Hey guys! I’ve been thinking of doing this for a little while, so I’m going to rewatch the entire Naruto series, including filler episodes. This applies to both parts, but not necessarily to the Boruto series.
I haven’t actually watched the series in full since I took a long break from watching it, and then finished it as episode 500 of Shippuden aired back in March 2017.
Let’s see how this series has aged, shall we? In this segment, I will be reviewing episodes 1 through 19, covering up until the Chunin Exam Arc.
The first thing that realised was that the audio balance is a bit rubbish – the background music on episode 1 especially is a bit louder than the actual Japanese audio – thank heavens for subtitles, though (although looking back, I think my misophonia was playing up that day). Speaking of audio, our opening and ending themes are R*O*C*K*S by Hound Dog and Wind by Akeboshi. Both are excellent choices for a first opening if I do say so myself.
These episodes set up the universe where the show takes place, and it also means there is a lot of exposition involved, due to having to explain to the audience what is happening. It also helps that Naruto is a bit dumb so that this exposition can be used as a tool to re-educate him.
This arc is a very strong starting arc, with the stakes being supremely high, and the reality of what they are doing. They are way out of their depth as children who have just become ninjas. We are introduced to our main team as a starting point – Naruto, Sakura, Sasuke and Kakashi. We’ll blame the writer, Masashi Kishimoto, for Sakura being one-note, but that’s because he admitted that he doesn’t know how to write female characters. We are also introduced to minor but important characters, such as Hiruzen Sarutobi, Konohamaru, Iruka and the rest of the rookies. They do have bigger roles to play, but that comes later on, and this arc sets their introductions up.
Also, I can be nitpicky as hell with continuity, so there are some things that are glaringly wrong with the first arc when I think of it:
- Naruto wasn’t able to make a single normal clone with the basic clone Jutsu but was able to make several fully fleshed-out clones with a more advanced Shadow Clone Jutsu.
- Ino suggesting she would be in a team with Sasuke when it has been a family tradition going back generations to be teamed with members of the Nara and Akimichi clans, hence making up the Ino-Shika-Cho formation that the clans are grouped as. The fact that she is surprised that she’s in a team with Shikamaru and Choji is ignorant to the family traditions – and it’s not as if her parents wouldn’t have told her, either.
- Team 7 (Naruto, Sakura and Sasuke) were built based on balancing, as were the other teams, according to Iruka (Naruto scored the lowest, Sasuke scored the highest, but Sakura fits in as more studious and logical than the aforementioned pair). However, Team 8 (Hinata, Kiba and Shino) are exclusively sensory-types, whereas Team Guy (Rock Lee, Neji and Tenten) exclusively use Taijutsu-based techniques. While Ino-Shika-Cho is grouped based on their Hiden Jutsu, they work cohesively as a team and balance each other out.
In terms of the antagonists of this arc, Zabuza and Haku make up great starting antagonists, as they demonstrate just how dangerous ninja from other villages are, and their practices, and it leads on nicely to the following arc, where more villages are introduced.
I’m also realising now that we got the first instance of Naruto’s famous Talk no Jutsu, that we normally see prevalent in Shippuden. I guess he always had the gift of the gab, as they say.
I’ll say that watching this back and not seeing the trio utilise their later signature moves is strange, but it’s how they’ve been developed. Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all, and neither was the Great Naruto Bridge. Overall, I always find this arc to be an enjoyable one to re-watch, and it’s a perfect beginning arc.
Final Rating: 8.5/10 – the arc is a lovely set-up for the rest of the series, and introduces the universe well.
Next week, I’ll be discussing the Chunin Exam and Konoha Crush Arcs, spanning from episode 20 to 80. Yes, this is going to be a long one. Yes, I’ve prepared these posts well ahead of hand, don’t you worry!