The Naruto franchise is far from perfect. Even though I consider it to be one of my all-time favourites I am not blind to its many flaws. A sizable chunk of episodes are filler episodes, most of which are inexcusably awful (ninja ostriches, anybody?), and some of which actually interrupt canon arcs, utterly decimating any sense of tension and/or excitement. Not to mention the massive variation in production quality throughout its runtime…
However, I am willing to overlook these issues on the strength of the franchise’s characters alone. Naruto and Naruto Shippuuden have a huge and varied cast of characters, an impressive number of which are developed and have an interesting set of abilities and characteristics. But the best thing about these characters is their relationships with each other. Given that it’s Valentine’s Day this week, I thought I’d write about some of these. Sure, Valentine’s might be associated with romantic love, but that is just one of many kinds of love – and by no means the most important! Both Naruto and Naruto Shippuuden feature an assortment of different kinds of love and relationships, such as that between a parent and child, between friends, and, yes, between lovers. Below I list some of my favourites. Enjoy!
#26 What Is My Favourite Fight?
Naruto vs. Sasuke, the Final Fight – Naruto Shippuuden
You’d think, given the amount of fantastic fights in anime, picking just one, my favourite one, to write about would be quite the challenge. However, when considering the topic, only one floors all other contenders: Naruto vs. Sasuke, the final fight.
Forget year of the dog. 2018 was, for me, year of the tears – as in there were multiple times when anime reduced me to a blubbering mess this year! I couldn’t tell you why this was more the case this year than in previous years, but I can’t help but think that, like a rock on a beach whose edges have been gradually softened by the surf over time, I’ve grown softer and more in touch with my sensitive side as I’ve grown older. Even just a few years ago I was the very embodiment of a stiff upper lipped Brit, but now even the right combination of musical notes can have me reaching for the tissues! I’m a hot mess – as you’ll soon see. Below are several of the times when anime made me cry this year.
Spoilers ahead for Inuyashiki, Made in Abyss, Assassination Classroom 2nd Season, Haikyuu!! 2nd Season, and Naruto Shippuuden.
My journey into the anime fandom and my journey into the Narutoverse are actually one and the same. Before beginning Naruto my relationship with anime was a fairly casual one. I’d only seen a couple of shows and only on the recommendation of friends. I didn’t really seek the stuff out for myself and my other pastimes still preoccupied the majority of my time. However, Naruto really ignited my love for anime. Its cast of characters, who I fell head over heels in love with, taught me the power of anime characters to affect, comfort, and inspire you. They each had their own distinct backgrounds, personalities, dreams, and struggles, many of which I was able to identify with. This was because, when I first began Naruto, at the tender age of 14, I was but a year older than the majority of its cast…
Bar Jojo Part 5 (natch), Run with the Wind is probably my favourite anime this season. As I’ve said many, many, many times before, I love sports anime! It also helps that the show’s characters are extremely entertaining and that there’s awesome chemistry between them. During episode 5 we see King wrestle with his commitment to his newfound hobby, running, as he struggles to find paid employment. This got me thinking about a recurring theme in anime: passion vs. practicality. What do I mean by this? Well, anime about plucky characters with heads full of dreams are a dime a dozen. Maybe they want to be recognised by other people, go to nationals with their sports team, or make it big with their band… But what happens when life, with all of its obstacles, gets in the way of these dreams? Today I wanted to devote some time to exploring this conundrum, using Run with the Wind as a springboard for discussion.