Naruto (NARUTO - ナルト -, Naruto? romanized as NARUTO in Japan) is an ongoing Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto with an anime adaptation. The plot tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, a loud, hyperactive, unpredictable, adolescent ninja who constantly searches for recognition and aspires to become a Hokage, the ninja in his village that is acknowledged as the leader and the strongest of all. The series is based on a one-shot that Kishimoto first authored in the August 1997 issue of Akamaru Jump.
The manga was first published by Shueisha in 1999 in the 43rd issue of Japan's Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine and it is still being released with forty-four volumes. The manga would be later adapted into an anime produced by Studio Pierrot and Aniplex. It premiered across Japan on the terrestrial TV Tokyo network and the anime satellite television network Animax on October 3, 2002. The first series lasted nine seasons, while Naruto: Shippūden, a sequel of the series, began its first on February 15, 2007 and is still airing.
Viz Media has licensed the manga and anime for North American production. The Naruto anime debuted in the United States on Cartoon Network's Toonami programming block on September 10, 2005, and in Canada on YTV's Bionix on September 16, 2005. Naruto began showing in the United Kingdom on Jetix on July 22, 2006. It began showing on Toasted TV on January 12, 2007, in Australia, which features the Manga Entertainment TV version and the German-language dub opening, although it could be watched on Cartoon Network in 2006.
Serialized in Viz's Shonen Jump magazine, Naruto has become the company's best-selling manga series. As of volume 36, the manga has sold over 71 million copies in Japan.
Twelve years before the events at the focus of the series, the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox attacked the ninja village Konohagakure. Powerful enough to raise tsunamis and flatten mountains with a swish of one of its tails, it raised chaos and slaughtered many people, until the leader of Konohagakure – the Fourth Hokage – sacrificed his own life to seal the demon inside Naruto when he was a newborn. The Fourth Hokage, who was celebrated as a hero for sealing the demon fox away, wanted Naruto to be respected in a similar light by being the containment vessel for the demon fox.
Konohagakure, however, shunned him, regarding Naruto as if he were the demon fox itself and mistreated him throughout most of his childhood. A decree made by the Third Hokage forbade anyone to discuss or mention the attack of the demon fox to anyone, even their own children. However, this did not stop them from treating him like an outcast and as a result he grew up an orphan without friends, family, or acknowledgment. He could not force people to befriend him, so he sought acknowledgment and attention the only way he knew – through pranks and mischief.
However, that soon changed after Naruto graduated from the Ninja Academy by using his Shadow Clone Technique, a technique from a forbidden scroll that he was tricked into stealing, to save his teacher, Iruka Umino, from the renegade ninja Mizuki. That encounter gave Naruto two insights: that he was the container of the demon fox, and that there was someone besides the Third Hokage who actually cared for and acknowledged him. His graduation from the academy opened a gateway to the events and people that would change and define his world, including his way of the ninja for the rest of his life.
The main story follows Naruto and his friends' personal growth and development as ninja, and emphasizes their interactions with each other and the influence of their backgrounds on their personalities. Naruto finds two friends and comrades in Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno, two fellow young ninja who are assigned with him to form a three-person team under an experienced sensei named Kakashi Hatake. Naruto also confides in other characters that he meets throughout the series as well. They learn new abilities, get to know each other and other villagers better, and experience a coming-of-age journey as Naruto dreams of becoming the Hokage of Konohagakure.
Throughout all of the Naruto plot, strong emphasis on character development changes the plot, with very few things happening because of chance. At first, emphasis is placed on Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura, who are the members of Team 7. However, other characters are developed, such as Kakashi, Tsunade, and Jiraiya, as well as Naruto's peers in the other teams and villages. Several major villains come into play as well, the first being Zabuza Momochi, a missing-nin from Kirigakure, and his partner, Haku. Later, Orochimaru, an S-Class missing-nin at the top of Konoha's most wanted list, and his loyal right-hand man, Kabuto Yakushi, are introduced. During this same arc, three ninjas known as the Sand Siblings are introduced. These siblings are from Sunagakure and include Temari, Kankuro, and Gaara. Later still, a mysterious organization called Akatsuki begins to pursue Naruto for the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox that is sealed inside of him.
Main article: List of Naruto characters
The main characters of Team 7 (counterclockwise, from left): Sasuke Uchiha, Sakura Haruno, Naruto Uzumaki, and team leader, Kakashi HatakeNaruto has a large and colorful cast of characters, running a gamut of detailed histories and complex personalities, and allowing many of them their fair share in the spotlight; they also seem to grow and mature throughout the series, as it spans several years. As is fitting for a coming-of-age saga, Naruto's world constantly expands and thickens, and his social relations are no exception – during his introduction he has only his teacher and the village's leader for sympathetic figures, but as the story progresses, more and more people become a part of his story.
