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Naruto

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This article is about the media franchise. For the character, see Naruto Uzumaki. For other uses, see Naruto (disambiguation).
Naruto
Naruto Uzumaki doing a hand sign while there is a scroll in his mouth.
Cover of the first Japanese Naruto manga volume featuring Naruto Uzumaki.
NARUTO -ナルト-
Genre Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Manga
Naruto (pilot chapter)
Written by Masashi Kishimoto
Published by Shueisha
English publisher
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Akamaru Jump
English magazine
Published 1997
Manga
Written by Masashi Kishimoto
Published by Shueisha
English publisher
Viz Media
Viz Media
Demographic Shōnen
Imprint Jump Comics
Magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump
English magazine
Weekly Shonen Jump
Shonen Jump (formerly)
Original run September 21, 1999November 10, 2014
Volumes 72 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed by Hayato Date
Written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa
(Episodes #1–132)
Junki Takegami
(Episodes #133–220)
Music by Musashi Project
Toshio Masuda
Studio Pierrot
Licensed by
Madman Entertainment
Viz Media
Original network TXN (TV Tokyo)
English network
Original run October 3, 2002February 8, 2007
Episodes 220 (List of episodes)
Anime television series
Naruto: Shippuden
Directed by Hayato Date
Masa'aki Kumagai
(Episodes #261–280)
Yasuaki Kurotsu[a]
(Episodes #290–295)[b]
Written by Junki Takegami
(Episodes #1–289, #296–)
Satoru Nishizono
(Episodes #1–53)
Yasuyuki Suzuki
(Episodes #54–71)
Yasuaki Kurotsu
(Episodes #290–295)[c]
Music by Yasuharu Takanashi
Studio Pierrot
Licensed by
Viz Media
Original network TXN (TV Tokyo)
English network
Original run February 15, 2007March 23, 2017
Episodes 500 (List of episodes)
Manga
Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring
Written by Masashi Kishimoto
Published by Shueisha
English publisher
Viz Media
Demographic Shōnen
Imprint Jump Comics
Magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump
English magazine
Original run April 27, 2015July 6, 2015
Volumes 1
Manga
Films

Naruto films

Naruto: Shippuden films

Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

Naruto (ナルト?) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. It tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, an adolescent ninja who searches constantly for recognition and dreams of becoming the Hokage, the ninja in his village who is acknowledged as the leader and the strongest of all. The series is based on a one-shot manga by Kishimoto published in the August 1997 issue of Akamaru Jump.

Naruto was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine from the 43rd issue of 1999 to the 50th issue of 2014, with the chapters collected into seventy-two tankōbon volumes by Shueisha. The manga was later adapted into a television anime produced by Studio Pierrot and Aniplex. It premiered across Japan on the terrestrial TV Tokyo and other TX Network stations on October 3, 2002. The first series lasted 220 episodes, as well as Naruto: Shippuden, a sequel to the original series with 500 episodes, that aired on February 15, 2007, and concluded on March 23, 2017. In addition to the anime series, Studio Pierrot has developed eleven movies and several original video animations (OVAs). Other types of merchandise include light novels, video games, and trading cards developed by several companies.

Viz Media has licensed the manga and anime for North American production. Viz serialized Naruto in their digital Weekly Shonen Jump magazine, as well as publishing the individual volumes. The anime series began airing in the United States and Canada in 2005, and later in the United Kingdom and Australia in 2006 and 2007, respectively. The films, as well as most OVAs from the series, have also been released by Viz, with the first film premiering in cinemas. Naruto: Shippuden was first released by Viz in North America in September 2009. It was broadcast on Disney XD beginning in October of the same year and on Adult Swim's Toonami block in January 2014. Viz Media began streaming both series on their streaming service Neon Alley in December 2012.

As of October 2015, the manga has sold over 220 million copies worldwide, making it the fourth best-selling manga series in history.[1] The manga is also available in 35 countries outside Japan.[2] It has also become one of North American publisher Viz Media's best-selling manga series.[3] Their English adaptation of the series has appeared on USA Today and The New York Times bestseller list several times and volume seven of the manga won the Quill Award in 2006.[4][5]

Plot[edit]

Part I[edit]

A powerful fox known as the Nine-Tails attacks Konoha, the hidden village in the Land of Fire, one of the Five Great Shinobi Countries in the Ninja World. In response, the leader of Konoha, the Fourth Hokage, seals the fox inside the body of his newborn son, Naruto Uzumaki, at the cost of the father's life, making Naruto a jinchuriki of the beast. As a child, Naruto is isolated from the Konoha community, which regards him as if he was the Nine-Tails. A decree made by the leader the Third Hokage forbids anyone mentioning the Nine-Tails to anyone else. Twelve years later, renegade ninja Mizuki reveals the truth to Naruto before being defeated by him with the Shadow Clone Jutsu technique, earning the respect of his teacher Iruka Umino. Shortly after, Naruto becomes a ninja and is assigned along with Sasuke Uchiha, whom he often competes against, and Sakura Haruno, on whom he has a crush, to form a three-person team, Team 7, under an experienced sensei, the elite ninja Kakashi Hatake. Like all the ninja teams from every village, Team 7 is charged with completing missions requested by villagers, ranging from doing chores and being bodyguards to performing assassinations.

After several missions, most notably one to the Land of Waves, Kakashi allows Team 7 to participate in a ninja exam allowing them to advance to a higher rank and thus take part in more difficult missions. During the exams, Orochimaru, a wanted criminal, invades Konoha and kills the Third Hokage for revenge. This forces one of the three legendary ninja, Jiraiya, to search with Naruto for Tsunade who has been nominated to become the Fifth Hokage. During the search, it is revealed that Orochimaru desires to acquire Sasuke due to his powerful genetic heritage, the Sharingan. Believing Orochimaru will be able to give him the strength needed to kill his older brother Itachi (who destroyed their clan), Sasuke eventually joins him after a humiliating defeat by his brother. Tsunade sends a group of ninja, including Naruto, to retrieve Sasuke, but Naruto is unable to bring him back to the village. However, Naruto and Sakura do not give up on Sasuke. Naruto leaves Konoha to train under Jiraiya's tutelage to prepare himself for the next time he encounters Sasuke, while Sakura becomes Tsunade's apprentice.

