I read Naruto a lil while back when I first got it to put it in my bookstore. I wanted to be able to at least know what it was about before selling it. I thought the book was cute, cool. All about a kid who is learning about his own powers and training to get better. I loved the ramen stuff, didn’t love how the girl he’s competing alongside is presented as boy crazy for no reason. But Naruto’s character is worthwhile and seems real, even in a fantasy world where you can duplicate yourself and stuff.
More recently I read Deathnote, which I knew about as a show but not a book. Saw this one day and was thinking along the same lines: let me get this and see if it’s good to sell. Turned out my son wanted to keep it, but this was good too. It’s about a guy who finds this notebook from another realm and whosever name you write on it dies. So the guy is purposefully killing “criminals” and messing with the cops, with the demon from the other world hovering over him the whole time.
Thinking about them together, I see that they’re both about how we manipulate our reality, how we use otherworldliness in our daily lives, how spiritually connected we are to the super natural. Like being human is odd, and I think these books highlight that. These characters are learning about humanity and themselves at the same time, just like everyone else. There are no clear answers to our existence, but these guys are definitely taking action to try to find out.