The students at the Ninja Academy, where the story begins, are split up into squads of three after their graduation and become Genin, rookie ninja. Each squad is assigned an experienced sensei. These core squads form a basis for the characters' interactions later in the series, where characters are chosen for missions for their team's strength and complementary skills; Naruto's squad 7 becomes the social frame where Naruto is acquainted with Sasuke and Sakura, and their sensei Kakashi, forming the core of his world-in-the-making.The other three-man teams of his former classmates form another such layer, as Naruto connects with them to various degrees, learning of their motives, vulnerabilities, and aspirations, often relating them to his own. The groups of three are not limited to the comrades Naruto's age – groups in the story in general come in threes and multiples of three with very few exceptions.
Sensei-student relationships play a significant role in the series; Naruto has a number of mentors with whom he trains and learns, most notably Iruka, the first ninja to recognize Naruto's existence, Kakashi, his team leader, and Jiraiya, and there are often running threads of tradition and tutelage binding together several generations. These role models provide guidance for their students not only in the ninja arts but also in a number of Japanese aesthetics and philosophical ideals. Techniques, ideals, and mentalities noticeably run in families, Naruto often being exposed to the abilities and traditions of generation-old clans in his village when friends from his own age group demonstrate them, or even achieve improvements of their own; it is poignantly noted that Naruto's generation is particularly talented.
Character names often borrow from Japanese folklore and literature (such as the names borrowed from the folktale Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari), or are otherwise elaborate puns; often there is a noticeable influence of the story behind the name of a character.
The story focuses on Team 7, a group of ninja affiliated with the village of Konohagakure, and it is composed of the series' primary characters. Due to Sasuke Uchiha's departure from Konohagakure at the end of Part I, the team is disbanded. During Part II, the team is reformed with two new members, Sai, who occupies Sasuke's position, and Yamato, who acts as Kakashi's replacement when he is briefly incapacitated and later stays with the team when Kakashi returns.
Naruto Uzumaki (うずまき ナルト, Uzumaki Naruto?) is the primary protagonist of the series. He was the first character created by Kishimoto during his initial conception of the series, and was designed with many traits from other shōnen characters, including Son Goku of the Dragon Ball franchise. In the series, Naruto is a ninja affiliated with the village of Konohagakure, and has ambitions of becoming Hokage, or the leader of the village. Due to being the host for the nine-tailed demon fox, a malevolent creature that attacked Konohagakure, he is ostracized by the other villagers. He compensates for this with his cheerful and boisterous personality, and over the course of the series, manages to befriend several other Konohagakure ninja, as well as ninja from other villages. He obtains an especially close relationship with Sasuke Uchiha, one of his fellow ninja in Team 7, and treats him as his brother. In the original Japanese anime, Naruto's seiyū is Junko Takeuchi, and his English voice provider is Maile Flanagan.
Sasuke Uchiha (うちは サスケ, Uchiha Sasuke?) is one of the members of Team 7. He was created by Kishimoto to be a rival to Naruto, as well as a "cool genius," which Kishimoto believed was an integral part of an ideal rivalry. He is one of the few remaining members of the Uchiha clan, his brother, Itachi Uchiha, having killed the rest of their family. Due to this, Sasuke's sole desire is to kill his brother, and he develops a cold and withdrawn personality. His interactions with his fellow teammates, especially Naruto Uzumaki, make him focus less on revenge, but an encounter with his brother, who leaves Sasuke beaten physically and mentally, causes Sasuke to leave the village to seek more power from the criminal Orochimaru. His teammates' attempts to recover him from Orochimaru form a major component of the plot in Part II of the Naruto storyline. In the Japanese anime, Sasuke's seiyū is Noriaki Sugiyama, and his English voice actor is Yuri Lowenthal.
Sakura Haruno (春野 サクラ, Haruno Sakura?) is the sole female member of Team 7. Kishimoto created her as the heroine of the story, although he has admitted that he has little perception of what an ideal heroine should be. As a child, Sakura was taunted by other children for her particularly large forehead, a feature Kishimoto has tried to emphasize in Sakura's appearances, but was comforted by Ino Yamanaka. As the two continued to grow, however, they became increasingly distant due to their shared affection for Sasuke Uchiha. During most of Part I, Sakura is infatuated with Sasuke, and spurns the advances of Naruto Uzumaki. After Sasuke leaves the village, she resolves to become stronger by training with Tsunade. In Part II, she displays highly developed skills from her training, and a more open disposition towards Naruto. In the Japanese anime, her seiyū is Chie Nakamura, and she is voiced by Kate Higgins in the English adaptation of the anime.
