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Frightening Totoro

kankurette in naruto_rants

Is anyone still reading the manga?

I'm getting the impression the current arc is driving people off in droves. I admit I'm not too pleased myself with how things are turning out, and it's a bit too reminiscent of the war in Bleach, but apparently Naruto fandom on Livejournal is dying out and a big cause of it is the current arc. There's an interesting discussion about it over on fail_fandomanon. Someone posted a comment which pretty much sums up how I feel about it:

Compare the current shitty zombie war arc in Naruto with the Whitebeard War saga. If that doesn't convince you to start looking at Naruto like someone handed you a dead rat, I don't know what will.

Now, I don't totally hate Naruto, and as others have said, it's a classic case of jumping the shark. But the 4th ninja war is actually worse than Pain's "redemption" and Sakura's confession, which I didn't think was even possible. It's so bad, I honestly think it has a decent chance of completely sinking the fandom, at least on livejournal. (The war arc) is boring, it's badly written, and it's the exact opposite of what just about every Naruto fan wants to read about.

One of the biggest problems is that Kishimoto created about a billion background characters all at once and expects you to give a damn about them without giving you any reason to. While the Rookie 9, Team Hawk, Team 7 including even SASUKE--you know, the characters people actually care about--get shoved on the backburner. The war itself is RIDICULOUS. There's absolutely no tension or dramatic weight because the enemy army are Zetsu's clones and corpes reanimated by Kabuto, aka either non-living or already dead. Despite the fact that Kishimoto oh-so-helpfully informs that HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of ninja have been killed, not a single named character has died.

The characterization is just...terrible. I can't even think of a word to describe how bad it is. Naruto is in full Jesus mode, beating incredibly powerful opponents singlehandly with minimal effort. You'd think a war like this would give minor characters a chance to shine? Think again, because Naruto is dead set on winning this entire war by himself. And he's running around non-ironically refering to himself as a savior now.

And for the Sasuke fans on here - how do you feel about his characterisation as of late? I'm not a Sasuke fan myself, but I'm getting the distinct impression his descent into batshittery hasn't gone done well with his fandom. I'll say this now, if he starts offing rookies and their families, and then gets his inevitable redemption and Naruto Talk no Jutsu's everyone into forgiving Sasuke because he's Naruto's friend and he know not what he do, I will RAGE.

Also, Naruto is turning into Sailor Moon.


The link isn't working. However, I do remember this discussion. I've discussed it before with my fiance. There is just too many characters. We basically talked about if he(Kishimoto) had to cull the rookie cast, it would be Team 8 and all the females expect for Sakura. They add nearly nothing to the story. Chouji barely passed because he and his father pretty much detail clan life.

And again, there's just little tension. Kishimoto clearly doesn't have an ending for this planned out. Now, what went on with Sai and Team Ten? That was great. Having to face someone in death that they cared for created great tension. Yeah, Chouji acted like an idiot, but it was good character development.
There should have been more chapters dealing with the other characters like that. I was disappointed with the Hiashi verses Hizashi fight. I really wanted to see Hizashi interact with his brother, son, and niece. But it ended so quickly.

I really hope that the Kage fight isn't a disappointment, but I have a feeling it will be and Deus ex Naruto will save the day. :/

Edited at 2011-11-03 10:02 pm (UTC)
Fixed it now!

I think Kishimoto does have an ending, he's just not sure how he's going to get there.

I really wish the Hyuuga fight had been developed more. Maybe seeing his son and niece fighting together would have sent Hizashi back to the afterlife. The Hyuuga are one of the few non-Uchiha clans who got any development and backstory, and they've been neglected a lot in Shippuuden. I always wondered what was going on with the houses and how the relationships are and stuff, but it's been barely touched on.

