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Naruto Manga Sucks Now? Is Naruto Losing Its Momentum?
If you are reading this, it means you are either someone who just hates Naruto (the manga and the anime), or you are someone who follows Naruto manga (or the anime) and thinks it's no longer relevant or interesting as it used to be. In other words, you think Naruto sucks now, compared to the old days.
I don't think you are alone, because there are a good number of fans who think Naruto isn't like how it's used to be. The reasons? Let me list them down, and see if you agree with me. If you do (or don't), don't forget to leave a comment down below and let us know what you think!
1. The stories are all over the place.
There's no clear arc anymore these days. It seems like Kishimoto (the author) just throws in some storyline that he has thought up much earlier and let the story work itself out but it didn't. Remember the old days when we used to be waiting anxiously for a plot to be unraveled? They used to build a momentum to get us curious, and then take us to the climax, and leave us with satisfaction and sometimes with an interesting new info while the main story advances and a new arc begins.
These days it seems like they don't even keep track of which part of the story has been told, and which part hasn't. For instance, the fight between Senju Hashirama and Uchiha Madara has been told to us more than a few times already, and each time it is being told, no new info is being unraveled, it's just the same old picture frames of Madara and Hashirama exchanging blows with meaningless dialogues. How many more chapters are they going to waste on these useless redundant stuff?
2. It's all "tell" rather than "show".
Among all, this one probably bothers me the most. Ever heard of the phrase; "show, don't tell"? The most important thing in storytelling is "showing" the audience what is happening, rather than "telling" them what is happening. Get it? OK, let me give you an example. OK, remember Naruto Part 1 (before Shippuuden) where they dedicated more than just a few chapters to show us how Naruto learnt Rasengan? It's a simple thing, just Naruto learning Rasengan, but the "process" of how he learnt it made it so interesting. Now, THAT is what we call "SHOWING". Rather than just fast forwarding to Chuunin exam and telling us Naruto has now learnt Rasengan (TELL), the author took the time to guide us through the process of how Naruto learnt the Rasengan (SHOW).
Now, do you see the difference? These days, all the manga is doing is tell, tell, and tell. They TELL us how Uchiha Madara left the village, they TELL us how Kushina ended up in Konoha, they TELL us how Nagato fought and defeated Hanzou. All these just feel like one big plot "summary".
I know the manga has dragged on for too long, and Kishimoto is probably dying to finish it to start a new project, which is why they switch to "telling" rather than "showing", but can they at least not make us fans get bored reading the manga?
3. New characters are being introduced out of nowhere.
There are many characters in Naruto, and we used to know them by heart. It's as if we know every single person in Narutoverse, but most importantly, we know them not just by their names, but we know them by heart. We know their past, we know their personality, like they're ones of our own friends. But I would say after Asuma's death arc (aka Hidan/Kakuzu arc), new characters are being introduced all too often, without much insights of who they are. The Cloud ninjas, Raikage, and Killer Bee were all introduced at about the same time, and then the ninjas from the other villages plus their kage's, all were introduced shortly after.
I can see that the author tries to give these new characters a bit of their own personality, like how he used to do it, but these characters still fall flat, boring, and very one dimensional. Have you ever watched Katekyo Hitman Reborn? Yeah, like that. Too many characters and too little details about each of them.
Advice To Anyone Planning To Read Naruto Manga Or Watch The Anime
If you are NEW to Naruto, and are just about to try reading Naruto manga, I suggest you to read it up to chapter 342, and you'll be fine.
If you're planning to watch the anime instead, I would suggest to watch it up to episode 88 of Naruto Shippuuden, and ignore the rest, and you'll be happy.
I should warn you though, Naruto is very addictive, so let's see if you can stop following the manga OR the anime after you start. I would have to admit, even if I'm not satisfied with how some of the things are going now in Naruto, I still can't stop reading the manga and watch the anime.
MY RECOMMENDATION: Fullmetal Alchemist!
You know what, if you have no appetite for Naruto or similar "I need to get stronger and stronger to protect my friends" kind of manga or anime, let's just ditch them altogether. I suggest reading or watching Fullmetal Alchemist instead! Amazing manga and anime, you don't get all the craps from Naruto, Bleach, or Dragonball. The manga as well as the anime are finished too, so I can assure you that you're not going to be let down, this is one solid story, go read the manga (or just watch the anime!).