Naruto (ナルト) is a manga by Masashi Kishimoto with an anime TV series adaptation about a loud, hyperactive teenage ninja by the name of Uzumaki Naruto who constantly searches for approval and recognition.
It was first published by Shueisha in Japan in the 43rd issue in 1999 of the Shonen Jump magazine. So far there have been 31 and then volumes of the manga series published in the country. VIZ Media publishes a translated version in the American Shonen Jump, though there have been only 8 of the 31 volumes manga released so far. Viz also recently licensed the anime for North American production. Naruto debuted in Cartoon Network's Toonami programming block on 10 September 2005 at 9:00 PM Eastern time, in the United States, and in YTV's Bionix block on 16 September 2005 at 9:30 PM Eastern time, in Canada.
Manga and anime details
With weekly releases, the manga currently has 290 chapters (only 78 of which have been released in the U.S.). The anime currently has 165 episodes. Although it debuted some time after the manga, the anime is quickly catching up since one anime episode usually covers around two manga chapters. To prevent overlapping, the anime's producers tend to organize content from the manga chapters into long, uneventful sections followed by short bursts of energy-packed action, sometimes adding filler. However, the anime generally remains true to the manga.
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) each Wednesday night at 7:27PM. The series has also spawned two movies, Naruto the Movie: Yukihime Ninpōchō and Naruto the Movie 2: Maboroshi no Chiteiiseki. An announcement for Naruto the Movie 3 was made on August 6, 2005, just after the release of the second movie. It is expected to be released during the Summer of 2006.
Growth and Popularity
Naruto's growth in popularity outside of Japan was due, in part, to its availability on the Internet. Various translation groups distributed localized versions of both the anime and manga on a number of IRC channels and websites. (See scanlation and fansub for more information about these practices.)
The series' length and popularity has been compared to those of Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball Z, another popular action-oriented shōnen series derived from manga. Though Kishimoto does cite Toriyama's Dragon Ball series as one of his inspirations, the two series differ significantly in their execution, themes explored and overall premise.
Fansites form an integral part of the Naruto community. Many of them provide detailed and extensive information on the series, from character biographies to chakra theory, in addition to the translated versions of the anime and manga. Several hundred thousand fans post on the forums offered by these sites daily, sharing both their enthusiasm and complaints about the series.
Toonami and YTV Broadcast
On 10 September 2005, Naruto had its hour-long premiere in the U.S. on Cartoon Network's Toonami. The first and second episodes were shown from 9:00 - 10:00, and an hour-long encore was shown from 10:00 - 11:00PM. The first episode of Naruto premiered in Canada on YTV on 16 September 2005.
On Saturday, December 31, 2005, Toonami aired a special "Naruto Year's Eve" marathon from 2:30 - 11:00PM.
Leading up to the series' English-language premiere, many fans expressed fears that it would receive a treatment similar to that of One Piece, which was heavily edited and Americanized to a TV-Y7 rating for broadcast in North America. Surprisingly, Naruto was aired with a TV-PG rating in the U.S. and a PG rating in Canada.
Many elements that were expected to be edited out of the broadcast version were intact, such as language not normally heard on Toonami and YTV (such as "You pervert!", "That's bull!" and "This sucks!"), references to alcoholism and mild sexual situations, Japanese cultural differences (including food and Japanese writing), and even blood in some battles. The uncut broadcast of Dragon Ball Z featured many of these same elements, but they are still rare among Toonami's other series. In addition, the opening music for the show was significantly changed but the background music during the episodes remained the same. Naruto Place features detailed comparisons between the original and edited episodes.
Template:Spoiler Twelve years before the events at the focus of the series, the Kyūbi no Yōko (Nine-Tails Demon Fox) attacked Konohagakure, the Hidden Leaf Village. It was a powerful demon indeed; the flap of a single tail of the Kyūbi would raise tsunamis and flatten mountains. It raised chaos and slaughtered the people, until the leader of Konoha – the Fourth Hokage – defeated it by sacrificing his own life to seal Kyūbi inside a newborn child. That child's name was Uzumaki Naruto.