On the subject of keep or kill:
- Lee: keep, if only because I like him and I think he's far too underused.
- Hinata: keep, because I think there's more that can be done with her. She's got potential. I just wish her character wasn't so Naruto-centric, and that there was more focus on her relationship with her dad and clan.
- Tenten: undecided.
- Ino: keep, because she's shown that she's as competent as her team mates. Still has potential for development.
- Shino: undecided. I don't really care about him either way.
- Sakura: keep. She's been shat on enough and I don't know what killing her would solve. If she got fridged, I'd be furious because I'm so sick of women characters dying in order to make male characters stronger.
- Shikamaru: keep, because he contributes to the plot.
- Chouji: keep, although I admit I'm biased. He's suffered enough, plus I think it's a dead cert Chouza's going to die and Chouji needs to grow up in order to be clan head. And yeah, he seems to be one of the few non-Team 7 characters besides Shikamaru who's actually got any development, even if it took two chapters of him wibbling.
- Kiba: kill. I've gone off him loads and he barely features these days.
- Neji: kill. His issues have been resolved and there's not much more that can be done with him.
- I'd probably kill one of the Sand Siblings too, because as much as I love Kankuro and Temari, I'm not sure what can be done with them.
- Sasuke: undecided. I'd either have him redeeming himself and dying in the process - I think he needs to earn his redemption and automatically being forgiven by everyone because Naruto says so is a huge cop-out - or wandering the world as a ronin, cos I can't see how or why he'd want to go back to Konoha. He's persona non grata and he hates the place anyway.
I love this post and the one it links too- great timing, I was actually thinking about why I still keep up with the Naruto manga (I usually say it's because I wanna see the ending but...it's more than that, and I'm still trying to figure out what it is).

I agree that the apparent lack of forethought and there being wayyyy too many characters (and omg how many new ones were randomly introduced just in the latest war arc???) adversely impacted their character development and the logistics of the storyline. Also, for as many flaws the manga has there are some strengths, but sadly the strength of the flaws overpowers the subtlety of the strengths. Maybe that's what keeps me in the fandom, the potential the characters have that fans build on when canon doesn't.

Sasuke. Sasuke, Sasuke, Sasuke. I've posted my thoughts on him so many times, but essentially my thoughts are that he is an orphan with unresolved PTSD living in a village led by elders who conspired to kill him along with his clan (even if he didn't know that until much later). Naruto had Iruka. Sasuke had no one after the massacre. Also Sasuke experienced this massive loss on the cusp of his developmental years when identity takes center stage, and built his identity on the concept of being an Avenger. Regarding his battle with Naruto at the VotE, I think that even though Sasuke believed what Itachi said both Uchiha brothers also knew that the Kyuubi would not let Naruto die, and it was a shortcut (that risked Naruto's life but did not end it) to achieve the next level of Sharingan. The real problem was when Madara came on the scene after the Itachi-Sasuke fight and shattered what little "reality" Sasuke had, and that just broke his brain completely.

Sasuke is the character that represents all the bad and detrimental things about chasing after, staying in, and perpetuating cycles of violence and hatred, which inflicts harm to himself as much as to others, which is pretty much the exact message that Minato was talking about regarding the ninja way of life. Naruto represents moving beyond destructive cycles and the spirit of brotherhood all across the map, as does the war against Madara in that all the nations are united under a common threat (and new ninja logo XD).

Honestly I don't want Sasuke to die, I think it would be an easy way out for him, and the whole struggle to find him and bring him back into the fold would be rendered pointless for the people who loved him. I think a much more fitting end would be to have Sasuke struggle with finding and accepting a new reality and earn his way back in with Team 7, Konoha, and Taka.

Edited at 2011-11-04 03:56 am (UTC)
One more thought, since I'm here, about Sakura: yes, there are manyyyy problems regarding her character development, the "confession" pretty much sank most of my hopes for the character, and the scenes at the medical tents went from one end of the spectrum to the other regarding Sakura's common sense.

