If Dragon Ball Z opened the door for anime in Western
culture, then it’s sufficed to say that Naruto kicked it off its hinges knowing
full well that it had no insurance to cover the damages.
Busting onto the scene in 1999, and
immediately setting a precedent with its blood-soaked
battles, intricately written plot points and above all else its entertainment value that is still impressive even
in the current generation. It may even be an understatement to say Naruto changed
the game for all Shonen anime that would follow in its footsteps.
Since it’s arrival the franchise has gone on to spawn an array
of concatenations - a plethora of video games, an unexpectedly successful
spin-off series and even its own inquisitive musical!
As is the case with any long-running franchise there are
always elements pivotal to its success. In the case of Naruto, the collective of characters (of whom are never underwritten or under-utilised) are the dominant driving force - having garnered household name status over their hitherto two decades plus run in this Goliath of a franchise.
So, let’s see just how well you can memorise the inhabitants