10 Unpopular Opinions About Naruto That Will Start a Deep Debate
Some of these are fairly popular but when has that ever stopped an anime enthusiast on the internet?
The last episode of Naruto Shippuden aired in 2017. Spanning 720 episodes in total, Naruto and Naruto continue to be in the zeitgeist 5 years after the completion of the series.
Well arguably Boruto is still ongoing but we don’t talk about that here. Masashi Kishimoto created a vast world of ninjas, tailed beasts, alien supervillains, and so on, giving us numerous memorable moments.
Naruto was a cultural moment for the manga and anime world, and for many, it was their introduction to this world. However, as iconic as the story is, it's not without its issues. Over time viewers have come to point out many flaws of the show.
There is consensus over most of them, for instance, a very visible lack of well-written female characters on the show or the overabundance of misplaced fillers. What we’re interested in today is some unpopular opinions on Naruto.
Admittedly, enough time has passed and there are enough spaces on the internet that the most unpopular opinions have probably ended up being popular in one niche or another.
However, discussions about existing stories contribute to the creation of better stories. With that, let’s dive right into it.
1. Hinata is a Terrible Character
Alright, Naruto isn’t well known for writing good female characters, or even normal female characters. However, I have some personal gripes with Hinata as a character.
A majority of Naruto watchers have a generally positive opinion of a character whose entire arc progresses from being inaudible to barely audible as she says “Naruto-Kun”.
The series may have failed all of its female characters but Hinata is especially poorly written. She has no other personality trait than liking Naruto. Everything else stems from this intense obsession with him.
Even her big heroic moment in the Pain Arc was triggered by Naruto. The Naruto-loving part of Hinata is so focused upon that she comes off as a blinded person with little to no actual concern about anybody else. And she isn’t even good at caring for Naruto, her one selling point!
In the episode where Obito and Madara take control of the ten-tailed beast and launched a large scaled attack on the shinobis, Hinata stands in front of an extremely tired Naruto.
Instead of using her Dojutsu, she put herself in a vulnerable position, and my precious boy Neji had to pay for her stupidity with his life! Moments later, Hinata is holding Naruto’s “warm” hands, never to grieve her dead, valiant cousin ever again.
2. NaruHina is Overrated
Naruto and Hinata are the worst romantic pair on the show, seconded only by Ino and Sai. In fact, Ino and Sai seem to have more chemistry than Naruto and Hinata ever will.
All of this is because we never see Naruto’s feelings for Hinata develop into organic love. Hinata was visibly obsessed with Naruto since her childhood and we never see that childhood crush develops into a more mature love.
Moreover, as far as Naruto’s side is concerned, his love for Hinata just appears out of nowhere. And no The Last: Naruto movie is not enough to convince me of their apparently “fated to be together” love.
The two do not grow in any way as a consequence of their relationship. One could argue Naruto encouraged Hinata to become more self-confident but we do not see that manifest in any consequential way either.
Their lack of foundation and chemistry in their relationship bleeds into Boruto as well. Since Hinata is such an empty character and Naruto is kind of an absentee father, her presence never makes any difference in the lives of their children.
Am I blaming Boruto’s brattiness on Hinata? Not really. It isn’t one parent’s job to raise their children. However, what Hinata contributes to the NaruHina relationship and the show at large is a question to be pondered upon.
3. Neji’s Death was Absolutely Unnecessary
Alright, I know this is a popular opinion but I will never leave a chance of crying about my boy’s wrongful death. Neji’s death is one of the most, if not the most, tragic moments of the war arc. However, it was completely unnecessary.
Not only did Hinata fail to use her intellect and powers in the nick of time characteristically, but so did Neji, a supposedly genius tactician with immense prowess. You’re telling me someone as capable and level-headed as Neji decided becoming a human shield would be the best way to protect someone? Okay.
His death would have grated my sensibilities a little less if he died in action doing what he does best, ie make full use of his Dojutsu. To add insult to injury, mere moments after Neji’s death Naruto learned how to use chakra exchange!
You could still chalk these up to nitpicks. However, Neji’s death doesn’t make any thematic sense either. Neji’s arc was about being a caged bird by the virtue of his birth to a branch family, obligated to serve the head family for life.
Neji was metaphorically imprisoned in this manner of thinking. His fight with Naruto in Chunin exams marked a change in the story signifying he was now in charge of his own destiny.
This should have led to a path in the reformation of the Hyuga clan. However, during the war, while many elders survive it, Neji dies saving a member of the head family.
As if to rub salt on the butchered metaphors, his cage mark disappears. What kind of story was Kishimoto trying to tell via Neji Hyuga? Or was he too focused on getting Naruto and Hinata together that in the end someone as interesting and beaming with potential as Neji was reduced to a plot contrivance?
4. Itachi is an Inconsistent Character
If you are a Naruto fan, 8 out of 10 times you are an Itachi fan and that includes me. Itachi has the most formidrivaledable presence on screen, rivalled only by the likes of Madara Uchiha.
