Archive for the 'naruto' Category

Naruto

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

I am still nurturing my plans to blog about Naruto‘s greatness. But for now, this is what Concrete Badger had to say about it:

While Naruto follows the cliches of the martial arts genre with the intermittent recaps and lengthy dialogue that go along with the action scenes, it has a surprising emotional clout and real heart where the characterisation is concerned. The relationships and storylines have plenty of mileage and of course seeing ninjas in action always has some entertainment value. As surprised as I am at saying it, this show is actually quite good after all.

The surprise of the last sentence is often seen when Naruto is blogged. For example:

I see quite a few people posting to Usenet and other forums: “I thought Naruto was just another DBZ clone, but I was greatly mistaken.” Seems like a good time for me to jump on the bandwagon. Yes, I thought that Naruto was a stupid DBZ-wannabe anime, and yes, I was greatly mistaken.

So, the surprise occurs because Naruto is commonly derided.

Still, I find it difficult to explain what is so good about the show, which is why there’s no post even now. Concrete Badger made as good an effort as I could ever manage.

TJ on Naruto

Friday, July 6th, 2007

One of the guilty pleasures of a Naruto fan is to watch elitist pseudo-intellectuals flopping around in the tsunami. Instead of simply observing that Naruto does not appeal to them and moving on, they feel compelled to fight the dreadful possibility that Naruto may in fact have redeeming qualities and its popularity is deserved [^1]. Otherwise, their position as thought leaders is threatened. Their elitism is marginalized by the populism.

TJ found nothing better than bring the topic up while belatedly following up on the discussion of elitism, of all things. Talk about ironies! His own elitism permeates the whole article, so I won’t try to fisk it, it’s too much work. Here’s just one funny quote:

I guess I have no qualms spreading otaku information like regarding seiyuu, studios and the general culture, but it is just difficult for me to go into stuff like why Naruto’s Rasengan Shuriken cannot be thrown. THE REASON WHY IT CANNOT BE THROWN IS BECAUSE NARUTO IS RETARDED.

This is a kind of logic which can be applied to any anime, and thus it has no value. If the creator goes to violate any and all consistency, the show falls apart. Therefore, better shows do possess internal logic. The best is when viewers get to deduce the underlying framework, and open a richer world, as in Haibane Renmei and Vandread. This can be overdone, like in Lain, but the general rule is that consistent world creation is good.

Kishimoto’s work is often inconsistent in the sense of tying up all ends. I presume this happens because Naruto had a short gestation period, unlike Lord of The Rings. Therefore, we have issues with internal combustion engines existing [^2], but not cars [^3], etc. However, the Rasengan’s characteristics are consistent with its nature. It simply is a spinning ball of chakra, and chakra formations have to be replenished continuously by the user. Naruto’s characters cannot create projectile weapons out of their chakra [^4]. The irony here is how TJ is deeply ignorant about Naruto and its real weaknesses and so he choses to criticise something that actually is not a fault. He also flaunts his wilful ignorance and disdain with “it is just difficult for me to go into…”. I would not say “I LOLed”, but fun times.

Update: TJ told me on IRC that he understands fully why Rasengan cannot be thrown, “BUT ITS STILL FUNNY TO SAY ITS RETARDED”.


^1: The best part is, I am in TJ’s position regarding Yu-Gi-Oh, and so I get the taste of both sides.

^2: See the outboard motor in ep.13 or so,

^3: Although superficially similar to the Naruto’s case, in Spirited Away, the diesel train is a part of the magic. It reflects how a child’s mind models the world. The train is entirely consistent with the worldview.

^4: Knowing how lax Kishimoto is about the consistency, I’m sure we may be able to find a piece of chakra thrown somewhere. However, this is the general rule. Observe that Chidori is not thrown either.

TNK on Chakra

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

The article was long and uninteresting, but this is funny (in the schadenfreude way of funny):

Naruto introduces us to my most common form of elitism: Accuracy. I absolutely hate the use of the word Chakra as energy. Its entire origin is being destroyed, and there is a generation of fans growing up with a misinterpretation of its meaning. Chakra proper is an Indian word meaning “wheel”, and in Yogic terms refers to centres where your body’s subtle energies collect. What Naruto describes is in fact Prana, the energy that moves between the chakras. In yoga, a movement of energy using the breath is referred to as Pranayama, and transfers prana from one chakra to the other.

This guy really got it tough. Getting hung up on such small things may be quite unpleasant, so I am fortunate not to suffer from it too much (Name order reversed? A mild annoyance!).

