Author has written 3 stories for Naruto.
IF ANYONE IS WONDERING WHY I AM NOT ACTIVE, IT IS BECAUSE I HAVE NOT BEEN IN THE MOOD FOR A GOOD AMOUNT OF TIME.
A not-so-important notice! My nickname should be Big Pája instead of just Big Paja but this site's registration system is not fond of diacritics. How sad...
If You have come here, it was because one of these three reasons:
I AND NARUTO
MY STORY: It all started not long ago. I found an interest in anime and discovered that some of my university classmates, two to be precise, shared that passion. We basically tried to complement the others' perspectives and recommend this and that. Later, after a literary studies seminar, one of the guys (yes, they are both guys) recommended Naruto to me. I had already known that the show existed and that it was quite popular but the fact that it had 220 episodes seemed intimidating and not very convincing quality-wise from my external point of view; the somewhat traditional format of 26 episodes worked like a charm and I did not see any reason for so much content. I pointed that out to him and he retorted with the explanation that the individual battles usually take up about 4 episodes each. He did not take any chances and added that this approach reminded him of the Aristotelian unities: time, space and action. That piqued my curiosity. He also offered to lend me his burned DVDs but I told him that I would still need to think about it.
Now that I have bored You to death and beyond, it is time to talk about those views.
ANIME & MANGA: Naruto is shōnen and I have learned the meaning of that by watching it and reading Wikipedia. There is nothing wrong about shōnen and Naruto is by no means the most shōnen-y thing out there; for example, the shōnen-ness of Bleach is oozing out of its ears and I mean it in a good way. I say that when one is tired of it, there is plenty of seinen and other stuff. I have grown to prefer shōnen and turn to seinen when I feel more serious - I like the simpler fun and complement it with serious matter only every now and then. Naruto is one of my doses of that "simpler fun" and I enjoy all of its lighter elements: goofy situations, nosebleeds, popping veins, deformed faces, Inner Sakura, sweatdrops, colour manipulation, all of it.
FILMS & OVAS: My attitude towards the Naruto films and OVAs is, however, completely different. I do not treat them as an extension of the canon, unlike the anime - never have, never will. If You are asking why, then the answer to that is very simple. The very first Naruto film, "Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow", directly violates a concept set by the canon. Do You remember the first confrontation with those Yuki ninjas in chakra armour? They used Hyōton (Ice element) techniques. Now, that one is not wrong. What is wrong, so so very wrong, is that Kakashi was able to copy those techniques. Look up chapter 25 of the manga and You will see that Kakashi says that Haku's ice mirrors are a Kekkei Genkai (Bloodline Limit) technique and, therefore, he cannot copy it. This is reaffirmed in chapter 316. Do You see my point now? The crazy predicaments the characters find themselves in, which do not even fit anywhere in the timeline, are a lesser problem but still contribute to how I treat the films. So, how exactly do I treat them if not as an extension of the canon? Well, I treat them the same as regular fan-fiction, of course! They are something that did not happen, that could not happen, but would have been cool, had it happened.
MY FAVOURITE CHARACTER: ...is Nara Shikamaru. My main reason for this choice is a simple one, one that many people feel is decisive - I can relate to him. It is not like I am a genius or something, although my friends do consider me smart, but my IQ is only around 130. He would beat me at any strategic game with his eyes closed. The trait I wholly share with Shikamaru is laziness and I have a hard time battling it. I also share his desire to have an average life with a wife and two kids and a job that would provide me with my favourite pastimes.
MY FAVOURITE BOY: See above. It is the resident genius of Team 10. The second on my list is Sabaku no Gaara for his impressive style, third place goes to Uzumaki Naruto for being a great main character.
MY FAVOURITE GIRL: The sweetest one of them all, the gentle soul, the ever-caring Hyūga Hinata. I share with her a trait too - I am a shy person at times; of course, it is nothing as serious as Hinata's case but I do understand her. I cannot help it, I just have to like every single thing about her, she is cuteness incarnated! Unlike the case with Shikamaru, I liked her from the first time I saw her and when I was browsing Wikipedia for Naruto character profiles, she was the second character I looked up, the first being Shikamaru. There I found an interesting detail - Hinata's birthday falls on the day before my birthday, which makes us even closer.
MY FAVOURITE MAN: After giving it some thought, the choice was not that hard. My favourite adult male character in Naruto is none other than Namikaze Minato, the Fourth Hokage, Konoha's Yellow Flash, a.k.a. Super Babe Magnet. He was the greatest Hokage, one of the most brilliant ninjas to ever live. It is just this myth behind him that makes him so attractive, admirable and mysterious but even people who are not completely up to date with Naruto know of the one feat that earned him his place in history books - the sealing of the most fearsome demon, the Nine-Tailed Fox. His premature death and the sacrifice of his own son give him much of that wonderful melodramatic quality. I collected a few pictures of Minato from deviantART here (WARNING: Excessive amounts of awesomeness).
MY FAVOURITE WOMAN: Tsunade. I am not ashamed to say that there are two things about her that I like. I like her even though she is the complete opposite of Hinata when it comes to demeanor; she can be scary and intimidating but somehow, somehow, being beaten by her to within the inch of Your life does not seem all that unpleasant.
