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What Naruto Fans Miss The Most About The Anime's Early Days

Forgive us for pointing out the obvious, but "Naruto" is a massive story. Indeed, as of the latest airing of "Boruto: Naruto Next Generations," the entire "Naruto" storyline spans decades. Despite a brief interval between the end of "Naruto" and the beginning of "Boruto," the franchise has not stopped progressing since the original "Naruto" manga debuted in 1999. Furthermore, the series has never shied away from evolving and becoming something grander than it once was. What started out as a story about one orange-clad ninja boy has turned into a sprawling world, a planet dense with politics, war, and a bevy of interpersonal rivalries.

However, bigger does not always mean better. For all the intricacies of modern "Naruto," there are still things fans miss about the anime's early days. Of course, no matter how densely-populated writers make a world, there's simply nothing they can do if fans long for something more laid back and low key. While it's clear that many fans also love modern "Naruto" for its dedication to creative expansion, many longtime fans of the series seem to pine for the good old days.

Once upon a time, Naruto was about ninjas

In a popular thread posted to the official r/Naruto subreddit, one fan of the franchise reminisced about the first few seasons of the series, posting a screenshot from an early episode. Pretty soon, fans flocked to the post to give their own input, either agreeing with the original poster or identifying the moment where the franchise irrevocably went from a simple kid's show about ninjas to a supernatural sci-fi series involving alien gods, cyborgs, and the ethical gray areas of war. Eventually, the post amassed more than 12,000 likes and over 680 comments.

"Hmm, I'd basically say anytime past the puppet Akatsuki guy," wrote u/Hugh_Manatee. "Everything after that became basically 'Dragon Ball Z.' Though there was a trend to this before with the first Naruto/Sasuke fight, though I guess it can get away with it there." Other fans disagreed with this assessment, believing the change happened at different points in the series, such as the fight between Sasuke and Itachi or the introduction of Madara. 

Ultimately, while some fans disagree on the exact moment of the change, a majority of fans certainly seem to relate the show's increase in complexity to the progressive power scaling of its conflicts. As the years have gone on, the fights have become grander in scale and significantly less ninja-esque, often incorporating larger, more magical jutsu into battle. While the first few additions might not have made an enormous difference, it didn't take long for "Naruto" to look radically different from a small-scale story with small-scale fights. Of course, while big fights certainly have their positive attributes, it seems clear that fans of the series also occasionally enjoy a bit more street-level action too.