The hype I'm talking about is both negative and positive. The series isn't great, the plots are cliche, the back stories are unoriginal (Orphans, Orphans, Orphans, that loses its punch after a while), the place where this story shines is the fight scenes and characters. The fighting styles are thought out and interesting, even with a large number of idiot balls. And the characters who use these fighting styles are usually interesting or charismatic, the sad fact is that the periphery characters are cooler then the protagonists.
Let's begin with Naruto, who is blandly likable, but his fighting style is just bland, I really think it'd be better if he was someone the hero befriended, or if they made him the comic relief.
Now, the hype, Sasuke wasn't always a retarded and stupid character, at the start of the series I found his motivation, and his growing realization that he's not the only person that matters, engaging, not as engaging as his fans say it is, but if he was the lancer, and not the plot sponge he is now, things would be better.
I feel that Sakura was just added because they needed a chick, personality wise, and story wise, she's crammed in.
Let's talk about plot! Utterly, utterly dull, it's just an excuse to beat people up, and it works as that, if nothing else. Without the characters, this thing would be flatter then Oklahoma. The villains motivations are crap, I'm going to...(Fill in) Become the greatest Ninja Evar or take over the world (Of course!). Dull and cliche, but not terrible. The villains themselves are cool, but they're dog raping evil, with any gray removed after the first arc.
Characters! This is where it is at. I can't say the dialogues good, I can't say the Geodesic cast doesn't get old, but goddamn it these characters aren't cool, very very cool. Cooler then the protagonists. Especially because they use attacks beyond the handful the protagonists have memorized. It may be the mystique of not knowing everything about them, it may be the fact that secondary characters are allowed to have more of a personality, whatever it is they are cool.
Other crap. The goddamn flashbacks, "Oh no, that kunai is close, what do I do?" how about sit through a ten minute flashback. It may show background, but overuse has ruined it.
Still, give this show a chance, and ignore the hype.