The Naruto print cartoon and anime series was created by talented Japanese mangaka (cartoonist) Masashi Kishimoto. Main character Uzumaki Naruto is a young ninja, portrayed as brash and restless, persistently seeking acknowledgement and aspiring to be the next Hokage (fire-shadow), the most powerful ninja and leader of the village. The character is said to take its name from the city of Naruto, located in the Tokushima region of Japan.
Birth of the Naruto Manga Series
The manga or comic series was launched in 1999 in issue 43 of Shonen Jump magazine, published by Shueisha, one of Japan’s leading publishers. Subsequently, California-based Entertainment Company VIZ Media published an American version of the Naruto manga.
The Naruto comics were first adapted for TV by Japanese anime production companies Studio Pierrot and Aniplex, formerly Sony Pictures Entertainment, and first aired in Japan on October 3, 2002. The English version of Naruto made its debut on September 10, 2005 in the US and Canada. To date, the Japanese animation group has produced nearly 200 Naruto episodes.
Main Character Uzumaki Naruto
Naruto Uzumaki (originally “Uzumaki Naruto”, in the Japanese animated series) is the main character of the Naruto manga series. An adolescent ninja, Naruto was born on October 10 and much of his childhood and family background remain a mystery. The series starts twelve years after a series of critical events, in which the powerful, nine-tailed demon-fox attacks the town of Konohagakure.
The demon-fox is outwitted by the leader of the Leaf Village, the Fourth Hokage (strongest ninja in the town) who defeats the demon by sealing it inside a newborn child: Naruto Uzumaki. The Fourth Hokage consequently becomes a hero. However, although he wants Naruto also to be recognized as a hero, as he is the containment vessel of the demon-fox, the villagers shun Naruto as though he himself were the demon-fox.
An orphan boy, Naruto Uzumaki is a student of the leaf-warrior Hatake Kakashi and is described as being persevering, willful, constantly looking for recognition and above all determined to become Hokage. The impulsive, energetic, budding ninja is recognized for his unique ability to encourage the locals to realize their talents and use them appropriately. To some a good-humored youngster, to others a loud, restive lad with an appetite for trouble, Naruto has a complex personality and is capable of conceiving ingenious plans to defeat his opposition. Uzumaki also stands for a 3D spiral, similar to a whirlpool.
The young hero wears a spiral (symbolizing the seal that keeps the demon-fox inside him) on the back of his coat – and engraved on his abdomen. He is also known for his distinctive attack technique, called the “Spiraling Sphere” or Rasengan.
Uzumaki Naruto and Nine-tailed Demon-fox (Kyubi)
Some of Naruto’s physical and behavioral characteristics can be linked to the presence of the demon, Kyubi, locked inside him. The young ninja has unusually large canine teeth, an odd whisker-like stubble, and his eyes resemble those of a fox. His impressive stamina and cunning personality are always evident, especially when he uses the demon-fox chakra.
The chakra is a force that comes to Naruto’s aid in dangerous situations and was given to him by the nine-tailed demon himself. Naruto is said to acquire a new “tail” of Kyubi’s chakra and gain more power, every time he is overwhelmed by the mighty kitsune (fox) that lives inside his body. Naruto’s own powers, augmented by those of the Kyubi, confer powers above those of most ninjas. For example, a special Shadow Clone Technique allows Naruto to create up to 2,000 clones, making him almost an unstoppable force.
Occasionally, Kyubi’s chakra seems to be too much for young Naruto to handle – however, Naruto’s own chakra and that of the demon-fox are gradually becoming inseparable.