January 22, 2010
One year and 220 episodes later, I managed to get through the entire dubbed series for Naruto. I did take some breaks in between while waiting for episodes to release, as well as to watch some other anime series. For the most part, I was not overly impressed with this series, but not disappointed either. I do commend the writers for carrying out to as many episodes as they did. I found that this made for some excellent story developments during some of the arcs. I did find some of the themes, like Sasuke's kidnapping to be a little drawn out and this tended to make certain parts of the series boring at times. There were some excellent characters developed but I wish we got to see some more action from them.
Almost every fight had Naruto involved in some way. We get it, he's strong and has a demon fox inside him that gives him crazy power, but could we give some of the other powerhouses like Rock Lee or Kiba a chance. This was the major flaw for me in the whole series. Its pretty obvious that the show is about Naruto (hence the name), but because the cast was so large, they tended to be glazed over at times when there could have been some more room for development. I know 220 episodes is long for a series, but some of the episodes were like Dragon Ball Z, taking 3-4 eps just to end a simple fight.
Before everyone jumps all over me for pointing out some criticism in this show, I did actually like it. I even went and got all of the games on PS2, PS3, and Wii (thats a story for another post though). Personally my favorite character in the whole series is Rock Lee. Every character in the show had their own disposition that made them "weak" but still and excellent ninja. While viewing the show, I tended to find that this was what I was basing my like and dislike of specific characters on.
Now that the first part of the series has wrapped up and they have begun releasing dubs of the Naruto Shippuuden series, i have gained enough interest in the show to continue with the second series. I'm sure I could watch it subbed since they are already up to season 6, but I'm lazy and work all day. Sometimes I don't have the energy to watch the subbed versions.
In terms of the voices and animation, it is typical of the YTV genre of anime. Very loud, colorful, and kiddish sounding for the most part. Still entertaining, but very cookie cutter of a lot of the series that we are finding on the television in North America right now.
I would recommend this series to anyone who is interested in comedy ninja style animes. The 220 episodes, 3 movies, and 1 OVA may be a little much in terms of a commitment for some, but even to check out a few episodes is worth the time. You may find the series grows on you. You can find episodes (dubbed and subbed) on Youtibe.com.