Naruto is an ongoing Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto.  

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Naruto (NARUTO -ナルト-, romanized as NARUTO) is an ongoing Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. The plot tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, an adolescent ninja who constantly searches for recognition and aspires to become a Hokage, the ninja in his village that is acknowledged as the leader and the strongest of all. The series is based on a one-shot comic by Kishimoto that was published in the August 1997 issue of Akamaru Jump.
The manga was first published by Shueisha in 1999 in the 43rd issue of Japan's Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine. Currently, the manga is still being serialized with forty-seven tankōbon volumes released so far. The manga was later adapted into an anime, which was produced by Studio Pierrot and Aniplex. It premiered across Japan on the terrestrial TV Tokyo network and the anime satellite television network Animax on October 3, 2002. The first series lasted 220 episodes, while Naruto: Shippuden, a sequel to the original series, has been airing since February 15, 2007. In addition to the anime series, Studio Pierrot has developed five movies for the series 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 has been publishing the series in their Shonen Jump magazine, and as well as the indidividual 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. The first DVD volume of Naruto: Shippuden will be released by Viz in North America on September 29, 2009.
Serialized in Viz's Shonen Jump magazine, Naruto has become one of the company's best-selling manga series. As of volume 36, the manga has sold over 71 million copies in Japan. The English adaptation of the series has also appeared in the USA Today Booklist several times and volume 11 won the Quil Award in 2006. Reviewers from the series have praised the balance between fighting and comedy scenes, as well as the characters' personalities. However, some of them have noted the series to have concepts which appear in several shōnen series.
Naruto Uzumaki is a young boy who has the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox sealed within him. Twelve years before the start of the series, the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox attacked the ninja village Konohagakure, slaughtering many people. In response, the leader of Konohagakure and its ninja military – the Fourth Hokage – sacrificed his life to seal the demon inside Naruto when he was a newborn. Konohagakure, however, regarded Naruto as if he were the demon fox itself and mistreated him throughout most of his childhood. A decree made by the Third Hokage, who replaced the Fourth Hokage after his death, forbade anyone mention the attack of the demon fox to anyone. Years later, Naruto is tricked by the renegade ninja Mizuki into stealing a forbidden scroll, but is stopped by his teacher, Iruka Umino. When Iruka almost dies while protecting Naruto from Mizuki, Naruto defeats Mizuki using the power from the scroll, which develops the supernatural ability Jutsu Shadow Clone Technique that creates clones from himself. That encounter makes Naruto realize he was the container of the demon fox.
The main story follows Naruto and his friends' personal growth. Naruto befriends two comrades, Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno, who are assigned with him to form a three-person team named Team 7 under an experienced sensei named Kakashi Hatake. Like all the ninja teams from the every village, Team 7 is in charge in completing missions requested by villagers such as being bodyguards. During the course of the missions, Naruto also befriends other characters that he meets throughout the series. They learn new abilities, get to know each other and other villagers better, and experience a coming-of-age journey as Naruto dreams of becoming the Hokage of Konohagakure. After several missions, Kakashi allows Team 7 to participate into a ninja exam in which they can improve their ranks, and thus, be part of harder missions. During the exams, Orochimaru, a criminal at the top of Konohagakure's most wanted list, attacks Konoha killing the Third Hokage as an act of revenge. This causes one of the three legendary ninja, Jiraiya to search for his partner Tsunade, to become the Fifth Hokage. During that search, it is revealed that Orochimaru also desires to acquire Sasuke Uchiha due to his powerful genetic heritage. Believing Orochimaru will be able to give him the strength needed to kill his brother Itachi, who destroyed all his clan, Sasuke goes to him. Tsunade sends a group of ninja including Naruto to make Sasuke return to Konoha, but Naruto is unable to defeat him. Naruto does not give up on Sasuke, leaving Konoha for two-and-a-half years of training under Jiraiya's tuition to prepare himself for the next time he encounters Sasuke.
After the training period, a mysterious organization called Akatsuki attempts to capture the nine powerful tailed beasts including the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox sealed inside of Naruto. Several ninjas from Konohagakure, including Team 7, fight against the Akatsuki members and search for their teammate Sasuke. Although they manage to save the host from the One-tailed beast, Gaara, Akatsuki is successful in capturing seven from the creatures. Sasuke, in the meantime betrays Orochimaru and faces Itachi to take revenge. Although Itachi dies in battle, Sasuke is later told by the Akatsuki founder Madara Uchiha that Itachi was ordered by Konohagakure's leadership to destroy his clan. Saddened with the revelation, Sasuke joins forces with Akatsuki to destroy Konohagakure. Meanwhile, as several Akatsuki members are defeated by the Konohagakure ninja, the leader, Pain, invades the village to capture Naruto. However, Naruto defeats all of Pain's bodies and convinces the real one to leave. While the villagers rebuild Konohagakure Tsunade is dismissed from her position as the Hokage as she ended in coma for using all her energy to protect the villagers from Pain. Therefore, the elder Danzo quickly takes the role.

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