In the world of anime, there are few ninjas as famous as Naruto Uzumaki. Believe it!
Born in 1997, the knucklehead ninja was introduced to fans through Weekly Shonen Jump on behalf of Masashi Kishimoto. Nearly 20 years later, the character stands as one of anime’s most iconic protagonists and has bore several high-profile spin-outs. Aside from the extensive Naruto manga, a slew of anime projects and video game titles have come from the franchise. And, for new fans, the lengthy list of Naruto’s canon can be a terrifying sight.
With two anime series under its belt, Naruto has more than 700 episodes to its name. For plenty of people, getting into Naruto is as confusing as casting a jutsu, but it doesn’t have to be.
Here at ComicBook.com, we are taking the time to guide you through the viewing process. From TV to film, we’re giving you the low-down on how to watch Naruto without wasting away on Netflix.
The first Naruto series is one which fans may find somewhat outdated, but the series is a vital piece of the canon. The original Naruto anime introduces fans to the core essence of the show’s characters while setting up plenty of emotional buy-in. While they may be unbearable bratty, protagonists like Naruto and Sasuke set up their rivalry and bond with one another during this first series; Without watching it in real-time, fans would not understand why the two men clash so violently in the second anime.
If you are wanting to streamline your viewing of Naruto, then you will need to make sure you cover all its essential narrative bits. To do this, you will want to watch episode 1-100 to familiarize yourself with the Zabuza & Chunnin Exam arc. Then, you want to pick back up at episode 107 and carry on until 135. The final episode is also worth watch as its latter-half prepares fans for the lengthy timeskip between Naruto and Naruto Shippuden.
Also, episode 101 is a treat for all fans to watch. If you want in on a lot of fandom jokes, you should watch the filler episode; You won’t regret it.
Once you reach Naruto Shippuden, you should prepare yourself for a wild ride. Much like how Dragon Ball set up a world for Dragon Ball Z’s insane action, Naruto Shippuden benefits as a sequel in the same way. The second series sees Naruto drive himself into the ground with training, and the battles he takes place in clearly show off his newfound skills. With more than 400 episodes, the anime is a lengthy one, and it does contain a lot more spoilers than its predecessors.
To get through the anime, you will want to stick with narrative arcs for speed. You can check out a full list of fillers below, but be warned! Some of the fillers do give relevant information which relates back to the canon. While some stories may feature Rock Lee fighting drunk, others give crucial information about characters like Tobi and Kakashi, so educate yourself on fillers before skipping!
Movies & Manga
If you can’t handle binging, then anime fans always have the option to read. There are plenty of fans who felt the first Naruto anime dragged on and opted to read Kishimoto’s manga to fill in its storylines. For manga lovers, the compromise is an easy one as reading manga can be much faster than watch 20-30 minute anime episodes. However, there is a lack of flavor and unadulterated exuberance in the manga; Somehow, the Naruto anime managed to capture its hero’s over-the-top personality just right.
As for movies, the majority of features are not relevant to the franchise’s canon. The films are fun in their own right, but they are not necessary to watch if you want to keep up with storylines. However, the final three Naruto Shippuden movies are worth noting. Road to Ninja expands on the idea of Madara Uchiha’s nefarious genjutsu plan while The Last acts as a post-canon resolution to one of the anime’s most beloved couples. And, most recently, Boruto was introduced as a canon story following the manga which introduced the children of Naruto’s main characters.