Anime Review: Rock Lee

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Posted from my Facebook June 25, 2012

Yes, you read the title right: this is a review for a series that centers around not Naruto, but Rock Lee! Back when I first saw the manga come out, a lot of my friends didn’t believe me. Let’s face it, the Rock Lee manga is an omake based on Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto universe, published by Saikyo Jump, and written by Kenji Taira (yeah, he’s a new manga-ka who surfaced from Kishimoto’s coattails). It’s no wonder people overlooked this series. And yet, when Studio Pierrot decided to release it as an anime (with the same voice actors from Naruto: Shippuden, I might add), some of my friends still didn’t believe this was for real; although to be frank, I think they were probably just stunned that the Bleach animation decided to discontinue after Winter 2012 and was quickly replaced by this show in its time slot on TV Tokyo. Politics aside, Spring 2012 welcomes a new show in the anime lineup: Rock Lee no Seishun Full-Power Ninden (or Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals).

I was thinking about reviewing this, but then I considered a few factors:

  1. To appreciate this series, one must have at least some knowledge of the Naruto universe. This includes the fact that it takes place in an alternate universe, where ninjas make up a standing army, energy is called “chakra,” and people can do really cool shit like breathe fire, make solid clones that disappear when they get hurt, and summon weapons or talking animals from another dimension.
  2. To appreciate the main character, Rock Lee, one must understand that in this Naruto universe, Rock Lee is the only person of his ninja stature who cannot do any said “cool shit.” The closest thing he has to unrealistic power is moving extremely fast and opening his “eight inner gates,” which boils down to releasing adrenaline in eight parts of his body before it kills him, literally!
  3. To appreciate this series as an omake of the Naruto universe, you must discount the fact you thought everything in Naruto was serious. I don’t know about anyone else, but Kishimoto’s Naruto has a tendency to make me want to cry over his very well-written character development; almost to a point where I start to believe that no one person in this universe could possibly be pure evil (yes, I was one of those wimps that cried both times when Zabusa dies).

Once you have accepted at least these three factors, you get this amazing result:

rock-lee-byakusharingan

Byakusharingan!

This show is friggin’ hilarious! End of story.

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