As any anime or manga series goes on and the longer it stays on air, the more people are involved in its creation before it gets to the typical consumer. These types of new change and influence can sometimes be seen and is inevitably translated into how a series feels or looks like.
Ever since its serialization in 1999, Naruto has been subjected to multiple changes in how various artists, Masashi Kishimoto included, have treated its art style. As a result, if we compare Naruto from the first time it aired up until its very latest episode, even accounting for Boruto, we can definitely see some changes in its look and design.
Naruto Art Style Change: What was Naruto’s Original Style?
Masashi Kishimoto, like most mangaka, grew up surrounded by manga and illustrations. As a child, this then thrust him into a creative and imaginative environment where he was able to hone his skill until he was able to finally develop his own style.
This original style is what we see in the initial volumes of Naruto as a manga. Of course, as the volumes pile up and more and more illustrations and drawings are needed in order to tell the next arc of the story, Kishimoto’s designs for his characters are inevitably polished. This is where we see a difference in art style.
Another major change in art style that we see is in Naruto: Shippuden where the characters from the previous season have all matured and are now completely different from their child selves. Not even that, we also see major changes in how the anime is treated as Kishimoto’s style evolves with the advancement of technology.
Moreover, the studio that handles Naruto as a franchise isn’t exactly strict about maintaining its “style” given how often they need to crank out consistent content for the fans. If they agonize over very small details without having much time before their next deadline, the anime will never be finished and aired on time.
Furthermore, compared to anime like One Piece, Naruto’s design is pretty generic. This is ultimately why and how Naruto can get away with styles that are slightly off as certain points.
What Makes the Art Style of Naruto Unique?
The animation and manga industry are fascinating especially to people who engage in the content on the regular. Anime and manga can have a myriad of different styles, designs, and treatments but for the untrained eye, these unique differences may simply go unnoticed.
Any fan of anime or manga will tell you that, Dr. Stone, Naruto, and Bleach could not have more different styles. This is particularly because the artists behind these works have varying aspects of illustration they enjoy drawing and aspects they try to avoid. Masashi Kishimoto is one such mangaka.
Masashi Kishimoto Enjoys Drawing Pockets and Pouches
The shinobi in Naruto tend to carry various tools and items when going on expeditions or battles. Whether they’re carrying, shurikens, kunais, scrolls, or food, ninjas need to keep their belongings close to them to minimize the sounds they’re making whenever they travel. This is why we see an absurd amount of pockets and pouches in anime and manga.
This peculiar trend can only be seen in Naruto as well and it seems that Kishimoto simply likes to draw them. This design can be quite comedic in hindsight since as the series gained traction and Masashi then altered the characters’ designs to make them more streamlined, the absurd number of pouches didn’t change.
Masashi Kishimoto has Extensive Knowledge in Martial Arts and Anatomy
Fight scenes in anime and manga are completely different. This is because getting a reader immersed with vibrant and engaging panels in a page is nowhere similar to expressing actions with moving pictures.
While some titles like to emphasize scale and various effects to bring excitement into the fight scenes, surprisingly, an anime about ninjas likes to keep their fights plain and simple. Masashi may need a crash course on how to run with the right postures but his fights are some of the cleanest and easiest fights to understand in anime. This is because Kishimoto has extensive knowledge in anatomy and martial arts.
Masashi Kishimoto is Adept in Matching Architecture and Fantasy
One thing you can’t criticize Naruto for, despite its cliche villains and awkward plots, are it’s amazing backgrounds. Sure, a sizable chunk of the anime only has trees and leaves back there, but when Kishimoto draws a city skyline, he nails it every time. His insanely intricate and complex scenery are some of the best panels in the anime and the manga.
Did Masashi Kishimoto Illustrate Naruto?
Naruto premiered in September 1999 and it quickly became a hit. It came to an end in November 2014 with 700 chapters across 72 volumes. Naruto sold over 110 million copies in Japan and almost 100 million copies in the US followed by another 100 million worldwide.
Masashi Kishimoto, illustrator and creator of the series was also awarded “Rookie of the Year” in the Agency of Cultural Affairs. Naruto then went on to have a sequel in Naruto Shippuden. When Naruto was going to be adapted into an anime, Masashi then requested Tetsuya Nishio to oversee the designs.