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Naruto (ナルト, NARUTO) is a manga by Masashi Kishimoto with an anime TV series adaptation. Its main character, Naruto Uzumaki, is a loud, hyperactive, adolescent ninja who constantly searches for approval and recognition, as well as to become Hokage, who is acknowledged as the leader and strongest of all ninja in the village.
The manga was first published by Shueisha in 1999 in the 43rd issue of Japan's Shōnen Jump magazine. VIZ Media publishes a translated version in the American Shonen Jump, and is currently within a few volumes of the Japanese publication. Naruto has become VIZ Media's best-selling manga series.
The anime series, produced by Studio Pierrot and Aniplex, premiered across Japan on the terrestrial TV Tokyo network and the anime satellite television network Animax on October 3, 2002, and is still being aired. Viz also licensed the anime for North American production. Naruto 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 UK on Jetix on July 22, 2006. It began showing on Toasted TV on January 12, 2007 in Australia, although it could be watched on Cartoon Network in 2006. The first series lasted nine seasons, while the second began its first on February 15, 2007.
In November 22, 2012, VP of Strategic Marketing & Promotions for Cartoon Network, Jason DeMarco, has announced Naruto will make a come back to Toonami on Saturday, December 1, 2012. Also, they mentioned that it will be uncut and the time will be 12:30 a.m. est. The show will start all the way back to episode 1 and move on.
See also: List of Naruto Volumes
The Naruto manga currently has 60 volumes and 589 chapters (as of May 6, 2012).
Naruto Manga Pilot
Main article: Naruto Manga Pilot
In 1997 Masashi Kishimoto created the first published incarnation of the Naruto Series. Debuting in Akamaru Jump, the Naruto one-shot would be Kishimoto's first incarnation of the Naruto universe. Though the plot of the one-shot bears little resemblance to the later shōnen manga, many of the same character and ninja themes would be displayed for the first time.
Growth and Popularity
The series' length and popularity is comparable to that of Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball, another popular action/martial arts-oriented shōnen manga, and one that was said to have greatly influenced Kishimoto's manga, Naruto. Since its creation, Naruto has spawned a large number of fansites that contain detailed information, guides, and active forums. Some of the first and most popular sites targeted at English speaking audiences were established shortly after the first English manga volume was released in August of 2003. And Like many other manga and anime titles, Naruto has also spawned its own collectible card game.
Prior to the anime's North American debut in 2005, several scanlation and fansub groups translated the series and made it available for free download on the internet. Despite North American companies' perceived tendency to prosecute fansubbing groups more frequently than Japanese companies, there are some that have continued to translate new Naruto episodes due to the extremely large gap between the English and Japanese versions.
Even though it debuted some time after the manga, the anime quickly caught up, since one anime episode usually covers one or two manga chapters. To prevent overlapping, the anime's producers tend to organise content from the manga chapters into long, uneventful sections followed by short bursts of action, sometimes adding filler content in between. By the time the Sasuke Retrieval Arc ended in the anime (episode 135), the series was at a point where it was quickly gaining on the manga. At the conclusion of this arc, the anime immediately switched to anime-only episodes to allow the manga to broaden the gap once more. Most of these episodes are stand-alone stories, with a few being part of arcs that were several episodes long, and lasted for a total of 85 episodes in the first series.
After the series moved back into manga-adapted episodes, it was renamed Naruto: Shippūden (ナルト 疾風伝, Naruto Shippūden; Literally meaning "Naruto Hurricane Chronicles"). The new series premiered on February 15, 2007.
The anime generally remains true to the manga, usually changing only minor details (causes of death, loss of limbs, and other injuries have been lessened in the anime) or expanding on parts skipped by the manga, such as the fight between Tenten and Temari. The anime-only arcs, though unreferenced in the manga (save for a few scant scenes), deal with the breaks between manga volumes, which covers a short period before the Sasuke Retrieval Arc and several months before the time skip. The anime-only arcs tend to cover the supporting characters, occasionally giving insight into an otherwise rarely seen character.
New episodes, animated by Studio Pierrot, air weekly on TV Tokyo in Japan during the Golden Time slot (Japan's equivalent of prime time in the US). As of October 5, 2006, it shows on Thursday nights. The series has also spawned eight movies, Naruto the Movie, Naruto the Movie 2, Naruto the Movie 3, Naruto: Shippūden the Movie, Naruto Shippūden the Movie 2, Naruto Shippūden the Movie 3, Naruto Shippūden 4: The Lost Tower and Naruto 5: Blood Prison.
