Twelve Days of Christmas; Day Twelve

day 12

Well I can say that I’ve had an absolutely wonderful Christmas, and I certainly hope that you’ve had an equally as wonderful Christmas as well. I’d be splattering smiley-face emoticons everywhere, but I feel like that just isn’t too right. As for the final installment in our Twelve Days of Christmas series, this last one is a bit out of the ordinary with regards to it’s topic.

TWELVE ANGSTY NINJA: Naruto & Naruto: Shippuden

Naruto and Naruto: Shippuden aren’t anything that I would ever dream to talk about here; they are not exactly quality shows and often become bogged down in their own pile of crap. Yet all the same I simply had to include them in my Twelve Days of Christmas list for the pure reason of how significant they’ve been to my year.

Solely in the year of 2012 I’ve watched every episode of Naruto up to the end, and every episode of Shippuden up to episode two-hundred seventy-eight for a combined tally of five-hundred seven episodes of (what is essentially) the same anime. On a pure numbers basis that is huge, constituting an entire third of my MAL anime episodes. I’ve watched about one-hundred ninety-four hours of Naruto. I’ve watched eight more times of Naruto than of Kunihiko Ikuhara’s work. I’ve watched the equivalent of Haruhi eighteen times over. (I’m going to stop with the numbers game now because it’s making me slightly sick.) And all in a year! I’ve committed so much of my time to a single franchise in such a comparatively small time frame, and that is most certainly worth a mention.

There is, however, another reason to me including Naruto on my list, and that would be the reason that I’ve actually bothered to watch five-hundred some episodes of this anime. Despite it’s horrible sexism, misogyny, clichéd delivery, tropic plot (trope-ic, not tropical), wish-fulfillment narrative, pacing issues, character narrative disservice, and etc, I’ve still watched it. Rather it is because of its basic appeal to the egoism and wish-fulfillment of an underdog narrative that I have watched it. There is something about watching a character grow and evolve and struggle that makes you fall in love in despite of the narrative’s larger issues. And after a while, that attachment just grows to be just as strong and meaningful as the ones I’ve developed towards characters that exist in much better plots. Did I cry harder when Naruto met Kushina while trying to tame Kurama or when Shouma gave himself up in place of Ringo during the Transfer of Fate? I’ll tell you, I cried just as hard both times.

The appeal of Naruto lies somewhere in how basic it is; somewhere deep down, underneath all of the bullshit like how sexist the story is and how annoying Naruto himself is early on. I will be the first one to tell you how shit it is, how much it could be improved on, how much should be changed to better further the point Masashi Kishimoto is trying to get across. But, at the end of the day, I have unexpectedly fell in love with a show I should by all rights be hating, and I have to give it props for that.

Merry Christmas everyone!


12 responses to “Twelve Days of Christmas; Day Twelve

  1. I treated Bleach in a similar manner. Then, at some unknown point, I woke up to how trivial the entire show was. The plot was so generic that I could predict how things would play out almost perfectly. Looking back, I’m ashamed that I ever watched it in the first place. Some people can effortlessly switch off and enjoy a show for what it is, but I’m just not like that.

    Shows like Naruto and Bleach are designed to be appealing at an incredibly superficial level. I guess I could make a loose comparison to pop music. No matter how generic it might be, it remains popular because of the inclusion of simple “hooks” that keep people’s attention.

    If you can look past that, more power to you. But you should still be disgusted with yourself for watching 500+ episodes of Naruto in one year.

    • I would call our taste in shows anything but trivial. Maybe you don’t appreciate them as much as we do, and that’s fine, but in the end, it’s our opinion, and that’s what our blog is about – if you can’t appreciate that, then I’m sorry. Whereas Bleach and Naruto may hold nothing of significance for you, they did hold significance for me and Steven, and while yes, they were repetitive, -ist in nature, and had poor story writing/arcs, I could argue that their personal value was much more important to us. It’s the same with mainstream music – just because the lyrics are rather superficial doesn’t mean that people aren’t allowed to like it! Enjoying superficial things doesn’t make you a bad person, nor does it make you good; it just makes you a human being that has personal taste. These Christmas Posts were meant to encompass these moments we had in 2012, and that’s what they’re about. If anything, I’m proud – and I can say on behalf of Steven – that I watched all episodes of Bleach, and continue to enjoy Naruto for what it is. If that makes me or Steven trivial beings who should be disgusted with ourselves, then so be it, but personally, I only appreciate that Steven took the time to write this post and share his view and personal experience of the show with us. And for the record, Naruto doesn’t really suck – while it may be rather simplistic sometimes, I can argue that it holds excellent war commentary and that the character development of Naruto has been gradual, but satisfying and excellent over the coming years.