Kakashi Hatake (はたけ カカシ, Hatake Kakashi?) is the leader of Team 7 and the sensei of Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura. Kishimoto had originally intended for Kakashi to be introduced earlier in the series, and created him as an easygoing person that would be able to keep the members of Team 7 in check. Kakashi treats his leadership position with a detached manner, and is consistently late to meetings as a result. In a gaiden on Kakashi's past, this is shown to be the result of an incident in which he witnessed the death of one of his teammates, Obito Uchiha, who gave Kakashi his Sharingan eye and imparted many of his habits, including his tardiness. Due to Obito's Sharingan, Kakashi has amassed a reputation as a skilled and powerful ninja, earning the moniker "Copy Ninja Kakashi" (コピー忍者のカカシ, Kopī Ninja no Kakashi?). Although he mentors all three members of Team 7 early in the series, he particularly concentrates on training Sasuke as the series continues, teaching him his Chidori technique; however, he is unable to prevent Sasuke from leaving the village to seek Orochimaru for greater power. Kakashi is voiced by Kazuhiko Inoue in the Japanese anime, and his English voice actor is Dave Wittenberg.
Kishimoto first authored a one-shot of Naruto in the August 1997 issue of Akamaru Jump. The original Naruto had a significant theming on friendship and trust. At the beginning of the story, neither Naruto or Kuroda trusted anyone, but by the end both befriended and trusted each other. Despite its high results in the reader poll after getting released, Kishimoto thought "[the] art stinks and the story's a mess!" Kishimoto also revealed that he was originally working on Karakuri for the Hop Step Award when, unsatisfied by the rough drafts, he decided to work on something different instead, which later formed into Naruto.
When an interviewer asked Kishimoto if he had any message for his Anglophone audience, Kishimoto said "I feel sometimes that Naruto is too Japanese, with all the chakra and hand signs, but as you read it you'll find that it's fun."
When originally creating the Naruto story, Kishimoto looked to other shōnen manga as influences for his work, although he attempted to make his characters as unique as possible. The separation of the characters into different teams was intended to give each group a specific flavor. Kishimoto wished for each member to be "extreme," having a high amount of aptitude in one given attribute yet be talentless in another." The insertion of villains into the story was largely to have them act as a counterpoint to the characters' moral values. Kishimoto has admitted that this focus on illustrating the difference in values is central to his creation of villains to the point that, "I don't really think about them in combat."
When drawing the characters, Kishimoto follows a five-step process that he consistently follows: concept and rough sketch, drafting, inking, shading, and coloring. These steps are followed when he is drawing the actual manga and making the color illustrations that commonly adorn the cover of tankōbon, the cover of Weekly Shōnen Jump, or other media, but the toolkit he utilizes occasionally changes. For instance, he utilized an airbrush for one illustration for a Weekly Shōnen Jump cover, but decided not to use it for future drawings largely due to the cleanup required.
Kishimoto added that, as Naruto takes place in a "Japanese fantasy world," the creator has to "set certain rules, in a systematic way" so that he could easily "convey the story." Kishimoto wanted to "draw on" the Chinese zodiac tradition, which had a long-standing presence in Japan; the zodiac hand signs originate from this. Regarding technology Kishimoto said that Naruto would not have any firearms. He said he may include automobiles, aircraft, and "low-processing" computers; Kishimoto specified the computers would "maybe" be eight-bit and that they would "definitely not" be sixteen-bit. He has also stated that he has a visual idea of the last chapter of the series, including the text and the story. However, he notes that it may take a long time to end the series since "there are still so many things that need to be resolved".
Main article: List of Naruto manga volumes
Naruto premiered in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine in 1999. The first 238 chapters are known as Part I, and constitute the first part of the Naruto storyline. Manga chapters 239 to 244 comprise a gaiden series focusing on the background of the character Kakashi Hatake. All subsequent chapters belong to Part II, which continues the storyline in Part I after a two and a half year time jump. The English adaptation of the Naruto manga is licensed by Viz and serialized in Viz's version of Shonen Jump. In order to compensate for the gap between the Japanese and English adaptations of the manga, Viz announced its "Naruto Nation" campaign, where it would release three volumes a month in the last four months of 2007 in order to close said gap. Cammie Allen, Viz Media's product manager, commented that, "Our main reason [for the accelerated schedule] was to catch up to the Japanese release schedule to give our readers a similar experience to that of our readers in Japan."
