As passionate as you are about... well, everything honestly... it's hard to have a discussion when you don't state your reasoning behind your statements.
Originally Posted by Greyfeld
That said, M&M could technically work, but it would take a lot of tweaking and house rules to actually make it feel like Naruto, instead of a poorly implemented, half-baked, anime-wannabe system.
Explain my reasoning behind using a comic book superhero system to emulate a superhero comic? I shouldn't think that necessary.
Thing is, that's exactly what Naruto is; a superhero comic, with all the cues therein. Ninja are superheroes, within certain constraints.
And there's no such thing as an anime system, wannabe or otherwise. Anime isn't a genre; it's a medium. It doesn't really have coherent genre conventions around which to build a game. BESM is not an anime game; it's a subpar generic system that uses anime for its examples. It's far more reasonable and effective to use the same system for a Firefly game and a Cowboy Bebop game than it is to use the same system for a Bleach game and a magical girl game a la Cardcaptor Sakura, let alone for a DBZ game and something along the lines of Nana or Usagi Drop.
You're better off discarding all notions of a generic "anime system" entirely, to pay attention to the actual genre. Take a look at some real
anime systems like the kind you'll find from Cel*Style
and you'll find that they aren't really about anime at all. Nothing about GxB, which is designed to emulate dating sims, is inherently Japanese and can easily be used to tell entirely western stories because it's all about awkward teenage romance.
Well for one thing, all Naruto characters have access to a baseline of certain abilities (Bunshin, Kawarimi, Henge), which means that every character will end up receiving at least a few abilities for free before spending their character points.
Originally Posted by Greyfeld
Secondly, you have to develop a Chakra system (similar to mana), because ninjas in the Naruto universe can't continuously use their jutsus without depleting their own resources.
Third, jutsus in Naruto tend to be thematically aligned, which makes building all the powers available to one ninja especially difficult and time-consuming with the M&M powers system. Something as simple as an earth-based ninja might require Burrowing, Create, Damage, Deflect, Enhanced trait, Movement, Protection, Remote Sensing, and Transform just to cover their earth-based techniques. And even then, you'd probably have to house rule a few new powers just to get the proper skillset you wanted, after flawing each power out the wazoo to make sure they're all thematically correct.
I haven't seen the mecha/manga supplement, so I don't know if any of this is dealt with in that book or not.
You have raised precisely zero issues with using M&M.
You go in, build a ninja, and play. That's all it takes in M&M.
For clones and substitution and transformation? Though in theory, every leaf ninja learns 'em, that is and isn't true. It's part of the curriculum, but many characters never use any of them, and different characters use them in very different ways (Naruto's shadow clones, Kakashi's lightning clone, and the generic clone are certainly not the same power). What's more, clone and substitution don't even need mechanics; they can easily serve as nothing more than flavor text for just how that attack that just missed you really hit a log or a clone. Pair that with the number of characters who never use transformation, who are more than adequately covered with stunts, that comes down to nothing more than, "Make a ninja."
As for chakra? It is absolutely not
a mana bar in the series. It's exactly like stamina in any other supers comic or fight series. You have as much as the plot demands. For the extreme example, look at Sasuke, who wore himself out fighting Deidara, was low on chakra, and then not only summoned the lord of all snakes in an instant, but took over his mind and climbed in. Limits on chakra reserve are more about individual fluff than a mana bar, and only serves as flavor text on how you achieve things. By and large, you don't need an accounting of how many zots you have left to use that fireball jutsu you always spam. At most, all you need is a discretionary application of Fatiguing or Unreliable: Limited Uses on some of the bigger powers, and maybe the odd complication declared by the GM, same as if a GM were to declare that Iron Man is running out of power (such complications are M&M's bread and butter).
As for jutsu in general? What you just described is a completely ordinary hero in Mutants & Masterminds. You take a few primary, common uses for your abilities as powers, probably in an array, then stunt the rest. That's the system's strength, and it's why
M&M's the appropriate system. There's no extra effort or houserules involved there.