Part II[edit]

Two and a half years later, Naruto returns from his training with Jiraiya. The criminal organization called Akatsuki, of which Itachi is a member, starts kidnapping the hosts of the nine powerful Tailed Beasts, including the Nine-Tails sealed inside of Naruto, to extract them. Several ninjas from Konoha, including Team 7, fight against the Akatsuki members and search for their teammate Sasuke. Akatsuki is successful in capturing seven of those creatures whose hosts are killed in the process, except for Gaara, the host of the One-Tail, whose life is saved by Naruto and his comrades. In the meantime, Sasuke betrays Orochimaru and faces Itachi to take revenge. After Itachi dies in battle, Sasuke learns from the Akatsuki founder Tobi that Itachi was ordered by Konoha's superiors to destroy his clan to prevent a coup d'état. He accepted with the condition that Sasuke be spared. Saddened by this revelation, Sasuke joins forces with Akatsuki to kill Konoha's superiors who orchestrated the Uchihas' elimination and destroy Konoha to exact revenge. Meanwhile, as several Akatsuki members are defeated by Konoha ninjas, their figurehead leader, Nagato, kills Jiraiya and devastates Konoha. However, Naruto defeats and redeems him, earning the village's resulting respect and admiration.

With Nagato's eventual death, Tobi, while disguised as one of Konoha's founding fathers Madara Uchiha, announces that he wants to obtain all nine of the tailed beasts to perform an illusion powerful enough to control all of humanity, supposedly in an effort to create world peace. The leaders of the five ninja villages refuse to help him and instead join forces to confront Tobi and his allies. This results in a fourth great ninja war between the unified armies of the Five Great Countries (collectively known as the Allied Shinobi Forces) and Akatsuki's forces of zombie-like ninjas. Naruto, and Killer Bee, the host of the Eight-Tails, head for the battlefield refusing to sit back as instructed. During the conflict, it is revealed that Tobi is actually Obito Uchiha, Kakashi's former teammate who was thought to be dead. He was saved by the real Madara and has been working with him ever since. As Sasuke learns the history of Konoha, including the circumstances that led to his clan's downfall, he decides to protect the village and rejoins Naruto and Sakura to stop Madara and Obito's plans, which unleash the Ten-Tails. However, Madara's body ends up possessed by Kaguya Ōtsutsuki, an ancient princess who intends to subdue all of mankind. A reformed Obito sacrifices himself to help Team 7 stop her. Once Kaguya is sealed, Madara dies as well, but Sasuke takes advantage of the situation and takes control of all the Tailed Beasts to realize his true goal of ending the current village system. Naruto confronts Sasuke to dissuade him, and after they almost kill each other in a final battle, Sasuke admits defeat and reforms. After the war, Kakashi is chosen to become the Sixth Hokage and pardons Sasuke of his crimes. Years later, Kakashi steps down while Naruto marries Hinata Hyuga and becomes the Seventh Hokage, raising the next generation.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Masashi Kishimoto first created a one-shot of Naruto for the August 1997 issue of Akamaru Jump.[6] Despite its high positive results in a reader poll, he thought "[the] art stinks and the story's a mess!" He was originally working on Karakuri for the Hop Step Award when, unsatisfied by the rough drafts, he decided to work on something different, which later formed into the manga series Naruto.[7] The first eight chapters of Naruto were planned before it first appeared in the magazine. These early pre-planned chapters devoted many panels of art to intricately display the Konohagakure village. By the time Naruto debuted, background art became less emphasised in favor of characters.[8] Kishimoto has expressed concerns that the use of chakras and hand signs makes Naruto too Japanese, but still believes it is an enjoyable read.[9] When asked what Naruto's main theme is in Part I, he answered that it is how people accept each other, citing Naruto's development across the series as an example.[10] Kishimoto has said that the inclusion of the tailed beasts mythology was a way to include Godzilla-like animals in the story.[11]

Characters[edit]

When originally creating the Naruto story, Kishimoto looked to other shōnen manga as influences for his work, and attempted to make his characters as unique as possible, while he based his story on Japanese culture.[12] When drawing the characters, he consistently uses a five-step process: concept and rough sketch, drafting, inking, shading, and coloring.[13] These steps are followed when he is drawing the manga and the color illustrations that commonly adorn the covers of tankōbon, Weekly Shōnen Jump, or other media. The toolkit he utilizes changes occasionally.[13] For instance, he utilized an airbrush for one illustration for a Weekly Shōnen Jump cover, but decided not to use it for future drawings largely due to the cleanup required.[14] For Part II he said that he attempted not to "overdo the typical manga style" by not including "too much deformation" and keeping the panel layouts to make it easy for the reader to follow the plot. Kishomoto said his drawing style changed from "the classic manga look to something a bit more realistic".[15]

The separation of the characters into different teams was intended to give each group a specific flavor. He wanted each member to be "extreme", having a high amount of aptitude in one given attribute yet be talentless in another."[16] He was unable to focus on romance during Part I of the manga, so he emphasized it more in Part II of the manga, beginning with volume 28, despite finding it difficult.[10] The insertion of villains into the story was largely to have them act as a counterpoint to the characters' moral values. He has stated that this focus on illustrating the difference in values is central to his creation of villains to the point that, "I don't really think about them in combat."[17]

Setting[edit]

Main article: Ninja World

Kishimoto has stated that, as Naruto takes place in a "Japanese fantasy world", he has set certain rules in a systematic way so that he could easily "convey the story". He wanted to "draw on" the Chinese zodiac tradition, which had a long-standing presence in Japan; the zodiac hand signs originate from this. When he was creating the setting of the Naruto manga, he concentrated initially on the designs for the village of Konohagakure, the primary setting of the series. He asserts that his design for Konohagakure was created "pretty spontaneously without much thought", but admits that the scenery is based on his home in the Okayama prefecture in Japan. Without a specific time period, he included modern elements in the series such as convenience stores, but specifically excluded projectile weapons and vehicles from the storyline. For reference materials, he performs his own research into Japanese culture and alludes to it in his work.[18] Regarding technology Kishimoto said that Naruto would not have any firearms. He said he may include automobiles, aircraft and "low-processing" computers; Kishimoto specified the computers would "maybe" be eight-bit and that they would "definitely not" be sixteen-bit.[19]