MY FAVOURITE PAIRING: I realise that the only REAL Naruto pairing is Asuma & Kurenai (or Tsunade & Dan, Minato & Kushina, the regular couples) and I also realise that this should be under the category "I and Naruto Fan-Fiction" but as it is something others prefer to know, I will leave it here. After declaring Shikamaru and Hinata as my favourite guy and girl respectively, some would think that the unlikely ShikaHina is the pairing of my dreams. It is not so, I am not that stupid, I go for a more realistic pairing... and that pairing is NaruHina. I do not know which pairing is the most popular and I suspect that it is the yaoi NaruSasu (or SasuNaru depending on who You want to be the seme and who the uke) but I gather that NaruHina is very much up there. I guess my reason for loving this pairing so much is the fact that Hinata loves Naruto and being with him would make her infinitely happy and what makes Hinata happy makes me happy in return; plus the prospect of them being together is adorably cute. I can also relate to the state and nature of this pairing. I know that Naruto likes Sakura and she has started to have feelings for him as well but I would rather like her to get together with Sasuke if she gets the chance, or find someone else she can have real, deep feelings for without any remorse. I swear, if Kishimoto does not eventually put Naruto and Hinata together, I will be quite upset about it!
MY FAVOURITE FIGHT: From the Chūnin Exam Finals arc, the unexpectedly captivating confrontation between Suna's Temari and Konoha's Shikamaru. I have already said that this fight was what really made me love Shikamaru and it also caused me to be fond of Temari. I know that there are more emotional, more intense and more spectacular fights out there but this one has a special place in my heart. In it, Shikamaru finally reveals what he is capable of even in disadvantageous circumstances and Temari is reminded of the fact that "there is always someone better". The fact that You only need to watch one episode to be done with it is a pleasant one. How the fight ended was very much unexpected and made it all the more interesting. I remember that I first encountered this fight in the manga instead of the anime. I was just browsing through it before I started to watch the anime on my computer and when I saw Shikamaru, whom I pretty much disliked at that moment, I was very curious as to what he could muster in a fight. I could not wait to see it in motion after reading it, same as with Shikamaru's confrontation with the two Akatsuki members.
MY FAVOURITE PART I OPENING SEQUENCE: That would be the second one, accompanied by the music of "Haruka Kanata" by ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION. My main reason for loving it is because it was the template for the opening of Naruto on Jetix - the one with the song "Rise, Tsuyosa". It had all the familiar imagery in a much better setting and animation and the song is probably the most gung-ho one. My second favourite opening is the sixth one, with the song "No Boy No Cry" by STANCE PUNKS, because it depicts Naruto's eventually useless struggle to save Sasuke and how he did not give up because he has his friends to back him up. My third favourite opening is the seventh one, completely because of the song "Namikaze Satellite" by Snorkel.
MY FAVOURITE PART I ENDING SEQUENCE: I really love the song of the fifth ending "Ima Made Nandomo" by The Massmissile - the lyrics of it are the best at capturing the spirit of both Naruto, the character, and Naruto, the story; trying, fighting, believing, managing. My second favourite is the tenth ending "Speed" by Analog Fish - just like before, the lyrics of the song and the "speed" of the music suit Naruto well and the quirky animation is fun to watch; plus Naruto has a PlayStation. My third favourite ending is the last one, "Scenario" by SABOTEN, because Naruto is running with vigour towards new future and for a brief moment we see him change into his older self.
MY FAVOURITE PART II OPENING SEQUENCE: I think the safest choice right now is the second ending, accompanied by the song "distance" by LONG SHOT PARTY, because it focuses on the relationship between Naruto and Sasuke, both with imagery and with music. My choice for second place has to be the first opening, "Hero's Come Back" by nobodyknows+; while the song may not exactly be my cup of tea, the rhythm of the action, the character portrayals and the refrain are good reasons to like it. My third favourite Shippūden opening is the second version of the fourth one. It is the one with the song "CLOSER" by Inoue Joe, with Hidan & Kakuzu fighting and with Naruto dashing at the end.
MY FAVOURITE PART II ENDING SEQUENCE: I guess this one is the third ending with the song "Kimi Monogatari" by little by little. It is because of the shuffling-paper animation and because Sai's uninhibited words are funny. My second favourite ending is probably the ninth, with the song "Shinkokyū" by Super Beaver - the clutching hands, the shouting mouths and the stern expressions are bursting with energy that is begging to be let out. My third on the list would be the first Shippūden ending - "Nagareboshi ~Shooting Star~" by Home Made Kazoku - because of the nostalgia and friendship in it.
MY FAVOURITE PART I STORY ARC: I somehow cannot decide between "Chūnin Exam Finals", "Invasion of Konoha" and "Sasuke Retrieval" arcs but I think that the last one is the safest bet. It has the greatest number of emotion-racking battles, a nice dose of surprises and the return of the Sand siblings. The Naruto franchise does not treat its characters as harshly and mercilessly as for example Blue Gender but the serious tone of this arc and the simple fact that this is Japanese animation after all had me a little (very little but still) worried for the lives of Chōji and Neji and I consider that a sign of quality on part of Kishimoto Masashi. This arc was one of the instances when Naruto feels more real, since Death is creeping just around the corner. It also displayed good use of what the more strict people consider filler - Neji's battle with Kidoumaru is considerably longer than in the manga (at least I like to think so) and it was to its benefit.
