NARUTO
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Naruto
GenreActionAdventureFantasy
Manga
Written byMasashi Kishimoto
Published byShueisha
English publisher
Viz Media
Viz Media
DemographicShōnen
MagazineWeekly Shōnen Jump
English magazine
Shonen Jump (formerly)
Weekly Shonen Jump(currently)
Original runNovember 1999 – ongoing
Volumes66 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed byHayato Date
Written byKatsuyuki Sumisawa
Junki Takegami
Music byMusashi Project
Toshio Masuda
StudioStudio Pierrot
Licensed by
Madman Entertainment
Viz Media
NetworkAnimaxTV Tokyo
English network
Original runOctober 3, 2002 –February 8, 2007
Episodes220 (List of episodes)
Anime television series
Naruto Shippuden
Directed byHayato Date
Written byJunki Takegami
Music byYasuharu Takanashi
StudioStudio Pierrot
Licensed by
Viz Media
NetworkAnimax, TV Tokyo
Original runFebruary 15, 2007 – ongoing

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 dreams to become the Hokage, the ninja in his village who is acknowledged as the leader and the strongest of all.

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; sixty-three tankōbon volumes have been 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 eight movies for the series and several original video animations (OVAs).

Naruto is one of the best-selling manga series of all time having sold more than 126.5 million copies in Japan alone. Serialized in Viz'sShonen Jump magazine, Naruto has become one of the company's best-selling manga series. The English adaptation of the series has also appeared in the USA Today Booklist several times and volume 7 won the Quill Award in 2006. Reviewers from the series have praised the balance between fighting and comedy scenes, as well as the characters' personalities, but have criticized it for using standard shōnen plot elements.

Production

Masashi Kishimoto first created a one-shot of Naruto for August 1997 issue of Akamaru Jump.[1] Despite its high positive results in the reader poll, Kishimoto thought art stinks and the story's a mess!" Kishimoto 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 seriesNaruto. Kishimoto has expressed concerns that the use of chakras and hand signs makes Naruto too Japanese, but still believes it to be an enjoyable. When asked about what was Naruto's main theme during Part I, Kishimoto answered that it is how people accept each other citing Naruto's development across the series. Kishimoto said that since he was unable to focus on romance during Part I, he was to emphasize it more in Part II, the part of the manga beginning with volume 28, despite finding it difficult.

When originally creating the Naruto story, Kishimoto looked to other shōnen manga as influences for his work, although he attempted to make his characters as unique as possible. He based it off of Japanese culture. The separation of the characters into different teams was intended to give each group a specific flavor. Kishimoto wished for each member to be "extreme," having a high amount of aptitude in one given attribute yet be talentless in another. The insertion of villains into the story was largely to have them act as a counterpoint to the characters' moral values. Kishimoto has admitted 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. When drawing the characters, Kishimoto consistently follows a five-step process: concept and rough sketch, drafting, inking, shading, and coloring. These steps are followed when he is drawing the actual manga and making the color illustrations that commonly adorn the cover of tankōbon, the cover ofWeekly Shōnen Jump, or other media, but the toolkit he utilizes occasionally changes. 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. For Part II, Kishimoto said that he attempted to not "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.

Kishimoto added 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." Kishimoto wanted to "draw on" the Chinese zodiac tradition, which had a long-standing presence in Japan; the zodiac hand signs originate from this. When Kishimoto was creating the setting of the Naruto manga, he initially concentrated on the designs for village of Konohagakure, the primary setting of the series. Kishimoto asserts that his design for Konohagakure was created "pretty spontaneously without much thought", but admits that the scenery is based on his home in theOkayama prefecture in Japan. Without a specific time period, Kishimoto included modern elements in the series such as convenience stores, but specifically excluded projectile weapons and vehicles from the storyline. For reference materials, Kishimoto performs his own research into Japanese culture and alludes to it in his work. 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.

Regarding the series' length, Kishimoto was surprised when the series reached its tenth volume as a result of its popularity. He has also stated that he has a visual idea of the last chapter of the series, including the text and the story. However, he notes that it may take a long time to end the series since "there are still so many things that need to be resolved. Additionally, he commented that he doesn't know when and how will the story end since there are still many things to solve.

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