The Naruto series is one that I love just as much as I hate, and I'm sure any fan can relate. For every visually stunning fight and engrossing character introduced into the series, there are tons of chapters (or episodes) of characters talking villains into their demise or just some bad writing that piled on.
While that first complaint isn't as bad in Naruto as some of its counterparts (we're looking at you Dragon Ball) there's just all too much to complain in what I consider to be one of my favorite manga's/anime's of all time -- practically an oxymoron I know.
Yet, it's the things we love the most in life that can be equally matched with the same amount of vicious hate -- after all, the two aforementioned emotions seem to be two sides of the same coin. Still, Despite Naruto's obvious flaws, especially later into the series, we as a fan-base couldn't give up on it, because we just loved it too darn much.
No matter how miserable the series made us or how many "talk no jutsus" we endured, we just continued through the storm. I'd like to think the good outweighed the bad, but it's cutting it close, so let's take a look back on all the terribleness we suffered through Naruto.
25 Tobi Being Obito All Along
Quite possibly one of the worst reveals in manga/anime history, and believe-it-or-not I was initially pretty satisfied with the twist. Sure it was dumb realizing the theory that “just rearrange the letters and you get Tobi” was right, but I gave Kishimoto a chance, like many.
Little-did-we-know that one of the most built-up, mysterious, and frankly hyped characters in manga was really just a cry-baby loser -- believe it!
Instead of being some mastermind behind everything or at least an interesting character, Obito turned out to be a pawn with a laughable motivation.
24 Kaguya Being The Final, Final… Final Villain
I think even M. Night Shyamalan would be impressed with the number of twists the final arc of Naruto delivered. “So Obito’s behind it all right?” Nope says Kishimoto, say hello to this cool guy, Mister Madara Uchiha. “Alright, so I guess he’ll be the final villain then huh?”Little did we know we weren’t thinking dumb enough.
Kishi introduced us to Kaguya Ōtsu… (eh who really cares). Not only was she introduced in the last possible second, but she’s also the mastermind to everything in the series… yippee, I guess?
23 Why Oh Why Is The Series Still Going? (Boruto)
Like most fans of Naruto, I gave Boruto, an all-to-similar continuation of the series, a chance, and truth be told it ain’t half bad. You get your old-school hand-to-hand combat, some good ol’ fashioned jutsus, and characters that are fairly interesting.
With all that being said, the series is just beyond played out, and the only one to blame here is Naruto’s 700 chapters and 15 years of runtime.
How could you possibly care what happens in this universe anymore? Naruto’s become hokage, our favorite characters wed, so please just let it all end!
22 The Scale Just Became Too Big As The Series Progressed
Yeah, I’m going to continue to bring up the old days of Naruto because, while Shippuden was full of some major highlights, like this, this and especially this, the original series was still the overall better half.
And a big reason for the original being better is the scale was much smaller and drawn back.
Shippuden just became gods vs. gods and it became harder and harder for Kishimoto to continue topping the fights. It’s a major reason why most fans enjoyed when the final fight boiled down to our two main characters duking it out fisticuff style.
21 The Character Designs Being Dumbed Down Over Time
Kishimoto is a heck-of-a good artist and he really showcases that in the early days of Naruto. Each character had so much personality and you could feel it through each character’s unique design.
I mean just look at characters like Gaara, Zabuza, heck, even Naruto just oozed personality making them feel all the more lovable.
But as time went on Kishi just had too much on his work to continue the upkeep of the artwork and it unfortunately shows. Just look at a comparison of pre-time-skip vs. post and you’ll see what I mean.
20 Pain (Or Nagato) Making The Switcheroo To The Good Guys
Ugh, the Pain Arc… Many fans, myself included, would argue this is the point in the series when the quality took a huge dip, and all because of wasted potential. Behind Tobi, Pain was the most hyped up character for his ridiculous strength and mystique that had every fan intrigued.
The battle between him and Naruto was one of the best the series had to offer, well, that is until we reached the end.
It "pains" me now even remembering how Naruto talks Pain into changing sides and thus resurrecting all the characters we mourned for -- talk about being played.
19 Power-Ups Being Handed Out Like Candy!
I haven’t watched much of Dragon Ball, but it truly does feel like Naruto is the king of handing out power-ups to characters. There was a time when characters had to use their wits and powers that were already established to defeat their foes, but Kishi threw all that out the window as the series progressed.
Looking back on it, the writing is pretty much unbearable in the final arc with the number of ridiculous power-ups Naruto and Sasuke received chapter after chapter.
