What You Need to KnowNaruto is created by 35 year old Masashi Kishimoto. His first break through manga was Naruto, which has more than 52 volumes in its name, while the anime has more than 381 episodes under its belt. A major source of influence was Dragon Ball, especially when it came to creating the main character, Naruto, who was influenced by Son Goku.
Most people don’t know this, but Kishimoto has a twin brother, Sheishi Kishimoto, who is also a manga artist. He created the manga series 666 Satan or O-Parts Hunter in the english release. They both share the same art style, causing fans to feud over who copied who. But in the end it comes down to both of them being influenced by the same thing, and growing up together.
The Storyninjas. However, the ninjas featured in this story are not the ninjas you might remember from your youth. They are more or less a highly advance military force that fight with ninja-like weapons, and use ninja-like special abilities (aka magic) known as jutsu. They do attempt to act stealthy like ninjas, but then again don’t all armies have their hands in stealth as well? Either way they are called ninjas.
The story starts with a giant Nine-Tailed Demon Fox attacking the city of Konoha. The most powerful ninja in Konoha--who also happens to be leader--sacrifices his life to seal the demon away. Unfortunately, they have to seal it away inside of a human, who happens to be the newly born Naruto. As Naruto grows up, he is ostracized by everyone around him because of this monster sealed inside.
emotional bad ass, and his life-long crush. They are then given simple missions upon simple missions. Naruto hates it, and begs for something with a little bit more action, which ends up placing him and his team in the way of a psychopathic killer.
Despite the hatred Naruto received as a child, he still will do anything to save the ones he loves, and the people around him, even if they end up hating him in the end. He does all this because his dream is to become the greatest ninja of his country, the Hokage. Yet secret organizations want the monster sealed inside of him, and will do anything to obtain it. Can Naruto save himself, and save his friends at the same time?
What to Expect
Like Dragon Ball before it, Naruto’s anime is separated into two different series, Naruto, and Naruto: Shippuden. Shippuden takes place two and a half years after the end of Naruto, showcasing older characters with upgraded powers. All good shonen stories have time skips (or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.)
When the anime follows the manga, it does a great job of doing it. Instead of copying the fight scenes panel for panel, they sometimes add extra tid-bits here and there; making them flow better and overall more entertaining. However, when the anime diverges from the manga, it can get down right horrible; especially the 83 episodes of hell at the end of the “Naruto” series. To be blunt, most Naruto fillers should be skipped at all costs, here is a list of what you should skip.
CharactersWhen it comes to characters, Naruto has no end to them; and great ones come in both protagonists, and antagonists. Naruto makes great friends while he is in his ninja school. Some appear often in the story, but others tend to not get much action at all. Regardless, here is a list of characters you should be excited to see when reading/watching this story. (In no particular order.)
| 1. Kakashi Hatake |
Say hello to Naruto’s teacher, and leader of his three man team. You will never see his face, but you will get to meet his band of ninja dogs. But his greatest skill is the ability to copy any jitsu he witnesses.
| 2. Zabuza Momochi |
Naruto’s first real opponent. He carries a giant sword, and can summon a water dragon, do I need to say more?
| 3. Neji Hyuuga |
A natural born genius, he is a friend and rival to Naruto. What makes him great is his unique fighting style consisting of direct attacks to a person’s chakra pathway system. In a few seconds he can paralyze an enemy with 64 strikes using only his finger tips.
| 4. Kimimaro Kaguya |
This man fights using his own bones, much like Wolverine. However, unlike Wolverine, he can rip out his own spine and use it like a sword. Kimimaru will do anything to stop Naruto.
| 5. Rock Lee |
A Dragon Ball Z character trapped in Naruto. In a world of ninjas, this man fights with his fists. No one can stand this man’s hot blood and passion. But don’t worry, he is friends with Naruto and gang.
Should I Read the Manga, or Watch the Anime?Like with most long running series, I always recommend reading the manga just because you do not have to sacrifice a couple years of your life to be caught up with the anime; plus you do not have to worry about fillers as well. However, the anime, especially in the first “Naruto” half, has some great animation and music. They change the music in Shippuden, taking away most of the magic from the first series; it’s a real shame, for the first series has some memorable tracks.
Buyers GuideDo you enjoy American comics, and haven’t watched much anime, but think Naruto might be cool?
- Buy the First Season of Naruto. You can listen to it in English or Japanese and decide where to go from there.
Are you a hardcore Anime/Manga fan and know you will love this series?
- Read Naruto Volume One, and go from there. You can always jump on the anime later.
Love fighting games, but unsure if you will like the story?
- Get Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm for the Playstation 3. You won’t be disappointed.
Hate Naruto with a passion, and wish Naruto would just make out with Sasuke already?
- Then watch Nabari no Ou, it’s a little more adult and a little more homosexual.
In conclusion, Naruto is extremely popular here in the west. It just might be even more popular here than it is in Japan. You shouldn’t be scared getting started with this giant series, just jump right in and see where the current takes you. Remember, whatever people might tell you about Naruto, just remember this: Naruto has ninjas, and ninjas are always cool. Isn’t that what the Eighties has taught us?