Sunday, November 16, 2014

Opinions on Naruto Ending Compilation Part 3

Written by: ClayDragon

So in case you haven’t heard, Naruto is over. Well, sort of. The main manga series is finished, but 
there’s a movie tie-in and a part 3 coming soon, so we have that to look forward to – or not, if you didn’t enjoy the ending. Like (I suspect) most people, my feelings towards the last two chapters of the Naruto manga are mixed, and instead of going through the chapters page by page, I figured I’d just talk about what I liked and disliked about them.

Okay kids, this is where it gets complicated...

Chapter 699:

There were a lot of things about this chapter that I liked, which is a good thing as I’d hate to end the series on a sour note. For a start, the symbolism in the first page alone was a huge plus, as it showed that Naruto and Sasuke together destroyed what is essentially a huge monument to Ninja wars, and not only that but for the wreckage of the monument to show the sign for peace was expertly done.

Those are some nice arms you have there. It would be a shame if something were to... happen to them.

The fact that Team 7 were all together at the end was quite heartwarming as well, doubly so as we got to see Kakashi reminisce about the first time he met them, and we get to see how much the three members grew as people since then. Another thing that I liked was the dispersion of the Infinite Tsukiyomi – or rather, the reactions of some people upon being released. For instance, the first time we see Lee after being released, he’s crouched next to Guy, trying to help him. Similarly, Shikamaru’s moment with Choji was nice (although somewhat spoiled by the fact that neither of them seemed to care about Ino).

"Forget Ino! Bros before hoes!"

Finally, the two best things about this chapter were undoubtedly Sasuke’s monologue and his final meeting with Naruto. After almost seven hundred chapters we finally got to see how Sasuke felt about Naruto, and to find out that he always saw Naruto as a friend and a kindred spirit puts a new spin on every action that Sasuke took in the series. The fact that they could finally see each other as equals (to the point that even though he left the village, Sasuke claimed that he would definitely be back) was touching, and the revelation that Naruto had always kept Sasuke’s headband was the icing on the parfait.

I'm not crying! I just have something in my eyes! Oh wait, it's tears. Yeah guys, I'm crying.

Sadly, every silver lining has a cloud, and there were one or two moments in this chapter that just pissed me off. I’ll get the smaller moments out of the way first though, so here goes.
Orochimaru: What happened to him? Did he just decide to leave? Did he undergo a change of heart due to technically being locked inside Itachi’s Izanami with Kabuto? Nobody knows.
Atsui and Samui: Did they have to get brought back? There have been so many casualties already, and getting them out of the gourd did nothing to the plot. Also, Kurama specifically stated that nothing that goes into the gourd gets out (except for when the plot calls for it, apparently).
Kakashi: Why did he become the Sixth Hokage? He had no desire to, and it seems unlikely that Tsunade would just give up her position. We don’t even get to see him do anything, and his role as Hokage could easily have been filled by Tsunade.

Where did you go, Orochimaru? We need closure!

And now for the main thing that infuriated me about this chapter, summed up in one word. Sakura. I’ve never been a huge fan of her, but I found my dislike of her was more down to her being poorly-written than anything else. As the only female in Team 7, she had a lot of potential for growth, and just as Naruto and Sasuke have changed greatly since the start, we could have seen Sakura undergo similar development. But no. She instantly forgives Sasuke for everything that he’s done, and if that’s not bad enough she begs to go with him when he leaves the village – which is exactly what she did when he left at the end of Part 1. No growth, no development, no learning from her mistakes. And it’s pathetic.


Chapter 700:

And here we go. The final chapter. The end of the line. The elephant in the room. The chapter that broke the fandom into a million tiny pieces like a rock through a window. This time, I’ll just dash through my opinions so buckle up, kids.

A visual representation of the Naruto fandom.

Seeing how all the characters turned out was the main focus of this chapter, and it didn’t disappoint. Some changes were unexpected, like Anko becoming fat (in fact, how did she get out of Kabuto’s cave?), or Gaara’s haircut (seriously, what was he thinking?). Some were funny, like seeing Lee have a pupil/son that looks and acts exactly like him, or like seeing Tsunade looking younger than ever. However, all of them were undoubtedly heartwarming, as we finally get to see the characters that we followed for all this time get their happy ending.


One thing that people seem to be getting worked up about is the technology in this chapter – specifically, the laptop in Naruto’s office. This surprised me, as there has been technology in the series since the very beginning. From video recorders, computers, VCRs, wireless radios, satellite dishes and CRT televisions, Naruto has always had technology in the background, and given that this epilogue takes place fifteen or so years in the future, is it any surprise that technology has advanced accordingly?

A laptop doesn't seem that bad now, does it?

My main issue with this chapter is that most characters don’t get more than a page of screentime, so it’s hard to care about all the new characters. Most grating is Naruto’s son, Bolt (or Boruto, if you prefer). His personality is an exact copy of a young Naruto, and although I understand that Naruto might be busy working, I would have thought that he would take care to raise his child with enough love and care that he wouldn’t turn out like that. Bolt just seems to be bratty for no reason, and as such I don’t really care about him.

