Though the Naruto series ended five years ago, it’s still one of the most popular anime of all time. Not only was it one of the Big Three in the early 2000s, but it managed to stand on its own with incredibly written characters, amazing fights, and an awesome storyline.
Despite how well made the series is, it still has flaws. The show was a slave to its budget, so when it came to reproducing the manga the anime was very limited. However, the show wasn’t all bad. Naruto is one of the best anime for a reason, it had some of the best voice acting, music, and visuals of any anime. That being said, there are a few things the manga excelled at, which the anime just couldn’t match.
10 The Manga Has Better Pacing
A common complaint from Naruto fans is the pacing is too slow, especially in the earlier episodes. When you take out all the flashbacks, lingering shots, and unnecessary dialogue, there are only a few minutes of new material each episode. These common tricks were used to save money on animation, or prevent the anime from catching up to the manga. Since a new chapter of the manga needed to be out every week, Kishimoto couldn’t afford to waste time on meaningless fluff so the manga has a much faster pace.
9 The Artwork Is Superior
Anime is created by a lot of overworked and underpaid animators – it’s an unfortunate truth in the anime industry. One episode can take months to produce, and the animators have to try and match the art style of the manga artist. Most Naruto episodes are done by amateur animators in order to save money. As a result, the characters were often drawn off-model and stiff. The best animation was saved for the most important episodes and it’s incredibly easy to spot the difference in animation when watching the series. Since the manga only has one artist, poor art quality isn’t an issue.
8 There’s No Filler In The Manga
Filler episodes were created to give the manga artist time to draw the manga. Studios thought it was better to produce low-quality content than no content at all in the early 2000s.
Manga artist don’t have to worry about catching up to their own story, so filler material isn’t necessary in order to slow down the pace of the story. For many fans who hate filler, reading the manga is a much better option.
7 The Manga Has Better Storytelling
It’s obvious that the anime industry has learned from past mistakes. Filler is less common than it used to be. Anime shows like Attack on Titan or Jujutsu Kaisen have no fillers for example and that’s clearly become the norm. Adding filler material ruins the flow of the story and anime like Naruto suffered because of that. The manga is more concise with its storytelling and there aren’t gaps between important moments. To most fans, the filler nearly ruined the series, which is why the manga is much better at developing the plot.
6 There are No Unnecessary Flashbacks
It makes sense that Naruto has flashbacks. It’s a common tactic to remind audiences of important information. Considering how long the series is, it’s natural for fans to forget things. However, Naruto overused the flashback technique in order to bloat the runtime of an episode. Not only did the anime show flashbacks right after a significant event, but it often used the same flashbacks multiple times. The manga only showed important information, so anyone reading the manga didn’t have to deal with this issue.
5 Better Character Development
While quality animation and good voice acting help bring a character to life, Naruto failed to showcase the characters in a better light – especially when it came to understanding each character’s feelings, beliefs, and thought process.
While the anime utilized some content from the light novels, a lot of it was left out. That said, important character development was missed by anime-only fans. This is especially true for characters like Sakura who gets far more development in her light novel. The light novels aren’t animated like the manga is, but they are still worth reading since they further develop the characters.
4 No Tired Character Tropes
It may be a shock for anime-only fans to learn that the Naruto characters are a little different in the anime than they are in the manga. The anime relies heavily on character tropes so the characters are more one-noted and stereotypical. In the manga, Naruto is a lot smarter and less obsessed with Ramen. Sasuke and Sakura were slightly changed as well. In the manga, Sasuke’s return to the leaf village makes a lot more sense, and Sakura is less violent towards her friends.
3 The Manga Focuses On The Finer Details
An anime can add a lot to a manga series, especially when it comes to showcasing the amazing fights that take place in Naruto. However, a manga artist can fit a lot on a page and some of that gets lost when it comes to creating the anime. An epic panel of a character powering up can take an entire page and all the linework really adds depth to the image. Unfortunately, things like that tend to get simplified when transferred over to the anime, which can lead to an epic moment falling flat.
2 The Manga is Consistent
Considering how overworked manga artists are, it’s hard to believe Kishimoto was able to stay consistent when it came to his manga. Then again, he didn’t have to worry about budget constraints or other artists when making each chapter. Naruto suffered a lot when it comes to consistency. The animation changed frequently depending on who was animating an episode and how important an episode was. Since Kishimoto drew the manga the character designs tended to stay on model, which made the series way more enjoyable to consume.
1 Readers Can Go At Their Own Pace
The most valuable thing about reading manga is the control readers have when it comes to pacing. Each reader can go through the story as quickly or as slowly as they want. A reader can spend an hour on one page or they can read an entire chapter in ten minutes. An anime completely controls the pacing and the audience can only sit and watch as the story progresses. For those who enjoy a faster pace, the endless amount of filler material can be boring. Additionally, fans miss important information because something happens too fast, which is just as annoying. The manga really is the best when fans want to consume a story their own way.
NEXT: 10 Anime Adaptations You Should Still Watch Even After Reading The Manga