The Show That Made a Shipper Out of Me.
Ok, so I'd seen a few animes before, but not many. I watched Dragonball and its sequals, Pokemon too, Digimon and Yu-Gi-Oh for a while, a bit of Gundam till the scheduling and plot confused the hell out of me, several series I can't recall if they were proper anime or western animations, and a handful of others I can't recall the names of, but when I start watching Naruto the most recent anime I'd seen was Inuyasha. In none of those series did I feel the need to "ship" nor learn the term or read the Manga. Not until Naruto.
See before this I was content to let the plot resolve all the relationships in its own canon. So I was treating this series the same way as it introduced the two rivals in a love triangle, but where the two were strangly seperate. Then I got to the Chunin Exam Arc(s), and the rest of the cast was introduced (outside of flashbacks I mean) and the rest of the love dodecahedron that the earlier triangle was a part of as well. How could I want anyone but Hinata to end up with Naruto now? If she didn't get him she'd be alone forever, and Sasuke has so many others pinning after him, Sakura too for that matter. Oh I still see the appeal of Saku Naru
, but it just can't compete with Hinata's sheer devotion. I also really enjoyed Sikamaru's character due to the brilliant tactics he introduced to the series. The other characters added cool new powers too. Saw more of that in the Sasuke Retreival Arc.
Shippuden & Manga:
For all that training he supposedly did, Naruto hasn't gotten all that much stronger. Awesome, Akatsuki are on the move now. Sasori was way cooler than Deidera
, which made Sakura seem that much better by beating him. Orochimaru and Naruto get to fight? FIKKIN' AWESOME! Now we get to see Sasuke's progress, sweet. Training, exposition, foreshadowing, blending into a filler ar-guh gotta watch the filler for the plot mixed in, also I liked Sora much better than Sai, not where the filler plot went with him though. Next pair of Akatsuki, BOTH are cool this time; The personalities, Hidan's powers, Kakuza's eyes. Dudes pissed Shikamaru off, Naruto's training is almost done, time for a great fight. Nothing else can compair to this until the Pain Arc, WHICH IS AMAZING! Nothing else tops that in the Anime. Which is why I can't wait for the current Manga arc to arrive.