As of May 2008, 42 tankōbon have been released by Shueisha in Japan, with the first twenty-seven tankōbon containing Part I, and the remaining fifteen belonging to Part II. The first tankōbon was released on March 3, 2000, with the forty-second released on May 2, 2008. In addition, four tankōbon, each containing ani-manga based one of the first four Naruto movies, have been released by Shueisha. Viz has released 30 volumes of the English adaptation of the manga.
Main article: List of Naruto episodes
Directed by Hayato Date and produced by Studio Pierrot and TV Tokyo, the Naruto anime adaptation premiered in Japan on TV Tokyo October 3, 2002, and ran for 220 episodes until its conclusion on February 8, 2007. The first 135 episodes are adapted from the first twenty-seven volumes of the manga, while the remaining eighty episodes are filler episodes that utilize plot elements not seen in the original manga.
Viz has licensed the anime series for broadcast and distribution in the Region 1 market. The English adaptation of the anime began airing on September 10, 2005. The episodes have been shown on Cartoon Network's Toonami, YTV's Bionix and Jetix UK's programming blocks. In the American broadcast, references to alcohol, Japanese culture, sexual innuendo, and even blood and death were sometimes reduced for the broadcast, but left in the DVD editions. Other networks make additional content edits apart from the edits done by Cartoon Network, such as Jetix's more strict censoring of blood, language, smoking and the like.
Main article: List of Naruto: Shippūden episodes
Naruto: Shippūden (ナルト 疾風伝, Naruto: Shippūden? lit. Naruto: Hurricane Chronicles) is the ongoing sequel to the original Naruto anime and covers the Naruto manga from volume twenty-eight on. After training for two and a half years with Jiraiya, Naruto returns to Konohagakure, reunites with the friends he left behind, and reforms Team 7, now called Team Kakashi, with Sai replacing Sasuke. All of Naruto's classmates have matured and improved in the ranks, some more than others. Unlike the original series where they only played a minor role, the Akatsuki organization takes on the main antagonistic role in their attempts at world domination.
The TV adaptaion of Naruto: Shippūden made its debut in Japan on February 15, 2007 on TV Tokyo, and in the Philippines on January 28, 2008 on ABS-CBN. ABS-CBN is the first international TV network (i.e. TV network outside Japan) to broadcast Naruto: Shippūden. ABS-CBN has initially aired the first 40 episodes of Naruto: Shippūden until March 19, 2008 since it is still airing in Japan. 
Naruto Original Soundtrack, released in Japan on April 3, 2003All of the music for the Naruto soundtrack was composed and arranged by Toshio Masuda. The first of them Naruto Original Soundtrack, was released in April 3, 2003 and contained twenty-two tracks that appeared during the first season of the anime. The second of them Naruto Original Soundtrack II was released in March 18, 2004 and contained nineteen tracks. The third, Naruto Original Soundtrack III was released in April 27, 2005 and contained twenty-three tracks.
There is also a series of two soundtracks containing all opening and ending themes of the series called Naruto: Best Hit Collection and Naruto: Best Hit Collection II that were released November 17, 2004 and August 2, 2006, respectively. Of all tracks of the series, eight were selected and joined into a cd called Naruto in Rock -The Very Best Hit Collection Instrumental Version- that was released in December 19, 2007. Each of the three movies of the first anime series has a soundtrack that was released near its release date.
The soundtracks of Naruto: Shippūden have been produced by Yasuharu Takanashi. The first of them, Naruto Shippūden the Movie: Original Soundtrack was released in August 1, 2007 and Naruto Shippūden Original Soundtrack was released in December 9, 2007.
There are a total of four Naruto OVAs. The first two, Find the Crimson Four-Leaf Clover! and Mission: Protect the Waterfall Village!, were aired at the Shōnen Jump Jump Festa 2003 and Jump Festa 2004, respectively, and were later released on DVD. The English localization of the second OVA was released on DVD by Viz on May 22, 2007. The third OVA, Finally a clash! Jonin VS Genin!! Indiscriminate grand melee tournament meeting!!, was released on a bonus disc with the Japanese edition of the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3 video game for the PlayStation 2. The fourth OVA, Konoha Annual Sports Festival, is a short video released with the first Naruto movie. There is also a special feature included with the seventh Naruto: Shippūden compilation DVD based on the second ending of the series called Hurricane! "Konoha Academy" Chronicles.
The first series has also spawned three movies, Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow, Legend of the Stone of Gelel, and Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom. Also during the series sequel one film called Naruto: Shippūden the Movie has been released while a second one Bonds is scheduled for release in August 2, 2008. In the United States, Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow has been featured while Legend of the Stone of Gelel and Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom will be released in the 2008.
