Saturday, October 10, 2015

Review: NARUTO Volume 72


CARTOONIST: Masashi Kishimoto
TRANSLATION: Mari Morimoto
LETTERS: John Hunt
ISBN: 978-1-4215-8284-9; paperback (October 2015); Rated “T” for “Teen”
216pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 U.K.

Created by Masashi Kishimoto, Naruto began as a one-shot manga that was published in the August 1997 issue of Akamaru Jump.  Naruto the series began its serialization in Weekly Shōnen Jump on September 21, 1999 and ended on November 10, 2014.  The final 10 chapters of Naruto arrive in North America, collected in the graphic novel, Naruto Volume 72.

Naruto focuses on Uzumaki Naruto.  As a young shinobi (ninja), Naruto had an incorrigible knack for mischief and was also the biggest troublemaker at the Ninja Academy in the shinobi Village of Konohagakure.  He was an outcast because there was something special about him.  When he was a baby, Naruto's parents (father Minato and mother Kushina) imprisoned a nine-tailed fox spirit (Kurama) inside his infant body.  In time, he became a ninja with his classmates Haruno Sakura and Uchiha Sasuke.  Now, 16-years-old and incorrigible as ever, Naruto has to save the world.

As Naruto, Vol. 72 (entitled Uzumaki Naruto – Chapters 691 to 700) opens, the Fourth Great Ninja War has ended, and its instigators, the Akatsuki, have been vanquished.  Naruto and Sasuke sealed away the rogue Rabbit Goddess Kaguya.  Now, the reunited classmates, fueled by opposing ideals, will fight each other in one final battle in order to determine the future of the world.

I have made no secret that I think Naruto has been one of best comics published in North America over the last decade.  In fact, there were a few years, when I thought that Naruto was the best comic book of the year.  So I'm sad that it has ended.  I didn't see it coming.  I simply believed that the Fourth Great Ninja War would end and that the series would move on to the next world beaters.

Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto has a note at the beginning of Vol. 72 in which he says (basically) that he'd be honored if, in the future, we occasionally recall that there was once a character named Naruto.  Kishimoto-san, because of your work, Naruto will never be a “was.”  There will always be a character named Uzumaki Naruto.

Readers, old and new, looking for the best in shonen battle manga will have 72 volumes of the Shonen Jump title, Naruto (the king of ninja manga), to enjoy.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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