The Fourth Hokage was remembered as a hero for sealing the Kyūbi away, and he wanted Naruto to be remembered as a hero as well for being the vessel of containment for the fox demon, but the village he grew up in had mostly contempt for Naruto, because of the tragedy that was brought to them by the same demon that's living inside Naruto.
A decree made by the Hokage made it so that the other villagers were forbidden to mention the event to anyone, even 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 result, Naruto grew up as an orphan in a lonesome atmosphere without friends, family or acknowledgment. He could not bring his parents back nor force people to befriend him, so he sought acknowledgment and attention the only way he knew – through pranks and mischief. But that would soon change; Naruto is about to face the ninja academy graduation exam – a gateway to the events and people that will change and define his world and his way of the ninja for the rest of his life.
Naruto maintains a balance between drama and comedy. It 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 Uchiha Sasuke and Haruno Sakura, two fellow young ninja who are assigned with him to form a three-man team under a very experienced sensei named Hatake Kakashi. 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 next Hokage of Konoha.
Main article: Characters of Naruto
Naruto's original Genin team. It once consisted of Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura, but Sasuke has since been replaced by Sai.
- Hatake Kakashi - A calm and collected Jōnin level shinobi who is addicted to adult novels, assigned to oversee Team 7. He was originally a very "by the book" ninja that insisted on following the rules and regulations of shinobi, but after a tragedy involving the death of his friend, he now believes that teamwork is more important than following the rules. He is also known for his implanted Sharingan eye and the skills he has acquired through it, which have earned him the nickname "Copy Ninja Kakashi".
- Uzumaki Naruto - "The loud-mouthed, idiotic, hyperactive, number one ninja in surprising people", the one the Fourth Hokage sealed Kyūbi no Yōko within and the main character of the series. Naruto constantly strives for acknowledgement and dreams to one day become Hokage; his staple characteristics are his enduring spirit and willpower, reflected in his Nindō, "I will not run away anymore... I will not go back on my word". In the academy he was the student of Umino Iruka, whom he sees as a father figure; later he has become a disciple of Jiraiya, one of Konoha's Sannin, or "Legendary Three". Sasuke's defection to Orochimaru was a serious blow to Naruto, as he had come to see him as something like a brother.
- Uchiha Sasuke - The even-minded survivor of the formerly powerful Uchiha clan, massacred by his own brother Uchiha Itachi; Naruto's rival and best friend. His driving ambition is to avenge his fallen clan (he has also declared his other goal being the clan's resurrection, but has exerted no effort in this direction - partly because he is wholly dedicated to his role as avenger and partly due to his age). Sasuke is overall a very talented ninja and has inherited the Uchiha's powerful bloodline limit, Sharingan, but his unrelenting fixation on gaining power to bridge the gap between his own ability and that of his incredibly capable brother has led him to leave his village to train under its enemy, Orochimaru. Due to Sasuke's absence, Sai is currently filling in for him as a team member.
- Haruno Sakura - Originally Naruto's crush mostly for comic relief, now his important friend (He still attempts romantic overtures once in a while and though they generally tend to meet pronounced rejection, her reactions have varied as the series progressed and been ambiguous at times). Sakura is talented with Chakra control and Genjutsu, and suffers from what started as a crush on Sasuke and seems to have become a case of tragic unrequited love. She has become the Godaime Hokage's apprentice in her quest to become a help to her important people rather than a hindrance to meet magnificent success; far from the girl who always had to be protected she was when she was 12, she has grown into a strong, spirited young lady in the mold of her teacher - whom Kakashi says Sakura may actually one day surpass.
- Sai - A new character that has appeared in the manga. He is Uchiha Sasuke's replacement on Team 7.
He dislikes Naruto & Sakura. He also sees Sasuke as a traitor & usually talks bad about him, angering both Naruto & Sakura.
