Before Naruto's birth, a great demon fox had attacked the Hidden Leaf Village. A man known as the 4th Hokage sealed the demon inside the newly born Naruto, causing him to unknowingly grow up detested by his fellow villagers. Despite his lack of talent in many areas of ninjutsu, Naruto strives for only one goal: to gain the title of Hokage, the strongest ninja in his village. Desiring the respect he never received, Naruto works toward his dream with fellow friends Sasuke and Sakura and mentor Kakashi as they go through many trials and battles that come with being a ninja.
Naruto has sold over 220 million copies worldwide as of 2015, making it the 4th highest grossing manga series of all time. It was nominated for the 19th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2014, and in the same year Masashi Kishimoto was awarded Rookie of the Year in the media fine arts category by Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs.
Numerous databooks, artbooks, novels, and fanbooks on the series have been released. Eight summary volumes featuring unaltered color pages, larger dimensions, and exclusive interviews, covering the first part of the series were released between November 7, 2008 and April 10, 2009.
The series was published in English by VIZ Media under the Shonen Jump imprint from August 16, 2003 to October 6, 2015. In the last four months of 2007, the campaign titled "Naruto Nation" was launched, in which three volumes were published each month so that US releases would be closer to Japan's, the same practice was done in February through April of 2009 this time titled "Generation Ninja." A 3-in-1 omnibus edition has also been released since May 3, 2011. A box set containing volumes 1-27 was released on August 6, 2008, another one containing volumes 28-48 on July 7, 2015, and the final box set with volumes 48-72 on January 5, 2016.
Before you read this. If you don't like manga that takes a long time to finish up plots then this manga isn't for you. If you do then keep reading.
First off, the story is very well written, but as I said before, it takes a long time to finish up a plot. There are enough plot twists to keep you guessing, but I wouldn't say there are a bunch of them. Because of this, the story gets a 9/10. If the plots were sped up by a slight bit, it would be perfect.
Next is the art. This style is perfect for a ninja manga. It shows detail to what's important, not just what's in the panel. I've seen many manga detail every last thing in each panel, which looked nice, but it drew attention away from what's really important. The character design is nothing to scoff at either. 10/10
The characters in this manga are very well thought out. Almost every character either has or will have a backstory. One character has no real backstory until you get to the late 300's. Unlike many manga, everyone has a unique look and personality. There are very few exceptions to this i.e. Rock Lee and Gai.
To put it simply. I like this manga for what it is. My only concern is the speed of the storyline. Personally, I'd give it a 9.5/10. I hope you found this review helpful.read more
I can't believe this... I really can't believe this...
Naruto is a manga that has been running for 15 years, I still remember catching up with the first seasons of the anime back when I was 12, I remember skipping the dreadful filler second half from the original series and going straight to Shippuuden, I remember ALL of it and it is suddenly over. Wow... feels like an entire era ending.
Anyway, Naruto was one of the first anime series I have ever watched (Dragon Ball being my first), and even though I had lost my interest and enjoyment in it for a very long time (I dropped it REALLY early when I had just started Shippuuden, it just wasn't doing it for me anymore), I still made an attempt at catching up with the manga because people told me it was ending and I wanted to see my late childhood fall apart just like that.
As for the actual review, Naruto started out as a fairly decent shounen manga, it told the story of a ninja called Naruto that was treated like shit by everyone else in the Hidden Leaf Village because he had the Nine-Tailed Fox sealed inside him. At first, he's completely useless and kinda annoying, all he really did at first was yelling "I'M GONNA BECOME THE HOKAGE" like if there was no tomorrow. And for those wondering, the Hokage is the ruler of the village.
He later teams up with two other classmates alongside a more experienced ninja and form a team that does the jobs assigned to them, while at the same time, each character has its own goals and intentions. The most notable, other than Naruto, is Sasuke, an old childhood rival that had lost his family when he was younger, eventually leading to him carefully planning to take revenge on the person behind it. At first, they do some stuff as a team and it is a fairly enjoyable story that does its job in a decent manner. Nothing too special, but also something that I could watch and still get a kick out of. Yes, Naruto was a bit annoying as a character, but that didn't keep him from being likeable, and the same goes for all the other characters.... at least for a while...
Eventually, Sasuke runs away and the story goes on a timeskip, which wasn't really a good idea as the story kinda jumped the shark at that point. Filled with asspulls such as the 99 different forms of the Rasengan and the treatment given to side characters, the story past the time skip had a MAJOR drop in quality, which caused me to eventually lose my interest in the series. Not to mention the treatment they gave to Sasuke, which initially was a character full of potential, only for it to be turned into the most despicable one of the cast that SOMEHOW still does a 180 on his mood. One second he is planning to destroy the village, the other he simply agrees to help Naruto defeat the big bad because.... crap, I don't even know anymore, I really think not even Kishimoto enjoyed what he was doing anymore at that point, just dragging the story more than it needed for the hell of it.
