Here I was thinking I’m too old to read manga and Naruto disproved me. I got completely enthralled by it. To my surprise, I had a lot of insights and self realizations from a manga!
- The plot is interesting.
- Many good values and morals are imparted.
- As the manga progresses, you see the characters evolve.
- Over time, I feel that the plot improves and there is more depth. I’m guessing since the series took 15 years, the author’s personal growth reflects in the content.
- In the start of the series, I did not like the way women were portrayed.
- Too many resurrections hurt the impact of death.
What would have been nice:
- I would have liked to see some strong female characters.
- There could have been more focus on amazing side characters like Gaara and Rock Lee.
Characters I loved and what I learnt from them:
Naruto – He is a loud, annoying, overconfident idiot. Yet, I can’t help but like him. His drive to do whatever it takes to keep his word and love for his friends are admirable. He has an astonishing forgiving nature. His ‘never give up’ attitude is inspirational. It is somehow good to see a stupid protagonist reach his goal. He shows that a pure heart will conquer everything.
Gaara – At first, he is creepy and evil. Everyone in his village hates and fears him. He is changed by his encounter with Naruto. He realizes the meaning of love, sheds his monstrous urge to kill people and becomes a good human being. Later, he becomes the leader of his village. This is one of the best character growths I’ve read. I’ve come to like the boy with the love tattoo on his forehead more than the boy with the lightening scar on his forehead.
Rock Lee – He shows that even if the odds are against you, if you trust yourself and work hard, it will definitely pay off. He shows that we could do the thing that we like, even if we are not completely skilled at it and still achieve by working hard.
Itachi Uchiha – Things are not always what they seem. That’s exactly what you feel about Itachi. The sacrifice he made for his village will forever stay in my heart. He is one of the fictional characters I respect and admire.
Killer Bee – Not harboring any bad feelings is an extremely difficult thing. I liked this attitude of his, even though I don’t like his swearing.
Other characters I liked: Kakashi Hatake, Shikamaru Nara, Hinata Hyuga, Neji Hyuga, Maito Gai, Minato Namikaze, Tsunade, Iruka
No offense to the Sasuke fandom, I honestly don’t get what all the craze is about. When I watched the anime as a child, I liked him. Reading the manga as an adult, I don’t care much about him.
Some of the quotes I liked:
“When people are protecting something truly special to them, they truly can become as strong as they can be.”
“Being hurt inevitably breeds feelings of hatred towards your attacker. But when we hurt others, we have to deal with their hatred for us, and our own feelings of guilt. Knowing what it feels like to be hurt is exactly why we try to be kind to others. That’s what makes us humans.”
“For those who don’t believe in themselves, hardwork is worthless.”
“In order to survive, we cling to all we know and understand. And label it reality. But knowledge and understanding are ambiguous. That reality could be an illusion. All humans live with the wrong assumptions.”
“Those who forgive themselves and are able to accept their real nature, they are the strong ones.”
“Live your life so that you’ll have no regrets. No matter how hard, no matter how sad, if something is precious to you, protect it with both arms.”
Overall, an entertaining and satisfying manga. Though it took me a whole month to finish (there are 700 chapters), it was a rewarding read. I loved the way it ended. I’ll reread it whenever I need some inspiration.
Where to buy:
It is difficult (and expensive) to buy manga in India. If you are a fan and want to own Naruto books, the entire series is available as three box sets:
What to read next:
If you are a Naruto fan, you can check out the following books. Note that some of these are purely for nostalgia sake and won’t appeal everyone. Click on the image to go to the Amazon page.