Conclusion[edit]

Kishimoto stated that he already had a visual idea of the last chapter of the series, including the text and the story. However, he noted that it could take a long time to end the series since "there are still so many things that need to be resolved".[20] Since the series started serialization, Kishimoto decided the ending would feature a fight between two characters: Naruto and Sasuke.[21] He wanted the fight to end with Naruto forgiving Sasuke similar to the time Naruto forgave Nagato. Naruto's romantic partner was also decided in the middle of the series. Since Hinata Hyuga always respected Naruto even before the series' beginning, he felt they were meant to be. This angered Kishimoto's wife who wanted Naruto to marry Sakura Haruno.[22] In Kishimoto's mind, he did not think of her as a future wife for Naruto. However, once Hinata first appeared, the author thought of making a love triangle between the three characters. He later regretted this as he considered Naruto a fighting series with little focus on romance.[23]

Themes[edit]

Mythology[edit]

Amy Plumb, a writer from Macquarie University, notes in her essay "Japanese Religion, Mythology, and the Supernatural in Anime and Manga" that the creator, Masashi Kishimoto, used Japanese mythology as a central component for the story's development. She comments that there are a large number of references to Japanese mythology throughout the whole series. She states that he uses allusions to Japanese culture, instead of explicitly explaining what is going on in a plot. She comments that the audience uses Kishimoto's hidden meanings relating to Japanese culture and mythology to decode the storyline and character development. She notes that the mythology of the kitsune tsuki is being used in the story for Naruto's character and Kishimoto is using those tales to add a layer of personality to it.[24]

Confucianism[edit]

Christopher A. Born, from University of Missouri–St. Louis, states in his essay "In the Footsteps of the Master: Confucian Values in Anime and Manga" that the Naruto storyline contains Confucian values which can be identified and embraced by preteen and adolescent boys. He comments that when students gather information from the series, and discuss the storyline from a Confucian point of view learned in their classes, they are able to easily understand the examples of foundation values in manga and anime series like Naruto. He compliments the development of Naruto's setting calling it a fun fictional pastiche. He notes that the hidden leaf villages represent, for the Japanese, places that are safe and protected against major threats. He feels that the series as a whole is a story of hard work, friendship, and winning at all costs.[25]

Coming of age[edit]

Writing in Popular Culture in Counseling, Psychotherapy, and Play-Based Interventions Lawrence C. Rubin compliments the series saying that it is appealing on a number of levels. He sees the series as a coming-of-age story, because Naruto not only grows physically but his character grows and evolves as well. He also compliments the development of the characters stating that they make up a rich evolving cast. He feels that the storylines could connect to viewers of any age who have similar issues such as losing loved ones, trying to find a friendly connection, and so on.[26] Cheng-Wen Huang and Arlene Archer, writers from the University of Cape Town, stated in their essay "Fluidity of Modes in the Translation of Manga: The Case of Kishimoto's Naruto" that Naruto is known as a shonen manga because the series is aimed at boys, and also because the series is characterized by moments of intense action in the story development.[4] Omote Tomoyuki says that the series' tone is relatively dark, due to conflicts between countries in the series, further stating: "At its center are the deep grudges and shared fates among states, organizations, and people." He does not consider the series to be a cheerful manga because of the way the characters and the environment were developed. He comments that the series was a comeback for dark fantasy that slowly faded away when Shonen Jump transferred to Ultra Jump in 1987. He notes that as the series continued, Naruto was not supposed to be a comedy anymore.[27] Norman Melchor Robles Jr. Pena notes that the early episodes of Naruto are fairly evenly split between violence and showing positive values such as friendship. He regards the transmittal of these values to be a form of "infotainment".[28] Sheuo Hui Gan considers that beneath the action and fights, Naruto in both the manga and anime has a set of "traditional ethical values". She also compares the treatment of alienation in Naruto, where it is overcome by joining society, to the portrayal of alienation in Akira and Neon Genesis Evangelion.[29]

Yukari Fujimoto (ja), a professor at Meiji University, states that the manga could be considered orthodox since the story's audience is aimed at boys rather than girls. She comments that the characters, even the main character himself, all have a dark past, and have to deal with important conflicts. She states that they overcome their struggles by improving their fighting skills as the series progresses. She states that the story describes how important teamwork and friendships between people are. She comments that the series has a bildungsroman theme, because the story is based on generation cycles, and the adults in the series wish for the new generation to be better than them. She criticizes how the theme was set up because she feels it is conservative for every new generation to be better than the older. She further explains how most of the characters, including the main one (who she sees as the mangas weakness), do not even respect their elders or highly notable figures who served the country they reside in.[30]

Gender roles[edit]

Fujimoto comments that the characters has impressive anachronistic roles regarding gender, further stating, "[...] its representations suggest that men are men and women are women, and that they differ naturally in regard to aptitude and vocation". She comments that the type of conservatism that is used for the bildungsroman theme applies to female characters as well, stating that they are purposely made to be weak in the story. One of her examples is the girls get higher grades than the boys in the Ninja Academy. When they all become actual ninja, and the boys on the teams they are assigned to take their shinobi carrier seriously, the girls are unable to keep up with them. Because of the character development of female characters plays out, she states "[...] female characters lack appeal, expressed, for example, by readers on the Internet". She comments that when they are written to improve their status in the story, their development is mostly focused on romance and other concerns that are based on their gender. She comments that the series has an outmoded gender role themes, since most of the women in battles are there for healing purposes instead of defense or offense. While she does state that the healing purpose is important to aid those who are hurt, she comments "[...] one cannot avoid noticing the correspondence of this motif with the assumption that the presence of women is not required on the battlefield, and if so, only as nurses". She comments that while the series' narrative show that men and women demonstrate their skills in various ways, she criticizes how female characters are developed in a politically incorrect way. Fujimoto uses Tsunade as an example, stating that she does not take her importance of being an Hokage seriously, because she is easily offended and reacts negatively to remarks that she does not agree with, criticism, and insults.[31]

