When a great demon fox attacked Hidden Leaf Village, a powerful man known as the 4th Hokage had sealed the demon inside a newborn named Naruto, who then grew up detested by his fellow Leaf villagers.
A powerful fox known as the Nine-Tails attacks Konoha, the hidden village in the Land of Fire, one of the Five Great Shinobi Countries in the Ninja World. In response, the leader of Konoha, the Fourth Hokage, seals the fox inside the body of his newborn son, Naruto Uzumaki, at the cost of the father’s life. As a child, Naruto is isolated from the Konoha community, who regards him as if he was the Nine-Tails. A decree made by the leader the Third Hokage forbids anyone mentioning the Nine-Tails to anyone else. Twelve years later, renegade ninja Mizuki reveals the truth to Naruto before being defeated by him with the Shadow Clone Jutsu technique, earning the respect of his teacher Iruka Umino. Shortly after, Naruto becomes a ninja and is assigned alongside Sasuke Uchiha, whom he often competes against, and Sakura Haruno, on whom he has a crush on, to form a three-person team, Team 7, under an experienced sensei, the elite ninja Kakashi Hatake. Like all the ninja teams from every village, Team 7 is charged with completing missions requested by villagers, ranging from doing chores and being bodyguards to performing assassinations.
About the Naruto franchise.
Naruto is a 220-episode anime series that premiered on terrestrial TV Tokyo and other TX Network stations on October 3, 2002. It is an adaptation for its Japanese manga counterpart written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto who is also the author to several one-shot manga. After its success and popularity in Japan, Naruto was then first aired in the United States and Canada in the year 2005, and later in the United Kingdom and Australia in 2006 and 2007, respectively. By the year 2015, the manga series already sold over 220 million copies worldwide, making it the fourth best-selling manga series in history.
12 years before in the timeline the series starts, the Konohagakure is under attack by a very powerful creature known as the Nine Tails, destroying much of the village and taking the lives of those that stand against it. After a hopeless defense and the death of his wife, the Fourth Hokage was left with no choice but to sacrifice his own life in order to stop the beast’s rampage and seal the Nine Tails into his newborn son, Naruto Uzumaki.
Despite being a child having both of his parent dead and with a decree by the Third Hokage that forbids the speaking about the Nine Tails, the village still shunned and isolated Naruto in fear and anger with the beast sealed inside him. Although having no friends or family, troublesome and persistent in nature, Naruto vowed to become the strongest Hokage the village has ever seen.
Characters and their Abilities
The series has a rich diversity of characters and even more techniques and abilities. Some extremely talented in one field yet very unskilled with the other, and others born as prodigies that excel in almost anything. Each having their own problems and conflicts, with villains opposing their ideals making the stories even more interesting. Here are a few of the many characters, particularly the members of Team 7, starting with the protagonist himself:
Growing up deprived with social interaction due to the villagers’ fear of the Nine-tails inside him, Naruto Uzumaki is often mischievous and neglects to use honorifics. In his desire for attention, he has pulled several pranks in the village in order to be at least scolded. He has a crush on Sakura Haruno who shows no interest with him, who in turn likes Sasuke Uchiha, the snobby heart throb of the Ninja Academy. This causes Naruto to feel jealous towards Sasuke, which drove him to work even harder to prove that he is as good or even better than him, and ultimately become the Hokage.
In his early years, Naruto was a very unskilled student that even executing simple techniques was difficult for him. It took him three tries to graduate from the Ninja Academy. He possessed a very large amount of chakra, although he could not fully control or properly utilize it. His taijutsu skills are below average, usually requiring surprise attacks in order to be effective. In order to compensate for his weakness in hand-to-hand combat, he uses a large number of shadow clones in order to overpower his opponents. Another one of his notable jutsu is the ability to turn into a sexy lady, which he uses often times fool around with the Third Hokage.
Despite always being teased for her large forehead, Sakura Haruno is a smart and generally polite kunoichi (female shinobi) of the Konohagakure and lived a rather normal childhood. She has a hopeless unrequited infatuation with Sasuke Uchiha, who is also quite popular with the other girls in The Academy, including her childhood friend Ino Yamanaka. On the other hand, Naruto has a crush on her, who she is largely annoyed with. After graduating from and being assigned with Naruto and Sasuke to Team 7 under the supervision of Kakashi Hatake, she quickly found herself unprepared for the complications of her teammates’ lives and for the shinobi missions to come.
