Maybe not in terms of strength, but he was an underdog in everything else. Kyuubi, for all his power, worked against him. Not only because Kyuubi hated his guts, but because Naruto lost control when he used it. Naruto was a prince all along, all this underdog/sad orphan stuff was a mirage. The Chosen One bullshit kills his characterization because Kishimoto focused so much on Naruto being an underdog, usually when comparing him to Sasuke. Every time Naruto surpassed Sasuke in part one (Haku fight, calling him a coward when they faced Orochimaru, even in the Valley of the End) I could feel it was because of Naruto's inner strength. I could root for him.
Like I said I always figured Kishimoto would pull this. You had a guy who got implanted with mysteriously gets this big ass monster in his stomach, Naruto was always characterized as being special or at least having potential) He did suck at the start of the series, but immediately surprised his teacher when he did a Jonin level technique.
He was characterized(in part one at least) as this energetic, brash, and hot-headed kid that wanted to be loved/beloved by many folks in his village, and yeah I aware he did mess up on one mission which lead to Sasuke calling him a 'scardy cat' but that's it. He won all of his fights in part 1 with the help of the Nine Tails chakra(with the exception of his fight Kiba and Kabuto).
In part 2 he succeeds only because he's Special. He's everything Sasuke was (special bloodline, powerful family, etc etc). How many can relate to him now? I'm not saying he should be weak, but Naruto - as a character - is one dimensional and hasn't grown up at all.
Naruto's character is more two-dimensional but yeah he hasn't really 'matured' at all.
Naruto was never a very relatable character, relatable characters are folks like Shikamaru and Choiji, hell maybe Lee. If Naruto existed in real world he would be a crazed pyschopath–much like Gaara was.
The thing with the Nevi vs Naruto fight is that back then the Kyuubi could be both a blessing and a curse. In part 2, Kyuubi lost everything that made him a menace and now he's basically Naruto's lapdog.
True. Doesn't change the fact it aided him greatly in that fight, and several.
but really though with the Kyuubi he had mostly advantages like accelerated healing, and heightened stamina. The setbacks was mostly through negative emotions; other than that not really, and I do understand he couldn't control it at the time and he was underdog in terms of struggling to control it, but really that was maybe back in the Chunin exams and that was mostly because a seal had been placed on him.
Then when he convinced the Kyuubi to aid him with a little chakra and he complied.
I still had some hope… then we got the Kushina flashback...
How'd you figure this weak little dunce was the prime candidate to be the vessel of the most powerful being in existence?
With the shaky premise of Naruto I always figured he'd pull something like this. Its awful but I'm not surprised. The fact that for a long time he was theorized(before the the reveal) to be the son of the most powerful ninja in the world, and the fact he left the most powerful beast in the world with him to use pretty much mutilates his underdog status quite a bit. Lets me be honest here it was obvious he taking this direction, and like I said before all of his fights aside from Kiba and Kabuto were he posed a serious threat to the enemy or even prevailed were through the use of the Kyuubi. I mean come on just imagine Naruto never meeting Jiraiya and never unlocking his seal(thous not activating the Ninetails) no matter how much trained he would have lost the battle with Neji regardless. The very fact that Naruto defeated Ninja through his destiny of being the ninetails vessel pretty confirmed Neji's 'pessimistic destiny philosophy. '
You have the fact the reality that all along
Naruto was just this 'saint figure' with a sob story. He was never really an underdog in the manga.
I think the Destiny trope can work in the hands of a competent author, but in this case?
Well my idea its not really a fault to introduce the idea if it was handled much better, then right now.
No. Is not just Naruto. Making Naruto so white and Sasuke so black killed part of the manga that used to be gray.
I couldn't resist..
All the members of Team 7, sans Kakashi and only because he gets little screentime in comparison, have either regressed (poor, poor Sakura), or became one dimensional (Naruto and Sasuke). It's a shame. I could actually root for Team 7 before, now I don't care.
Agreed. Both Naruto(part 2) and Sasuke are legitimately awful characters.