So far two Naruto novels written by Masatoshi Kusakabe have been released in Japan by Shueisha and also in the United States by Viz. The first, Naruto: Innocent Heart, Demonic Blood is based on the first arc of the series, and the second Naruto: Mission: Protect the Waterfall Village! is based in the 2nd OVA of the anime.
Release date ISBN Release date ISBN
1 December 16, 2002 ISBN 4-08-703121-7 November 21, 2006 ISBN 1-4215-0603-3
2 December 15, 2003 ISBN 4-08-703135-7 October 16, 2007 ISBN 1-4215-1502-4
Main article: List of Naruto video games
Naruto video games have appeared on various consoles from Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, and Bandai. The very first Naruto video game was Naruto: Konoha Ninpouchou, which was released in Japan on March 27, 2003, for the WonderSwan Color. Most Naruto video games have been released only in Japan. It wasn't until March 7, 2006, when the first game of the Naruto: Gekitou Ninja Taisen series and Naruto: Saikyou Ninja Daikesshu series were released in North America under the titles of Naruto: Clash of Ninja and Naruto: Ninja Council that any Naruto games were officially available outside of Japan. These games featured the voices from the English dubbed version of the anime. Recently, two new Naruto games for Nintendo DS and Wii have been revealed at the Tokyo Game Show. Also, the fifth installment to the Narutimate Hero series has been announced. There was also a new Naruto game released for the Xbox 360, Rise of a Ninja and a completely different one for the Playstation 3 is being developed by CyberConnect2 and Namco for release in 2008. It was originally known as Naruto: PS3 Project, but it has received the official title of Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm.
Trading card game
Main article: Naruto Collectible Card Game
Published by Bandai, the Naruto Collectible Card Game is a collectible card game (CCG) based on the Naruto series. This game was introduced in 2006.
Art and guidebooks
Several supplementary books of the Naruto series have been released. An artbook named The Art of Naruto: Uzumaki contains illustration of Part I manga and was released in both Japan and the United States. For the Part II manga, an artbook called PAINT JUMP: Art of Naruto was released by Shueisha on April 4, 2008. A series of guidebooks for the Part I called First Official Data Book (秘伝・臨の書キャラクターオフィシャルデータBOOK, Hiden: Rin no Sho Character Official Data Book?) and Second Official Data Book (秘伝・闘の書キャラクターオフィシャルデータBOOK, Hiden: Tō no Sho Character Official Data Book?) were released only in Japan. These books contain character profiles, Jutsu guides and drafts made by Kishimoto. For the anime, a series of guidebook called Naruto anime profiles were also released. These books contain information about the production of the anime episodes and explanation of the characters designs.
The Naruto manga series has become one of Viz's top properties, accounting for nearly 10% of all manga sales in 2006. The seventh volume of Viz's release became the first manga to ever win a Quill Award when it claimed the award for "Best Graphic Novel" in 2006. As of volume 36, the manga has sold over 71 million copies in Japan.
The manga also appeared in the USA Today Booklist with volume 11 holding the title of the highest ranked manga series on the list, until it was surpassed by volume 28, which claimed the 17th rank in its first week of release in March 2008. Volume 28 also had one of the biggest debut weeks of any manga in years and is currently the top selling manga title of 2008. During its release, volume 29 ranked #57, while the volume 28 had dropped to #139. In April 2007, volume 14 earned Viz the "Manga Trade Paperback of the Year" Gem Award from Diamond Comic Distributors.
The designs of the series characters have been praised, since every one shows their unique way of acting and appearance. Other reviewers noted that the primary focus of the series was on the fighting since they consider that the fight scenes are more dedicated than backgrounds. The series has also been criticized for dragging the fights, but they also noted that most of them break the "stereotypical shōnen concepts.
The Naruto anime adaptation won the "Best Full-Length Animation Program Award" in the Third UStv Awards held in the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines. In TV Asahi's latest top 100 Anime Ranking, Naruto ranked 17th on the list.
Some critics panned the Battle at Hidden Falls OVA, as being a throw back to the earliest episodes of the main Naruto series. Anime News Network's reviewer called it a poor addition to the Naruto franchise that didn't "do the series justice" but may make viewers gain new appreciation for how far the series has progressed since its earliest episodes.
"Naruto: The Lost Story" goes back to the basics with its overly simple plot, formulaic battles, and constant toilet humor. This is a special that only a true Naruto fan would purchase, not for viewing pleasure, but simply for owning another piece of the Naruto franchise.
—Briana Lawrence, Anime News Network