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

Naruto premiered in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine on September 21, 1999, and ended on November 10, 2014.[32][33] The first 238 chapters are known as Part I, and constitute the first part of the Naruto storyline. Manga chapters 239 to 244 comprise a gaiden series focusing on the background of the character Kakashi Hatake. The rest of the manga chapters 245 to 700 belong to Part II, which continues the storyline after a two-and-a-half year time gap. Shueisha released 72 tankōbon in Japan, with the first twenty-seven tankōbon containing Part I, and the subsequent books belonging to Part II. The first tankōbon was released on March 3, 2000.[34][35] In addition, several tankōbon, each containing ani-manga based one of the Naruto movies, have been released by Shueisha.[36] Shueisha has also released the series in Japanese for cell-phone download on their website Shueisha Manga Capsule.[37] On the release of the final chapter of the series, a miniseries centered on the main characters' children was announced. Titled Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring (Naruto−ナルト−外伝・七代目火影と緋色の花つ月 Naruto Gaiden: Nanadaime Hokage to Akairo no Hanatsuzuki?), the series began serialization in both the Japanese and English editions of Weekly Shōnen Jump on April 27, 2015, and ended after ten chapters on July 6, 2015.[38][39]

Naruto is serialized in North America by Viz Media in their manga anthology magazine Shonen Jump. The first chapter of the English adaptation was published in the January 2003 issue.[40] To compensate for the gap between the Japanese and English adaptations of the manga, Viz implemented its "Naruto Nation" campaign, releasing three volumes a month in the last four months of 2007 to close the gap.[41] Cammie Allen, Viz's product manager, commented that, the main reason for the change was to catch up to the Japanese release schedule and give their readers the same experience as that of Japanese readers.[41] A similar campaign was planned for 2009, with eleven volumes from Part II of the series released between February and April in order to catch up to the Japanese serialization. Starting with the release of volume forty-five in July, Viz began releasing Naruto quarterly.[42] Viz has released 72 volumes of the manga in English as of October 6, 2015.[43] In addition, Viz Media released all twenty-seven volumes of Part I in a boxed set, which constituted the entire Naruto storyline before Part II was released on November 13, 2007.[44] On May 3, 2011, Viz started collecting the series in an omnibus format with each book containing three volumes from the original format.[45] Naruto was scanlated by English-speaking groups prior to its licensing by Viz.[46]

Spin-offs[edit]

A spin-off comedy manga by Kenji Taira, titled Rock Lee no Seishun Full-Power Ninden (ロック・リーの青春フルパワー忍伝?, Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals) focusing on the character Rock Lee, ran in Shueisha's Saikyō Jump magazine from December 3, 2010, to July 4, 2014.[47][48] In February 2012, Shueisha announced that the spin-off manga Rock Lee no Seishun Full-Power Ninden would receive an anime adaptation.[49] Produced by Studio Pierrot, the series premiered on TV Tokyo on April 3, 2012.[50] Crunchyroll simulcast the series' premiere on their website and will stream following episodes.[51] Taira also launched Uchiha Sasuke no Sharingan Den (うちはサスケの写輪眼伝?, Sasuke Uchiha's Sharingan Legend) on October 3, 2014, which runs in the same magazine and centers on the group Taka.[52]

A monthly sequel series titled Boruto: Naruto Next Generations began in both the Japanese and English editions of Weekly Shōnen Jump in Spring 2016. The new series is illustrated by Mikio Ikemoto and written by Ukyō Kodachi with supervision by series' creator Masashi Kishimoto. Ikemoto was Kishimoto's chief assistant during the entire run the original Naruto series, and Kodachi was his writing partner for the Boruto: Naruto the Movie film screenplay. The monthly series was preceded by a one-shot written and illustrated by Kishimoto himself.[53]

Anime[edit]

Directed by Hayato Date, and produced by Studio Pierrot and TV Tokyo, the Naruto anime adaptation premiered in Japan on TV Tokyo October 3, 2002, and ran for 220 episodes until its conclusion on February 8, 2007.[54][55] The first 135 episodes are adapted from the first twenty-seven volumes of the manga, while the remaining eighty episodes are original episodes that use plot elements not seen in the original manga.[56] Beginning on April 29, 2009, the original Naruto anime began a rerun on Wednesdays and Thursdays (until the fourth week September 2009 when it changed to Wednesdays only). It was remastered in HD, with new 2D and 3D effects, under the name Naruto: Shōnen Hen (少年篇?, "Youth Version").[57] It included never-before-seen scenes and much non-canon material was cut to make it more faithful to the original manga. In addition, it contains openings and endings different from the original series.

Episodes from the series have been published on DVD. The first DVD series has been the only one to be collected in VHS format.[58] There are a total of five series, each including four episodes per volume.[59] The series was also collected in a series of three DVD boxes during 2009.[60][61] The newest DVD series is Naruto The Best Scene which collects scenes from the first 135 episodes from the anime.[62]

Viz licensed the anime series for broadcast and distribution in the Region 1 market. The English adaptation of the anime began airing on September 10, 2005, and finished on January 31, 2009, with 209 episodes aired.[63] The episodes have been shown on Cartoon Network's Toonami (United States), YTV's Bionix (Canada) and Jetix's (United Kingdom) programming blocks. Beginning on March 28, 2006, Viz released the series on DVD.[64] While the first 26 volumes contain four episodes, later DVD volumes have five episodes.[65] Uncut editions are compiled in DVD box sets, each containing 12–15 episodes, with some variation based around story arcs.[66] In the American broadcast, references to alcohol, Japanese culture, sexual innuendo, and the appearance of blood and death were sometimes edited for the broadcast, but remained in the DVD editions.[67] Other networks made additional content edits apart from those done by Cartoon Network, such as Jetix's stricter censoring of blood, language, smoking and the like. The series has also been licensed to Hulu, Joost, and Crunchyroll websites, which air episodes online with the original Japanese audio tracks and English subtitles.[68][69][70] The last Naruto episode aired on YTV's Bionix block on December 6, 2009, at 12:30am ET.[71]