18 Taking Out Neji To Bring Hinata And Naruto Closer…
Well, it’s been said before, but Neji’s demise is quite possibly one of the randomest character passings in any manga/anime. Obviously, the goal here was to bring Naruto and Hinata closer, but I can’t find any other word besides “lame” when describing the writing here.
Neji -- easily one of the best characters in the original series had absolutely nothing to do in Shippuden and is just axed like he’s fodder.
I actually don’t know if I have a better example of any character in the series being this grossly mistreated.
17 Madara Revealing He Was Behind The Hidden Mist Incident That Turned Obito
Despite the final arc of Shippuden mostly turning out to be an awful mess -- I can’t even bring myself to ever reread/watch -- we did get out of it a few great things, one of them being one of the best villains of all time, Madara Uchiha.
Even if you don’t watch anime, just watch this and you’ll understand a good amount why people hold this man in such high regards.
The only problem Madara has for me is why he discloses to Obito how he turned him sinister by offing Rin -- maybe letting out a little much there Madara.
16 Obito Making The Switcheroo Too
“Switcheroo too,” kind of sounds like the name of a subpar indie rock group or maybe some new trendy dance the kids are into -- “who wants to learn the switcheroo too?” Regardless, the switcheroo Obito makes in Naruto is one that makes me less cheerful.
In a move that gave me severe Pain Arc PTSD, Obito came this close to completely ruining Naruto entirely for me.
As soon as that mask came off the magnificent villain that was Tobi was gone and we were left with a shell of a villain who was way too prone to talk-no-jutsu.
15 Minato Forgiving Obito In The Final Arc
Yup we’re not done with our boy Obito as we’re quite sure that he could fill this entire list with his actions alone. But this time the rant is more reserved for the fourth hokage, Minato Uzumaki.
Naruto has always had this problem with characters forgiving villains way too easily and Minato is the worse example of this.
Obito destroyed the entire village, assisted in a mass genocide of the Uchiha, and flat-out destroyed Minato and his wife, leaving Naruto alone. But don’t worry because Minato’s totally cool with it!
14 Kishimoto Really Likes Himself Some Deus Ex Machina
For the unaware, “deus ex machina” is defined as a “plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem in a story is suddenly and abruptly resolved by an unexpected and seemingly unlikely occurrence,” and based on that definition you probably see where we’re going with this.
In a way, this aligns with the aforementioned power-up complaint, but this still needs to be said.
Some of the best (Or worst) examples include Kakashi's perfect susanoo he unlocks in the Kaguya battle and pretty much any fight that involves Sasuke (as that guy gets bailed out way too often).
13 Fake-Outs Littered Throughout The Series
We touched on this one a little too with the fake-outs in the Pain Arc, but this is another one that really deserves an entry of its own. Especially when it comes to the demises of our characters, fake-outs become just too overbearing in Naruto.
If there’s one thing audiences hate, it’s being tricked, and instead of well-written twists, Naruto is bogged down with pointless fake-outs.
Tsunade being cut in half by a tree only to later survive, Might Guy surviving the eight gates, and Madara being easily defeated are the infuriating few that come to mind.
12 Itachi Being Written In Reverse
Itachi is another character that fans like to deem untouchable, and for good reason. Itachi is just downright cool -- his design is one of the best and his powers are exciting enough to inspire children to slam their fingers together on playgrounds everywhere.
Itachi’s strongest trait, however, is his complexity, but it goes with saying that most of it seems to be an afterthought.
Like the fact that he commits genocide against his clan, but in actuality, it was part of his plan all along; Oh and raising his brother through hatred which makes little-to-no-sense at all.
11 The Akatsuki, And How They Were Pretty Much Useless
Naruto has a knack for introducing great characters, or in this case, great groups of characters only to waste that build-up chapters later. The Akatsuki we’re another mystery that fans were clamoring to be unlocked, until, well, it was.
Most of the group amounted to nothing besides stirring up conflict in a few villages and collecting tailed-beasts (much of which we didn’t even see).
Tobi even says at one point that he could handle the task of collecting the tailed-beasts all by himself, making the Akatsuki seem even more irrelevant than they already were (with a few exceptions of course).
10 Yamato And Sai: The Worst Characters Introduced Into The Series
Yamato isn’t as bad as Sai, especially early into Shippuden when he used to give that uncanny wide-eyed stare you can’t help but love. However, their introduction into the series makes little-to-no sense as they quickly fade into the background.
Towards the end of the series, they’re practically the equivalent to the faceless fodder character that no one cares about (actually I might care about those guys more).
Sai, while his powers are actually pretty interesting, has an extreme handicap as he comes off as a poor man’s Sasuke.
