Friday, October 07, 2005


Naruto vol. 7

Naruto vol. 7
Story and Art by Masashi Kishimoto

Naruto was one of the launch titles in Viz’s Shonen Jump magazine several years ago. Thus it comes out maddeningly slowly compared to some of the other manga series that come out (less then three volumes a year, compared to others that come out monthly or bimonthly). It’s up to volume twenty something in Japan (and Korea) and is really popular. It’s been doing pretty well in North America, and the debut of the anime on tv this fall only increased it’s popularity (hell, you can already buy Naruto stuff in Hot Topic).

It’s also really, really good.

Now, I’ve read a bunch of the Shonen Jump titles Viz is putting out. Some of them are really good and I want to buy more volumes (Bleach), some of them are good, but I preferred to read them for free from the library (One Piece and Hikaru No Go) and some of them I just couldn’t get into at all (The Prince of Tennis). Naruto is better then all of the others (though I will admit Bleach is a pretty close second). This isn’t to say that Naruto is the best comic ever, or even the best manga ever. It’s not, and it doesn’t aspire to be. What it is is a really, really good ninja comic.

Naruto is a trainee ninja, and not a very good one. In fact, he messes up all of the time and is constantly being mocked and made fun of by his classmates. Despite this he is determined to become the best ninja in the world ever! (If you read a lot of shonen, ie. boys adventure, comics you realize that the plot of most of them is about someone trying to become the best something ever.) This isn’t as farfetched as it seems, because despite his generally incompetence Naruto has some serious power inside him. Now if only he could figure out a way to tap into that power when he wanted to…

Volume 7 (Orochimaru’s Curse) is more of the same ninja action (!) I have come to expect from Naruto. Amusingly Naruto is unconscious until about page 50, leaving the ninja action (!) to be between a lot of other trainee ninja and the big evil guys. And the evil guys are evil. They’re shifty and double crossing and powerful and mysterious and everything bad guys should be (at least in kids adventure comics). Plus they look really cool. In fact all of the characters in this comic look really cool. They don’t dress in black like “traditional” ninja (Naruto wears bright orange), but each character that’s introduced has a style of their own. When there’re several dozen characters this is pretty impressive.

I really don’t have anything negative to say about Naruto. It’s pretty light, but it doesn’t cost much, and it gives me action and adventure in a way that North American comics don’t really seem to. Also knowing about Naruto (and other manga) has impressed the kids I teach to no end. They ask who my favourite character is and despite them being like twenty volumes ahead of me I can still say that Sakura is my favourite and they know what I’m talking about.

Now all I need to do is learn Korean so I can read the next volume…

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hello, i see that you are into Naruto^^. Naruto is my #1 favorite anime^^. It's nive to meet another person who like Naruto^^. Welp, gtg, ja matane!^^
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I haven't really seen much of the naruto anime, but it seemed really faithful to the comics
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