MY FAVOURITE PART II STORY ARC: The arc I enjoy the most is "Invasion of Pain". It is the most merciless arc to date, the battle between Naruto and Rokudō Pain has the grandest scale to date, Naruto is finally the super-powered badass we always wanted him to be, Hinata confessed her feelings to Naruto, Kyūbi no Yōko was mere moments from breaking free, Namikaze Minato appeared and best of all the arc is not over yet! It will be quite hard to beat this one.
MY FAVOURITE FILLER ARC: I am a positive person, I feel like I can name three filler arcs that I enjoyed. Actually, I can think of only those three arcs that can be considered as really enjoyable; the rest of them are simply agreeable or not agreeable. I cannot divide this section into Part I and Part II because Part II has had "only" two filler arcs yet. Furthermore, it is very hard for me to find three good filler arcs only from Part I. The filler arc I enjoyed the most is definitely the latest one - "Three-Tails Arrival". It is definitely the longest filler arc to date and it has shown a great number of high-quality episodes that can consider themselves to be on par with canon ones. I initially did not care one bit for either Yūkimaru or Guren but the way the arc was handled and how their story was told convinced me to give a damn. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is something!
MY FAVOURITE FILM: It is very hard for me to choose one of the films as the one I like the most. It is like choosing the smallest of available evils. Trying to choose the most plausible of those implausible plots would be a waste of time. I shall adopt a different approach and choose on the basis of which characters were in the spotlight and what the action was. This leads me to the logical conclusion that the second film, "Legend of the Stone of Gelel", is my favourite because both Shikamaru and Gaara get to show off their stuff and that is all; there is no other reason for this choice, definitely not the story.
MY FAVOURITE OVA: A little easier than the above because "Mission: Protect the Waterfall Village!" stands out so much and most of the OVAs are simple material with "Hey, let's do this and that!" logic. If You want other, more concrete, reasons, then it is the action and length comparable to special two-part episodes of the anime. I do not think there is much more to say here and I do not even want to order two other OVAs to the second and third places. But if You insist... I guess "The Cross Roads" should be rewarded for trying to fit into the canon with the second place and for being animated using the Ultimate Ninja Storm engine. It really looks better than the anime at times. The comic book OVA, "Hurricane! Konoha Academy Chronicles" gets a mention for being the most bearable out of the remaining bunch with the third place.
Now onto my most hated... NOT! Got You there, huh? I have said that I am a positive person and I can hardly ever bring myself to really hate or detest something or someone. It is the same case with Naruto. Of course, there are some filler arcs I could easily do without, "Hidden Star Village" is a good example of this as it really bored me and seemed awfully out of place. When it comes to battles, some of those found in fillers can be quite disappointing as well. I found the final confrontation of the "Konoha Moving Center" arc between Naruto and that main baddie, whose name I have forgotten but searched for it to rediscover that he is called Renga, to be terribly anticlimactic.
I AND NARUTO FAN-FICTION
HOW DO I SEARCH FOR FICS: I think this is a good way to start this. The process is not that complicated. The first thing I watch when I browse through the RSS feed in my Opera browser is the "Pairing" category. I no longer look for just a Hinata story or just a Shikamaru story, I look for certain storylines that involve my favourite characters but this is still the surest way; simple. If I do not care about a character or do not care to read a story about them at that time, this is also the best way to avoid them. However, some fics have nothing in the "Pairing" category and that means I have to check the "Genres" category, summary and title to decipher whether the author just forgot to put the characters into the story's details or could not single out the most important ones. After I discover my general area of interest, it is time to seriously read those titles and summaries and see if they can get me hooked enough to click it. Which brings me to...
TITLES AND SUMMARIES: These two particular details are probably the most important keys to getting the readers' attention. Yes, I did say that I look for specific characters first and that titles and summaries come second but the latter is the real make or break. There are certain things I do not tolerate in summaries, probably the first and foremost is the phrase "I suck at summaries", "Summary sucks", "Not good at summaries" and similar ones that say the same thing. You know what is the worst thing about this? That it is completely true! Authors who claim they suck at writing summaries actually do and since they are unable to give me a clear and/or intriguing idea about their story, I will not read their stories and I do not have any regrets about it. There are plenty more fish in the sea of Naruto fan-fiction, bigger, juicier and yummier and they have decent summaries to prove themselves. They also do not rely on other, similarly useless, phrases like "FullSumInside", "my first fic", "please R&R", "I don't own Naruto", which are also turn-offs that should never be put there. But probably the biggest turn-off for me is spelling errors. If authors cannot take their time and iron them out, it tells me that they do not take their work seriously. As a perfectionist, I cannot stand that. Everything else found in summaries that will deter me from clicking a story is purely based on my personal preferences. If I spot things like "time-travel fic", "yaoi" (or explicitly named yaoi pairings), "crossover", "(insert character name) joins Akatsuki" or "runs away from Konoha", "what if (insert ridiculously crazy idea)" and others I cannot think about right now make me stop reading that summary and move onto the next potential candidates for my time.
