Title: Naruto v. 1
Author: Masashi Kishimoto
Publisher: Viz Media
Published Date: 2003
Naruto believes he can be the greatest ninja in his village. It’s too bad that he can’t even pass his ninja apprentice test to actually become a ninja. After finally passing his test, he gets tested himself. Will he become a master ninja?
Kishimoto, M. (2003). Naruto v. 1. Viz Media.
I had a hard time reading right to left and following the pictures at first. Once I got used to it, the story went by quickly and I caught on to how addictive this type of story can be. I don’t know about reading all 50 some odd books in the series, but I might give it a try.
Naruto is young orphan who has grown up in the ninja village Konohagakure in Naruto, Volume 1. Despised and ridiculed all his young life, he has become the consummate prankster and hasn’t managed to pass the final exam at the Ninja Academy for several years. Then one ninja master, Misaki, encourages Naruto to steal a scroll containing many of the village’s long-held secret techniques, and in the ensuing chaos, Naruto learns the truth about himself. When he was an infant, the village fought a nine-tailed fox demon. The Lord Hokage defeated it and trapped it in Naruto’s young body and then died. Misaki tries to incite Naruto to seek vengeance for what was done to him, but the boy wants only to be the best shinobi (ninja leader) the village has ever seen. Now his training begins in earnest, as Naruto finds a few friends and tries to gain the respect of others–but he can’t stop playing pranks!
Masashi Kishimoto’s anime series Naruto is extremely popular in Japan, and fansubs (subtitled anime done by fans in the U.S. and allowed by the Japanese distributors) of the episodes appear online mere days after the original broadcast in Japan. The manga retains all of the humor, including some raunchy moments. Despite the fact that nothing crucial really shows, there is some partial nudity (Naruto’s “Ninja Centerfold” technique) and some literal bathroom humor. This series might not be suitable for school libraries, but public libraries should be able to place it in their young adult collections. Viz appropriately rates it for teens aged thirteen and up. Naruto is an underdog hero who appeals to teens, and there’s plenty of martial arts action to keep readers turning the pages. The story will turn a little darker further into the series, but according to my fansub-watching son, it will remain at the PG-13 level.
Kat, K. (2004). Let’s hear it for the guys. Voice of Youth Advocates, 27(2), 118-119.
Different kinds of media is important to art. That goes the same way with books and their readers. Those that can’t seem to sit for long periods of time and stare at endless pages of words will love this type reading. It’s quick, quirky and a blast to read. Showing readers that there are other options will give them a better chance of finding something they may like.