Naruto has been around for more than a decade and has captured millions of fans worldwide. This popular Japanese animated series follows the quest of a clumsy, yet determined ninja as he realizes his destiny to change the ninja world. Thanks to online streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, new audiences are discovering the wonder and excitement of the beloved series - including me. In 2015, I went through over 700 episodes of Naruto and [Naruto: Shippuden](tag:3637021) and came out as a huge fan. If you're thinking of starting this series, be prepared to go through the following stages.
1. Instant approval
The first episode is filled with drama, action, and comedy and will draw you in immediately. Naruto is the ultimate underdog that you can't help but root for. Though he's an outcast, he proves that he's got something special to him right from the beginning.
2. Understanding the ninja world
The ninja world in which Naruto lives is ruled by a complicated hierarchy of power, discipline, and tradition. Similar to the days of feudal Japan where political power was dictated by the strength of its army, the ninja world is drawn into various nations. In addition to learning the different nations and regions, fans begin to pick up on leadership titles and clans as well as how ninjas harness their powers from "jutsu" or techniques.
3. Reciting jutsu
As briefly mentioned in the previous point, there are techniques that ninjas use to harness their powers. Jutsu are performed by fusing chakra with hand signs to create a special attack. There are two main types of jutsu: "ninjutsu," which are special physical attacks, and "genjutsu," which are mental attacks on the psyche. Through the series, you will hear the characters say various jutsu such as "Shadow clone jutsu" or "Chidori." The more you watch the show, the more you'll find yourself saying these jutsu out loud for no apparent reason.
4. Awe and amazement
In the ninja world, practically anything is possible. Think about all the coolest moves in Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat combined and multiply that by 100. The jutsu that the Naruto characters are able to perform make every fight scene absolutely amazing.
One of the complaints that I and many other Naruto fans have about the series are the endless filler episodes. Just when the plot gets good, you get ten filler episodes thrust at you. For the off-chance that one of the filler episodes may actually be important to the plot, you're obligated to watch every grueling second. That's not to say that the episodes aren't entertaining, but imagine revealing a plot twist and waiting a month to find out what happens next.
6. Heart-breaking sadness
Over the course of more than 700 episodes, you may begin to form personal relationships with the characters. There will be characters that you fall in love with, but before you get too attached, know that some may not be around for too long. Naruto can be quite an emotional rollercoaster so keep some tissues handy just in case.
7. Impatient anticipation
Once you're caught up, you'll find yourself searching the ends of the internet to find where the newest episode has leaked. You'll find yourself researching data to learn what happens next. You might even find yourself setting an alarm to remind yourself when the next episode is released on Crunchy Roll. Anything it takes to watch the get your fill of the show.
After you've experienced all of these things, it will be too far to turn back. You'll find yourself searching every corner of the world wide web to find the next episode or the next movie. The anime series has not yet concluded, so there's still time to catch up. When you do, there will be a whole community of Naruto fans to welcome you.