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The Year of Naruto Uzumaki

October 7th, 2010 by Editor

To mark the birthday of Naruto, our partners at VIZ Media contributed a guest blog post for Hulu.

Naruto

It’s the year of tens: This Sunday, October 10, 2010, Naruto Uzumaki, the hero of the Naruto and Naruto Shuppuden anime series, celebrates his birthday. It’s a once in a lifetime event, and we’re glad to be a part of this impressive milestone.

We at VIZ have gathered a collection of episodes that we feel encompass what makes both Naruto series great. We’ve broken them down into the “10 Must-See” Naruto and Naruto Shippuden episodes. Over the past two years, we’ve been subtitling, streaming, and watching the DVDs. And as mega fans/scholars, we’ve seen every episode of both Naruto and Naruto Shippuden. Yes, all 400 episodes!

The series has transitioned from Naruto being a childish prankster to being the Sage Mode ninja he is today. We refer to the original series as “Naruto Classic.” It’s where it all started. It’s where we met the vast cornucopia of characters and immersed ourselves into a world where all stereotypes of ninja were broken. Our episode picks from this series range from crucial beautifully animated plot points like episode 30, where Sauske fights the infamous, yet-to-be revealed Orochimaru for the first time, to the heartbreaking story of Lady Tsunade’s past in episode 90.

Personally, we believe the characters and their relationships are a big part of what makes the story so amazing. As you journey through the story with Naruto, you really feel like you have a connection with the citizens of the Leaf Village. When a character succeeds, you’re happy for them, when a character you love does something wrong, you feel disappointed, and when someone dies, you really feel like you’ve lost someone close to you.

Since Naruto Shippuden takes place three years after the original Naruto series, the characters you grew to love in the classic episodes have all grown up. You are able to see how far the characters have come in the short three-year period between Naruto and Naruto Shippuden. One of the characters that goes through the biggest change is Sakura Haruno, the main love interest, who becomes an amazing Kunoichi. Sakura shows off the new skills she’s gained after an intense three years of medical jutsu training in episode 26, “Puppet Fight: 10 vs. 100!”

The storytelling in Naruto Shippuden matures along with the characters, allowing for deeper themes and a slightly darker tone. As the series progresses, they deal with serious issues such as hatred, war, and even the death of a loved one. A lot of effort goes into showing the viewers how the world effects each character individually. In our opinion, the best episodes aren’t the ones with fighting, but the ones like episode 82, “Team 10” where you get into the character’s head and are able to connect with them on a personal level.

However, even if you just love a good battle, Naruto Shippuden delivers. The battles are fast-paced, hardcore, and always keep you guessing. In the collection, we chose the episodes we thought had the best battle sequences. We think you’d agree that some of the top Shippuden battles have to be Naruto v. Orochimaru in episode 42, Jiraiya v. Pain in episode 133, and Naruto v. Pain in episode 167, just to name a few.

At the end of it all, we can only say that Naruto Shippuden is an amazing show and we give it a 10 out of 10, on 10/10/10.

Happy Birthday, Naruto!

Robert Ramirez & Tauri Miller
VIZ Media New Media Production

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