Manga Reviews

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


By Kishimoto Masashi
Licensed by Viz

Topic: Shounen, Fighting, Superpowers

Uzumaki Naruto is an orphan, who lives in the Hidden Leaf village, a village of ninjas. Though he's the bottom of his class, he aspires to become the Hokage, the strongest ninja in the village. After having failed to graduate 3 years in a row, Naruto finally graduates and joins Uchiha Sasuke (the top student in their class) and Haruno Sakura (a girl Naruto has a crush on) to form team 7. Their team leader is Kakashi, a highly ranked ninja in the village.

But there is a dark secret about Naruto. When he was born, a 9-tailed fox demon attacked the village and the 4th hokage gave up his life to defeat the demon and seal it within Naruto. As a result, people begin to target Naruto for the demon, even though he himself does not realize it's existance. And so Naruto and the others (who also have their own dark pasts) must learn to fulfill their potential as ninjas, before it's too late.

This manga plays out in story arcs which, outside of using the same characters, tend to be somewhat independent of each other. In each arc the opponent is someone different and each arc just involves the 4 members of team seven dealing with their pasts and "leveling up." Because of the disjoint nature, some of the story arcs are amazing whereas others are dull and drag on.

The characters all have very distinct personalities although they don't seem to change very much. Naruto was a ramen-loving, arrogantly annoying yet lovable character in chapter 1 and 200+ chapters later he still falls into that category. The only real change any of them go through is a change in their abilities and power level.

On the other hand, the art goes through a drastic change. This is Kishimoto Masashi's first serialized manga so it's interesting to watch how his art style evolves. On the whole, the characters are never highly detailed but the backgrounds are excellent, especially during fight scenes. Overall this is a fun manga which requires very little thought to read. My personal suggestion is, try and read a few volumes before passing judgement. I hated the first story arc (around 4 volumes worth) but the subsequent arcs seemed better paced and more action-filled (which is what I assume someone reading about ninjas is looking for).

Rating: 7.5/10.0


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