One of the teams formed of the students in Naruto's year that successfully made Genin with him. They specialize in tracking and survival.
- Yūhi Kurenai - A relatively new Jōnin specializing in Genjutsu who was assigned to Team 8. She cares a lot for her students and seems to be romantically involved with her fellow Jōnin Asuma.
- Aburame Shino - Cool, calm and mysterious member of the Aburame clan, which uses swarms of bugs for attack and defense. He always wears shades and seems to have a relatively keen strategic mind, rarely failing to think ahead. Both the anime and manga portray him on the border between being merely stoic and matter-of-fact. Behind his reserved demeanor, Shino places a lot of value on his friends and teamwork.
- Hyūga Hinata - Kind, extremely shy, stuttering girl who was supposed to become the heir of the Hyūga clan, but was forsaken by her own father because she wasn't talented enough, redeeming herself enough in his eyes to return to the family only years later. Hinata has admired Naruto's resilience and optimism since their academy years and has obviously fallen in love with him; striving to change herself, she has modelled her own determination after his and shares his self-proclaimed nindo.
- Inuzuka Kiba - Member of the Inuzuka family who is always accompanied by his loyal dog, Akamaru. Rather wild-mannered, he is even louder than Naruto is and has many abilities associated with canines, such as a very powerful sense of smell. Kiba's clan has a tradition of giving nin-dogs to children at a young age.
Another team formed of the students in Naruto's year. Coincidently, they were put on the same team as their fathers were years ago. With Nara Shikamaru as the team's strategist, their teamwork is flawless.
- Sarutobi Asuma - The Jōnin who was assigned to Team 10. He uses trench knives as his weapon and is almost always seen smoking a cigarette. Apparently romantically involved with his fellow Jōnin Kurenai.
- Akimichi Chōji - "Pleasantly plump" member of the Akimichi clan, which specializes in turning body mass to their favor in battle, whether by throwing it around or converting it to chakra. The two things which motivate him the most are the promise of food and insults regarding his weight. Chōji is very loyal to his best friend, Shikamaru, and ultimately much more powerful and dedicated than his "comic relief fat guy" stereotype would lead one to believe.
- Nara Shikamaru - Member of the Nara family, whose specialty jutsu can bind and even strangle people using shadows alone. Shikamaru is very lazy and lacks the motivation to do pretty much anything he doesn't deem important, but is a true genius with an IQ over 200 who will do everything possible for his comrades when push comes to shove. He is now an examiner.
- Yamanaka Ino - A member of the Yamanaka family, which specializes in using their minds to confuse and take over the minds of their opponents. Ino has a history of friendship and rivalry with Sakura, which mostly originates from their desires for Sasuke's affection. She also helps her mother run the family flower shop.
This team was originally assembled of Genin one year above Naruto's who took the Chūnin exam together with the three teams above (who were known as the "rookie nine"). It was one of the strongest teams to take the exam, if not the strongest. The Gai Team is known to specialize in taijutsu and weaponry.
- Maito Gai - His name a play on "Might Guy," Gai is Kakashi's 'eternal rival' and is among the strongest Jōnin in Konoha owing to his amazing Taijutsu prowess, and is the one in charge of this team (its original number is unknown). He is very close to his student, Rock Lee, and has even passed on his quite odd hairstyle and style of dress to Lee.
- Hyūga Neji - Member of the Hyūga clan, branch house; even though he is the strongest Hyūga of his generation, he cannot be the heir to the clan because he is the member of the branch house. He used to have a terrible grudge against the head house and believe that fate is predetermined and people cannot change, but his encounter with Naruto during the Chūnin exam changed him and he now acknowledges the power of people to change their fate.
- Rock Lee - A Taijutsu specialist and Gai's close student. Originally Lee was a subpar Ninja who could not perform Ninjutsu or Genjutsu at all, but under Gai's guidance he has become a very strong ninja with pure hard work on hand-to-hand combat. Lee seeks to make his path in life through hard work; he has mastered several forbidden jutsu that unlock a person's "chakra gates" but are essentially suicide attacks, and along with his natural mastery of Suiken it seems his efforts have indeed paid off. Lee's nindo is to prove that he can be an excellent ninja without having to use ninjutsu or genjutsu, but with his dedication to taijutsu alone.