REVIEWS: I have posted only one real story here thus far so my view of this "phenomenon" is limited. However, I am sure I speak for the majority of FF.net community when I say that no reviews are better than pointless, contentless comments like "cool, keep it up", "update soon, please", "great chapter" or "funny" (note that I was merciful and did not provide You with the raw chat-speak versions). This goes out to everyone who is currently reading this and likes to commit these abominations upon Thoth: "Have You no shame?! Do You ever think about how the authors feel about Your nonsensical comments?! They have put a certain amount of time and effort into their written works to please You and You don't even have enough decency to properly reciprocate it! If You have nothing meaningful to say, don't say anything!" Phew. Now that that is off my mind, I can explain myself. What are reviews? Reviews are (or should be) evaluations of what was written. When authors ask You to R&R ("read and review" for those who have not figured it out yet), they want to hear what Your thoughts on their story were, if there were any particular parts that You liked or disliked and why, if You have any questions or want to clear something up, if You have any suggestions for improvement or development. Therefore, when You write them a "Cool story, I like it a lot. Please, update soon!" comment, they can get some pleasure from Your liking of their story but that is short-lived and they are ultimately left with nothing to go by. I will say it again: "If You don't have anything meaningful to say, then don't say anything!" I go by this principle and even if I submit a very short review (sometimes even composed of one sentence), I always give it some basic meaning. This goes all the way back to the top of this profile - if I have not reviewed Your story, it was because I had nothing worth saying.
That was the formal stuff. Now I can tell You about some of my preferences.
OCs: My relationship with the concept of Original Characters is somewhat shaky. As a rule, I prefer them to be absent. I want to read about the characters I love and not about some "worthless" invented people. However, that applies only to the instances when the OCs are in the spotlight - if the story is about them or if they are paired with one of the franchise characters or if they play an important role in their life. I just cannot bring myself to accept that. When the OCs are there in supporting roles like shopowners, messengers, guards, general cannon-fodder enemies and so on, or when Your story absolutely requires their presence - if You are writing about Gaara's childhood, for example - I have no problem with them.
HIGHSCHOOL FICS: I have read a few of them and probably have one or two in my Story Alerts list right now. Since Naruto is shōnen and Part II has the characters in their mid teens, switching the ninja world for highschool environment is not that difficult and definitely not jarring. The concept is not alien to the creators of Naruto either, which is proven by the OVA "Hurricane! Konoha Academy Chronicles". I used to read more of them but they are just too similar to each other. Do You want to know how many stories with the title "Konoha High" are there? Currently 87 - that is eighty-seven! I occasionally give one a chance but only when the main genre is Humour. If I wanted Romance, I would watch regular TV shows and not search for it in fan-fics.
YAOI AND YURI: This is very simple. I am a heterosexual male and as such have no interest in yaoi, although I can tolerate some side amount in Humour and Parody fics. I am a heterosexual male and as such love yuri with a passion, although not indiscriminately, which means that if it is awfully written, I will pass. See, it was simple.
MPREG: Male pregnancy. No, just no! I did enjoy the comedy "Junior" with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito but I do not condone male pregnancy in Naruto fan-fiction. Why? Because it always involves yaoi. Mind You, I have never touched an mpreg SasuNaru (it is always SasuNaru and never anything else, not even NaruSasu) story but the summaries always told me enough to stay away.
CROSSOVERS: I see no point in them. Those who write them do. They probably see them as dreams come true or marriages made in heaven. Their thoughts are probably something like "it would be so cool if characters from universe A could be in universe B". My thoughts are something like "if neither franchise is enough for You, then You should probably find something else". However, there is a kind of crossover that I would accept without complaints, but am too lazy to look for in the pile of plain ones, and that would be taking a storyline from franchise A and retelling it inside the universe of franchise B. An example of this is Day of the Dead by Kariko Emma - it is a crossover with Babylon 5 and retells the story of the episode of the same name in Narutoverse.
TIME-TRAVEL FICS: I do not think I am actually entitled to talk about this so I will make it short. Even though there are actual teleportation jutsus in Naruto and all-powerful demons that just have not yet gotten a real chance to show us their stuff, I consider the concept of time-travelling not suitable for Narutoverse. That is why I do not read time-travel fics. Just like with crossovers, I see no point in them. However (and just like with crossovers), I do have another guilty pleasure by the name of All Is Relative Except the Stubbornness of a Demon (by Uncle Stojil). It was an accident, honest! Nonetheless, it is not a traditional time-travel fic, so go check it out; I may not have read any others but the summaries always gave me a clear idea of what "traditional" is.
CHARACTER BASHING: Something I hate to see and cannot really comprehend (check the "Most Hated" non-section further above). The only two ways to justify it are: 1) You use it to make fun of the concept itself, or 2) You use it purely for Parody purposes. Using it to justify Your choices in the story's development is unacceptable.