Kishimoto requested that Tetsuya Nishio (ja) oversee the character designs of Naruto when it was decided to adapt Naruto into an anime series.[72]

Naruto: Shippuden[edit]

Naruto: Shippuden (Naruto -ナルト- 疾風伝 Naruto Shippūden?, lit. "Naruto: Hurricane Chronicles") is the ongoing sequel to the original Naruto anime and covers the Naruto manga from volume twenty-eight on. The TV adaptation of Naruto: Shippuden debuted in Japan on February 15, 2007, on TV Tokyo, and concluded on March 23, 2017.[73][74] It was developed by Studio Pierrot and directed by Hayato Date.[75] ABS-CBN was the first TV channel outside Japan to broadcast Naruto: Shippuden; it aired the first 40 episodes of Naruto: Shippuden, running the show through March 19, 2008. On January 8, 2009, TV Tokyo began broadcasting new episodes via internet streaming directly to monthly subscribers. Each streamed episode is made available online within an hour of its Japanese premiere and includes English subtitles.[76] Viz began streaming English subtitled episodes on January 2, 2009, on its official website for the series. The uploaded episodes include both previously released episodes and the new episodes from Japan.[77]

In North America, the English dub of Naruto: Shippuden aired weekly on Disney XD from October 28, 2009, to October 8, 2011. Like the first series, several content edits were made during the broadcast.[78] Episodes 98 onward premiered uncut on Neon Alley beginning December 29, 2012. On November 6, 2013, Adult Swim announced that they would air the English dub uncut on Toonami starting in January 2014. Beginning with the first episode, Shippuden premiered on January 5, 2014.[79][80]

The series is being released on Region 2 DVD in Japan with four or five episodes per disc. There are currently four series of DVD releases divided by story arc.[81] There is also a special feature included with the seventh Naruto: Shippuden compilation DVD based on the second ending of the series called Hurricane! "Konoha Academy" Chronicles.[82] Besides the regular DVD series, on December 16, 2009, Kakashi Chronicles: Boys' Life on the Battlefield (カカシ外伝~戦場のボーイズライフ~ Kakashi Gaiden ~Senjō no Bōizu Raifu~?) was released featuring episodes 119–120 which are set during Kakashi Hatake's childhood.[83]

The first North American DVD of the series was released on September 29, 2009.[84] Only the first fifty-three episodes were collected in this format that ended with the 12th volume released on August 10, 2010.[85] Following this, episodes have been released as part of DVD boxes that began to be released on January 26, 2010, with the first season.[86] In the United Kingdom, the series is licensed by Manga Entertainment who released the first DVD collection on June 14, 2010.[87]

Original video animations[edit]

There are eleven Naruto original video animations (OVAs). The first two, Find the Crimson Four-Leaf Clover! and Mission: Protect the Waterfall Village!, were aired at the Shōnen Jump Jump Festa 2003 and Jump Festa 2004 and were later released on DVD in Australia under the title Naruto Jump Festa Collection.[88] The English localization of the second OVA was released on DVD by Viz on May 22, 2007, in the USA under the title Naruto - The Lost Story.[89] The third OVA, Konoha Annual Sports Festival, is a short video released with the first Naruto movie. In North America, the OVA was included in the "Deluxe Edition" DVD of the first film.[90] The fourth OVA, Finally a clash! Jonin VS Genin!! Indiscriminate grand melee tournament meeting!!, was released on a bonus disc with the Japanese edition of the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3 video game for the PlayStation 2.[91] The fifth OVA, Shippū! "Konoha Gakuen" Den was released on February 6, 2008.[92] The sixth OVA, Naruto: The Cross Roads, was featured at the Jump Festa 2010. It is focused on Team 7 after their encounter with Zabuza and Haku.[93] The seventh OVA, Naruto, The Genie, and The Three Wishes!! was released on July 31, 2010.[94] The eighth OVA, Naruto x UT was included within the DVD Naruto x UT Original DVD released on January 1, 2011, as promoted by UNIQLO.[95] The nineth OVA, Chūnin Exam on Fire! Naruto vs. Konohamaru! was released on July 30, 2011.[96] The tenth OVA, Naruto Shippūden: Sunny Side Battle!!! was released on September 11, 2014.[97] The eleventh OVA, The Day Naruto Became Hokage was released on July 6, 2016.[98]

Films[edit]

The series has adapted eleven films; with the first three during the first anime series, and the following eight from Naruto: Shippūden. The first film, Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow, was released on August 21, 2004, in Japan. It tells how Team 7 is dispatched to the Land of Snow to protect the actors during the shooting of the new Princess Fuun movie, of which Naruto became a fan. As a bonus, the short original video animation Konoha Annual Sports Festival was included with the Japanese release of the film.[99] It premiered on June 6, 2007, in the United States.[100][101] It was followed by Legend of the Stone of Gelel, which was released in theaters in Japan on August 6, 2005. The film involves Naruto, Shikamaru and Sakura during a ninja mission in which they are involved in a war between the Sunagakure village and a large number of armored warriors.[102] Unlike its predecessor, Legend of the Stone of Gelel did not have a theatrical release in the United States, and was released direct-to-video instead. It aired on Cartoon Network on July 26, 2008, and then was released on DVD on July 29, 2008.[103] The third film, Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom, was originally released on August 5, 2006. It shows how Naruto, Sakura, Lee and Kakashi are assigned to protect the future prince of the Land of Moon, Hikaru Tsuki.[104] The English dub of the movie aired on Cartoon Network and was released to DVD on November 11, 2008.[105][106] On July 3, 2008, Sony released a Japanese DVD Box containing the first three movies.[107]

