Naruto (NARUTO – ナルト – 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 from 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 also licensed the 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 Shōnen 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. The series is licensed for a translated English-language release by Viz Media.
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.
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. Another arts of Naruto are Naruto Action Figure.