FEMALE NARUTO: I do not know why but this concept is something I cannot cease to think about and seek out. It looks like I love it for all the wrong reasons: changing Naruto's gender is a modification of the source material of an unacceptable degree, on par with concepts like "Naruto runs away" or "Naruto has siblings" or "Yondaime Hokage did not die". Whenever I see these, I turn around and leave, but why do I not do that with FemNaruto fics? I do not know, I honestly do not know. I think it is not completely non-canonical, but just barely - it sprang up from Oiroke no Jutsu and that is a blueprint for how Naruto would look like (or want to look like) if he were a girl. Who would have thought that a jutsu would be responsible for one whole branch of Naruto fan-fics? However, my love for FemNaruto is not unconditional, just like with yuri. It is a sad reality for me that when people write FemNaruto fics, they are not satisfied with just the gender change of the main character, they often have a need to make more and comparably radical changes and dilute the "originality" of their work with unnecessary concepts. It is easier to find FemNaruto fics that incorporate a number of those other changes than a fic that has only the gender change. That probably makes me love the "pure" FemNaruto fics even more. I also have a collection of deviantART pictures of FemNaruto here (WARNING: Excessive amounts of blondeness, sexiness and the colour orange).
THE USE OF JAPANESE: Just like every other manga and anime, Naruto was made in Japan and is originally written in the Japanese language. As such, translations are needed for it to become widely popular in the world. Naruto indeed became hugely popular around the world and thousands upon thousands of fans can watch the newest episodes mere hours after they are premiered in Japan. It is all thanks to fan-subbers and scanlators. Official channels of distribution took advantage of it and brought us (albeit only in some parts of the world) the legal product. From this arises one of the great arguments of the Naruto fandom - how much of the original Japanese should be conserved. Viz Media and other Naruto distributors I do not know have to translate everything into the respective languages with only few necessary exceptions like Hokage or Jōnin. The fan-subbing and scanlating communities can take more liberties simply because they use the medium of plain text and can easily conserve the names of jutsus or the use of honorifics. Then there are fan-fiction writers. Depending on their background (whether they follow the fan-subs and scanlations or the official releases) they will either use Japanese terms or not, except for those untranslatables. Those who do use Japanese terms can further be divided into groups. There are those who are satisfied with just adding the honorifics. Then there are those who extend their usage of Japanese to the names of jutsus to be more in line with the subs. And then there are those who do not know where to stop, the people who somehow think that unless they replace "what" with "nani", "sorry" with "gomen nasai", "please" with "onegai", "good morning" with "ohayo", etc., their story will not be "faithful to the original". Be wary of those because most of the time, they do not know how to use those Japanese expressions correctly. When I write, I draw the line at the fan-subbing level. I use honorifics (they can add meaning to the character interaction), I keep the jutsu names in Japanese (so as not to lose any of their meaning through translation) and I prefer Konoha and others to Leaf Village and others (because of the brevity and easier distinction). I consider going beyond that to be unnecessary overkill.
DATTEBAYO VS BELIEVE IT: This is closely connected to the previous issue and is usually a clue to determining whether an author is a "subber" or a "dubber". If an author uses "dattebayo", s/he is a subber, and if an author uses "believe it", s/he is a dubber. If none is used and Naruto speaks "normally", You have to look for other clues. Now, the problem here is that the two terms are not the same and at the same time, at some level, are. As You should know, "dattebayo" is a word devoid of any meaning that Naruto often puts at the end of his sentences. It is simply a "way of speaking" and is used to further differentiate his character from the others. You should know that Kankurō is like that as well - Kishimoto has him use "jaan" like a member of a Yokohama biker gang. Also, Kakashi was originally supposed to use "gozaru" at the end of his sentences. Just like "dattebayo", "jaan" and "gozaru" mean nothing at all. Now, "believe it" is not a translation of "dattebayo" simply because You cannot translate something that has no meaning. It is an invention of Viz Media's dubbing team that would accommodate for the extra lip flaps of "dattebayo" and at the same time give Naruto that extra piece of character. A lot of people seem to hate the dubbed version of Naruto because of it but I do not. I would actually applaud the translators for coming up with "believe it". It is a phrase that Naruto uses often (well, not anymore but he used to), it sometimes is devoid of any real meaning and, most importantly, it actually fits Naruto's character. He is the one who struggles against all odds and pulls through, he is a dreamer and he is determined. In short, he believes. He believes in himself and even when he does not, he refuses to let up and eventually succeeds. "Believe it" is a good phrase. However, I still prefer to use "dattebayo" with him because it can be used more freely and more frequently as opposed to "believe it" which can sound awkward in some situations and carries a certain stigma. Nonetheless, I enjoy fan-fics that can make good use of "believe it", even for comedy purposes.
MY FAVOURITE FAN-FICS
All Is Relative Except the Stubbornness of a Demon (by Uncle Stojil): This story's summary does not hint at the fact that it is basically a time-travel fic. That was one of the reasons why I clicked it. The other two were that the summary was intriguing and the word-count. The premise here is that Naruto has lived through thousands upon thousands of lives through the same time because Kyūbi simply refused to die and every time Naruto was close to death, their bound souls were sent back through time to the day of Genin exams. Naruto does not return because he needs to prevent something or to save someone or whatever. He does not even want to be sent back, he wants to die and enjoy the eternal rest! He wants to be freed from his demon and nothing else. The well of experience allows him to be almost omniscient but he never acts all high and mighty. His powers and abilities are on a super level but he is initially limited by his young body. The story is also very funny and as of chapter 4, I am its Beta.
