An anime YouTuber boldly edited down the entirety of Naruto, filler arcs and all, into an “easier” and more pleasant viewing experience.
The “Big Three” anime, Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece, are inevitable watches for every shōnen-loving otaku. However, along with the clout of being the most popular series of the mid-2000s comes their shared burden of being daunting time sinks to watch. This isn’t helped by their seemingly endless “filler” arcs and glacial pacing.
After YouTuber Oceaniz and his girlfriend Laura ran out of anime to watch together, he mustered up the courage to pop the big question (no, not that one): “Would you watch Naruto with me if I edited it to be less ass to watch?”
“Naruto was an immensely influential series for me,” Oceaniz told Kotaku. “I just like sharing stuff that is important to me with people that are important to me.”
Oceaniz told Kotaku this isn’t the first time he’d broached the idea of watching Naruto with her, but the prospect of watching all 720 episodes and enduring its overutilization of flashbacks and aggressive filler episodes made the shonen anime a very tough sell. However, as they watched more anime together—My Hero Academia, Attack on Titan, and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, among others—Oceaniz said watching Naruto became “much more feasible.”
“That’s when I decided it was now or never to finally make that customized Naruto cut I had wanted for years,” Oceaniz told Kotaku. “And doing it for a loved one was a great excuse.”
Enjoying the other anime proved to be enough of a toe-dip into the medium for Laura to humor him on his proposal. After a sheepish “Sure babe,” from Laura, Oceaniz booted up Adobe Premiere and got to work making Naruto: The Ocean Cut.
“Making The Ocean Cut took around three months, with many long evenings of me tinkering on it,” Oceaniz told Kotaku. “I started in January and finished around mid-March.”
Yesterday, Oceaniz uploaded a 30-minute YouTube video titled “I Re-Edited ALL of Naruto for my Girlfriend,” in which he detailed his journey condensing Naruto and tailoring it specifically to his liking.
The first rule of the Ocean Cut is that it is the English dub version of Naruto.
“Sorry not sorry,” Oceaniz said in the video. “This is a dub-watching household and it’s my preferred version, so I was always going to do it like this.”
Fan edits aren’t new to Naruto. In fact, other cuts like Naruto Kai aimed to remove all the filler episodes from the series. Oceaniz, however, didn’t feel that fan edit would make for the best introduction because he found it “overly draconic” in how strictly it stuck to manga-centric content, thus robbing the series of its best anime-original moments.
Once he got rolling, Oceaniz would typically take three to six TV episodes that ran roughly 20 minutes each and condense them into 50- to 120-minute “Ocean Cut” episodes. His YouTube video goes into great detail about his thought process for cutting content like Naruto’s diarrhea incident, all of the Sexy Jutsu nonsense, and Jiraiya’s super-didn’t-age-well pervy sage introduction. He even went the extra mile in translating Japanese signs and the like into English, much like how Crunchyroll handles its on-screen translations.
Having grown up with Naruto, Oceaniz was well aware that he had a massive undertaking ahead of him. The biggest lifts would come from Naruto’s notoriously drawn-out filler episodes, which occasionally spiraled out into entire arcs, and the show’s numerous flashback sequences, which would often retread scenes that transpired just seconds prior.
“The flashbacks in particular are so bad that certain scenes are shown up to—no joke—20 different times, with only a fraction of them showing any new information,” Oceaniz said in the video.
Not all filler episodes were removed from The Ocean Cut. Well-regarded filler episodes like “Gotta See! Gotta Know! Kakashi-Sensei’s True Face!,” were allocated to a “Themed Special Episodes” segment of The Ocean Cut. But regrettably (some might argue) the infamous “Land of Tea Escort Mission” episodes didn’t make the cut.
“I cut that shit out so fast. It’s so boring and badly animated,” Oceaniz said in the video. “Don’t bother with it.”
Naruto Shippuden, Naruto’s time-skip arc, proved to be an S-Rank-level undertaking for the burgeoning editor. According to Oceaniz, Shippuden is where Naruto “really [went] off the rails” with its terrible pacing, long stretches of info-dumping, and in-medias-res story structure that would regularly spoil major plot points.
“[That] was easily the lowest part of the project,” Oceaniz said on YouTube. “Once we actually got to watching The Ocean Cut’s version of the Tenchi Bridge arc especially, its tectonic pacing stood out so much that my girlfriend straight-up asked me if we could skip ahead to the end of the arc and if I could just tell her what happened.”
Oceaniz found filler content and pseudo-filler content in Shippuden trickier to cut out because in that show it has the tendency to bleed into canon beats. While he admitted this made for an imperfect segment of The Ocean Cut, Oceanic tried to rearrange major arcs in Shippuden so they would make more sequential sense not only in Naruto proper, but to allow for missing occasional references to filler-adjacent occurrences left out of the new cut. Much like with Naruto proper, Oceaniz made sure to keep emotionally resonant anime-original scenes in The Ocean Cut, most notably the conversation between Shikamaru and his father while they played shogi, arguably the best emotional moment in the anime.
The Shippuden anime doesn’t end exactly like the manga does. Instead of Naruto achieving his boyhood dream of becoming Hokage (ninja president) at the end of the Fourth Shinobi World War, the anime includes—you guessed it—even more filler content. Unlike the previous filler examples that don’t add to the greater story of Naruto, Shippuden’s later filler is quite wholesome and fills in the gaps between the war and Naruto finally becoming hokage with content from Naruto’s light novels.
“Most of that stuff is really good, I of course added it in,” Oceaniz said on YouTube. “And of course The Last is mandatory viewing in this house. Bite me.”
Ultimately, The Ocean Cut doesn’t alter Naruto’s story, with the exception of Oceaniz including an epilogue, told via self-made title cards, in which Orochimaru and Kabuto face the consequences for their war crimes, whereas in the anime and manga they got off scot-free.
In totality, the 720 canon Naruto episodes clock in at 250 hours of orange jumpsuit knuckleheaded ninja content, while viewing The Ocean Cut would take only 135 hours. For more details, including the answer to the inevitable question of “Can I watch this myself?”, check out his YouTube vid.
In the end, did Oceaniz’s hard work editing down the entirety of Naruto make for a painless viewing experience for his girlfriend? Laura’s verdict is a resounding yes.
“It was surprisingly one of the best shows you’ve shown me so far,” she told him.
Seeing how swimmingly Naruto: The Ocean Cut went over for his partner, I couldn’t help but ask him if there were any potential plans for an “Ocean Cut” treatment for Boruto, the spin-off series starring Naruto’s son. Oceaniz didn’t take kindly to the question.
“Boruto Ocean Cut is NOT happening,” he wrote, “because a) I don’t particularly like Boruto and b) since the difference between the Boruto anime and Boruto manga are so big, bigger than [Naruto’s] were, it would be an enormous task for a series I don’t know nearly as well as Naruto.”
Had to give it a try.