Why Naruto Is The Worst Character In His Own Series According To Some Fans

It goes without saying that "Naruto" is one of the most popular anime series of all time. The franchise is massive, with two manga, three separate TV series, and a veritable horde of movies, games, and merchandise. It's also massively popular. However, popular doesn't mean perfect. People may enjoy "Naruto," but it's far too large to feasibly score 10s across the board on every manga chapter, anime episode, or movie, and it has garnered its fair share of naysaying over the years — even when it comes to its integral elements such as its story or themes. This criticism also applies to the characters, and unfortunately for the series, one character that has received heavy criticism is its titular protagonist, Naruto Uzumaki. 

Throughout the franchise, we see the energetic orange ninja's journey from an outcast tween to a powerful political leader. Surprisingly enough, though, some die-hards have concerns regarding how his story is depicted. Some fans on Reddit have even gone so far as to call him the worst character in his own series, and they weren't afraid to share why ... though their reasoning may be subject to criticism of its own.

Naruto isn't the amazing hero we're supposed to think he is

In October 2021, Reddit user u/AntNart published a post on the Subreddit r/CharacterRant, detailing why he believes Naruto is the worst character in, well, "Naruto." The post garnered a fair bit of attention, with 198 upvotes and over 200 comments either agreeing or disagreeing with the original poster's points. Specifically, u/AntNart expressed four major points to support his opinion, though they all hinge on one basic idea that the poster does not expressly convey: Naruto, for all intents and purposes, is meant to be read as a force of positive moral and physical change in "Naruto," but much of his characterization inevitably fails to uphold this standard.

For instance, Naruto supposedly brings peace at the end, but we don't see very much of him solving the underlying problems that cause conflict in "Naruto." Shinobi soldiers still exist long after he becomes Hokage, and the cycles of violence that he strove so hard to break still continue. He espouses virtues, often acting as the moral and ethical center of the story, but his ideologies and actions aren't always virtuous. He wants to become Hokage primarily to feel validated by those around him, not to improve society at large. Finally, his characterization is often antithetical to the themes of the story. He is originally depicted as a talentless underdog, but eventually discovers that he is a Child of Prophecy, and is the product of multiple gifted bloodlines.

However, not every fan thinks Naruto is so flawed

These criticisms only scratch the surface of the original post, which delve much deeper into specific examples where Naruto either leaves important issues unresolved, supports dangerous ideologies, or displays character flaws that the story fails to acknowledge as flaws. However, the evidence used wasn't enough to convince many fans, who still believe that Naruto is a generally well-written character and a successful hero.

"If you expect a socially-inept, undereducated child to have the perfect reasoning to cure the ills that plague the society that he lives in, in addition to expecting him to have an adequate emotional response to every single person that he faces, then you're gonna be sorely disappointed every single time," wrote u/Latter_Chocolate_262.

This user makes a strong point in that it's possible that Naruto, despite being the Chosen One, isn't written to be completely perfect in every situation. He's just meant to facilitate peaceful solutions to major problems. Naruto can defeat the bad guys and convince others to cooperate, but he can't resolve every societal issue shown throughout the series. The peaceful age depicted under his reign in "Boruto: Naruto the Next Generations" is not supposed to be a perfect utopia, but a world where the various nations are more inclined to work together.