However, with the power of 5 years of hindsight, we can address some uncomfortable truths about the character. Itachi was undoubtedly written to be a tragic victim of wartime paranoia and propaganda.
Caught between the separationist ideals of his clan and the hyper-nationalist sentiment of the leaf village, Itachi was forced into believing that killing his entire clan (his own family included) was the path of the least bloodshed when he was a young teenager.
This turned Itachi from a gentle pacifist to a traumatized, guilt-ridden fugitive. Itachi in turn inflicted all the weight of his trauma onto his younger brother Sasuke. This is something that the character gets almost a free pass for due to his immense popularity in the fandom.
Additionally, Itachi as a character did not have nearly as much agency as his aesthetics would have you believe. From a very young age, he grew up doing someone’s bidding to his detriment.
For someone with supposedly incredible foresight and wisdom, he sure miscalculated the impact of his actions and lying to his brother for years would have on Sasuke.
Judging by the brutality of his actions and how extra he gets with torturing Sasuke during the events of Naruto, only to be retconned as the ultimate good guy in Naruto Shippuden, perhaps, Itachi was supposed to be and stay a badass antagonist or at least a gray area character.
The popularity of the character probably made Kishimoto turn him into the ultra-good guy that we eventually got.
5. Sasuke is a Great Character, Actually
Sasuke is a fairly popular character for his aesthetics and style. His characterization though? Not so much. Granted, he gets really annoying in some parts of Shippuden. However, barring some inconsistencies, Sasuke has the best arc out of all the characters.
He starts out driven by revenge from his elder brother who killed his family and clan. Frustrated by his slow growth, he ends up getting lured by Orochimaru, eventually surpassing him. Sasuke then succeeds in killing Itachi, only to learn Itachi was manipulated by the leaf village.
He then directs all his hatred towards the village and the Shinobi system that exploits people and their loyalty.
Sasuke is not a subtle character and often his decisions may seem random and abrupt. However, I don’t find that to be the case at all. Sasuke was deeply traumatized at a very young age by his brother, the person he loved the most.
This turned his world upside down at an age where he could barely comprehend his own emotions. This lost child is then emotionally driven towards anger and hatred and he stays stuck there for the majority of the story.
The tension between his need for this anger and the pull of his warm, caring friends is strikingly compelling. In the end, his anguish and emotional torment get the best of him and he sets out on a self-destructive path of revenge, knowing full well what that entails.
When the object of his revenge is gone, his anguish stays. In fact, his reasoning for blaming the leaf village instead of carrying out Itachi’s will to preserve it is completely sound.
Kishimoto wrote Sasuke with the subtlety of a rock in your face but in his defense, Sasuke is a teenager for the majority of the story.
6. Orochimaru was the Best Naruto Villain Hands Down
Naruto has some great antagonists. Pain, Madara, Obito, and so on are some fan favourites. However, no character comes close to the sheer villainy of Orochimaru. Unlike Madara or Pain, Orochimaru had no complex ideals or motivations. They simply wanted to live forever and revel in the joy of torturing others.
Most Naruto antagonists are cool badasses treating us with epic and grand fights. Not Orochimaru, they creep around like a snake, terrifying their prey. They sneak and manipulate others to their end.
However, Orochimaru is just as strong in terms of raw strength or ninjutsu. Orochimaru got extremely toned down and sidelined throughout Naruto Shippuden. However, nothing matches the pure horror even someone like Kakashi could experience in this legendary Sannin’s presence.
7. Pain Arc has the Worst Resolution
Pain’s Assault Arc is considered to be the best arc of Naruto Shippuden. Despite being a villain, Pain had a very similar objective to Naruto. Pain desired a world devoid of suffering, one in which justice was served, and one in which others wouldn't endure the same kind of suffering that he did.
He was a reflection of Naruto Uzumaki, but one who chose a different path, willing to do whatever it took. As a result, Pain is possibly the most significant antagonist in Naruto.
Pain’s Assault arc has the perfect buildup. Naruto has gone away for Sage training, Jiraiya has infiltrated the hidden rain village, and Konoha is building up its defences, all with the knowledge and anticipation of Pain’s attack.
The Jiraiya vs Pain fight is one of the best Naruto fights leading to one of the most heartbreaking anime deaths. Pain’s invasion of the leaf village is as epic as they come and so is Konoha’s response.
We see sacrifices, we see solidarity, and we see the strength of the fire within Konoha ninjas as many significant characters die valiantly, followed by Pain obliterating the entire village.
Enter Naruto and what ensues is the most high-stakes, no bars held fight up to that point. However, after defeating Pain, Naruto confronts Nagato, and appeals to his better nature via his Talk-no-Jutsu, and Boom, problem solved.
Nagato revives everyone who died at the cost of his own life as penance and the leaf Village is more or less restored to the way it was. Now, of course, this was anticlimactic, that much is obvious. A complex character like Nagato shouldn’t have done a 180 after one moral policing session.
Moreover, the invasion itself should have had a more lasting, material impact. We see some very important characters die very emotional deaths and then get revived before the sun has set like nothing ever happened.