Apotheosis (by Bag o' Moon Frogs): This is a modest attempt at telling the stories of Hinata's life that happened behind the scenes of canon events. A good number of chapters is inspired by real-life events of the author and it actually works. I think I still like chapter 1 the most because it is incredibly cute and could stand on its own every day. Give it a chance and enjoy it for what it is.
The bingo book (by Kind of a big deal): This is a Shikamaru-centric fic formerly set in an undetermined near future - currently, the author is trying to fit it into the canon storyline. It literally has a promise of something big and our favourite shadow-wielder will be at the centre of it and that is all You need to know now. What I really love about this story is its pacing and overall mood that masterfully reflects Shikamaru's character, moods and general outlook on life. The author even goes as far as mostly limiting what is being told to Shikamaru's perspective and that gives it better sense of immersion.
Naruto and Hinata Lavender Eyed love (by CrazyforHinata): If it is NaruHina fluff You want, click this story and You shall get probably more than You can handle. This story simply picks up when Naruto returns to Konoha and disregards the flow of time outside of it to allow these two characters to "finally realise their feelings for each other". It is sweet like the purest sugar but it also has some drama in it. Oh my!
The Naruto Omake Files: Innortal Style (by Innortal): This is pure Naruto fan-fiction crack for all You junkies out there! It will satisfy Your cravings, guaranteed! My favourite chapter so far is the one entitled Sensei from Hell because it brilliantly mixes Hinata's desire for Naruto and the classic fan-fiction portrayal of Anko who decides to help our sweet little innocent Hyūga heiress with her "problem". I am not so sure about the chapter immediately preceding this one (because I am not familiar with Sailor Moon that much) but the rest of this collection is pure gold!
Of Fear and Women (by Guttersnipe): I have said that SasuSaku may be my third favourite pairing but I do not seek it out. It was by pure accident that I stopped browsing my RSS feed for long enough to actually read the summary that was intriguing in and out of itself. That then allowed me to glance at the word-count, which is quite impressive. I gave it a chance and I did not regret it in the slightest. The fun only starts when Sasuke finally figures out that he likes Sakura enough to want to spend the rest of his life with her (but continues to deny it). The fun stops for nothing and no one when at the same time Sakura figures out that Sasuke may never be interested in her or even the female gender at all. The fun refuses to let up when Naruto, Neji and Rock Lee get mixed up in Sasuke's problem and finally understand why he never took advantage of his fanclub.
One fine day (by Narutoscreed): This story looks very much abandoned because it has not been updated in over a year but I wanted to mention it here because it was the very first story I Favourited. It was also the first story to which I wrote a review, albeit a lame one that was nothing but praise. The story breaks off during the battle on the bridge in the "Land of Waves" arc - Haku still dies but only moments after that Kakashi dies, Naruto faints from overdosing on Kyūbi's chakra and Sakura loses a hand and Zabuza lives. It gets very brutal and dark and fully deserving of its M rating but it also has a good number of fun as hell moments. Regardless of whether the author decides to continue it or not, it will always have a special place here.
Ryomance Undoer a Mounligt Sky (by prettyfairyunicorn27): This is a well-disguised Mary-Sue mock-fic. If You are fortunate enough to never have read a full-on-fangirl-mode Mary-Sue fic, this is a good opportunity to get Yourself acquainted with what abominable perversions can exist. However, for a much better enjoyment, You should rather read Why Shinobi Shouldn't Read Fanfiction (by Emerald Tiara) where this mock-fic originated and is read by a large group of our favourite shinobi (Sasuke and Gaara included) in the tight and enclosed space of the Hokage's office.
Team 8 (by S'TarKan): The summary of this story is kind of cliché. Using questions will get You only so far. However, judging by the number of reviews, this story is pretty famous around these parts. It looks like I need not tell You much but I will tell You this. This is a prime example of a ripple-effect AU story. The author chose a point in time before the canon timeline and altered one event. Of course, this alteration was chosen to allow for the story's premise to happen - for Kurenai to want Naruto on her team instead of Kiba - but that is where the intervention stops. Everything else is just a logical consequence and the author deserves my deepest respect for that. Read it and You will not regret it.
Twenty Times Uzumaki Naruto Didn't Die (by Kraken's Ghost): Chances are You probably already know Kraken and his work. Those who do not should at least read his "twenty" series, of which this fic is the third part. The previous two are about Hyūga Neji and Maito Gai and those should be read for a better enjoyment of this masterpiece. The tales of how Naruto did not die are very gruesome, sometimes disconcerting, mostly touching and they are guaranteed to make You choke on Your unshed tears at the end. Because there is no end...
Who is Nara Shikamaru (by andy has an idea): This one actually has a very good summary because its premise is simple - to tell us the story of Shikamaru's life. What I like the most about this story is that it is firmly anchored in canon. The author does not bend it in any way to suit his own intentions and he has some fresh ideas of how to explain Shikamaru's behaviour and mannerisms, which he demonstrates a good knowledge of; he understands his character. I initially wanted to review every chapter but it is so hard when there is barely anything to complain about. This story is perfect for anyone who loves Shikamaru! Furthermore, as of chapter 19, I am this story's Beta.