Due to focusing her attention to studying books during her time in The Academy, Sakura lacked any significant physical combat skills. As a shinobi, this limited her usefulness in missions and became greatly dependent on her teammates. Although very far from Naruto and Sasuke in terms of physical power, she is better than both of them in chakra control. Being precise and efficient in her chakra control, she can perform jutsu with maximum effects at the least chakra consumption. This particular talent helps Sakura identify and break from Genjutsu (Illusion Techniques), and help his teammates fight against it.
Sasuke Uchiha is one of last surviving members of the Uchiha Clan. Despite being considered handsome and popular with most of the girls in The Academy, he is cold towards others and mostly keeps to himself. This behavior was a result of the mass murder of his clan, executed by his very own brother Itachi Uchiha, who was a very talented and strong shinobi that he adored since he was born. Fueled by his desire for revenge, Sasuke avoided friendship or compassion and became the strongest student among his class. Eventually leading him to a one-sided rivalry against Naruto.
Just like his brother Itachi, Sasuke is a very talented and strong shinobi. He is adept both to Taijutsu (Body Techniques or simply hand-to-hand combat) and Ninjutsu (Ninja Techniques). He also possesses the Sharingan, which at its early stage allowed him to see the flow of chakra and track fast moving objects. Being an Uchiha, Sasuke has a naturally affinity with fire, making him very destructive with his Fireball Technique.
Kakashi Hatake is the leader to Team 7. He appears to be carefree in nature and loves reading erotic novels even when talking with other people. He is always late to his appointments and is fond of making ridiculous excuses that no one believes, and leaves with equally ridiculous reasons. Despite this behavior, he proves to be a strong shinobi whenever teaching his students, and always emphasizing the importance of teamwork. He was once a student of the great Fourth Hokage himself, who gave him and his team the same bell test for Team 7.
Kakashi’s abilities completely contradicts his meek appearance. Although being capable in taijutsu, He is a lot stronger with Ninjutsu, and has a natural affinity to lightning. Strategic and smart combat-wise, he is fond of using shadow clones to directly fight his enemies while he observes from a safe distance and plans his strategy. He also possesses the Sharingan, which helps him copy other shinobi’s techniques just by looking earning him the nickname Copy Cat. It also allows him to execute techniques that are too complex for a normal shinobi without a sharingan.
First Series Arcs
Prologue and The Land of Waves
This is the first story arc for in the first series. Here, the young shinobis are introduced. Team 7 embarks on their first mission to the Land of Waves, and quickly find themselves in a dangerous situation.
The Chunin Exams
This arc is about the young shinobi’s attempt to climb ranks through the Chunin Exam. More characters are introduced in this arc, background stories are defined, and Orichimaru and Kabuto appears for the first time.
Orichimaru launches his plan to destroy the Konahagakure which causes a small war.
Search for Tsunade
After losing the Hokage in Konoha Crush, the village needs a new Hokage. Naruto embarks with Jiraiya in a search for Tsunade, with hopes that she will accept the position and lead the village.
Sasuke Recovery Mission
Naruto and his friends go for an all-out search for Sasuke, who thought that his friends made him weak, and left the village.
Why You Should Watch Naruto
Watching a series with over a hundred episode sounds already exhausting as it is, but Naruto will always continue to leave you with curiosity and desire to watch more. With its large variety of characters and unique powers, paired with action-packed fights and occasional comedy, the show will never fail to entertain you. Protagonists encounter conflicts that can also be found in our everyday lives (without the ninjutsu ofcourse), which make us empathize with the characters and the hardships they face. The way they deal with these hardships also teach us valuable lessons in life, helping us deal with our own problems in the real world. There is just too much to Naruto that words can explain. So, why are you still here? Experience it yourself, the Ninja World is waiting for you!
About the creator, Masashi Kishimoto
Before his successful manga series Naruto, Masashi Kishimoto created other manga such as Karakuri, which earned an honorable mention in Shueisha’s monthly Hop Step Award in 1996. Several of his works were in different genre, like Michikusa (slice-of-life) and Asian Punk (action). Both were drafts rejected by his editor Kosuke Yahagi. In 1998, a hastily reworked Karakuri debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump No. 4-5, but did not have much success as before and was later on cancelled. Following the failure of Karakuri, Masashi decided to focus on seinen and created Yakyuo and Mario. Both did not become too popular. After his editor convincing him to give the shonen genre one more try, the Naruto we know today finally was conceived.