- Tenten - A ranged weapons specialist who looks up to her teammate, Neji. She is an amazing sharpshooter, able to hit a target in the bull's-eye 100 times out of 100; however, if her weapons are nullified she is effectively out of attack options. Tenten's goal was to become as powerful as the legendary Tsunade long before the latter returned to Konoha and became the fifth Hokage, and she appeared a bit star-stricken by actually seeing her idol in person.
The Legendary Sannin
A Konoha three-ninja team who have trained under the Sandaime Hokage and gone on to become legends.
- Jiraiya - Also known as the "Toad Hermit", he is a perverted old man who has great enthusiasm for anything and everything having to do with young women (Naruto refers to him almost exclusively as "Ero-Sennin" or Perverted Hermit). He was the sensei of the fourth Hokage and more recently has become Naruto's personal teacher. Jiraiya has a contract with Gamabunta, the king of toads, and is the current owner of the scroll on which ninja must sign a blood pact in order to summon toads of various sizes and powers. While Jiraiya is capable of summoning Gamabunta himself, he usually summons lesser toads who are easier to control.
- Orochimaru - A twisted, manipulative man whose goal is to become the ultimate being by achieving knowledge of all jutsu. For this purpose he has achieved a form of immortality through the Fushi Tensei, allowing him to transfer his soul between bodies. Among his other goals are crushing Konoha completely and being the catalyst for a world war. Orochimaru has a special talent with snakes and can summon a variety, including the gigantic Manda.
- Tsunade (The Fifth Hokage) - A slug-tamer with legendary healing abilities and monstrous strength. The many tragedies in her life have caused her lifestyle to deteriorate and have made her a compulsive gambler (with notorious bad luck earning her the nickname "The Legendary Sucker"), but after witnessing Naruto's aspiration to become Hokage, she regained her faith in Konoha and agreed to become the fifth Hokage. She can summon the gigantic slug, Katsuyu. She consistently uses a jutsu to maintain her appearance as an extremely busty and beautiful woman in her mid-twenties, despite being much older.
- Gaara (Sabaku no Gaara or "Gaara of the Desert" in the Japanese version, called "Gaara of the Sand" in the Viz translation) - At first he was a hateful person who believed he existed to kill anyone who wasn't him. After he fought Naruto he started to want to help people and be needed. Now he is the fifth Kazekage who lives to protect his village, his life story has been an even darker version of Naruto's; a demon, Shukaku, was sealed within him as well, but nobody acknowledged him and the one person who he thought loved him, his uncle Yashamaru, tried to assassinate him from an order by the Kazekage for being too dangerous to the the Hidden Sand Village. Gaara has the ability to control any sand, but his moves are the most powerful when he uses sand from a gourd he carries around all the time.
- Temari - A keen analyst who carries a huge fan with her, which she uses for her brand of wind-based long-ranged combat. She seems to have a developing relationship with Shikamaru, and also seems to be the only person in the Wind Country to care for Gaara until after the time skip.
- Kankurō - A master puppeteer who uses chakra strings to control his three combat puppets, Karasu ("Crow"), Kuroari ("Black Ant") and Sanshōuo ("Salamander") (with a new puppet appearing at each major appearance of Kankurō); all three puppets were apparently destroyed in battle with the Akatsuki member Sasori. His face is covered with patterns of face paint.