FAN-FICS I DISLIKE AND WHY
NARUTO IS BANISHED: I have encountered this many times and in many permutations but that does not matter. What matters is that this plot device is fundamentally flawed and impossible to happen. Let me start with the most common occurrence - banishment after the battle at the Valley of the End. Naruto loses to Sasuke, who then sets off towards Orochimaru's hideout; Kakashi arrives too late to make a difference and carries Naruto back to Konoha; there, by some agreement between the figures of power, Naruto is banished/exiled/kicked out/what have You. Why? Because he failed the mission to prevent Sasuke from defecting? If that is the case, then why not banish Shikamaru, Kiba, Chōji and Neji as well? All of them were on that mission, all of them were responsible, Shikamaru was even the leader. And while we are at it, why not throw Rock Lee out as well? He joined that mission of his own accord but it still failed. Kiba, Chōji and Neji almost died so exiling them would be at least tactless but Shikamaru and Rock Lee were practically unhurt and decidedly more fit than Naruto. Even when the outcome of the VotE battle is different, Naruto is still banished. If he kills Sasuke, he is banished. Why? Sure, he killed off Konoha's only chance of restoring the Uchiha clan but he also prevented the secrets of the Sharingan from leaving the village and Orochimaru from potentially gaining more power. If he defeats Sasuke and drags him back, he is banished. Why? The mission was a success! Everyone else survived their injuries, the Uchiha clan can still be restored, the secrets of the Sharingan remain in Konoha's hands, even relations with Suna are strengthened! Everyone wins! Well, everyone except for Naruto who, for some twisted unreasonable reason, is banished. Of course, I know what is that perverted reason behind Naruto's banishment in all three cases - the figures of power simply want him gone or straight up dead. Why? Why would anyone in Konoha with any power want Naruto dead and gone? Because he is the Jinchūriki of Kyūbi no Yōko? That is precisely the reason why he would NEVER be banished! As the container of the most powerful demon in the world, he is an asset to Konoha and a potential weapon (Gaara was intended to be Suna's weapon). Why would anyone give that up? The hate the generations who witnessed and survived the attack of the demon feel towards Naruto is not a valid reason. People in Suna hated Gaara as well but the reason why the Fourth Kazekage, Gaara's father, wanted to assassinate him was because he realised Gaara was uncontrollable. Naruto never became an uncontrollable homicidal maniac - he was just a hyper kid who liked to pull pranks. The problem is that the authors who like to "banish Naruto" have delusions about who those figures of power in Konoha are; they obviously have no idea what the government and command structure looks like. They most often employ an all-powerful village council that can easily overrule the Hokage's decisions and verdicts; that council is arbitrarily composed of clan leaders, high-ranking shinobis and civilians of certain influence. Well, I have news for You! The council of Konoha is composed of TWO PEOPLE - Mitokado Homura and Utatane Koharu. There is no one else on the council, no clan leaders, no Jōnins, no civilians and especially not Danzō. Furthermore, the council is what it is - a council, which means that they are Hokage's councillors, Hokage's advisers. Their duty is to advise the Hokage on his or her decisions and they have NO REAL power. The Hokage ALWAYS has the final word. Sarutobi Hiruzen did succumb to the will of the council and Danzō and allowed the Uchiha Massacre but he did it to prevent a crisis and a potential civil war. Tsunade has never succumbed to the council and especially not to Danzō whose intentions, by the way, are to keep Naruto within Konoha's walls at all costs and have him under his own control. Tsunade would never banish Naruto (and neither would Danzō) and that is why this whole concept is an instant failure on any author's part. Unless they make a parody of it like Sarah1281 did in her Keep Your Eye on the Council - read it, it is brutally banish-tastic!
THE GIRLS ARE WEAK: Sakura, Ino, Hinata, Tenten and sometimes even Temari are being called weak and useless by their male peers or they at least feel that way and because of that they leave the village to train and show those chauvinistic pigs that they are actually very strong and able. Excuse me for the following outburst but WHAT THE HELL?! This concept may be more probable than "Naruto is banished" but it is still outrageously impossible. Has Sakura ever been called weak by Naruto or Sasuke or any other boy for that matter? No. Naruto loves her too much to ever even think that; Sasuke sees everyone as weaker than him but he has no reason to speak his mind. No one has ever called Sakura weak and in Part II, she is way past that phase of feeling weak. If any guy called Sakura weak in Part II, she would shatter the nearest object and dare him to repeat it. Have Shikamaru or Chōji or anyone else ever called Ino weak or useless? Apart from Neji calling the whole Team 10 weaklings in the Chūnin exams, no, never, especially not her teammates. Ino felt weak only in the last arc of Part I but that was filler and she is and always has been an invaluable member of her team. If a guy called Ino weak in Part II, she would probably mind-rape him. Have Kiba or Shino ever called Hinata weak? No, they have always been very supportive. Only Neji and Hiashi have been calling Hinata weak on a regular basis but Hinata gained Neji's respect during Part I and it is implied that she has already earned her father's respect as well. If a guy tried to call Hinata of Part II weak, she would stand up to him and maybe Jyūken him into next weak. Has anyone ever called Tenten weak? The only person I can think of is Temari and she did it because she mopped the floor with her. Her teammates respect her and no one has a reason to regard her with disdain. Furthermore, Tenten is a firm believer in equality and she starts with herself and if a guy tried to call her weak, she would expertly castrate him. Have Temari's brothers ever called her weak? No. Not even in his homicidal phase did Gaara ever call his sister weak or useless and neither did Kankurō. If a guy was stupid enough to call Temari weak, she would send him flying. So why in the blue fires of Hell would any author employ this ridiculous concept? On the one hand, there is no basis for the girls to be called weak or to feel weak, especially in the case of Sakura, Temari and Tenten. On the other hand, there is the problem that those authors are obviously too enamoured with the concept of a "training trip". The fact is that Naruto's two and a half years with Jiraiya away from Konoha was a rare occurrence that was made possible only by who Jiraiya and Naruto are. Even if they wanted to, the girls cannot just leave the village to go train somewhere, no one can. The movement of shinobis is strictly monitored and controlled because every village wants to protect her secrets. If the girls just up and left, they would be declared nukenins and hunted down. It is as simple as that.
