So, who here has read "Team 8"? I'm too lazy to link it, but it's the first hit on Google for "Team 8". Anyways, Team 8 is one of the best Naruto fanfictions I've had the pleasure of reading. It takes an alternate universe that puts Naruto on, well, Team 8. Kurenai's team. With Hinata.
Now, it's superbly written and well-plotted. Naruto, Hinata, Kurenai, and Shino are all great characters, well-rounded, believable, and unique. Some of the side characters lose out a bit- in particular I think that the Naruto-Gaara interplay was weakened, as the story, almost by necessity, takes a bit of a different tack and lacks some of the similarities that made the interaction between the two so poignant. There was less emphasis on Naruto's "I GET you" towards Gaara that I loved in the manga proper. As Gaara's shot up the ranks of my favorite characters, I consequently find anything, even something as awesome as this, that draws down on his characterization, to be a bit weak. But it's still an amazing story and well worth your time reading it. Parts of it are much better than Kishimoto's actual work.
Unfortunately, it hasn't updated in a freaking year. Now, most folks who would be reading this have I'm sure experienced it with a favorite fan fiction that died on them. (I have the same hangup on Lelouch of Britannia, which is to Code Geass what this fic is to Naruto, except that Naruto didn't explode into the trainwreck that Code Geass did, so I think LoB is better.) But I have a bit of an interesting perspective on this. See, my DM, Joe (that's vague enough, right? If you read this, Joe, WIZARD IS CREDIT TO TEAM.), beta's for Viridian, the author of Team 8 (a beta's basically an editor, only with less authority.) So I get a bit of perspective on what this guy's doing since they're friends. Which has led to a bit of an interesting view- Joe's been telling me how this guy royally irritated him in a roleplaying game they were in over the summer due to excessive rules-monkeying and the like. It's an interesting perspective, how this guy who's written this absolutely brilliant work is revealed to be...well, I want to say less than perfect, I want to say. I mean, it's completely unreasonable to expect that about a regular celebrity, never mind a freaking fan fiction author, but it's still an interesting perspective to have, considering how fanfiction authors are among the most anonymous of folk. You don't even get the same degree of personality that you get with a forum username, because you're not interacting with that person, you're just reading their work.
I guess what it is is that I'm used to not having much of a face at all on the authors of the work, and in this case the face I get is a negative one. Plus it's interesting to hear gossip about a pseudo-celebrity, even if he is just a fan fiction author.
Oh! Right! Something I forgot. It doesn't help that the forum he has soured me on Naruto for a while. Not the author's fault by any means, but the main Naruto manga thread was nothing but hate-filled bile and contempt for the work and Kishimoto. When I first read the thread I had a fairly negative opinion of the manga and hopped right on the bandwagon. Thus, I continued to have negative reactions. When I stopped hanging around the forum and just reading the manga on my own, my opinion shot up on the manga. I went back in a few months ago to check if the opinions in the thread mimicked my own, and they hadn't in the slightest. I'm much happier enjoying the work than waiting on a guy who updates once a year.