That said, I can't love Sakura or hate Sakura. I just see her as a massively conflicted character who is constantly trying to choose between her head and her heart, whereas Sasuke and Naruto picked their side early on and stuck with it. Although to be fair now, her entire team knows what Sasuke's motivation is and no one has told her yet. Speaking of which, Sakura's previous independent efforts to track down Sasuke and learn more about Orochimaru's jutsu has been barely mentioned, Naruto was surprised that she even knew anything at all about the details that he learned from Jiraiya, and between being sidelined on that and this it seems that many of Sakura's efforts were simply the best she could do given the little info she had to go on when her own team shut her out of their inner circle of secret disclosures. So much for teamwork, eh?
Me and inuyatta were discussing the confession of extreme doom on hated_character, and we agreed that if Team 7 had, you know, acted like a bloody team in the first place, none of this would have happened. Sakura was acting on misinformation and had no idea about what went down with Tobi, or the Uchiha massacre. Sakura's been kept out of the loop re Sasuke for ages and I can't see why Kakashi and Naruto can't tell her about him. He's her team mate too. It doesn't help that Kakashi basically neglected Sakura because he didn't know what to do with her. OK, he neglected Naruto too, but at least he gave him training after the timeskip. If Sakura hadn't gotten off her arse and gone to Tsunade of her own accord, she'd still be useless. I just hope all the forensic stuff she and Shizune are doing pays off. I like that aspect of her.

And the panel where she's looking sad while thinking about Crazy!Sasuke does show she's trying to choose between her head and heart, I agree. She's a bright girl, but she does and says some incredibly stupid things sometimes. And the worst thing is that she's actually at her most competent when she's not with Team 7.
Yeah, I know it's a major cash cow, but I'd rather it went out with a bang than just fizzled out into nothing after years and years. Two of my favourite manga / animes - Sailor Moon and Hellsing - were much shorter and better in quality than Naruto, IMO. Then again, neither of them are shounen, but still.

I'm not a huge fan of OP, and I only got into it recently, but I get why it's so popular. Eichiro Oda's a master at worldbuilding, he tackles difficult topics better than Kishimoto, he's consistent with the laws of Devil Fruits etc. rather than just pulling new powers out of nowhere, he treats his female characters better than Kishimoto does, and all the Strawhats are important, not just Luffy. Luffy would never insist on doing every single thing himself while Usopp, Zoro et al sit back and cheer for him.


This is really true. I stopped reading it circa March, I think. I thought it was because I had trouble remembering what had happened the week before, but I think really I wasn't as enthused, so there was no reason for my mind to retain anything.

Sometimes I get the feeling that Mr. Kishimoto had the first series all planned out way before he was famous, and that's why it was so good and linked and well thought out. The second series is just… random.

I miss the incredibility of the first series so much my heart hurts :'(
I'm still reading the manga. Inbetween I was a bit disappointed, but Kishimoto has proven over and over again, that he does not follow your usual plotline.

Revealing that Masked!Guy was not Madara the entire time, is one of the things.
Bad brother Itachi being forced to chose between his village and his family another.

Naruto for himself is an interesting character, because his "I will win the war by myself" will not work. His plotshield protects him enough to say - survive the extraction of the Kyuubi, but he has still to fullfill his promises after that. As long as he's the golden hero is Hokage-ship would be boring, but Naruto would even do it, if he lost all powers. Because he truly believes in peace.

His compassion for Sasuke regarding the Uchiha Massaker has shown it. Naruto would rather form a trail of sort than letting it happen again. He will be the one, who has to work something out if Konoha is not to be ended by Sasuke, because of being a villages full of hypocrites.

Also Sasuke is one of the reasons, why I love the manga. Kishimoto has clearly shown, what good intention can do. Everyone involved in the Massaker had only wanted the best for Konoha: the Uchiha, the Sandaime and even Danzo. But since Konoha is NOT a democracy, it was never brought to public. The Kages are all - by definition - despots. Single rulers. And in case of the Uchiha: tyranns. Even the Senju can't deny that they are not truly fair. They are baised. Some would call three relatives and two direct students on the Hokage seat cronyism.

I think it's not a concidence that the Uchiha were police officers. They seperate (or try at least) crime and delict. Maybe Hashirama believed in the equality of Senju and Uchiha, Tobirama clearly did not.

Sasuke is a symbol for all the child soldiers the SHinobi system produced. War, tragedy, pain, loss and traumas to no end ... his anger his justifed. Not right and not the best course of action, but understandable. I will be reading "Naruto" just to know, who things will end for him.

Another "awesome" factor is Madara. He's not your usual villain. He does not want to rule the world.
He's just sick of it.
Last chapter he said he wants to put everyone to sleep, sounds like "Matrix" to me. He clearly has lost hope in humanity, because he has seen how the children are playing war over and over again.