And Naruto himself did not get any better too, he was turned into one hell of a Mary Sue that just pulled random powers out of his arse because he had to defeat the evil villain at the end of the day. For crying out loud, even the worst Fairy Tail asspull is not as big as a lot of stuff I've seen here. I don't even think this was about bloody ninjas anymore because, as far as I'm aware, ninjas wouldn't just summon meteorites in a Final Fantasy manner. Eventually, even Naruto's iconic "I'M GONNA BECOME THE HOKAGE" was toned down and that's when I realized that these characters were no longer what they used to be. What about the rest of them? Pffffft, they were thrown to the side after the so notorious timeskip, it's like they weren't even there.
Another thing I have to point out is that the story simply couldn't keep one consistent bad guy. The timeskip arrives and we are left with Sasuke running away to eventually become a bad guy, a psychotic ninja that wants to achieve immortality and a secret society dedicated to capturing the Tailed Beasts such as Naruto's Nine-Tailed Fox. Wanna guess which one was the real big baddie? NONE OF THEM! Sasuke? He becomes a good guy after a while. Orochimaru? Same thing. Pain, the leader of Akatsuki? Turns out he was a puppet after all. Tobi, the guy behind him? Same thing, a puppet as well. Madara? Not this one either. Black Zetsu, the guy that never had any spotlight? Nope, also a puppet! As it turns out (And here comes a big spoiler), the real big bad just so happened to be the entity that created the energy force they use in their battles? How, because she was somehow resurrected...
Overall, Naruto is a manga that does a fair job on the first part, but completely blows it near the end. If you wanna know if it's worth reading? Not really, unless you are planning to stop just before the timeskip beginsread more
This review contains spoilers up to chapter 435 of the Naruto manga. Read at your own risk.
Naruto is currently one of the leading titans of the anime industry, and probably the biggest thing to hit it off stateside since Dragonball Z. At first glance, you would think it is completely deserved, and rightly so. After all, this series has all the components of a major success. Nice art? Check. Interesting-looking characters? Check. Unique and clever fighting styles? Why yes. And don't forget the ninjas. After all, what's cooler than ninjas?
Unfortunately, none of that means jack squat if it isn't executed correctly. This is where Naruto falls flat on its face.
The story is typical shonen fare, a young boy hated by his peers sets off to prove himself useful. I won't go into detail as to why, since MAL's Naruto page covers that quite nicely. The problem here is that said boy is set up as almost instantly unlikeable. He's a juvenile delinquent with low motivations, low intelligence, low skill and pie-in-the-sky dreams. Soon after the start of the series, he gets teamed up with Sasuke Uchiha, a mildly interesting lad with murderous feelings toward his own brother, Sakura Haruno, whose personality can best be described as "only there to be a gushing Sasuke fangirl," and Kakashi Hatake, their adult leader who is cool, lazy and just about the only interesting thing about this group.
I will admit that the first few arcs are actually kind of neat. Pretty darn enjoyable, actually. Masashi Kishimoto had talent back in those days, and it shows. the Zabuza arc, for example, is going to grab you and take you along for the ride all the way through. Most of the others after that are also kind of fun, up until after the Chuunin exams.
One of the best parts about this series early on is its wide, diverse and interesting cast of minor supporting characters. They all have their own hopes and dreams, and every single one of them has an interesting fighting style. For example, there's Rock Lee, a martial artist and the only ninja in the village who has no need for fireballs and shuriken, Neji Hyuuga, a child prodigy who aims for the weak spots, Kiba Inuzuka, who teams up with his pet dog in battle, Gaara, who controls and manipulates sand in battle, and Tenten, who....
Oh, damn. What does she do? Something to do with weapons.
Oh, well. She's basically a throwaway character. Kishimoto invented her to keep the "two guys and a girl" status quo he had going. She barely gets any screentime and says all of three or so lines in the entire series, which is a damn shame. She has a very neat character design.
Anyway, most of the side characters are fantastic, and they all get some screentime to show off their unique abilities.
Until after the Chuunin exams.
Now to be a little more fair, there is an arc right after the Chuunin exams that gets them all an excuse to play around with their powers and provides a decent amount of entertainment. Unfortunately, I have to call that the beginning of the rot anyway, because that is the point where the series takes a gigantic nosedive. And that nosedive's name is Sasuke.