On September 10, 2005, Naruto had its hour-long premiere in the U.S. on Cartoon Network's Toonami. The first episode of Naruto premiered in Canada on YTV on September 16, 2005. In the United Kingdom, Naruto premiered on Jetix on July 22, 2006. In Australia and New Zealand it premiered on Cartoon Network on September 27, 2006. On October 28, 2009, Disney XD began airing English dubbed episodes of Naruto: Shippūden.
In its English anime release, Naruto was aired with a TV-PG rating in the US and a PG rating in Canada. More explicit episodes, such as Jiraiya's debut and the battle with Zabuza, have been given a TV-PG-DS or a TV-PG-V rating. References to alcoholism, Japanese cultural differences, mild language, mild sexual situations, and even blood and death remain in the English version, though reduced. Other networks make additional content edits apart from the edits done by Cartoon Network, such as Jetix's more strict censoring of blood, language, and the like.
Twelve years before the events at the focus of the series, the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox attacked Konohagakure. It was a powerful demon; a single swing of one of its nine tails would raise tsunamis and flatten mountains. It raised chaos and caused the deaths of many, until the leader of Konoha, the Fourth Hokage, defeated it by sacrificing his own life to seal the demon inside a newly-born child. That child's name was Naruto Uzumaki.
The Fourth Hokage was celebrated as a hero for sealing the Nine-Tails away. He wanted Naruto to be respected in a similar light by being the containment vessel for the Nine-Tails. The village he grew up in, however, mostly shunned Naruto; they regarded him as if he were the Nine-Tails itself and mistreated him throughout most of his childhood.
A decree made by the Third Hokage made it so that the other villagers were forbidden to mention the event to anyone, even to their own children. However, this did not stop them from treating Naruto like an outcast. Although their children did not specifically know why their parents treated Naruto the way they did, they learned through example to despise the boy. As a result, Naruto grew up as an orphan in a lonesome atmosphere 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 Academy by using his Multiple Shadow Clone Technique to save his teacher, Iruka Umino, from the renegade ninja Mizuki. That encounter gave Naruto two insights: that he was the container of the Nine-Tails, and that there was someone besides the Third Hokage who actually cared about 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.
Naruto maintains a balance between drama and comedy, with plenty of action interspersed. It follows Naruto and his friends' personal growth and development as ninja, and emphasises 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 a very experienced sensei named Kakashi Hatake. Naruto also confides in other characters as well that he has met through the Chūnin Exam. 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 Konoha.
Naruto places strong emphasis on character development. Almost all outcomes are a result of decisions, character, and personality; very few things happen just 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, Guy, and Jiraiya, as well as Naruto's peers in the other Genin teams and other villages.
Several major villains came into play as well, the first being Zabuza Momochi, a missing-nin from the Kirigakure, and his partner, Haku. Later, in the Chūnin Exam Arc, Orochimaru is introduced as an S-Class missing-nin at the top of Konoha's most wanted list. Later, a mysterious organisation called Akatsuki begins to pursue Naruto in order to take the Nine-Tails inside him and harness its power.
See also: List of Naruto Characters
Naruto has a large and colourful cast of characters, running a gamut of detailed histories and complex personalities, and allowing many of them their fair share in the spotlight; they are also seen to grow and mature with the series, as it spans several years. As 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 Academy, where the story begins, are split up into teams of three after their graduation and become Genin. Each team is assigned an experienced sensei. These core teams 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 Team 7 becomes the social frame where Naruto is acquainted with Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno, and their sensei Kakashi Hatake, also called the "copy ninja" for copying thousands of ninja techniques with his Sharingan, 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 Kakashi Hatake 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.
Many of the greater lingering mysteries of the series are questions of character motives and identity. The legacy of Naruto's parents, the goals that guide Kabuto Yakushi, the identity of the mysterious Akatsuki leader – these are only a few of the fundamental unanswered questions of "who" and, by proxy, "why" currently at the core of the series. The story is remarkably character-driven; the theme of causality runs inherently throughout the series as characters reciprocate for their past actions and relationships. In this respect, characters' respective destinies are very much intertwined, and large emphasis is placed on comradeship and 'bonds' between the community or individual.
Character names often borrow from Japanese mythology, folklore and literature (such as the names borrowed from the folk-tale Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari), or are otherwise elaborate puns; often there is a noticeable influence of the story behind the name shouldered by the character.
- English Online Encyclopaedias
- VIZ Media's Naruto site (USA
- VIZ Media's Naruto Shippūden site (USA).
- Viz's Shonen Jump Naruto Manga/Anime page (USA).
- Disney Xd's Naruto Shippūden page
- Naruto Australian site