Jesus, you're the worst son ever.

Most of the pairings were ones that I had expected, but the one that came completely out of nowhere was most definitely Choji and Karui. Given that they hadn’t shared any screentime together before, this is understandable. I actually think that Kishimoto wrote down the names of all the single women in the series, numbered them all, and then rolled a d21 to see who Choji ended up with.

Had Kishimoto rolled a 10, Choji would have married Samui.

Of course, the main reason that this chapter was so controversial was due to the whole shipping aspect. Given this, I feel that I should make my feelings on the Naruto fandom (and their shipping tendencies) clear. So here goes (and apologies if you are an actual, genuine fan of the series):

I am really glad that Naruto wasn’t my first manga series, because if it was then the fandom might have soured me to the whole anime experience. I have never seen a ‘fandom’ so filled with rage, hatred and vitriol than that of Naruto. Hell, I’d even go so far as to say that My Little Pony (a series of which I am not particularly fond) has a better fandom than Naruto, because at least Bronies can have a conversation about their series without it turning into a hate-fuelled slandering match.

Apply twice daily.

The shipping wars in Naruto are ridiculous, and the only thing I’ve seen that can come close to beating them in terms of anger and self-righteousness are the Pokemon shipping wars. Is it really the end of the world if Naruto ends up with Hinata? No. No it is not. Should you be getting up in arms over the fact that Shikamaru married Temari instead of Ino? No. No you should not.

This is canon, people. So grow up and accept it.

There are even fans petitioning for the series to be banned outside of Japan, purely because their OTP isn’t canon. Similarly, people have been hounding Masashi Kishimoto to produce another ending that canonises their OTP. To fans like this, let me set something straight: Kishimoto owes you nothing. People tend to think that if they become fans, then the creator of the series has an obligation to keep them happy. They do not. All the creator needs to do is write the story in the way they like and end it in a way that they feel happy with. That’s it. If you’re not happy with the series, then either suck it up or stop following it.

Goodbye. I can assure you that you won't be missed.

Also, some fans have been declaring the ending non-canon, and claiming that the manga stopped at Chapter X for them. This is ridiculous - it's not up to you to decide what is and what is not canon. 'Canon' is whatever Kishimoto decides, and you'll just have to accept that. Even if the series had ended on a completely insane note with, say, Tenten snapping and killing people, then that would have to be accepted as canon. If I can accept that Ted got back together with Robin at the end of How I Met Your Mother, then you can damn well come to terms with the fact that Naruto got together with Hinata.

Sure, it was a bad ending but it was still canon.

In most cases, I am proud to be in a fandom. I will happily admit to being in many fandoms, including those of Doctor Who, Pokemon, Sherlock etc. But I am very reluctant to admit to being a member of the Naruto fandom, because the so-called ‘fans’ who hate every decision that Kishimoto makes give the entire fandom a bad name. These people – who harass the author, want the series to be banned, and generally just act like five-year olds throwing tantrums – are fucking insane. I don’t mean the good type of insane, like the Joker or Sheldon Cooper, I mean full-on, psychiatric-help-needing nutjobs.

Warning: Do not feed the fan.

It’s infuriating and more than a little saddening that such a powerful, impactful series has ‘fans’ like this. I’m aware that many people loved the ending, just as many people disliked it. But even if you hated it, then provided that you were able to maturely accept it and move on, I applaud you. But for those of you who aren’t going to let a little thing like canon get in the way of your anger, those of you who feel ‘entitled’ to the ending you demand, those of you who followed the series only to shower it in contempt the moment your ship sank, then I have only two words for you.


*Rant Over*

"Why always the fighting?"

Final Verdict: I enjoyed these two chapters. Really, I did. 699 was an almost pitch-perfect ending to the series, and the fact that it managed to go back to being somewhat small-scale after all the madness that had preceded it was impressive. The interactions between Naruto and Sasuke, as well as those between Team 7 as a whole were incredibly heartwarming. The only flaw was Sakura’s role in the chapter, although it could be argued that the ending wasn’t really about her anyway – rather, it was about Naruto and Sasuke finally seeing each other as equals and coming to terms with each other.

Manga Rating: 4/5

Chapter 700 was a bit harder to enjoy, mainly due to the fact that every character had to get crammed into 20-odd pages, meaning that not everyone got the screentime that they deserved. The new generation didn’t really leave that much of an impact on me, mainly because they were no sooner introduced than removed, giving me very little time to care about them. On the other hand, seeing how everyone grew up and followed their dreams made me all fuzzy inside, something that very few things can claim to do. It’s just a shame that the crazy-‘fan’ reactions spoilt it for me. 

Manga Rating: 3.5/5

ClayDragon is currently studying Physics at university, and is constantly bewildered by it. The main method of contacting him is his Gmail account at The alternative is his Skype account at kyleroulston1993, but he doesn’t use it that much. When not playing games or reading, he can be found with his head in his hands whilst trying in vain to understand quantum physics. Goodbye, Naruto.

No comments:

Post a Comment