SOMEONE JOINS THE AKATSUKI: When You do not think about it too much, it can make sense. The numbers of the Akatsuki have dwindled quite a bit. There used to be ten or eleven of them: Deidara, Hidan, Kakuzu, Kisame, Konan, Itachi, Orochimaru, Pain/Nagato, Sasori, Zetsu and later (or sooner?) Tobi/Madara. However, Deidara blew himself to smithereens in a failed attempt to kill Sasuke, Hidan was burried by Shikamaru, Kakuzu was taken down by the joint efforts Team 10 & Kakashi & Naruto, Konan decided to leave and become Naruto's ally, Itachi fell in a fratricidal battle, Orochimaru left long ago, Pain/Nagato sacrificed himself to right his wrongs and Sasori was outperformed by Sakura & Chiyo. That leaves only Kisame, Zetsu and Tobi/Madara as the active members. The roster was briefly expanded by Sasuke's rag-tag group but it was obvious that he joined for the same motives as Orochimaru - to further his own goals. Nevertheless, the Akatsuki-joining fics have been here for much longer - they existed way before the organisation was reduced to a trio. There are two kinds of these fics: 1) an OC joins; 2) a canon character joins. Let me start then. First of all, simply becoming a member of the Akatsuki is not that easy (to quote Zetsu from Omnistrife's Fun with Akatsuki). We can guess that Pain/Nagato, Konan and probably Tobi/Madara were the founders; we know for a fact that Itachi and Orochimaru went to the Akatsuki of their own accord and wanted in so they were the ones who really "joined". On the other hand, Deidara was approached by Itachi and Kisame and practically forced to become a member. I would guess that all the others were also approached by established members but on top of that they were probably "asked politely". For an OC to be eligible to become an Akatsuki member, s/he must be a very strong rogue with special talents that would fit into the organisation's plans, whatever they actually are. If the author can make that OC believably badass (not overpowered and not too simple) and avoid any romantic undertones (and especially overtones) and make the "joining" part of the story something more than "Hi! My name's XYZ and I want to join You! - OK, You're in!", then I have nothing against it but I will still not read it because I am not interested. However, the great problem and the reason why I hate this concept is when the person joining is a canon character, especially someone from Konoha. Why? Why would anyone whom we already know by name ever join an organisation that is a threat to peace, no one's ally and everyone's enemy? It does not matter that the Kage summit uncovered that some villages contracted the Akatsuki to do some dirty work for them because the official stance is the same. Even if someone feels alienated in their own village and wants to leave it, they would rather join a different village than become an enemy of everyone. None of the canon characters can have a reason to want to become a member of the Akatsuki. Yet people still write it and they go as far as making shinobis from Konoha do it. Whatever they can think of, it cannot work. The greatest offenders of them all are fics about Naruto joining the Akatsuki. The most appropriate reaction to that is: "WHAT THE FUCK?! What?! How?! What?! Why?! WHAT THE FUCK?!" Out of all the characters in Narutoverse, including those that exist there only as fodder, Naruto is the least likely one to make such a move. If You are sincerely asking why, then You are beyond help and should retire from writing Naruto fan-fiction forever, effective immediately. Naruto has the frikkin' Kyūbi no Yōko sealed inside himself, the Akatsuki want to collect all the Bijū and to extract a Bijū from its host they need to kill the host. Ergo, they WANT NARUTO DEAD. That is the most glaring reason. Then there is the fact that they killed Gaara, a friend of Naruto's. Then there is Itachi and Tobi/Madara. Then there is Pain's destruction of Konoha. Seriously, I can respect a lot of things but this is going directly against the source material and as such cannot even qualify as fan-fiction.
OH DEAR GOD!! I just saw someone combine these two concepts! Why in the underworld would the Akatsuki want to recruit people who are considered weak by those who know them the most?! It makes NO SENSE! The Apocalypse is coming! It is coming, I tell You!
More to come later. That would be all for now. Stay on the safe side!
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