Naruto was originally a popular Japanese graphic novel (manga) created by Masashi Kishimoto. It was eventually made into an animation (anime) directed by Hayato Date, and licensed by Aniplex Media.
It is focused on the hyperactive adolescent of Konohagakure (Village Hidden in Leaves), Naruto Uzumaki, and his goal to become an esteemed ninja and village leader. Many aesthetics, techniques (jutsu), and values are attained from a sensei's tutelage by students through much developement and hardship.
Naruto's teammates, mentors, and especially rivals act as an important part of the saga, and have individual stories that are discovered as the saga progresses. Many things portrayed throughout Naruto are connected to Japanese mythology, culture, and historical events; these relations sometimes being very unfamiliar with Western and other foreign audiences. There are currently two parts to the saga; the first one appropriately titled as 'Naruto', the second being 'Naruto - Shippūden', a two-and-a-half-year time-lapse, which is still being continued.
The viewers age starts at a decently younger age compared to much shounen
anime (which is usually aired on Adult Swim), and is probably somewhere around 7 to 13+.
The anime has become very much exaggerated as the years of it's growing exploitation have increased, and has lost much quality and originality due to the 'immediately-jump-to-a-conclusion' bastards (even the fans) who make it out to be something it never has been. Pointless jokes and stupid assumptions circulate throughout Naruto-based forums, fan's conversations, and basically any form of communication via internet. These parodies and lies eventually get around to people who don't even take the time to look at the original manga - what Naruto really is, and what makes it unique. Much heed is paid to ridicule, pointless celebrity comparisons, and shit fanfictions and fanart of Naruto.
This is where Naruto has lost most of it's originality - over-propagandizing by the wrong people.
The anime has also been diluted and literally screwed over by it's various distributors. Unfortunately, the anime is usually the only form of Naruto that is seen by the majority, and is judged negatively from there on out. It is often referred to as a generic rip-off of DragonBall Z by close-minded idiots, and usually considered 'inferior' to One Piece.
However, the anime is also unfortunately infatuated with poorly thought-out fillers to keep a steady beat as it's episodes are released, and are sometimes acknowledged more by first-time watchers. This is one of the many things that gives Naruto a negative reputation with first-time Naruto witnesses. The anime's fillers were never in the original story, only serve as an expediency as original episodes are created, and dilute the more unique storyline that flows quite evenly, in my opinion. Even episodes that are featured in the manga can turn out to be a total blow with animation, and portray people and places more linear and incorrectly.
This is why I choose not to acknowledge the anime's flaws - because it barely even follows with the original saga, throws off the viewers, and looses much Japanese symbolism when converted to another language. Although it is original Japanese animation, it loses a good bit of quality and tends to look rushed and very unoriginal.
This, my friends, is why I read the manga. Steady flow, decent action, and best of all - exactly the way it should be.
Nothing is placed out of context, exaggerated, filled-in, or rushed through. Much easier to understand, less linear, and simpler to connect with the people in it. Everything began and will end with the manga, regardless of the anime or how it is perceived. It can't get much more organized than that, in my opinion.
Honestly, if you can't tolerate the Naruto anime, just check out the damn manga instead.
I don't expect you to keep reading it, but it makes a hell of alot more sense.
I don't consider Naruto to be the greatest story in manga history, (nor is it the greatest anime), but I prefer it over every other manga I've read before. It's just a personal preference. I watch other anime, and read other manga; I haven't been "brainwashed", as some say, because I like something popular. I just simply choose to loyally follow Naruto up to it's last chapter because it's something I enjoy wholeheartedly.
Naruto isn't your cup of tea? Hey, that's fine - I personally dislike One Piece with every fiber of my being, but I don't jump on the internet and make it look like shit. I don't knock something because I know you like it. You don't have to do as I do, but have a little respect.
Keep liking what you like. I'll do the same. Just don't fuck with people who like Naruto because it's sabotaged and considered overrated by the majority of anime fans. We're honestly not hurting anyone.
"Dude, Naruto and anime suck! People like you should get a life, skateboard, and fuck something hot."
"Heh, you're kind of funny for a child with a mental stunt. Shh, I know, it's okay now."