What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this popular anime series had a huge fan following long before its 2005 Cartoon Network premiere. There's lots of animated violence -- including fights, weapons use, and more -- but there are also strong examples of hard work and perseverance. Still, this is clearly a hit show that has captured the attention of young and old anime fans alike, so your kids may very well want to watch it.
What's the story?
The hugely successful anime series NARUTO follows the trials and tribulations of an orphaned adolescent boy as he progresses through the Ninja Academy. Along the way, he struggles with his own inadequacies -- both in his physical skills as a ninja and his social interactions with other academy students. As an infant, Naruto wound up carrying the spirit of the demon who attacked his village, killing many -- including Naruto's parents. The sprit's presence caused Naruto to be singled out and ostracized by the other villagers. His one friend, ninja instructor Umino Iruka, helps Naruto overcome his feelings of inadequacy and pursue formal ninja instruction.
Is it any good?
Each episode follows Naruto's psychological, physical, and social challenges. At times he's annoying, arrogant, and naïve, but his unyielding spirit to learn and succeed furthers him in his studies. It's these qualities that also make him appealing to viewers -- as demonstrated not only on television, but in DVD and video game sales as well (Naruto is quite the franchise).
Parents should expect lots of wham-bam, ninja-like battles in every episode. Violent fights break out between powers of good and evil, among kids in the academy, and even sometimes within a character's own self. In addition to the kicks, hits, and flips, sharp weapons and explosions are used to further color the battles. Plus, characters sometimes talk about "screwing" over someone and causing ultimate destruction. Female ninja students describe themselves as being "sexy" and strong. And in typical adolescent fashion, girls and boys have crushes on each other and discuss the positive physical attributes of specific classmates.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Naruto's unyielding drive to become a top ninja. He may be at the bottom of the class, but he never falters in his dedication or loses hope about himself and what he's capable of learning. How does his perseverance make kids feel about their own learning curves and challenges?
The Japanese language and customs included in the program may also spark a cultural discussion.