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Fans Think Naruto Suffers From Missed Opportunities With Its Side Characters

Coming-of-age stories will always be prominent, especially in manga and anime. The mediums lend themselves to narratives of teens finding their way via extraordinary powers, adventurous quests, or just establishing their place in the world. "Naruto," both the anime and the popular manga on which it's based, is another tale of a pre-teen — later a teen — who has his own lofty goals of becoming Hokage, or leader of the Hidden Leaf Village. Naruto Uzumaki's journey over 15 years highlights a young man whose lovability comes in part from his very relatable flaws and insecurities — while also introducing fans to a multitude of interesting characters along the way.

This anime consistently ranks among some of the top titles ever produced in the genre. While "Naruto" eventually came to an end in both forms, its legacy lives on through "Boruto: Naruto Next Generations." This next incarnation sends Naruto's son Boruto on a new quest toward his dreams. Since the anime carries on in the tradition of the material that came before, fans keep going back to the original time and time again. One aspect especially intrigues die-hard viewers, and they're speaking up about what could have been for those who met their favorite ninja-in-training.

Critiques extend to Boruto: Naruto Next Generations

The entire "Naruto" franchise introduced plenty of adventures and characters over the course of 700 combined episodes, but some viewers feel like there was far more to be seen and investigated in the vast "Naruto" world. 

Fans have taken to social media to critique what could have been different. A Reddit thread devoted to disappointments in the manga and anime drew a host of responses, and common among the posts were criticisms of unexplored character storylines. When u/TracyTwoTimes brought up the topic, they were backed up by others on the forum. "[Some] side characters like neji or rock lee didn't get developed at all while they had the potential to become legendary characters," u/Momoo__1 wrote.

Another user sparked debate about Kunoichi Anko's place in the story, with many fans still placing her among the top female characters to appear in "Naruto" even though she didn't show up nearly as much as some had hoped. Anko was one of the most interesting characters according to u/Xboxone1997, who felt that not enough was done concerning the transformed ninja.

Another user, u/FuntCaseKid, suggested telling stories about other villages or chronicling the complete 1st and 2nd Ninja Wars. But u/throwawaytempest25 remarked that this was just going over old ground, writing, "To be fair, a lot of the material was covered in flashbacks. Unless it's repackaged with just like extra minutes on details, it would be a bit of a waste." In the end, the debates prove how deeply fans care about the characters and their stories, even those on the fringes of this expansive franchise.