English Cast List
- Naruto - Maile Flanagan
- Sakura - Kate Higgins
- Sasuke - Yuri Lowenthal
- Kakashi - Dave Wittenberg
- Hinata - Stephanie Sheh
- Ino/Konohamaru - Colleen O'Shaughnessey
- Asuma - Doug Erholtz
- Gato - Fred Tatasciore
- Tazuna - Kirk Thornton
- Tsunami - Cindy Robinson
- Inari - Mona Marshall
- Iruka - Quinton Flynn
- Choji - Robbie Rist
- Third Hokage - Steve Kramer
- Zabuza - Steven Blum
- Shikamaru - Tom Gibis
- Mizuki - Michael Reisz
- Kiba - Kyle Hebert
- Temari - Tara Platt
- Haku - Susan Dalian
- Gaara - Liam O'Brien
- Shino - Sam Regal
Opening sequences (Japanese version)
- R★O★C★K★S by HOUND DOG (Episodes 1-25)
- 遥か彼方 (Haruka Kanata, "Faraway") by ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION (Episodes 26-53)
- 悲しみをやさしさに (Kanashimi o Yasashisa ni, "Sadness into kindness") by little by little (Episodes 54-77)
- GO!!! by FLOW (Episodes 78-103)
- 青春狂想曲 (Seishun Kyōsōkyoku, "Youth's Rhapsody") by サンボマスター (Sanbomasutā, "Sambomaster") (Episodes 104-128)
- ノーボーイ・ノークライ (Nō bōi - Nō kurai, "No Boy, No Cry") by STANCE PUNKS (Episodes 129-153)
- 波風サテライト (Namikaze Sateraito, "Discord Satellite") by シュノーケル (Shunōkeru, "Snowkel") (Episodes 154-current)
Ending sequences (Japanese version)
- Wind(ワインド)(Wind (Waindo), "Wind") by 明星 (Akeboshi) (Episodes 1-25)
- ハルモニア (Harumonia, "Harmonia") by RYTHEM (Episodes 26-51)
- ビバ★ロック~Japanese side~ (Biba★rokku~Japanese side~, "Viva★rock ~Japanese side~") by ORANGE RANGE (Episodes 52-64)
- ALIVE by 雷鼓 (Raiko) (Episodes 65-77)
- 今まで何度も (Ima Made Nando Mo, "Many times up to now") by ザ・マスミサイル (Za Masumisairu, "The Massmissile") (Episodes 78-89)
- 流星 (Ryūsei, "Shooting Star") by TiA (Episodes 90-103)
- マウンテン・ア・ゴーゴー・ツー (Maunten-a-gōgō-tsū, "Mountain a go go two") by キャプテンストライダム (Kyaputen Sutoraidam, "Captain Stridum") (Episodes 104-115)
- はじめて君としゃべった (Hajimete kimi to shabetta, "The first time I spoke with you") by ガガガSP (GagagaSP) (Episodes 116-128)
- 失くした言葉 (Nakushita Kotoba, "Lost Words") by ノー・リグレット、ライフ (Nō-riguretto, raifu, "No Regret Life") (Episodes 129-141)
- スピード (Speed) by アナログフィッシュ(Analog Fish) (Episodes 142-153)
- そばにいるから (Soba ni Iru kara, "Because you are with me", or "Because I am with you") by アマドリ (Amadori) (Episodes 154-165)
- パレード (PAREEDO, "Parade") by CHABA (Episodes 166-current)
- 紅き四つ葉のクローバーを探せ, Akaki yotsuba no kurōbā o sagase, Find the Crimson Four-Leaf Clover
- 滝隠れの死闘 オレが英雄だってばよ！, Takigakure no shitō Ore ga eiyū dattebayo!, Battle at Hidden Falls. I am the Hero!
On November 1, 2005, Anime News Network announced that a third OVA would be included with the PlayStation 2 video game Naruto: Narutimate Hero 3 It will be created by the staff of the TV series. At this time there are no further details about the content of the OVA. It is set to be released in Japan on December 22.