When he asked what made the 4th war different from the ones before Oonoki said "It's special" ... Really? I don't see that. Because it's just another war, just another family torn.

Point are probably the Bijuu. The weapons, who should not be placed in human hands.

Personally I love the manga and it's quite unterstandable that Kishimoto can not give everyone the same screentime.
I can understand Madara's motives, but not Tobi's, other than butthurt because the Uchiha didn't get what they want. He honestly does come across as being evil for the sake of being evil. How is it in his interests to make everyone sleep? How will it benefit him? He clearly does want conflict, since he's so determined for Naruto and Sasuke to fight each other. What's left for him once everyone's under the EMS?
Iawtc. Most of the new characters Kishi has introduced . . . I can't for the life of me remember who is who most of the time. So then I do feel very baffled by all of these scenes of these random zombies talking, and I have no clue who these guys even are, much less why I'm supposed to care about their conversation.

And yes, tbh Naruto was never my favorite character to begin with, but as of late he really is becoming intolerable. The only thing worse than introducing 50,000 side characters for no reason is introducing 50,000 side characters for no reason and then showing how none of them are as cool as Naruto anyway.

I'm also nonplussed by how little sense this whole war makes. Why would shinobi choose to fight a war that has all the subtlety of a medieval western cavalry charge, anyway? And why did both sides seem to choose this simultaneously? Doesn't that force both sides (especially the good guys, who don't have all of those Zetsus) into a set of tactics that is to their disadvantage and that many of their soldiers, who are more used to other methods, are less familiar with?

And btw, Kishi: this type of warfare can't possibly be interesting given the lack of information you provide us with. I have no fucking clue how big this battlefield is, how far away different groups of people are supposed to be from one another, or what the topography of this place is supposed to be like, aside from the fact that it's rocky. I don't honestly think he even knows these things. But if he did, a map would be really helpful right about now.

I do still read the manga, as bad as it is. But that's really only because I love all of you in this fandom, more than anything else.

Edited at 2011-11-04 11:15 pm (UTC)
If it wasn't for Shikaku and his maps, we'd have no fucking clue at all where anyone is, and even then that was only in one chapter. I know Division 1 are on a beach and Kankuro's squad and Mifune are in a forest, and that's it. Speaking of Mifune, he is cool and everything but I wish we hadn't had loads of backstory on him when the established characters are being shoved out of the way. Same with Kinkaku and Ginkaku and all the flashback on them, although at least Ino and Tenten and Chouza all got to be badass because of them, and they're what made Naruto realise something was up. The fake Jinchuriki thing made me lol though, because it reminded me of that Sora guy from the anime.

I'm beginning to wonder why the characters were placed in those divisions, considering Team 10 and Team 8 ended up together anyway, and Sakura ended up with the medics (I was really hoping to see her and Lee team up). I never got why Chouji and Chouza were on different squads when they have the same jutsu. Same with Hiashi being in Division 1 and Neji and Hinata being in Division 2. Lee and Gai have the same jutsu and they're on the same squad, same with Neji and Hinata.

I can see why all the villages are collaborating - like the factions in Black Lagoon and One Piece - because it's in their interests and they have a common aim. However, unlike those two manga, it's all very messy. And yeah, sending Naruto in just makes everyone redundant. I know he did work with Gaara and Onoki and Temari, and he's a huge asset, but the fact he's EVERYWHERE and has this Messiah complex is making him hard to stomach. Yes, I know, he's the main character, but so is Monkey D Luffy, and you don't see him shoving all the Strawhats out of the way and doing everything himself. Even in the current arc, the Strawhats are still fighting the fishmen.
Seriously? Shikaku has maps? See, I don't even remember anymore about half of this stuff happening. -.- The Kinkaku and Ginkaku thing bored me to tears and tbh I don't find Mifune as interesting as a lot of other people seem to. In the past, even though there was already a large cast of characters, Kishi was pretty good at introducing them in a way that made them memorable and didn't make it feel like everyone else was being pushed to the side. But now it's just terrible.

And yeah, I don't understand those divisions either. Wouldn't it be better to have each division have a mixture of different talents so they can deal with whatever situation they come across? If there's a strategic reason for things being set up the way they are, it's never even remotely explained.