The series' fourth film, Naruto Shippuden the Movie, was released on August 4, 2007, and chronicles Naruto's assignment to protect the priest Shion who starts having visions of his death.[108] The fifth film, Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds, was released on August 2, 2008. It tells how ninja from the Sky Country attack Konoha, and to stop them, Naruto and Sasuke join forces although the latter has already left two years ago.[109] The next film is Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Will of Fire, which premiered in Japan on August 1, 2009,[110] and tells the story of Team Kakashi working together to stop Kakashi from sacrificing himself to stop a world war. Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower followed it in Japan on July 31, 2010, and tells the story of Naruto being sent 20 years into the past and exploring a mystical tower for a rogue ninja with the Fourth Hokage. Naruto the Movie: Blood Prison was released on July 30, 2011, and tells the story of Naruto being framed for the attempted murder of the Raikage, and his subsequent attempts to break out of the prison while discovering its secrets.[111] Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie, which details Naruto and Sakura being sent to an alternate universe by Tobi and discovering the meaning of companionship and parenthood, was released on July 28, 2012.[112]

On December 6, 2014, a new movie, The Last: Naruto the Movie, was released. Canonical to the franchise, the film tells the story of Naruto and his companions two years after Chapter 699 of the manga trying to stop the moon from colliding with Earth; it also explains some loose ends involving the series' mythology and details of Naruto's love life. As with Road to Ninja, the script and character designs were created by Masashi Kishimoto. A new canon film, Boruto: Naruto the Movie, was released in August 2015, and focuses on the children of the main characters.[113]

It was announced that Lionsgate are developing a live action Naruto with Avi Arad producing through his production company Arad Productions and Michael Gracey directing, while Erik Feig, Geoff Shaveitz and Kelly O'Malley will oversee production. The studio is also in negotiations with Masashi Kishimoto for the films rights.[114] On December 17, 2016, Kishimoto confirmed that a live-action adaptation of Naruto is in the works and that he has been asked to help develop the movie with Michael Gracey directing.[115]

Music[edit]

The Naruto soundtracks were composed and arranged by Toshio Masuda. The first, titled Naruto Original Soundtrack, was released on April 3, 2003, and contains 22 tracks used during the first season of the anime.[116] The second, called Naruto Original Soundtrack II was released on March 18, 2004, and contains nineteen tracks.[117] The third, called Naruto Original Soundtrack III was released on April 27, 2005, and contains twenty-three tracks.[118] A series of two soundtracks containing all the opening and ending themes of the series, titled Naruto: Best Hit Collection and Naruto: Best Hit Collection II were released on November 17, 2004, and August 2, 2006.[119][120] Of all the series' tracks, eight were selected and released on a CD called Naruto in Rock -The Very Best Hit Collection Instrumental Version- that was released on December 19, 2007.[121] Each of the three movies of the first anime series has a soundtrack that was released near its release date.[122][123][124] On October 12, 2011, a CD collecting the themes from Naruto Shōnen Hen was also released.[125] Various Drama CD series have also been released in which voice actors perform original episodes.[126]

The soundtracks of Naruto: Shippuden have been produced by Yasuharu Takanashi. Although in a few Shippuden episodes do feature tracks from the first series. The first, Naruto Shippūden Original Soundtrack was released on December 9, 2007.[127] The second CD, Naruto Shippuden Original Soundtrack II, was released on December 16, 2009.[128] Naruto All Stars was released on July 23, 2008, and consists of ten original Naruto songs remixed and sung by characters from the series.[129] Ten themes from the two series were also collected in the DVD box Naruto Super Hits 2006–2008 released on July 23, 2008.[130] Each of the films from the sequel also had their soundtracks released, with the first available on August 1, 2007.[131][132] Naruto Shippuden Original Soundtrack III was released on July 6, 2016.[133]

Merchandise[edit]

Video games[edit]

Naruto video games have appeared for various consoles from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft. Most of them are fighting games in which the player directly controls one of a select few characters based on their counterparts in the Naruto anime and manga. The player pits their character against another character controlled by the game's AI or by another player, depending on the mode the player is in. The object is to reduce the opponent's health to zero using basic attacks and special techniques unique to each character derived from techniques they use in the Naruto anime or manga.[134] The first Naruto video game was Naruto: Konoha Ninpōchō, which was released in Japan on March 27, 2003, for the WonderSwan Color.[135] Most Naruto video games have been released only in Japan. The first games released outside Japan were the Naruto: Gekitou Ninja Taisen series and the Naruto: Saikyou Ninja Daikesshu series, released in North America under the titles of Naruto: Clash of Ninja and Naruto: Ninja Council.[136][137] In January 2012, Namco Bandai announced that they have sold 10 million Naruto games worldwide.[138]

Books[edit]

Novels[edit]

Sixteen Naruto light novels, with the first nine written by Masatoshi Kusakabe, have been published in Japan by Shueisha under the JUMP j BOOKS imprint,[139] while the first two were released in English in North America by Viz. The first, Naruto: Innocent Heart, Demonic Blood (白の童子、血風の鬼人?), retells Team 7's mission in which they encounter the assassins Zabuza and Haku. It was released on December 16, 2002, in Japan and November 21, 2006, in North America.[140][141] The second novel Naruto: Mission: Protect the Waterfall Village! (滝隠れの死闘 オレが英雄だってばよ! Takigakure no Shitō Ore ga Eiyū dattebayo!?, lit. The Waterfall Village's Fight to the Death I am the Hero!), based on the second original video animation of the anime, was published on December 15, 2003, in Japan and October 16, 2007, in the United States.[142][143] The series' tenth novel, titled Naruto: Tales of a Gutsy Ninja (NARUTO―ナルト―ド根性忍伝 Naruto: Dokonjō Ninden?), written by Akira Higashiyama, was published on August 4, 2009. It is presented as the in-universe novel written by Naruto's master Jiraiya, and follows the adventures of a fictional shinobi named Naruto Musasabi, who served as Naruto's namesake.[144] Novelizations of the first seven, ninth and the tenth Naruto films, as well as the original novel which was adapted into the eighth Naruto film, have also been published in Japan.[139] The first two book of the series have also been re-released under Shueisha Mirai Bunko imprint,[145][146] which is an imprint publishng for students from elementary and junior high school.[147] Viz has also published new novels called Chapter Books written by Tracey West with illustrations from the manga. Unlike the series, the novels are aimed at children ages seven to ten.[148] The first two novels were released on October 7, 2008,[149][150] 16 novels have been published,[151] volume 17 was cancelled.[152]

