Beginner's Guide to Mainstream Anime: Naruto

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The following review is intended as a beginner’s guide to Naruto. We hope the review will provide some basic introduction about Naruto to those who would like to know more about this anime. By all means, this is not a comprehensive review and there will be no episode spoilers within this guide.



Naruto (ナルト) is one of the most popular Japanese anime that was adapted from the manga of the same name, written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto.
It is a story of Uzumaki Naruto, a young ninja who wishes to become a Hokage, which is a name given to the strongest ninja in his village Konoha (also known as the Hidden Leaf Village, part of the Fire country). It focuses on Naruto’s journey and the friendships that he formed along the way, due to his determined character and a big heart that always sees the best in everyone.

As a kid, Naruto grew up alone and he was shunned by many who knew about the Nine Tailed fox monster that lives within him. The Nine Tailed fox, also known as Kyuubi, once attacked Konoha and killed many great ninjas, including the fourth Hokage who died while sealing the monster inside a baby – that is Naruto.
At the beginning, Uzumaki Naruto seeks recognition from those around him by trying to find attention from the teachers and the Third Hokage, Sarutobi-sama. While studying at the Ninja Academy, Naruto finally found someone who believes in him, Iruka-sensei. And from then onwards, Naruto works really hard to be the best ninja that he can possibly be.

After graduating from the Ninja Academy to be a rookie ninja (Genin), Naruto completed many missions together with his squad leader Hatake Kakashi, the girl he admires Haruno Sakura, and his closest friend/rival Uchiha Sasuke.
Each with their own motivation – Naruto to be a Hokage, Sakura to be close to Sasuke, and Sasuke to take revenge on his brother Itachi who killed the whole Uchiha clan – they formed Team 7 led by Kakashi-sensei, an elite ninja of jounin level with a Sharingan eye (a powerful Uchiha bloodline technique) who is sometimes called the Copy Ninja.

The adventure of the young Naruto and his friends continues in the second season called Naruto Shippuden, in which they have grown a few years older. Naruto Shippuden still focuses on the same main characters, whilst some new characters are also introduced to add to the exciting storyline.
The character growth in the second season is substantial, as they gain new skills from training and new perspectives and outlook in life. At the time this guide is written (2009), the Naruto Shippuden series is currently still airing in Japan and is attracting viewers worldwide.

(From left to right: Rock Lee, Maito Gai, Gaara of the Hidden Sand, Hyuuga Hinata, Haruno Sakura, Hatake Kakashi, Uzumaki Naruto, Umino Iruka, Uchiha Sasuke, Uchiha Itachi, Nara Shikamaru, Aburame Shino, Hyuuga Neji)

Who Should Watch – And Why?

Whilst boys are attracted to the ninja story packed with all the fighting scenes and different skills, girls too can enjoy the series and relate to the well-developed characters in the story that makes it interesting and engaging.
All in all, Naruto has become a huge phenomenon among the anime lovers, attracting both the young viewers as well as those who are young at heart. Despite being a Japanese manga/anime, Naruto’s fans come from all over the world – from USA to Asia to Australia! In fact, Naruto is one of the few anime series that have gone mainstream in the land Down Under, Australia.

Due to its popularity, Naruto has its own trading cards game, as well as multiple video games created based on the manga/anime plot. Naruto merchandises are high in demand, ranging from keychain, wall scrolls and posters, phone straps, T-shirts, figurines, and many others.
Naruto’s main appeal is the clever mix of strong characterisation in its rich storyline combined with the action-packed awesome fighting scenes expected out of a ninja-themed anime. Naruto is still an ongoing series, and you can follow it by watching the anime or reading the manga.
So what are you waiting for?

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