      • I wasn’t joking, but I think you might have taken my comment the wrong way.

        First, your tastes aren’t trivial, but I think the shows you mentioned are. I also want to make it clear that I don’t believe enjoying something superficial is necessarily a bad thing. I was just sharing my experiences and thoughts on the subject.

        Despite the fact that I dislike Naruto, I really don’t think it’s all that bad. Some shows are understood to be universally terrible, but Naruto definitely doesn’t fall into that category. The fact that it’s been around for so long is proof enough that it’s doing something right.

        Even if we do disagree, I still think it’s possible to have a pleasant discussion on the positive and negative qualities of Naruto.

        Though I do stand by my initial statement that watching 500+ episodes of Naruto in one year is disgusting. It seems to me that Steve (?) agrees to some extent.

        • For clarification: when I said that “I’m going to stop with the numbers game now because it’s making me slightly sick,” that wasn’t me implying any sort of disgust, but rather me conveying how mind-boggled I felt at the numbers I was throwing out there. I am not disgusted by my own view habits and on my part, I should’ve been clearer.

          However, despite my admitted fogginess with respect to my diction, your comment was (and remains to be!) rude.

    • In his defense, I think windyturnip might’ve been joking, but I can’t speak for him.

      I can also join the camp of “I watched all of Bleach and am still watching Naruto”. Absolutely no shame in admitting that I started both shows late and binged ~150 episodes for each in the span of a week after I did so. Ah, those were the days…

      Maybe one day I’ll try to dedicate a month to getting caught up to One Piece and Fairy Tale. Are any of you guys watching those? I was wondering what your opinions on them were and if it’d be worth it to start them.

      • I was watching One Piece, up until episode 460, at which point it became too repetitive for my taste. All in all though, I think that One Piece is actually a quite good for a basic shounen anime. It has many of the same problems as Naruto (pacing, racism, sexism, thematic consistency, fanservice, narrative disservice, etc [you get the idea]) but has many moments of emotional transcendence and some very strong character points (ironically outside of the main character [IMO]).

        If you are on the edge about starting One Piece, I would suggest that you just say “screw it all” to everything else and take the plunge. A warning though: the first episodes can be very off-putting; the different story arcs that the show runs through are very different and appeal to very different plot/story kinks; and One Piece is exceedingly long-winded with it’s over-arching plot, so don’t expect the story arcs to necessarily get you anywhere big-picture wise.

        But by all means, check it out if you’re interested!

        • You do realize that just after episode 460, Oda has had a brain transplant or at least started taking One Piece seriously, since they are now trying to cover some topics like racism in a way I haven’t seen in anime in years.

          All in all, I think One Piece is like a Disney-Pixar movie. It may be silly and jovial and colorful, but underneath it there’s a message so powerful on that magical feeling of a child experiencing a great adventure, and, at the same time, learning so much about the world.

          It seems that Oda divides one piece into 3 types of story Arcs that contain each other. The main one is the story of how Luffy supposedly becomes the king of pirates, which in turn contains the independent story arcs of one of his great adventures (Alabaster, Skypeia, Impel Down, etc) and then into his filler/simpler episodic moments, such as his island visits that rarely last more than 2-3 episodes. While the filler episodes have absolutely no worthy content on them, the independent story arcs get deeper and deeper stories, and also character development (Fishman Island arc had several backstory episodes only for the contextualization on for how long racism has affected the fishmen), but the real sweet deal is the main story arc.
          This is the one about Luffy, about Gol D. Roger, about the silly dream of becoming the King of Pirates, but also about the whole mythology of a world. A world at war with itself and it’s history. A world that may be as complex as Tolkien works.
          Anyway, give it a shot, at least until the Whitebeard arc ends. This is one of the few arcs dedicated exclusively to the main plot, and also my favorite arc in anime in general.

      • From what I’ve heard, One Piece is actually the best of the “big three.” I’ve never seen it, but I expect it’s pretty similar to Bleach and Naruto so it’s always a safe bet if you liked those two.

        150 Episodes x 23 Minutes = 57.5 Hours
        168 Waking Hours – 49 Sleeping Hours = 119 Hours
        57.5 Hours / 119 Hours = 48.6%

        You should probably be disgusted with yourself too, but I think you already know that.

        • nononono, one piece is horrible. Don’t do it man.

          Naruto is in my opinion the best. Bleach starts out cool but then turns into generic shounen trash. One Piece is just incredibly stupid, and I mean that in earnest. The plot is stupid, the villains are stupid, Luffy is stupid, afasfsdgdfyh cannot express my hate for One Piece.

          Although all three are pretty horrible so I don’t know why I’m going on about this.


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