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Edition 10: Naruto

» Articles, Features, The Watcher (Previews) | posted by Piro^kun on 02/28/2006 [Discuss]

Naruto is named after the protagonist of the series Uzumaki Naruto, a young, yellow-haired boy who at birth was sealed with the fox demon Nine Tails. Growing up has not always been glamorous. More often than not, the villagers shunned his existence:

‘Hey, that kid is THE kid. He is the only one that failed. Serves him right.’
‘If he became a ninja, it’s only going to cause trouble. Because he is really a…’

You can say that because of this cruel upbringing he has resorted to becoming a prankster in order to gain everyone’s attention. He has never known the love of a parent and has been hated ever since. It was not until he met Iruka-sensei that for the first time in his life someone recognized his true value. - Japanese Official Site - Japanese TV Station Official Site - Studio Pierrot Official Site

Director: Hayato Date
Original Manga: Masashi Kishimoto
Character Design:
Hirofumi Suzuki
Tetsuya Nishio
Art director: Kinori Takada
Animation director: Atsuho Matsumoto
Director of Photography: Atsuho Matsumoto
Color Coordination: Takuya Kawami
Editing: Seiji Morita
Fine Arts Supervision: Shigeru Takeda
Music: Toshiro Masuda
Akiko Gujima
Hiroshi Hagino
Series Story Editor: Katsuyuki Sumizawa
Sound Producer: Yasunori Ebina
Supervision: Isamu Noboru
For more information check out ANN’s detailed staff and cast list.


Everyone who has ever been a Dragon Ball Z fan will instantly fall in love with Naruto. First airing in October 3, 2002 the anime series has spanned three different story arcs - Zabuza of the Hidden Village of Mist, the Chuunin Exams, and the Sanin Battle - two specials, and a movie in theaters Japan near the end of August. It has already spurred multiplayer fighting games for the Nintendo Gamecube and Playstation 2 and role playing games for the Gameboy Advance. Fandom for this series has been large for a series that has yet to reach American shores as demonstrated in the tremendous Cosplay turnouts: Naruto, Sasuke, Kakashi, Rock Lee, Tsunade, and Itachi. Forehead protectors have been a hit sales item internationally. Dozens are sold on ebay.

So what is all the fuss about? Flame of Recca, which preceded Naruto, did not nearly receive the same degree of praise. Naruto follows a formula that is common in mainstream animes like Rurouni Kenshin and Inuyasha: the perfect blend of romance, action, and comedy. Of course there is your typical ecchi scenes and hot spring episodes. Naruto features a sizable character cast of all ages, each one with their own unique ability similar to all the mutant powers in X-men. Sasuke and Kakashi are Sharingan users who can see through and copy any ninja technique. Shino controls bugs, while Gaara can manipulate sand. Shikamaru can stop his opponents in their tracks with his shadow, and Temari just blows them away with her fan. Rock Lee, the fan favorite and underdog, is a martial arts specialist. Some techniques are traditional Japanese cultural moves attributed to ninjas, also apparent in Ninja Gaiden, such as replication, replacement with a tree trunk, and utilizing throwing knives. The character designs themselves vary and bring out their individual personalities.

‘Naruto’ is the story of a young ninja-in-training by the same name. In the first episode, Naruto is portrayed as a troublemaker who has just vandalized his town’s monument. He is an orphan and an outsider among his peers. Looking deeper, however, it is revealed that Naruto is host to the spirit of the nine-tailed demon fox (no, not Ninetails from Pok?©mon!) that once attacked his village. The villagers fear that the spirit may someday be released and they fear and hate Naruto.

Naruto’s village is full of young boys and girls training to become ninja. Naruto is also in training, but in the beginning he is one of the weakest trainees. His favorite technique is the naughty ‘Sexy no Jutsu,’ a transformation that makes the user become a beautiful naked woman. This technique induces several nosebleeds and proves that ‘Naruto’ can combine exciting ninja action and drama with very humorous twists. In the future, more dangerous opponents will challenge Naruto, forcing him to unleash more serious ninja attacks.

The ‘Naruto’ anime series is based on Masashi Kishimoto’s manga published in Shonen Jump. ‘Naruto’ is directed by Hayato Date, and is released by Studio Pierrot. The animation is average, and the opening (’ROCKS’) and ending (’Wind’) songs are enjoyable. This will garner many fans when it finally hits our shores.

Dark Wind:

What you’ve heard of Naruto, that is if you’ve heard anything (which is probably that you have), is probably an exaggeration. Yes, Naruto is about ninjas. Yes, Naruto is about fighting and fighting tournaments. Yes, Naruto has a spunky male in his early teens. Yes, the character designs and animation are rather good. Yes, Naruto is very much in the style and spirit of Dragonball Z. Yet, it’s nothing special at all, from what I can tell. Unlike most internet anime fans, I have not seen fansubbed episodes of the show. In fact, I haven’t seen the show at all except for screencaps. But I have read the first 5 or so volumes of the manga. And, judging from the manga, Naruto ain’t the second coming. Not by a long shot. It’s very much a DBZ rip-off, whether people want to deny it or not. It may do what DBZ did better, but had DBZ never ever been created, Naruto would not exist in it’s current form, if at all. It’s a well known fact that Naruto’s creator and manga-ka was a huge fan of DBZ and has gone on to say that DBZ was a huge influence on Naruto.

So, the question is, how much did you like DBZ and how much would you like a knock-off with better animation and a more streamlined (less filler) story? If you want more DBZ but have already seen all of DBZ in its various incarnations, then this show was made for you. Otherwise, tread with caution. Naruto is nothing inspiring or different. Paranoia Agent is different. Texhnolyze is inspiring. Wolf’s Rain has better music, animation, and production values. But if fighting with a cliched plot is your bag, or if you want mindless fun, then check out Naruto. But I don’t see why, when someone has better options on DVD to spend their money, that they would bother with Naruto. Dragonball Z is still, in my opinion, the definitive, long fighting tournament style anime.

Naruto… this anime they call Naruto. Exactly, what is it? All of my friends who have watched this series begged me to watch it. Why? What is so interesting about a punk kid ninja maturing through battling? I just cannot envision myself watching this 100+ episodes piece. The comedy was said to be fairly good, but I got no laughs from it. Bad sense of humor? I think not. Maybe I will look more into this title, but as of this instance it does not look good to me. And people has got to stop telling me to watch Naruto because they think it is so damn good. Anyways, I am probably one in a group of a few, with the nads to say that I do not like Naruto to the world. Feel that hehe. Okay, flames are coming, gotta turn on the junk filter :).

Naruto Screen Caps:

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