For all its flaws, Naruto is one of the greatest animes ever created when you look at the sheer emotional resonance of its best story arcs and how wide the epic saga sprawls.
But if you watch Naruto start-to-finish, you'll tear out your hair.
That's because Naruto is notorious for filler arcs—episodes that deviate from the main storyline and, in most cases, fail to offer any meaningful character growth or plot progression.
Naruto (Part 1) is 44% filler while Naruto Shippuden (Part 2) is 43% filler. In fact, Naruto has an insane stretch of filler starting from episode 136 all the way to episode 220, which is when Naruto Shippuden officially begins.
Naruto is definitely worth watching, but don't waste your time with filler arcs. Here are two ways to watch the entirety of Naruto while skipping the unnecessary filler episodes.
Method 1: Ultimate Naruto Kai
"Naruto Kai is a fan project dedicated to removing filler, padding and any other executive-minded nonsense that made [Naruto] the mess that it is."
There have been several attempts at a "Naruto Kai" before, but this one by Kloggmankey on Reddit is the absolute best one.
Ultimate Naruto Kai is a fan-made re-edit of all of the canonical Naruto episodes, presented as 72 episodes that each correspond to the amount of content covered by the 72 manga volumes.
Each of these Ultimate Naruto Kai episodes is about 60 to 90 minutes long. That means Ultimate Naruto Kai is essentially 72 full-length movies that each have a satisfying beginning, middle, and end—all meaningful story, no filler content.
Each episode is a separate download hosted on Mega. This is truly the best way to watch Naruto.
Keep in mind that there are some minor inconsistencies across the 72 episodes: most of them come with hard-coded English subs but every once in a while you'll need to load the external soft subs that come with the respective episode.
Note: Because Ultimate Naruto Kai is a fan-made re-edit that's distributed without consent from the original producers, this is technically piracy.
If you want to take the moral high road, read on to Method 2 which is completely legal and legit.
Method 2: Naruto Filler List
Sites like Anime Filler List maintain full databases of every major anime out there (or close to it), tracking each episode of an anime series and marking whether it's Canon, Mostly Canon, Mostly Filler, or Filler.
This is a really useful way to blast through filler-heavy anime series, not just Naruto but also ones like Bleach, One Piece, Rurouni Kenshin, and Dragon Ball Z. Anime Filler List even lets you filter each anime series to Canon-only episodes.
Now, what's the best way to actually watch Naruto?
If you want to be completely legit, I recommend grabbing a Hulu subscription which starts at $5.99/mo (with ads) or $11.99/mo (without ads)
Hulu has all 220 episodes of Naruto and 500 episodes of Naruto Shippuden, both subbed and dubbed versions.
If you think you can binge the whole series in a few weeks, you don't have to pay anything—just grab a 30-day free trial and watch the whole thing before your trial period ends.
Free Trial Offer
Did you know you can try Hulu for FREE for 30 days? Cancel at any time if you're unimpressed!
I actually prefer Funimation over Hulu for watching anime because the interface feels better and the overall selection is larger.
Unfortunately, Funimation only has the original Naruto series and lacks the Naruto Shippuden series. This isn't a big deal if you decide that you don't want to watch the second half.
In that case, Funimation could be your best option. It only costs $5.99/mo for ad-free anime and every title in the library has both subbed and dubbed versions. You can even get a further 15% off if you pay annually instead of monthly.
Free Trial Offer
Did you know you can try Funimation for FREE for 14 days? If there's an anime you've been wanting to watch, this is a great way to check it out.
If you can't pay anything at all, you can try watching on Vudu. The first 52 episodes of Naruto are available for free with advertisements, but only in dubbed format. That's enough to get a feel for the show. The remaining episodes aren't available—not even to purchase.
While Naruto Shippuden is available in 38 volumes that each contain between 12 to 14 episodes, each volume costs about $20 to purchase. That's a bit steep even for the hardest of Naruto fans, so you probably don't want to take that route unless you want a copy to keep forever.
Another option if you can't pay anything at all is to stream on Tubi, which only has Naruto (not Naruto Shippuden), only in subbed format (not dubbed), and advertisements.
If you have the patience to sit through several 30-second ads every episode, this might be good enough for you—but you'll need to find another option once you reach Naruto Shippuden.
Otherwise (Not Recommended)
If you're crafty enough, you might even be able to find some morally-gray sites that stream commercial-free episodes of Naruto and Naruto Shippuden for free using nothing more than a clever Google search.
I won't be linking to them—for reasons—and I personally wouldn't use those sites due to malware risks, but just know that they are out there in case you really need them.