Tangentially, I am a ninja (in training) myself, and I only laugh when I see all terms of art misapplied by Naruto the anime. Although this may have something with the attitude of Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, the grandmaster of the ninjutsu tradition. According to Stephen K. Hayes, Dr. Hatsumi himself wrote children’s books which trivialized and vulgarized ninja, all the while continuing teaching his (then secret) art to select few of his followers. He probably won’t get bent out of shape over Kishimoto’s misrepresentations, so why should I? But apparently it’s different for yogists.

Concrete Badger on Naruto (2)

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

The Badger had a spoilerific post on what corresponds to U.S. “Uncut” release, volume 2: ep. 14-26. He must be importing that R1 release.

It’s tragic to see someone sacrifice himself, unaware of the concept of self-worth; it’s especially so when the person you sacrifice yourself for does not see the value of your life either. For Haku, it’s a relief to see Zubaza grasp the magnitude of his apprentice’s efforts, if only in his final seconds but I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Haku when the trauma and waste of his life are revealed.

I don’t quite understand what he was trying to say by “For Haku, it’s a relief…” As far as I remember, Haku died as he lived and all revelations were purely on part of Zabuza. Outside of that detail, I can only agree.

Hung wins at life

Sunday, August 12th, 2007

After getting Naruto Uncut v.2 I wanted to go directly to v.4. So, I prowl stores week after week, month after month, and all I see is the stock of v.3. I even started getting anxious. What if they decided to stick with the broadcast version from now on? Certainly, one could turn to the flaming legion of fan websites and try to discern the answer there, but that’s just not fun. And visiting flash-overloaded vendor sites is even less fun. Long story short, I’m anxious no more. Hung had an instance for review.

Naruto’s mainstream power

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

Following a hint from an ancient blog entry, I visited TV.com. Here’s the result:

Naruto descended to #4, but it’s still within the leading pack, ribbing with the broadcast shows which I’ve never seen.

Actually, all such online rankings are poorly ordered and easily stuffed, I just find it amusting.

P.S. I just noticed that I captured Tokyo Jupiter in a tab above accidentially. I saw it on someone’s blogroll, and since I just discovered what Tokyo Jupiter was, I decided to check it out. I can even recognize a little Ayato in the site icon. Alas, it turned out to be a mangablog.

Anime pulls a Lucas

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Zyl catalogs updates that an episode of Nanoha StrikerS received between TV and DVD. Keeping an anime in a digital master (and not on a Betamax tape) invites such post-factum editing. Naruto was famously edited to remove excessive blood for the U.S. broadcast, which created quite a steer among fans. But more to the point, some corrective edits were applied (see ep.19 side-by-side at Anime-editz). I wonder if eventually we’ll be getting our anime as software and pay monthly subscription rates for “updates” which make up for common DVD player crashing, sound being corrupt, etc. Gamers have to deal with games unplayable without a patch today, so why not anime fans. This post should’ve been titled “Anime pulls Sony 1.92”.

Lawson on teatrical anime

Monday, November 5th, 2007

Jeff Lawson writes about the teatrical anime, or lack of it. Not much for me to disagree with, but I’m going to make a quick comment.

And even though Naruto and Pokeman movies are a dime a dozen, I don’t think anyone cares all that much with the exception of the children of Japan.

Quite so. Without invalidating Jeff’s point, I thought that Naruto-based Mission to Snow Country was unusually good. In my experience, series-based movies usually are worse than their acncestors (Sakura Taizen and Escaflowne come to mind). But Mission to Snow Country was rather watcheable. I’d buy a ticket. Well, I’d rather buy a ticket to TokiKake, but let’s not overreach here.

UPDATE: I wasn’t following, and meanwhile the proper English title became “Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow”.

Naruto owns the world

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

As seen at Calguns, an AR-15 with a laser engraving of Konoha leaf:

At the thread, some of expected confusion and typical Naruto bashing is present, but not as much as I feared. Also, some of the posters appear to know what /k/ is. Perhaps I should be disturbed.

My own BLR 81 has an aluminum receiver with wide flat surfaces, so it would take engraving nicely. But I guess I’m not fan enough to take a leap.

SDB on Naruto

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

Steven is trying to stir up trouble… And it may even work, I’m going to watch the comment section. Meanwhile, the thought to fisk the post and expose his massive ignorance has crossed my mind, but somehow it does not seem like fun. It would play like this:

What does [Naruto] give me that DBZ doesn’t give me better?

For one thing, when people are killed in Naruto, they stay dead.

Right… If I wanted this sort of thing, I’d be posting to forums instead of blogging.

Truth to be told, Naruto has lots and lots of problems for which any other series would get racked over coals, but since most of the critics (except Don et al) seem to concentrate on rubble-rousing (starting with Naruto’s attire), any discussion quickly degenerates and questions which need to be asked never get to be asked. OK, some people do ask, sometimes. I collect links and quotes and perpetually plan to address them at an undetermined future date, but somehow it never happens.