In what may very well be the most bizarre entry into the iconic ninja series, Rock Lee and His Ninja Pals takes the world of Naruto and rings out every bit of humour it can from the legendary series. While it proves to be a hilarious romp and gives some of Naruto’s lesser known characters a chance in the spotlight, it is decidedly a series for Naruto fans by Naruto fans.
Following Rock Lee, Naruto’s true forgotten hero, the series goes from one comedy skit to the next. Through the eyes of Rock Lee and his team mates Tenten and Neji we see a side of the Naruto world that the main series rarely explores, the trivialities of day to day life in the wild world of ninjas. Be it failed romantic conquests, dealing with trivial missions, trying to outdo Naruto or even just hanging out with friends, the series relishes finding the funny in Naruto in a way that the original series never could.
It plays with tropes of the original series all the while carving out its own unique identity, never shying away from poking fun at the more ridiculous parts of Naruto series. What it doe well is that it never becomes an outright mockery of the original series, instead serving more as a love letter to it. It would have been quite easy to go to far one way or the other on that spectrum but Rock Lee and His Ninja Pals does well to tow that line.
Not only does it do a great job getting a laugh, it also takes the time to explore fantasy scenarios that fans would have long dreamed of, including what becomes the series epic final battle finale. That said the series is really aimed.almost solely at Naruto fans, leaving those uninitiated likely confused. It assumes you know and love these characters already and if you do you are sure to have a great time if you don’t then you are starting at the wrong place in the Naruto franchise.
In terms of animation the show looks great and features some fantastic sakuga sequences for its battles and even slapstick gags. Also the characters look great in their reimagined chibi forms. It is also nice to see some familiar Naruto tracks making their way into the series.
Naruto Spin-Off: Rock Lee and His Ninja Pals is a fantastic tribute to such a beloved series and one that long time fans are sure to get a real kick out of. Unfortunately this is far from a good entry point for those new to Naruto. This one is best left to the die hards looking to kick back and enjoy a loving celebration of this legendary series.
You can have a laugh with Rock Lee and His Ninja Pals over at Madman’s Online Store.