Yes, Sasuke. The mildly interesting young fellow goes from being kind of cool to being an overpowered wristcutter with all the personality of a chunk of cardboard. In his quest for power, which he plans to use to murder his own sibling, he enters the tutelage of a fifty-something Michael Jackson impersonator with a bizarre snake affinity, betrays his friends, and generally acts like an utter moron. Worse yet, the story shifts its focus from a balance of all the fantastic side characters to this emo Mary Sue punk. At certain points, you might as well just call the series Sasuke. At one point, he manages to actually kill his brother, only to find out that Itachi threw the match. What's more, Itachi was dying anyway and only ever had the best intentions at heart, giving his life to protect his home. Sasuke then immediately decides to destroy said village, which makes no sense no matter how you look at it.
Compounding on that dilemma is the story's pacing, which more or less comes to a grinding halt. Fights suddenly begin to drag on chapter after chapter, villains become dull and unmotivated, and characters become dumber and dumber as the plot demands.
The most recent arc involves Naruto's final showdown with Pein, an elite warlord superninja with six individually sentient bodies and a knack for showy, destructive rampages. Though there were quite a few clever developments, such as Naruto's most recent powerups and development from whiny brat to competent, clever tactician, this arc suffers greatly from many side character-related flaws. Kishimoto has begun to kill off Naruto's mentors left and right for no apparent reason and in completely embarrassing ways. For example, Kakashi, the coolest thing this series had going for it since the Zabuza Arc, recently died of exaustion after failing to do any significant damage to one of Pein's bodies. Meanwhile, halfway across town, a young, weak Naruto wannabe named Konohamaru knocks out another of Pein's bodies in one blow. What's more, people began to acknowledge Naruto as their only chance for salvation long before he arrived at the village, despite the fact that he had previously done absolutely nothing to deserve that kind of respect. As of the current chapter, the minor characters who were once so clever, imaginative and fun to watch are basically sitting around muttering about how they'll only get in the way of this person that's fighting the ultimate enemy of their entire village, despite the fact that said person was until very recently regarded as the village idiot.
These ratings are generous due to the beginning of the series. Back then Charactes would have gotten a perfect ten. Now they barely deserve a two thanks to all the derailment. The story, once at least an eight, has now puttered down to no more than a one. The enjoyment rating is only as high as it is because this series is almost fun to read if only to laugh at Kishimoto's desperate attempts to motivate a character that's already got more than enough motivation, thanks, and to observe how very, very tired of this series he obviously is. The only reason I can fathom for him to continue is because his editor wants to milk this franchise for all it's worth, rather than risk starting over with a newer, more interesting franchise. I only continue it in the shallow hope that it may one day become half as great as it once was.
In conclusion, Naruto starts out great, but crashes like Michael Scott from The Office on sugar. It hasn't regained its boundless energy yet, and it's likely to keep sleeping for a while. There is much, much better out there, people. Please try to broaden your horizons.read more
It's done! The end of Naruto marks the end of an 15-year period, about half of which I spent waiting for weekly updates for the manga that was my very first.
Was it worth it? Maybe. I have a gut feeling that Naruto is going to be one of those manga that took great benefit from having a long-ass run time, and that a lot of the attraction towards Naruto was the fact that, well, "everyone else was reading it too." Reading Naruto was as much of a social exercise as it was a reading one, since it's mega popularity ensured that there would always be one or two people that you know that would be following it as well.
As far as the actual writing is concerned, I'd have to liken it to Harry Potter: ultimately flawed, but relatable. The themes of believing in yourself and the Power of Friendship™ have been explored numerous times before (and in a much better fashion by other manga/anime), and Naruto itself is a manga that I'm pretty sure could have been written in 200-300 chapters as opposed to the monstrous 700 that have presented over its 15 year run. Many, many, many characters are introduced, given their time in the limelight, and then thrown away because ultimately, it's all about Naruto. Kishimoto doesn't understand how to use scale to properly create climactic moments, and by the end, Naruto's supreme dominance over any of the other characters makes their attempts to seem relevant laughable and almost pitiable. The fact of the matter is, there are so many "oh, but this isn't my final form!" moments in the manga that reading the damn thing became a chore near the end due to the fact that Kishimoto isn't a very creative writer.
So why did I read all 700 chapters of what seems to be a quite mediocre effort? Well, Naruto was my first manga. Arguably, this fact combined with its existence as a social phenomenon made Naruto quite enjoyable to read (see my enjoyment score) despite its glaring flaws. It was fun to discuss the manga's weekly happenings with other people through its ups and downs--the experience was similar to that of following a sports team with other fans.
So, should you read Naruto? Probably not, unless you really, really like shounen's. It's a stunningly middle-of-the-road affair with little original thematic content that was made enjoyable to read due to the fact that it was mega-popular.
Story 4, Art 5, Character 2, Enjoyment 8, Overall: 5 (4.75). read more
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