Are you a fan of the long-running shonen anime, Naruto? The series not only ran for more than three hundred episodes in its original incarnation but then a time-jump allowed it to span across five hundred more episodes. While the main anime has concluded, a spin-off series following the children of our favorite shinobi, Baruto: Naruto Next Generations, is currently airing.
However, like with anything that is adapted into a different medium, there are many differences between Naruto the anime and the original manga series that it was based on. This isn't uncommon in the world of anime. We're highlighting ten of the most significant changes.
10 Less blood
The anime has considerably less blood than its manga counterpart. Given that the series is all about fighting, you would think we would see the violent aftermath of fights more frequently. In the manga, when there are mass murders or execution-style deaths, it was common to see quite a bit of bloodshed.
But the anime was adapted as a more kid-friendly version of the original story and therefore much of the blood has been removed. That's not to say you won't see any of it or any bruises, scarring, etc. But there is far less than you would see in the manga.
9 The manga doesn't have filler
One of the most obvious differences between the manga and anime is that the manga doesn't have any filler story arcs, while the anime has plenty. In fact, Naruto is well-known as an anime with copious amounts of filler content. The reason for this is typically because the series is moving ahead of the manga.
In order to ensure they can still air episodes while waiting for the manga to catch up, the animators and writers will come up with filler arcs. This means that the story is not canon in the manga, and sometimes not even in the anime. However, the filler can help give time to background characters who might be ignored otherwise.
8 Gaara is less violent
Gaara is one of the most popular characters in Naruto. At the beginning of the series, he was considered one of the main antagonists in the Hidden Leaf Village, due to his constant darkness and desire to destroy everyone around him.
Eventually, Gaara becomes a friend and ally to Naruto and many others but his vast power and abilities made him a credible threat. In the manga, Gaara was even more violent than he is shown as being in the anime. Many of his more intense moments were cut from the series due to their brutality. And potentially because it might have affected fan opinion of the character.
7 Hinata's confession
Many people have differing opinions on Hinata as a character. Some love her, while others are less fond of her. The main driving force of Hinata's characterization is her love for Naruto. In the anime, she is given a little more development because Hinata gets attention in several filler arcs. Whereas in the manga, you miss out on some of that development.
The biggest change is in Hinata's big moment in the Pain arc. This is where she finally confesses her feelings for Naruto. In the manga, it happens fast and is brushed over but in the anime, Hinata actually gets to hold her own in the fight for a bit and even land a hit. The moment is far more cinematic.
6 Tenten and Temari's fight is cut short
If you're a fan of this anime, then you know about the Chunin exams. This was one of the first major story arcs in the series and many people who weren't sure about the show decided to become fans after reaching this part in the story.
The problem is, one of the most interesting fights was cut short in the anime. We didn't get to see much of the fight between Tenten and Temari, which is a shame since both characters are underrated but fascinating. Instead, the anime focused more on a background argument between Ino and Sakura.
5 Expanded funeral
After the war arc towards the end of Naruto: Shippuden, a funeral was held for everyone who died during the war. Whereas in the manga, the funeral was specifically held for Neji. Most fans appreciated that the funeral was expanded to better pay respects to all characters who perished on or off-screen during the epic final war arc.
It helped bring about closure to the series and give characters a chance to mourn. However, some die-hard Neji fans were disappointed to see their favorite character forced to share the limelight in the final tribute to his character, especially as he had been more of a main than many others who died.
4 Long fights
Another stall tactic executed by Studio Pierrot was the implementation of fight-lengthening. Whenever the anime would start catching up with the manga, they would use filler, as we mentioned. However, they would also lengthen the canon arcs. It wasn't uncommon to see one fight between two characters span for several episodes, sometimes ten or more.
Often times the fighting between them wasn't even the main part. Instead, the story would show each character and recap what had to lead them to that moment or their history, over and over again, in order to stretch the fights to their maximum potential.
3 Tons of flashbacks
Speaking of flashbacks, one other major difference between the anime and manga was the copious use of flashbacks. That's not to say the manga never implemented this, because it often did, but never to the extent of the anime. In some episodes of the show, you would only get around ten minutes of new content.
The rest of the episode would consist of flashbacks, recaps, and memories of things we had already seen many times in the series. It could certainly be frustrating to fans who were tired of seeing the same scenes shown repeatedly just with a new voiceover or music played over top.
2 Sasuke and Naruto's final fight
The final fight between Sasuke and Naruto in Shippuden is often one of the most well-remembered of the entire series. That said, the anime did make some changes from the manga. For instance, in the anime, Naruto had several visions of Sasuke from the past that weren't shown in the manga.
Also, Sasuke's initial fireball jutsu is much stronger in the anime as it literally cracks the ground beneath Naruto's feet. It is not shown with the same amount of raw strength and power in the manga. The fight also begins in a different place in the anime versus the manga.
1 Sakura gets more action in the anime
Unfortunately, Sakura is an underutilized character in both the anime and the manga. The series as a whole had many issues with how it depicted its female characters. Sakura doesn't get many chances to shine but she did get more in the anime than she did in the manga.
This was particularly true during the rampage of the Ten Tails where Sakura actually gets to save some people instead of having to be rescued, as she was in the manga. It might appear to be a small moment but in a series that largely relegated her to a background role, it was appreciated.