- ナルト 大活劇！雪姫忍法帖だってばよ！！, Naruto Daikatsugeki! Yukihime Ninpōchō!, "Naruto Great action picture! It's the Snow princess' ninja chronicles!!" (Including 木ノ葉運動会, Konoha Undōkai, "The Leaf's athletic meet")
- ナルト 大激突！幻の地底遺跡だってばよ, Naruto Daigekitotsu! Maboroshi no Chiteiiseki dattebayo, "Naruto Great Clash! The Illusionary Ruins at the Depths of the Earth"
- Naruto the Movie 3 has been announced for summer of 2006, but there is currently no additional information available.
- Naruto Vol. 1 ISBN 1-56931-900-6 - 192 pages, 2003
- Naruto Vol. 2 ISBN 1-59116-178-9 - 216 pages, 2003
- Naruto Vol. 3 ISBN 1-59116-187-8 - 208 pages, 2004
- Naruto Vol. 4 ISBN 1-59116-358-7 - 200 pages, 2004
- Naruto Vol. 5 ISBN 1-59116-359-5 - 200 pages, 2004
- Naruto Vol. 6 ISBN 1-59116-739-6 - 192 pages, 2005
- Naruto Vol. 7 ISBN 1-59116-875-9 - 192 pages, 2005
- Naruto Vol. 8 ISBN 1-42150-124-4 - 192 pages, 2005
- Vol. 1 ISBN 4-08-872840-8 - 187 Pages, 2000
- Vol. 2 ISBN 4-08-872878-5 - 205 Pages, 2000
- Vol. 3 ISBN 4-08-872898-X - 203 Pages, 2000
- Vol. 4 ISBN 4-08-873026-7 - 184 Pages, 2000
- Vol. 5 ISBN 4-08-873050-X - 181 Pages, 2000
- Vol. 6 ISBN 4-08-873089-5 - 183 Pages, 2001
- Vol. 7 ISBN 4-08-873113-1 - 187 Pages, 2001
- Vol. 8 ISBN 4-08-873147-6 - 183 Pages, 2001
- Vol. 9 ISBN 4-08-873174-3 - 181 Pages, 2001
- Vol. 10 ISBN 4-08-873197-2 - 175 Pages, 2001
- Vol. 11 ISBN 4-08-873236-7 - 183 Pages, 2002
- Vol. 12 ISBN 4-08-873259-6 - 185 Pages, 2002
- Vol. 13 ISBN 4-08-873298-7 - 183 Pages, 2002
- Vol. 14 ISBN 4-08-873341-X - 177 Pages, 2002
- Vol. 15 ISBN 4-08-873368-1 - 183 Pages, 2002
- Vol. 16 ISBN 4-08-873394-0 - 189 Pages, 2003
- Vol. 17 ISBN 4-08-873420-3 - 185 Pages, 2003
- Vol. 18 ISBN 4-08-873493-9 - 187 Pages, 2003
- Vol. 19 ISBN 4-08-873523-4 - 185 Pages, 2003
- Vol. 20 ISBN 4-08-873552-8 - 185 Pages, 2003
- Vol. 21 ISBN 4-08-873573-0 - 209 Pages, 2004
- Vol. 22 ISBN 4-08-873595-1 - 186 Pages, 2004
- Vol. 23 ISBN 4-08-873639-7 - 185 Pages, 2004
- Vol. 24 ISBN 4-08-873660-5 - 186 Pages, 2004
- Vol. 25 ISBN 4-08-873679-6 - 186 Pages, 2004
- Vol. 26 ISBN 4-08-873770-9 - 187 Pages, 2005
- Vol. 27 ISBN 4-08-873791-1 - 185 Pages, 2005
- Vol. 28 ISBN 4-08-873828-4 - 189 Pages, 2005
- Vol. 29 ISBN 4-08-873849-7 - 182 Pages, 2005
- The Naruto Site
- VIZ Media's Naruto website
- Shonen Jump's Naruto page (USA)
- Cartoon Network's Naruto page (USA)
- Cartoon Network press release on Naruto
- Viz press release on Naruto anime licensing
- Anime News Network Naruto (TV) (Detailed cast listing and news)
- Anime DVD's announcement on Naruto's licensing by ShoPro Entertainment
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