Naruto is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. It tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja who seeks recognition from his peers and dreams of becoming the Hokage, the leader of his village. The story is told in two parts – the first set in Naruto’s pre-teen years, and the second in his teens. The series is based on two one-shot manga by Kishimoto: Karakuri (1995), which earned Kishimoto an honorable mention in Shueisha’s monthly Hop Step Award the following year, and Naruto (1997).
Naruto was serialized in Shueisha’s magazine, Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1999 to 2014, and released in tankōbon (book) form in 72 volumes. The manga was adapted into an anime television series produced by Pierrot and Aniplex, which broadcast 220 episodes in Japan from 2002 to 2007; the English adaptation of the series aired on Cartoon Network and YTV from 2005 to 2009. Naruto: Shippuden, a sequel to the original series, premiered in Japan in 2007, and ended in 2017, after 500 episodes. The English adaptation was broadcast on Disney XD from 2009 to 2011, airing the first 98 episodes, and then switched over to Adult Swim’s Toonami programming block in January 2014, starting over from the first episode. The English adaptation is still airing weekly on Adult Swim to this day. Besides the anime series, Pierrot has developed eleven movies and twelve original video animations (OVAs). Other Naruto-related merchandise includes light novels, video games, and trading cards developed by several companies.
Viz Media licensed the manga and anime for North American production and serialized Naruto in their digital Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. The anime series began airing in the United States and Canada in 2005, and in the United Kingdom and Australia in 2006 and 2007, respectively. The films and most OVAs from the series were also released by Viz, with the first film premiering in movie theaters. Viz Media began streaming the two anime series on their streaming service Neon Alley in December 2012. The story of Naruto continues with Naruto’s son, Boruto Uzumaki, in Boruto: Naruto Next Generations: Boruto wishes to create his own ninja way instead of following his father’s.
Naruto is the fourth best-selling manga series in history, selling 250 million copies worldwide in 46 countries. It has become one of Viz Media’s best-selling manga series; their English translations of the volumes have appeared on USA Today and The New York Times bestseller list several times, and the seventh volume won a Quill Award in 2006. Reviewers praised the manga’s character development, strong storylines, and well-executed fight scenes, though some felt the fight scenes slowed the story down. Critics noted that the manga, which has a coming-of-age theme, makes use of cultural references from Japanese mythology and Confucianism.
The Naruto anime, directed by Hayato Date and produced by Studio Pierrot and TV Tokyo, premiered in Japan on October 3, 2002, and concluded on February 8, 2007 after 220 episodes on TV Tokyo. The first 135 episodes were adapted from Part I of the manga; the remaining 85 episodes are original and use plot elements that are not in the manga. Tetsuya Nishio was the character designer for Naruto when the manga was adapted into an anime series; Kishimoto had requested that Nishio be given this role. Beginning on April 29, 2009, the original Naruto anime began a rerun on Wednesdays and Thursdays (until the fourth week of September 2009 when it changed to only Wednesdays). It was remastered in HD, with new 2D and 3D effects, under the name Naruto: Shōnen Hen . Episodes from the series have been released on both VHS and DVD, and collected as boxed sets.
Viz licensed the anime series for broadcast and distribution in the Region 1 market. The English adaptation of the anime began airing on September 10, 2005 and concluded on January 31, 2009, with 209 episodes aired on Cartoon Network’s Toonami in the United States. The episodes were also broadcast on SABC 2 (South Africa), YTV’s Bionix (Canada) and Jetix’s (United Kingdom) programming blocks, and were released on DVD on March 28, 2006. On August 25, 2017, Starz announced that they would be offering episodes of the series for their Video on Demand service starting September 1, 2017. The first 26 volumes contain four episodes; later DVD volumes have five episodes. Uncut editions were released in DVD box sets, each containing 12–15 episodes, with some variation based on story arcs. In the American broadcast, references to alcohol, Japanese culture, sexual innuendo, and the appearance of blood and death were sometimes edited but remained in the DVD editions. One of the censored scenes was the accidental kiss between Naruto and Sasuke, fitting in the long trend of removing content that alludes to homesexual relationships. Other networks cut more material, for example Jetix censored scenes with blood, strong language, and smoking. The series was also licensed to Hulu, Joost, and Crunchyroll, which aired the episodes online with the original Japanese audio tracks and English subtitles. On June 1, 2017, it was announced that an HD remaster version of the original Naruto television anime series would debut on Japanese TV on June 24, starting with the show’s first episode.
