Reverse-Watching Naruto

(these titles are becoming a real pain in the arse)

I don’t mean that I am watching the Naruto anime in reverse, starting with the final episode and working my way back to when Naruto still wore his goggles in episode one, I mean in the sense that I’ve watched the Abridged Series of Naruto, before watching the anime itself in any meaningful fashion. (note: an ‘Abridged Series’ is a parody of an anime series, in which each episode is shortened to a fraction of the original length, and Abridgers add their own voice-overs to the images to create a comedy series, that often pokes fun at the show they are abridging.)

When I was a young warthog, I watched the first hundred or so episodes of the Naruto anime with my sister; while she went on to greatly enjoy the remainder of the series (and its sequel, Naruto Shippuden, and the original manga), I did not, tiring of the characters and plot. As a result, I understand the basic premise of the show, and the first few dozen episodes of the Abridged Series, but nothing more; so today, I decided to watch the Naruto anime, from episode one.

It’s strange, because I’ve seen the Abridged Series far more recently than I’ve seen the actual anime, so instead of laughing at the comedic elements of the parody, and comparing them to the sincerity of the main series, I’m constantly comparing the original anime to its bastard comedic offspring. For instance, I’m still not quite over the fact that Kakashi isn’t voiced by David Bowie.

To me, this reinforces the importance of understanding the source material in appreciating parody; the two variants can be compared against one another, rather than only viewing a parody in the light of its original. While one may seek to entertain, and the other to move, an audience, both are dependent on the other to provide context for each other; this is why I don’t watch the, perhaps most successful, Dragonball Z parody by TeamFourStar, simply because I’ve not seen the Dragonball anime, and don’t intend to, and want to understand the series in its entirety.

And I’m sure I could have drawn out more conclusions that I managed to in the end, but I have a few hundred episodes of anime to watch, if you’ll excuse me.

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