9 Let's Talk A little Bit About Madara's Plan
Madara’s Eye of The Moon plan is just so riddled with holes it makes Kishi’s writing look good. So where to begin? Alright, first it all hinges on him meeting a random kid who is dumb enough to be manipulated yet powerful enough to do his bidding.
Then he has to bank on another random kid not losing his extremely valuable Rinnegan eyes and also bank on that kid being corrupted. Plus shouldn’t blind people be immune to the moon’s power? This plan was doomed to fail from the start, plain and simple.
8 Choji's Food Pills, Where The Heck Did They Go?
Well, we have to include the original series to some degree (even if it is just one entry) but one thing I never got over was Choji’s food pills introduced in the “Sasuke Recovery Mission Arc.”
I don’t really have a problem with their existence as I guess it’s Naruto’s version of steroids; but why aren’t these things used more?
They essentially enhance someone’s power by a substantial amount which would be useful to well, EVERYONE! But they’re introduced to never be seen again -- why, you ask? Because, plot.
7 How Did Hashirama (The First Hokage) Pass Away?
Now I have to give credit for this one to this guy, but he does bring up maybe one of the best points I’ve ever heard when discussing Naruto’s (many) plot-holes. How did Hashirama -- a ninja who defeated Madara Uchiha, and keep in mind a Madara that also possessed the nine tails which was wrapped in a perfect Susanoo -- how could a man who defeated all that pass away?
Hashirama didn’t pass from sickness or old age as you might assume but from SOME ninja during the first great ninja war. Sooo.. Um.. Who the heck is this guy?!
6 Filler... Filler...Filler!!!
Obviously, this is something that only plagued the anime, but Naruto’s filler is notorious for being some of the worst in anime. And to top it all off, the filler came in larger and larger quantities as the series continued.
As a kid, I had no concept of filler in anime, but even I could tell the severe dip in quality whenever the main story deviated.
When it comes to the worst of the filler I’d say the Mecha-Naruto episodes were particularly awful, oh and most of the dream sequences during the Tsukuyomi (especially Tsunade's).
5 All The Characters Getting Hitched In The Final Episodes
Another part of the series that felt like a complete afterthought as there was just no development for the romantic relationships between really any of the characters. The only one that actually seemed to make sense was Shikamaru and Temari, which is why fans were probably pulling for it.
But with none of the characters ever dating, or for the most part not even showing any bit of romantic interest in each other, it left the final pairings feeling pretty shoehorned (And those filler episodes don’t count!).
4 The Best Characters Taking Back Seats Towards The End
Who needs other characters when you have 20 different Naruto clones with god-level powers, amirite? Well, this might not be Kishi’s thought process but it sure did feel that way.
Characters that fans, for the most part, loved like Rock Lee, Neji, Iruka, Sakura (well no one’s probably complaining there), and pretty much the rest of the rookie 9 felt abandoned.
Some of my favorite parts in the series involved characters aside from the main cast; like Rock Lee dropping those ankle weights or Neji taking on that Spider dude. Guess the cast just got too bloated for Kishimoto.
3 Fights Becoming Less And Less Tactical
We’ve gripped and gripped over the problems that plague Naruto, but this one is perhaps one of my biggest issues with the latter half of the series. Fights started off like chess games, almost like the power behind the ninja didn’t matter as much as the mind.
It showed in fights like Team Ten against Zabuza and Shikamaru versus that flute girl in the "Rescue Arc."
But like most things fans enjoyed in the series, it fizzled out, and by the end, it was who’s going to throw the bigger ball of idealism at the other guy.
2 I Hate That I'm Doing This... But Let's Talk About Sakura
Sakura’s terrible -- you know this, I know this, heck I bet even Kishi knows this. But let’s clear some things up, in the original she held promise, no she couldn’t fight, but she had a will that even Naruto and Sasuke had to admire.
And in Shippuden, she actually learned how to fight so you’d think problem solved, right? Nope, and it’s all because of who she was teamed with.
Being paired with two godlike main characters only hurt her character as the series progressed making her seem ridiculously useless despite how many times she proclaimed she “caught up.”
1 “Talk No Jutsu”
On paper “talk no jutsu” is a great idea -- a character empathizing with the villain is actually rather interesting.
But boy does it get mundane and overused as the series progresses, plus it shows how weak the convictions of the villains really are.
Sure people want to place their hopes in a person, but time and time again it makes no sense as to why people do this for Naruto. Even Pain just gave up because Naruto simply promised to break a cycle of hate… Ok, how are you going to that exactly? Naruto, the greatest politician in Shōnen history.