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.