It's time to finally get these two shows discussed. The elephant in the room. This may be a long one, or it can actually ended being pretty short pertaining to how I view both of these shows nowadays. Then again, I can't really sum up two shows that has billions of episodes in a single sentence. These shows are, truth be told, the two I have invested most of my time on.
Naruto, meet your older self.
Bleach finished on its 366th episode, yes you heard that right. While Naruto Shippuuden is going on 300+. Yes, that is also correct. Also, that is only the Shippuuden section of the show, not the young Naruto shows that came before it. Let's put this into perspective: I have seen almost every episode of Bleach and almost every episode of Shippuuden and the original Naruto (Which has 200+). Now, every episode came out on a weekly basis and at times there would be a week or two pause without any new content because the season ended or for some other reason. The usual 13 episodes for seasons last about three months... Yea, it's a loong time. A REALLY LONG TIME!
That's not to say I started both series when they actually started. That would be nightmare. At thesame time, I was watching a bunch of episodes everyday just to catch up. So I guess, it did equal out in the end. I may have started watching these two possibly 7 or 8 years ago, holy crap.
So really, I have always watched anime throughout my life. There were moments when I watched more than usual (like now) and at times where I hardly watched any except these two exclusively. I kept watching and watching both shows as I grew up, through the many phases of my life and was satisfied, until the latter halves of these shows. Until I actually saw what good anime is all about.
So Bleach. I'll go with bleach first since I don't have as much ties to it. Do I even need to explain the concept of this show anymore given how popular it is. If you made it through all my reviews until now, you probably have an idea of what Bleach is about and have already given a fair share of your opinion. Nevertheless, onwards!
It's been awhile since I watched this show, but it's about Ichigo, the protagonist,who becomes a soul reaper to fights many types of monsters and enemies that come to destroy his world of Earth. There is another area called Soul Society where the main magic and politics take place. That's pretty much all I could come up with. So i'll go and say this:
Watch the 1st 60 episodes of Bleach and stop. The first arc, the original story and how Bleach probably became popular in the 1st place. If I had to give the first 60 episodes a rating I would give it:
Yea, you read that right! The first 60 or so episodes of Bleach is actually awesome and imposing. It was original and concept and themes fit the mood. Even the art style made the town where Ichigo lives gloomy and dark. The problems that Ichigo and Rukia had to deal with within each episode was intriguing and intricate. Their relationship with each other was genuine. A couple of more episodes in it becomes better and better, and better. Then the 1st arc finished... That's when you stop!
Holy crap past those episodes, get ready for the same formula, same repetition, same enemies, same stories but different enemies. More unnecessary characters introduced! The enemy gets more powerful then the protagonist finds a new power then beats the enemy but the enemy wasn't defeated because it used another power. More unnecessary characters introduced! and then Bankai power and then the power of love triumphs everything in site but wait the enemy is one of the many in his/her/it's group and it turns out the enemy that just got defeated was the weakest of them all...
Really, for the rest of the 300+ episodes, this exact same thing is going to happen! Rinse and repeat! Recycle! It's only fun because different characters, weapons were used for thesame exact story on the next arc. By the time I saw thesame things happening I was in too deep and could not stop because I spent so much time watching it already that I needed to know how it ends. Arc after arc I thought it would get better. Nope, not a chance. By the time I finished the series I was pretty disappointed. You would think the anime would get closure by the time it was 366 on many of their characters right? HELL NAH! Too bad, go read the manga if you want to know what happens next.
The 1st movie was actually pretty good.
All in all, to that extent Bleach wasn't even something I'd call disappointing, it was to me, mediocre (Except the 1st 60 episodes which I actually liked a lot). Yea, there's a couple of fight scenes that were exceptional to see. At first. Until the show kept trying to 1up the fight before with something totally outrageous but still being practically thesame formula it's done for every fight. All in all, Bleach will just be:
Naruto! Dattebayo! Believe it!
I feel like Naruto, at this point in time, Episode 330 something or so is feeling like what I felt in Bleach.That's not to say it has thesame formulas found in the arcs in Bleach. Naruto is something truly interesting to watch and original. There are times when the show is truly astounding yet times where it's so bad I intentionally skip the episodes. It's filler nation, filler heaven. There is so much filler episodes in the show you'll just boil in rage when you find out the story will not progress after you've done your 1 week wait.
But that's now. Let's talk about the Naruto when he was younger. This show had its fair share of fillers too but this series is great! The stories, the fights, the character progression and the characters. One of the most impressive things to say about Naruto, Shippuuden included, is its art style and character designs. They are very different from the traditional style of Anime drawings seen within each season. They truly feel like they belong in a Shinobi world just by their looks and what awesome attire they possess. Each ninja's abilities are varied so you'll have a favorite to choose from. In short, every anime fan should see Naruto, the tour de force of showing the Ninja world to the uninitiated. Another aspect of the show are the fight scenes. These fights are actually more intelligent from the norm; they don't just power up, they find solutions to the enemies weaknesses and exploit them seeing how limited they are themselves. Except for Naruto, he can just go into rage mode and everything will be fine. But this is Naruto were talking about, not Shippuuden.
Many years past puberty (or still in it?), we are introduced to the older Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, and the rest of the gang in the form of Naruto Shippuuden! Now, the troubles start, for both Naruto and its audience. But before that, the good parts.
Ah yes, the time skip. It's always a story telling technique I've always loved. Be it the one from Gurren Lagann, or Ocarina of Time, seeing characters change and mature is always compelling for a story to continue. It definitely works well with Naruto since young Naruto pretty much accomplished everything a young Naruto can. At the same time though, the troubles have been heightened.
Can we tell their story instead? PLEASE!
Everything good about Naruto carried on to Shippuuden until, for me personally, the arc of Pain ended (Also Naruto being born was a great 2 part episode).For me, that was Naruto at its best with awesome fight scenes followed up by great animations. At its best Naruto could go toe to toe with some of my favorite Anime shows even now. But that was Shippuuden then. Haha. Now, it just plainly suck. The ongoing battle and eventual feud between Sasuke and Naruto keeps dragging along and the fillers have been abused to an enormous extent. It's taking so long that I'm suddenly not caring as much, it's certainly not as interesting to me as the stories told through Set 12-14.
I feel like the story already found its climax yet its trying its big finale on the war at hand between Tobi, Madara, and the Five Great Nations. In paper, it sounded great, having battles between thousands of ninja's and great shinobi's from the past. In execution though, it's a borefest. It's almost like a filler as well since we get to see past characters and they would do more closures past it. C'mon, the reanimation concept sucks! The great character endings and deaths from the past has now been tainted because of it. At this point, I have no idea what else can happen but Naruto Shippuuden, in this case. Also, again, way too many characters to build any character development for this world. For me, this show (as opposed to Bleach), is somewhat a disappointment on its second leg. Will I keep watching? Of course! It's the best of its genre but it needs new tricks or conclude ASAP.