Naruto: Shippuden, developed by Studio Pierrot and directed by Hayato Date, is the sequel to the original Naruto anime; it corresponds to Part II of the manga. It debuted on Japanese TV on February 15, 2007, on TV Tokyo, and concluded on March 23, 2017. On January 8, 2009, TV Tokyo began broadcasting new episodes via internet streaming to monthly subscribers. Each streamed episode was available online within an hour of its Japanese release and includes English subtitles. Viz began streaming English subtitled episodes on January 2, 2009, on its series’ website, including episodes that had already been released as well as new episodes from Japan. In the United States, the English dub of Naruto: Shippuden premiered weekly on Disney XD from October 28, 2009, up until episode 98 on November 5, 2011. Episodes 99 through 338 premiered uncut on the anime web channel Neon Alley until its shutdown on May 4, 2016. The anime started airing from the beginning on Adult Swim’s Toonami programming block on January 5, 2014, where it continues to air on a weekly basis.
The series was released on Region 2 DVD in Japan with four or five episodes per disk; there are four series of DVD releases divided by story arc. There was a special feature included with the seventh Naruto: Shippuden compilation DVD called Hurricane! “Konoha Academy” Chronicles. Kakashi Chronicles: Boys’ Life on the Battlefield was released on December 16, 2009; featuring episodes 119–120, the story revolves around Kakashi Hatake’s childhood.
The first North American DVD of the series was released on September 29, 2009. Only the first 53 episodes were made available in this format before it ended with the 12th volume on August 10, 2010. Subsequent episodes were released as part of DVD boxed sets, beginning with the first season on January 26, 2010. In the United Kingdom, the series was licensed by Manga Entertainment who released the first DVD collection on June 14, 2010.
Original video animations
Twelve Naruto original video animations (OVAs) have been released.
- Find the Crimson Four-Leaf Clover! (2002). Follows Team 7 as they help Konohamaru with his mission to retrieve a four leaf clover that makes a wish come true.
- Mission: Protect the Waterfall Village! (2003). Team 7 are on a mission to escort a shinobi to his hometown. This and the previous OVA were later released on DVD in Australia under the title Naruto Jump Festa Collection. The English localization of Mission: Protect the Waterfall Village! was released on DVD by Viz on May 22, 2007, in the US under the title Naruto – The Lost Story.
- Konoha Annual Sports Festival. (2004) Multiple groups of shinobi, including Team 7, participate in a sports competition where the award is a week break from missions. A short video released with the first Naruto movie; in North America, this was included on the Deluxe Edition DVD of the first film.
- Finally a clash! Jonin VS Genin!! Indiscriminate grand melee tournament meeting!! (2005) Fifth Hokage Tsunade creates a competition between Jonin (high level ninja) and Genin (low level ninja). Released on a bonus disk with the Japanese edition of the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3 video game for the PlayStation 2.
- Hurricane! “Konoha Academy” Chronicles (2008). This OVA follows Naruto Uzumaki and his peers as they live their lives in high school.
- Naruto: The Cross Roads (2009). Focuses on Team 7 after their encounter with Zabuza and Haku.
- Naruto, The Genie, and The Three Wishes!! (2010). While Team 7 are at the beach, Naruto finds a bottle and opens it to find a genie who grants three wishes.
- Naruto x UT (2011). Naruto is defeated by Sasuke and is pronounced dead; the events leading to the combat are shown in flashback.
- Chūnin Exam on Fire! Naruto vs. Konohamaru! (2011). Naruto and Konohamaru are participants in the Chunin Exams, and are matched with each other; they fight with no limits.
- Hashirama Senju vs. Madara Uchiha (2012). Tobi narrates the origin of Konoha. At the beginning ninja fought for their own clans. The most powerful among them are two clans: the Senju led by Hashirama, and the Uchiha led by Madara. This was distributed as part of the Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations video game for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
- Naruto Shippūden: Sunny Side Battle!!! (2014). In his sleep, Sasuke dreams of his brother Itachi making him breakfast repeatedly until it is perfect.
- The Day Naruto Became Hokage (2016). Naruto Uzumaki is officially the Seventh Hokage, but does not make it to the ceremony.
The series was adapted into eleven films; the first three correspond to the first anime series, and the remaining eight correspond to the second series. Dates in the list below are for the original Japanese release; all the films were released in English, usually no more than three years later.
- Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow (2004). Team 7 travels to the Land of Snow to protect the actors during the shooting of the new Princess Fuun movie. The fourth original video animation, Konoha Annual Sports Festival, was included with the Japanese release of the film.
- Legend of the Stone of Gelel (2005). Naruto, Shikamaru, and Sakura go on a ninja mission involving them in a war between the Sunaga village and a large force of armored warriors. Unlike its predecessor, Legend of the Stone of Gelel did not have a theatrical release in the United States but was released in direct-to-video format instead.
- Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom (2006). Naruto, Sakura, Lee, and Kakashi are assigned to protect the future prince of the Land of Moon, Hikaru Tsuki.
- Naruto Shippuden the Movie (2007). Naruto goes on a mission to protect the priest Shion, who starts to have visions of his death.
- Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds (2008). Naruto and Sasuke join forces when ninja from the Sky Country attack Konoha.
- Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Will of Fire (2009). Team 7 works to prevent Kakashi from sacrificing himself to end a world war.
- Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower (2010). Naruto is sent 20 years into the past as he explores a mystical tower to capture a rogue ninja, and discovers the Fourth Hokage, his father, alive in the timeline.
- Naruto the Movie: Blood Prison (2011). Naruto is framed for attempted murder of the Raikage; as he tries to break out of the prison, he discovers its secrets.
- Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie (2012). Naruto and Sakura are sent to an alternate universe by Tobi and discover the meaning of companionship and parenthood. The story planning and character designs were created by Masashi Kishimoto.
- The Last: Naruto the Movie (2014). Naruto and his companions try to stop the moon from colliding with Earth. The film explains some loose ends involving the series’ mythology and focuses on Naruto and Hinata’s romantic relationship. The story and character designs were created by Masashi Kishimoto, who also served as chief story supervisor.
- Boruto: Naruto the Movie (2015). The film focuses on the children of the main characters, mainly Boruto Uzumaki, who trains with his father’s rival Sasuke to surpass him. The story, screenplay and character designs were created by Masashi Kishimoto, who also served as chief production supervisor.
In July 2015, Lionsgate announced they were developing a live-action Naruto with Avi Arad through his production company Arad Productions, with Michael Gracey directing, and Erik Feig, Geoff Shaveitz, and Kelly O’Malley producing. On December 17, 2016, Kishimoto announced that he has been asked to help develop the movie.
The protagonists of the Naruto series are Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha, Sakura Haruno, and Kakashi Hatake, who form “Team 7″of Konohagakure. After Sasuke Uchiha’s defection and Naruto’s departure from Konohagakure at the end of Part I, the team disbands. During Part II, the team reforms as “Team Kakashi” with two new members: Sai, who occupies Sasuke’s position, and Yamato, who becomes the acting Captain. During the Fourth Great Ninja War, Team 7 reunites to fight Madara Uchiha who later becomes Kaguya Ōtsutsuki. Once the War is over, Sasuke and Naruto have their final battle. After the fight ends, Team 7 is finally reunited permanently.
is the titular protagonist of the series. He was the first character created by Kishimoto during the conception of the series and was designed with many traits from other shōnen characters. He is often ridiculed by the Konohagakure villagers, as he is the host of Kurama, the Nine-Tailed Fox that attacked Konoha.[ch. 2] He compensates for this with his cheerful and boisterous personality, vowing to never give up on any goal he sets. In particular, Naruto has ambitions of becoming Hokage, the leader of Konohagakure, to gain the villagers’ respect and be able to protect both them and the world. Over the course of the series, Naruto befriends many foreign and Konoha people and eventually gains a sizable positive impact on their lives to the point where he gains worldwide fame. Naruto eventually achieves his dream of becoming Hokage, marries Hinata Hyuga and has two children named Boruto Uzumaki and Himawari Uzumaki.
is Naruto’s rival. He was designed by Kishimoto as the “cool genius” since he felt this was an integral part of an ideal rivalry. Sasuke’s older brother, Itachi Uchiha, killed the rest of their family. Because of this, Sasuke’s sole desire is to kill his brother, and he develops a cold and withdrawn personality, seeing people as tools to further his goals, although also gaining the affection of most of the girls he knows, much to his annoyance. After he becomes a member of Team 7, Sasuke seems to begin considering his teammates precious to the point of risking his life to protect them, while focusing on revenge less than at the start of the series. Following an encounter and a subsequent defeat at the hands of his brother in Part I, however, Sasuke severs his ties and leaves the village to seek more power from a man named Orochimaru. By the events of the Boruto franchise, Sasuke has become a vigilante investigating the Otsutsuki clan while aiding Konohagakure.
is a member of Team 7. While creating the character, Kishimoto has admitted that he had little perception of what an ideal girl should be like. As a child, Sakura was teased by other children because of her large forehead, a feature Kishimoto tried to emphasize in Sakura’s appearance. She was comforted by Ino Yamanaka and the two developed a friendship. However, as the two continued to grow, they became increasingly distant due to their shared affection for Sasuke Uchiha. During the early moments of Part I, Sakura is infatuated with Sasuke and resents Naruto Uzumaki, although Sasuke views her as “annoying” and Naruto has feelings for her. Her perception on Naruto eventually changes, however, and she comes to see him as a friend, while her feelings for Sasuke grow into deep love.
is the easygoing, smart leader of team 7, consisting of Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha, and Sakura Haruno. Kakashi had a dark past, but he didn’t let that affect him as an adult. he was a very vital key for Naruto’s success, training him to be a great ninja. Kakashi is a master of the Sharingan Mirror Wheel Eye, which he gained as a present from his late friend, Obito Uchiha. Kakashi’s original eye was restored late into part 2 of the series. Kakashi is killed by Pain (Nagato), But is revived when Nagato uses Rinne Rebirth to restore everything. Kakashi precedes Tsunade as the sixth Hokage, In the later parts of Naruto Shippuden.