which keeps me coming back to watching more episodes in English.

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There are no words to describe how wonderful Naruto is and how much this anime means to me; I just love it so much!  Even though there will be a new series in the Naruto franchise, Boruto, it still won’t compare to the original franchise that a lot of us, fans, grew to love and adore, which is why I am giving this series a five out of five stars!  Despite the tons of fillers a lot of the fans strongly dislike, this franchise is nothing like any other long Shounen series.  Yes, it is an overrated anime, as most anime watchers say, but that does not matter!  What matters is the wonderful ingredients that make the show entertaining for both old and newer anime fans.  Once you get up to the amazing and suspenseful episodes of the Naruto franchise, you will find a hidden gem that you might end up keeping inside of your hearts of the rest of your lives.

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Phew, that was a fun and really emotional post to type!  After watching the final episode of Naruto: Shippuden and listening to the soundtracks while typing this review made cry a whole lot because it’s going to be hard letting the original franchise go after being apart of it for a while now (about two and a half years).  Well, I will still be catching up on the new Boruto series, which will air April 5th and give you guys my first impressions on it as soon as I watch it.

Until next time,

GG 🙂 ❤

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