Well, I am surprised I decided to start watching Naruto again on a whim, only to somehow watch the entire series. Although, unlike Naruto I did take some shortcuts, such as skipping over most filler episodes, this includes the nearly one hundred episodes between Sasuke leaving and Naruto Shippuden starting, to be the big offender, and most filler arcs that got in the way of the final arc, I honestly skipped about 50 episodes just so I could see the final fight in one sitting. I am not sure if I will go back and see those episodes, maybe now that I finished, I am not sure. Anyway, with that said, seeing that the series is still over 700 episodes long, and my being addicted to it got in the way of most posts the past two and a half months, I figured I might as well talk about my overall thoughts on the series. This will be a two-part post since there is a lot for me to talk about, seeing I will be talking about nearly 700 episodes worth of content. This one I will only be talking about the first series, Naruto, next time I will talk about Shippuden.

I loved it, plan and simple.

Sakura is useless and it will be impossible to change my mind on that. Like, out of all the episodes she had one fight that spanned several episodes, other than that she was just a background character moral support. Sure, she was cheeky and got a final hit on the last boss of the series, Kaguya. That was all she really did in those 700 episodes. Like it honestly felt like she was only useful in the arc when Gaara was taken captive, she had a huge fight, her medical skills were shown clear, and it gave me hope that she would be useful, then she wasn’t.

Anyway, let me backtrack a bit. I will start at the beginning and go arc to arc, or something along those lines.

Back when I first got into anime in 2012, I decided to check out a few shows, Bleach, which I enjoyed and watched dubbed weekly until I got bored since it was really slowly passed. I am thinking of going back to it before the series returns. Then there was Naruto. I did like it, but I stopped after about 20ish episodes. I am not sure why, I just did. A part of me felt like it was too long, seeing that there was the 220 episodes of the first series, and at the time I want to say the sub was at about 250 episodes. I did not know the concept of filler arcs at the time, being new to anime. Ultimately, I believe I stopped due to a mixture of not wanting to watch that many episodes, and not having a clue where I could watch all the episodes.

Fast-forward to May, I was bored, wanted to watch something. I know back in 2017, when Naruto ended, I saw previews for Boruto and was interested, ultimately, I did not watch it. But, somehow Boruto crept its way onto my youtube recommendations for clips by Crunchyroll. Autoplay lead to another and seeing all the wholesome moments, comedic moments, and things like that in Boruto certainly got my interest into wanting to see it. Of course, that made me want to watch where it all began. Thus, checking it out.

Alright now onto talking about Naruto. The first arc I watched back in 2012, so, seeing it again, this time with subs and not playing video games while watching it, certainly made me enjoy it more, mostly since I was actually paying attention. There was a short bit on training to help them maintain their chakra. Later on, in the series I grown to enjoy the training moments as unlike other series it goes through the process, the failures, and really gives the sense that they grow stronger. This arc, not so much as it is just them trying to run up a tree. Still, the action towards the end made this enjoyable.

Then there was the second arc where really everything kicked off. For a second arc it was rather long, like almost 50 episodes, or more, although it can be split up into three halves. The first half of the Chunin exams just being the primary tests. It was around the time when they started to fight each other one at a time for an episode when I honestly got bored of the series and thought I was going to stop. I honestly fell asleep during one of the episodes. I am just glad I did not feel this way again much later in the series. As much as I did enjoy the Rock Lee vs Gaara fight, which has been appearing on my twitter feed for the last year or so, it is a real shame that Rock Lee is quite literally useless after that arc in any fight ever after this, except one other time for half an episode. However, the fight between Neji and Hinata really brought me back to this series, I really despised Neji this arc. Plus, later on it was nice to see Naruto go up against him.

The second part of this arc being the training and Naruto’s fight with Neji made me enjoy it. It also introduces the legendary sannin, Jiraiya. While I never really did like his pervy antics, his relationship with Naruto was one I certainly admired and enjoyed in this series. It was this dynamic that between the two that made me really enjoy their training and admire other parts of Jiraiya. The whole part in this second half with Naruto going on for about 3 or 4 episodes just trying to use Toad Summoning Jitsu was surprisingly enjoyable. Then it came to the actual fight, which was enjoyable, it went on giving backstory to Neji, seeing he was going to be an important side character for the rest of the series. At the same time it honestly felt that it was this fight, 60 episodes in Naruto was no longer weak or unable to really do anything like all the previous fights.

Now, while the build up to Neji’s fight was there, there was also Gaara, easily my favorite side character seeing how much he changed over the course of the entire series. Seeing him start off as a villain and being a mirror of Naruto was rather nice, it brings up one of the patterns in this series where everyone shares at least some sort of similarity with him. On a side note, it wasn’t until Shippuden when I realized that his siblings where actually his siblings, I thought he was an only child.

Alright, after that arc it goes into my favorite arc of the first series, the search for Tsunade. I love this arc due to the fact you get to see the three legendary sannin fighting one another. I mean at the time of this arc, you don’t really get to see any of them going all out, not like how they are later in the series. It was also at this point where I started to see the resemblance between those three and Naruto’s Team, which does happen later on, it was nice to see that happen, and not just me randomly thinking about it.

As for the final arc of the first series, since again, I did not watch any of the filler, though now that I finished it, I have to say, I thought the whole Sasuke being evil thing was going to be later in the series, clearly not, also I understand why, seeing that most of Shippuden happens in the span of two days. More on that aspect in the next post. As for the arc with Sasuke leaving, it did not feel like there was enough build up to it. Sure, I skipped a filler arc before it, which honestly probably didn’t help. But, it felt like canon wise, only the Gaara fight lead to Sasuke feeling inadequate compared to Naruto. Granted there was him meeting his brother and getting beat up, which also did not help, but it felt like there should have been at least another push. Although I could argue that Naruto using the Rasengan was that final push since Naruto was able to get stronger in such a short amount of time. Either way, the fights this arc, kind of bored me a tiny bit. It wasn’t until the end where I got to enjoy it again, and that was the Naruto and Sasuke fight. I mean, I certainly started to like Shikamaru as a character this arc, he became easily one of my favorite side characters later in the series. This arc was really the foundation for that. Overall this arc, or the ending I should say, really made me want to skip all the 90 somewhat episodes of filler to start Shippuden as it ended on a massive cliffhanger that I really did not want to deal with 90 episodes of filler before getting to. I am just glad I was not watching it weekly.

Overall, I really enjoyed this series. And to go back on an earlier statement the best filler I did see was the episode when they tried to see under Kakashi’s face.

As always feel free to comment your thoughts on the series. I would love to hear if I should go back to watch some filler or not, if there are any good arcs.

Part 2 talking about Shippuden will be out at a later date.

As always I hope you enjoyed.

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Again, I hope you enjoyed and see you next time.

– Joe