With a 15-year manga run and two full anime series, there's no denying the legacy Naruto has had on the shonen genre. The franchise's popularity has provided countless movies, OVAs, light novels and even a spin-off series, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. Fans have plenty of media at their disposal to experience the ins and outs of the ninja world. Yet as with any fan base, large or small, a series' canon might not check the boxes for everyone.
However expansive a franchise might be, there will be those who crave stories spotlighting less popular characters, stories with different endings, or even stories that put characters in a contemporary setting. That's where fan fiction comes in. Here are just a few of the best Naruto fanfics that give fans what they want.
Halcyon Days by jaylene
Sakura Haruno is one of, if not the, most under-appreciated character in the Naruto franchise. Despite being among the strongest ninja in the series, she doesn't get a lot of love on screen. Thankfully, Sakura fans can see her take center stage in Halcyon Days. It's a story that explores her legacy and how she struggles with believing she is unimportant, despite all that she's accomplished.
Halcyon Days traces Sakura's interactions with other characters from the start of her ninja journey. The fic gently deviates from the canon as it focuses on her perspective, with moments highlighting her care, compassion, and strength as a friend and pillar of her community. Sakura fan or not, this fic is a genuinely thoughtful expansion of the powerful kunoichi's story.
When I Doubt, You're My Belief by kolbietheninja
This fic is for any Naruto fan who loves a good time-travel AU. Sakura also leads this story, but now she's traveling back in time to try and create peace for her friends and the other ninja following the war. One day she wakes up to find herself in the past, just before the formation of Team 7, and now an entirely different gender. When I Doubt, You're My Belief lets readers ponder what they'd do if they found themselves thrown back in the past: would they enjoy a second go at life surrounded by friends, or alter the past to hopefully secure a safer and happier future for everyone else?
While the last chapter is a few years old, the author seems intent on finishing the story to its estimated 25 chapters. Until then, fans can read though the existing tale to get their sweet fill of nostalgia.
From Ashes and Dust by Scarlet66
From Ashes and Dust reimagines the conclusion of Naruto's 4th Great Ninja War. Sasuke doesn't leave on his own, instead departing with Naruto after an extensive and poignant heart-to-heart about their friendship and his departure from Konohagakure. Their journey consists of initially tying up loose ends from the war, then exploring the world together as Sasuke works to right his wrongs and heal his heart.
This fic is great for fans who ship the two, but also anyone who wants to explore the depths of their relationship in spite of all the challenges they've faced since Naruto began. From Ashes and Dust gives fans a sweet, happy ending for these two ninja heroes.
Taste will always be relative. Someone's absolute favorite series is still capable of delivering moments that just don't hit. While the size and popularity of a franchise means fans get a variety of ways to continue a story, there will be those who aren't quite satisfied. Those in the latter camp will be happy to know that the world of fan fiction is full of stories that will give them everything they've ever wanted.