MANGA MONDAY: Naruto 1-4

For today’s #MangaMonday, I wanted to do a highlight of an old classic. Of the Big Three manga titles, Naruto is my favourite and I figured it deserved to be talked about.

Volumes 1-4 of Naruto cover the first arc of the series in which we meet Naruto, his teammates, and follow them on their first serious mission as ninja.

For those not familiar with the series, it follows titular character, Uzumaki Naruto, on his dreams to become the best ninja in his village despite how much despise there is for him from the other villagers. Unbeknownst to Naruto (until the information is betrayed by a rogue ninja out for himself), he is actually the vessel for the world-killing demon, the nine-tailed fox.

Naruto doesn’t let this information drag him down as he proves himself enough to become a genin (a junior-ranking ninja) and becomes a member of Team 7, made up of himself, Uchiha Sasuke, and Haruno Sakura, and lead by Hatake Kakashi. Together, the four of them train together and are eventually given a mission escorting a builder back to his home country in the waves. But it would seem that the mission may be more than they bargained for when it comes out that their client lies about the seriousness of his request for protection.

The first arc is so much fun as we learn little bits about each of the members of Team 7. Naruto wants to be the best. Sasuke wants revenge on the person who slaughtered his family. Sakura…well she wants to date Sasuke but I promise she gets better. The bad guys of the arc, Zabuto and Haku, are incredible and I still wish we had gotten more of their stories or even a one-shot filler chapter with more of them. Cruel, deadly, and skilled, the both of them push Team 7 to their limits to show them the real uses of ninja skills and the meaning of survival.

I’ve read Naruto so many times is not even funny, but it never fails to steal my heart. I grew up with Naruto the same way I grew up with Harry Potter, being able to watch both characters grow in age and abilities as I did. The heart that is in this manga is something that I honestly don’t see much any more in any manga. There’s a reason that even at over 20-years-old, Kishimoto Masashi’s Naruto is still well renowned as one of the best manga series of all times. I will always love this series and look forward to re-reading the second arc (and gross crying over it as always).

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