I am not a manga/anime specialist, but Naruto is certainly the best series I've known so far. It has the emotional intensity of romance, while combining actions and moral code of friendship and essential relationship issues. Lots of characters have deep and unique personalities, and make me want to compare Masashi Kishimoto to Shakespeare for his understanding of human psychology.
The world of Naruto itself is an imaginary one amalgamating a lost ideal traditional Japanese world of ninja (and samurai), with strict moral codes and feudal wars, with elements of modernity such as television and cup ramens. There are no cars or concrete roads, no sign of Westernization or contact to the outside world, even though the technology and school system are unmistakably contemporary. Houses and ninja techniques are purely imaginary, which adds charm to the atmosphere.
Definitely worth a watching/reading.