The final battle of the Chunin Exam is at hand, with Sasuke and Gaara facing off in the arena. Later, Naruto, Sakura and Shikamaru are on a top priority mission to track down Sasuke and the Sand chunin. Back at the village, the Third Hokage is still trapped in Orochimaru's impenetrable barrier. And the tension between Naruto and Gaara builds. As Gaara continues to mutate, Naruto prepares for the fight of his life!
Author/artist Masashi Kishimoto was born in 1974 in rural Okayama Prefecture, Japan. After spending time in art college, he won the Hop Step Award for new manga artists with his manga Karakuri (Mechanism). Kishimoto decided to base his next story on traditional Japanese culture. His first version of Naruto, drawn in 1997, was a one-shot story about fox spirits; his final version, which debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1999, quickly became the most popular ninja manga in Japan.