Art and guidebooks[edit]

Several supplementary books of the Naruto series have been released. An art book titled The Art of Naruto: Uzumaki contains illustrations from the Part I manga and was released in both Japan and the United States.[153][154] For the Part II manga, an interactive book called Paint Jump: Art of Naruto was released by Shueisha on April 4, 2008.[155] The latest art book was published on July 3, 2009, under the title Naruto with its English version released on October 26, 2010.[156][157]

A series of guidebooks for 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?)[158] 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?)[159] were released only in Japan. The third databook, Character Official Data Book Hiden Sha no Sho (秘伝・者の書 ― キャラクターオフィシャルデータBOOK Hiden: Sha no Sho - Kyarakutā ofisharu dēta book?) was released on September 4, 2008, and adapted Part II from the manga.[160] These books contain character profiles, Jutsu guides, and drafts made by Kishimoto. The third book was released by Viz on January 10, 2012.[161] For the anime, a series of guidebooks called Naruto anime profiles were also released. These books contain information about the production of the anime episodes and explanations of the characters' designs.[162] On October 4, 2002, a manga fanbook was released titled Secret: Writings from the Warriors Official Fanbook (秘伝・兵の書 ― オフィシャルファンBOOK Hiden: Hei no Sho - Ofisharu fan book?).[163] Viz published it in North America on February 19, 2008, under the title Naruto: The Official Fanbook.[164] Another fanbook was released to conmemmorate the series' 10th anniversary. It includes illustrations of Naruto Uzumaki by other manga artists, a novel, Kishimoto's one-shot titled Karakuri, and an interview between Kishimoto and Yoshihiro Togashi.[165]

Collectible card game[edit]

Produced by Bandai, the Naruto Collectible Card Game (Narutoカードゲーム Naruto Kādo Gēmu?, lit. Naruto CardGame) was first introduced in Japan in February 2003.[166] Bandai began releasing the game in English in North America in April 2006.[167] The game is played between two players using a customized deck of fifty cards from the set, a game mat, an item to act as a "turn marker" for noting whose turn it is, and a "Ninja Blade Coin" which is primarily used to flip to make decisions. In order to win, a player must either earn ten "battle rewards" through their actions in the game, or cause the other player to exhaust their deck.[168]

The cards are released in named sets, called "series" in the form of four different 50-card preconstructed box sets.[166][167] Each set includes a starter deck, the game mat, a turn-counter, and one stainless steel "Ninja Blade Coin". Additional cards are made available in 10-card booster packs, and deck sets, primarily for retailers, containing all four box sets available for each series. Cards for each set are also made available in collectible tins, containing several booster packs and exclusive promotional cards in a metal box.[169] By October 2006, seventeen series had been released in Japan with 417 unique cards.[166] As of August 2008, ten of these series have been released in North America.[170]

Reception[edit]

Manga[edit]

Naruto has been well received in both Japan and the United States. It has run in Weekly Shonen Jump for over a decade.[171] As of 2007, the manga had over 71 million copies in circulation in Japan,[172] while in 2008 this increased to 89 million.[173] In April 2010, Shueisha announced that Naruto had 100.4 million copies in print, becoming the publisher's fifth manga series to have over a 100 million in circulation.[174] In 2011 its sales increased to over 113 million copies, and by 2013 it had sold over 130 million, becoming Shueisha's fourth best-selling manga series.[175][176] During 2008, volume 43 sold 1.1 million copies becoming the 9th best-selling comic from Japan. Volumes 41, 42 and 44 also ranked within the top 20, but had sold fewer copies.[177] In total, the manga sold 4.2 million copies in Japan during 2008, making it the second best-selling series of the year.[178] In the first half of 2009, it ranked as the third best-selling manga in Japan, having sold 3.4 million copies.[179] That year, volume 45 ranked 5th with 1.1 million sold copies, while volume 46 ranked 9th, having sold 864,708 copies with volume 44 in 40th place.[180] Kishimoto was surprised when the series reached its tenth volume as a result of its popularity.[181]

The Naruto manga series has become one of Viz Media's top properties,[182] accounting for nearly 10% of all manga sales in 2006.[183] Gonzalo Ferreyra, vice president of sales and marketing for Viz, noted that sales of each Naruto volume astonished him as the series' attrition rate is relatively low.[184] ICv2 has listed it as the top manga property in North America several times.[185][186] The seventh volume of Viz's release became the first manga to win a Quill Award when it claimed the award for Best Graphic Novel in 2006.[183] The manga also appeared in the USA Today Booklist with volume 11 holding the title of the highest ranked manga series on the list, until it was surpassed by volume 28, which claimed 17th place in its first week of release in March 2008.[187][188][189] Volume 28 also had one of the biggest debut weeks of any manga in years, becoming the top-selling manga volume of 2008 as well as the second best-selling book in North America.[190][191] During its release, volume 29 ranked #57, while volume 28 had dropped to #139.[192] In April 2007, volume 14 earned Viz the Manga Trade Paperback of the Year Gem Award from Diamond Comic Distributors.[193] The manga series also became the top manga property for 2008 in the United States with 31 volumes having been published.[194] Searches for the word "Naruto" were #7 on the Yahoo! web search engine's list of the top 10 most popular search terms of 2008, and #4 from 2007.[195] Responding to Naruto's success, Kishimoto said in Naruto Collector Winter 2007/2008 that he was "very glad that the American audience has accepted and understood ninja. It shows that the American audience has good taste ... because it means they can accept something previously unfamiliar to them."[196]

