Newcomers to popular series that have both manga and anime versions often have to choose between the two. After all, why waste time on what is (hopefully) the same story across two different media when there are so many other titles out there waiting to be gandered upon?
Now, I’m definitely no manga/anime otaku who can wax lyrical at length about the virtues of each medium in general but I think I have consumed enough of both to say that, in my experience, Naruto as a series epitomizes the pros and cons of both.
In one corner, Naruto: the Manga
- Story progresses faster
- Almost everything is canon and central to the story/very little fillers
- Can be consumed much faster, with no need to devote 20 minute chunks of your time to each “episode”
- Not as atmospheric
- Sometimes artwork can get confusing, especially in the more hectic action scenes
- Characters might not be fleshed out as well
In the other, Naruto: the Anime
- The usage of sound, animation and music can create a much stronger story experience
- Action/fighting scenes look way better and are much easier to follow
- Allows for fleshing out of characters, giving their personality quirks more “life” (see above gif)
- FILLERS: Oh, the fillers. Since a weekly 20 minute anime episode can show much more than a weekly manga chapter, they often have to resort to filler episodes to wait for the comic to catch up to speed. Naruto, in particular, is infamous for a filler block that literally took up the entire second half of the first season. That’s over a hundred episodes of filler.
- Pacing: perhaps as an artefact of the above, the pacing in individual episodes can be ridiculously laboured, and viewers often have to struggle through numerous redundant flashbacks and what I call the OverReaction Phenomenon, where every single development of note is accompanied by a series of time-wasting reaction shots from every single character in the scene
As can be seen, both have their strengths and weaknesses and what you might want to try can ultimately just depend on your preference for each media. For those who are okay with both and want to try the series, though, I recommend bingeing on the manga to get the main story and then watching the fights in the anime to enjoy the awesomeness in its full multimedia glory.
Whether you prefer looking through comics and watching animation, though, Naruto is a series I highly highly recommend. Whatever media you like consuming, just make sure this is on your meal list.
With that, I’ve come to the end of my Naruto tribute series. It’s truly been great fun following this series and I’m looking forward to the upcoming movie and miniseries. Once again, sayonara, Naruto!
Dear reader, do you read manga/watch anime? Have you caught Naruto? What did you think of the series?