Now I didn’t want Kakashi to die and stay dead but resurrection is more often than not, a blatant cop-out. It would have been interesting to see Konoha lose some important people fighting off Pain and then cope with that loss. Kishimoto sure did miss an opportunity on that one.
8. Konan should have Won Against Obito
Do I wish Konan was more fleshed out as a character? Yes of course. Do I still absolutely love her? Definitely. There is only so much complaining one can do about poorly written female characters.
Konan was pretty much a background character until the Pain arc. After Pain is defeated, Konan takes Nagato and Yahiko’s bodies away for safekeeping.
Obito finds her and asks about Nagato’s whereabouts in search of his rinnegan. The two get into a fight and Konan flies off to the Amegakure lake. Obito visibly underestimates Konan at first.
Granted, in terms of skills and abilities, Obiro outclasses Konan. However, my girl came prepared. She’d been studying Obito’s Kamui and knew everything she needed to watch out for except plot armour.
At one point, Konan trapped Obito into a chasm using her Paper Person of God Technique. She split the lake in half, revealing billions of paper bombs supposed to keep going off for 10 minutes.
Obito’s Kamui could only keep him dematerialized for 5 minutes.
This simple and effective plan could have worked. However, this is when Obito uses the overpowered Izanagi and literally rewrites reality.
You can’t convince me that isn’t cheating. Now I’m not saying Konan should’ve killed Obito. Obito is s very significant antagonist who becomes a pivotal character later on.
However, she should’ve at least been able to deal lasting damage to him. Or, at the very least, she could’ve destroyed Nagato’s Rinnegan and gotten a post-death gotcha.
9. Lady Tsunade was Disrespected
Tsunade is my favourite Naruto character. Her character is so refreshingly well-written and realistic in a world centred around idealistic ninjas plotting for revenge, retribution, wars, and all things larger than life.
Tsunade is heralded as the world’s strongest kunoichi and the best medical ninja, one of the three legendary Sannins. When we see her in the story for the first time, however, we do not see a strong fighter. We see an alcoholic gambling addict coping with the loss of her loved ones.
Moreover, she is struggling with severe PTSD and can no longer perform any operations due to her fear of blood. Tsunade isn’t out for revenge or grand self-actualization, she is just trying to get through each day, running away from her pain and loss.
She is not a perfect person and that makes her an extremely compelling character. When she is shaken by Naruto’s conviction and takes up the role of the Hokage, she is amazing at it.
Tsunade is an inspiring, balanced, competent leader. She managed to work in the hospital, train Sakura, protect the Leaf village and take very significant tactical decisions, all without making a morally questionable choice, unlike her predecessors.
She never succumbed to any political pressure and held great conviction in her decisions. Moreover, Tsunade is formidable in a fight, giving the likes of Madara and Pain a tough time.
With all that in mind, it is a shame how the story treats her in its lighter moments. Tsunade is the least respected Hokage. The previous 4 are continuously regarded as gods walking among men.
Whereas, the one thing fans remember about Tsunade is 106 cm. Young chunins are poking her tits, asking if they are fake. This is a gross disservice to the character and constantly undermines the sheer weight Tsunade holds over most characters in the show.
A few jokes here and there nodding to the character’s generously endowed bosom would probably have been okay. However, it is genuinely sad to watch such a phenomenal character being reduced to a body part for shits and giggles.
10. The Resurrection of our Favourites Cheapens their Difficult Deaths
I touched on the issues with resurrection in the bit about the Pain arc but the war arc is its whole other beast. Kabuto reanimates most of the characters we have seen die throughout the runtime of the show and some new characters that we’ve only heard legends of.
Itachi is back, Asuma is back, so are Pain and Haku and Zabuza, you get the idea. You could argue this wasn’t strictly resurrection to which I would say, that makes very little difference.
Now, reanimation was previously established during the Konoha Crush arc. While fighting the Third Hokage, Orochimaru reanimates the First and Second Hokages. It cost Hiruzen his life to defeat the two and deal some serious damage to Orochimaru. Resurrection is a huge plot device.
When introduced in a story, it completely changes the dynamics of the plot sometimes flipping them upside down. However, epic events are epic, in part because they are rare. A plot device as huge as a resurrection only works if there is a huge price to pay.
Moreover, a dark, complex jutsu like the Reanimation jutsu is only fascinating if used sparingly. Seeing the third Hokage exchange blows with the First and the Second was absolutely thrilling.
Seeing Kabuto bring back literally every dead person back with zero cost is overkill. Sasuke even brings back all the Hokages to solve his young-adult existential crisis!
Now, I won’t lie, it was genuinely fun to watch so many epic characters fighting together. However, death has meaning and its hardest aspect is its sudden nature. People often do not get to say any final goodbyes or get any sort of closure.
It takes a lot of hardship to grieve and cope with the loss of a loved one. Resurrection in stories toys with that delicate balance of giving characters closure without undermining the impact a character’s death has on the story.
When used sparingly, it can give powerful moments like the Third Hokage’s ultimate sacrifice. When done for spectacle, it results in the ultimate mess, which is the War arc.