The manga has been been nominated by several award shows, and won a few of them. In October 2006, volume seven of Part I of the manga won the Quill Award.[5] In February 2015, Asahi Shimbun announced that Naruto was one of nine nominees for the nineteenth annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize.[197] In March 2015, Kishimoto was the winner of Rookie of the Year for the series in the Japanese governments Agency for Cultural Affairs 2014 Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Fine Arts Recommendation Awards.[198]

The series has received praise and criticism from several reviewers. A. E. Sparrow of IGN praised the way that Kishimoto manages to produce an "epic storyline" with a combination of fighting scenes, comedy and good artwork.[199] The anime and manga magazine Neo described Naruto's character as "irksome", but attributed the series' "almost sickening addictiveness" to its level of characterization.[200] Carl Kimlinger of Anime News Network (ANN) praised the characters' designs, since every one has a unique appearance and way of acting. He also noted how even the "goofiest looking character" can act "damn cool" when he fights. However, Kimlinger noted that in some volumes there are several fights, so the plot is unable to develop, but he praised how each of the battles was emotional.[201] The series has also been praised for remaining enjoyable after several volumes by Javier Lugo of mangalife.org, who also praised the antagonists as well as the mangas' fight scenes. Kishimoto's artwork was also commended by Lugo as it makes the story "dramatic, exciting, and just right for the story he's telling".[202] The start of Part II has been praised in a review by Casey Brienza from ANN. She noted how well the characters were developed as they had new appearances and abilities. Brienza also praised the balance between plot and action scenes allowing the readers to enjoy the volume. However, she noted that not all the volumes have the same quality.[203] Briana Lawrence of Mania Entertainment added that in Part II, the manga feels "adult" due to the growth of various characters. However, Viz's translations were criticized for being "inconsistent" because some Japanese terms were changed to English, while other words were left intact.[204]

The Kyoto Seika University International Manga Research Center held a conference called "Intercultural Crossovers, Transcultural Flows: Manga/Comics" and published the proceedings. Gō Itō, professor in the manga department of Tokyo Polytechnic University compared the series' development to the manga of Dragon Ball. Itō states that both manga present good illustrations of 3D body movements which capture the character's martial arts very well. He states that the series' battles are fascinating with characters giving everything they've got in fights, and because of what unfolds during battles, like using jujitsu techniques. Also the characters pretend to be exhausted to trick the enemy into thinking that they could win, taking advantage of the enemy they are fighting. He comments that the readers can empathize with how the characters are feeling, and can feel deceived from the character's standpoint because of how the series' battles are structured.[205]

Cheng-Wen Huang and Arlene Archer, writers from University of Cape Town, states in their essay "Fluidity of Modes in the Translation of Manga: The Case of Kishimoto's Naruto" that fan translations and the official English translations of Naruto are comparable, due to the both of them being fluid, and being translated in social practices. The pair states that the translated versions of Naruto reveals how important it is to have a layout system for juxtaposition of time and space, characters, and graphic imagery.[4] 

Anime[edit]

In TV Asahi's latest top 100 Anime Ranking from October 2006, Naruto ranked 17th on the list.[206] Naruto Shippuden has ranked several times as one of the most watched series in Japan.[207][208] The Naruto anime adaptation won the Best Full-Length Animation Program Award in the Third UStv Awards held at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines.[209] The first of the DVD compilations containing thirteen episodes, released by Viz was nominated at the American Anime Awards for best package design.[210] It also ranked as the third best-selling anime property in 2008.[211] Naruto was named Best Full Animated Program at the USTv Student's Choice Awards 2009 held at the UST Medicine Auditorium on February 19, 2009.[212] In ICv2's Top 10 Anime Properties of the first half of 2009, Naruto ranked as the second best anime franchise.[213] The episodes from Naruto: Shippuden have appeared various times in Japanese Anime TV Rankings.[214][215] DVD sales of Naruto: Shippuden have been good, appearing several times in the Japanese Animation DVD Ranking list.[216][217] Free of charge streamed episodes from Naruto: Shippuden have an average of 160,000 viewers a week.[218] Naruto has also been 20th among shows and channels on Hulu in February 2009. In Joost, it was first during the same month. In February, Naruto: Shippuden was first among the animated shows on Joost while Naruto remained in second place.[219]

The Naruto anime was listed as the 38th best animated show in IGN's Top 100 Animated Series.[220] Reviewers noted that the primary focus of the series was on the fighting since the producers consider the fight scenes more important than "fleshed out" backgrounds. The music has also been noted to be a good match with the fighting scenes though it sometimes interferes with the dialogue.[221] Martin Theron of ANN criticized the series for long fights, but he also noted that most of them break the "stereotypical shōnen concepts". The soundtracks have been praised for enhancing the excitement and mood of the storytelling.[222] Although Christina Carpenter of T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews considered the series' characters "likeable", she commented that most of them did not surpass the "stereotypics" that appear in shōnen manga. She also considered Kishimoto "an average artist at best" and derided the poor transition of his artistic style into animation.[223] Despite this, the second reviewer from T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews, Derrick L. Tucker, admitted that when the animators were at their best, they produced "artistic renderings that leave little to be desired on the part of fans of the manga", but concluded the animation was "a mixed bag". He also added that while fights were entertaining, due to the large number of them, the plot takes time to continue.[224]

Naruto: Shippuden received a good response from Activeanime's David C. Jones who commented on the new character designs and the improved animation. Jones also felt the series to be more serious and dramatic.[225] The series was noted by ANN to have a more serious tone, and a good balance between comedy and drama in the first original episodes made specifically for the TV series. Unlike the panned fillers from Naruto, Naruto: Shippuden's have been praised thanks to its likable storylines and connection with the main plot.[226][227] While the pacing for the first episodes has been criticized for being slow, the delivery and development of the interactions between the characters has received positive comments.[228][229] Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Charles Solomon ranked Shippuden the third best anime on his "Top 10".[230]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Pseudonym for Toshiyuki Tsuru
  2. ^ Credited as シリーズディレクター (Series Director)
  3. ^ Credited as コンセプトワーク (Conception Work)

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