Naruto is a very good series. It features a unique storyline, good art, and very interesting characters. It suffers in the area of story flow (long battles and too much focus on certain characters) and originality (some characters feel contrived and a bit shallow). Naruto still remains one of my favorites because of the sheer depth of some of the characters. Even the supposedly chipper title character feels the need to be accepted. Serious realistic human themes are addressed, including the need for company and the crippling effects of loneliness. Although the characters aren't perfect, they thrive when they have the ability to fight for teammates. Friendship and camaraderie are the central themes of the series, and the various characters benefit greatly from their growing sense of union in battle and in life. The storyline becomes darker along the way, but it is interspersed with amusing moments of comedy. The anime also shows the characters growing into mature, essentially good humans as they learn more about becoming ninjas. They sacrifice themselves for each other and revere their "precious people" (the main message of the series). At some spots, dark, depressing moments and odd spirituality may blur the true focus of the series, but the flawed, interesting characters and moral messages make up for it.