I think Naruto fandom knows that ending was just around the corner. Like when Kishi and JUMP announced it before, we were like ‘cool, it’s ending’ and shrugged it off nonchalantly because we knew when they say it’s ending, it will still take years to actually end *cough* Bleach *cough* And then, I was surprised when the first thing I saw today was the announcement telling us that Naruto is due to end in 5 weeks’ time. I was really surprised. I did expect it to end this year but to have an actual time frame, man, it kinda hard to sink in.
I have love and hate relationship with Naruto. Sometimes I’m out of fandom, even sometimes I told myself I’m quitting permanently (and almost did) and then I still returned. I remembered back when I was this naïve college student, with a bit of time to spare in the afternoon (my classes back then were in the morning and pretty lax) and this show was currently airing in our local channel and it seemed like some of my classmates did watch it. Me, the biggest otaku in the class don’t watch it? I rectified that immediately and tried watching it. Typical shonen stuff that what was I said to myself. I think it the rerun of Hunter X Hunter was also airing the same time as Naruto. And being the big fan of the former, of course I chose Hunter! But Hunter ended and decided to check it out again. I’m hooked. I think it was end of Chuunin exams and Jiraiya was going to introduce. ‘Cool stuff,’ now that was I said— a complete reversal of my initial impression.
I love Naruto, I love the first part. Naruto struggling, working hard to get accepted by the people of his village. Being the dead last in the class but managed to work out his flaws; He also got to know his parents, even by some Kishi miracle they got together. As the series progress, I saw him developed, gradually he became the ninja that he wanted to be and probably more. And this is what I love about it. Naruto, could be sometimes too righteous for his own good, but that is what he is. And I know that’s what made me like him.
Despite my fluctuating interest and some irreversible flaws of the plot, it goes without saying that Naruto is really enjoyable. Sure, there are arcs that I didn’t give a damn. And Kishi’s obvious favoritism to a certain character, but regardless I still liked it. Maybe not the whole package but everything in between makes the reading experience worthwhile…
I’m not sad. I think I’m ready. I think it’s ok (at least we have 5 weeks, unlike Tokyo Ghoul I had like hours to mourn and read the chapter the day after the announcement). I think it’s time to put that period on Naruto’s story. It’s been pretty long journey. I mean, I’ve started watching it in 2004 and that’s already decade from then. Time to put that pen down, Kishi. And I don’t know how you will wrap it up in 5 chapters, but I do hope the ending makes sense.