Thursday, February 14, 2013

Review: NARUTO Volume 60


CARTOONIST: Masashi Kishimoto
TRANSLATION: Mari Morimoto
LETTERS: John Hunt
ISBN: 978-1-4215-4943-9; paperback (February 2013); Rated “T” for “Teen”
192pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 UK

The worldwide bestselling manga, Naruto, began life as a one-shot comic appearing in the August 1997 issue of Akamaru Jump. Then, it began a still-ongoing serialization in Weekly Shonen Jump #43. The first graphic novel collection (tankoubon) of the series was released in March of 2003 in Japan. VIZ Media published its first Naruto graphic novel in August of 2003.

For the publication of the 60th tankoubon/graphic novel, several artists celebrated the publishing event by contributing pin-ups and art to the book. Naruto Volume 60 contains the work of the following artists: Atsuhiro Sato, Takahiro Hiraishi, Mikio Ikemoto, Yuichi Itakura, Masaki Murakami, Koichi Nishiya, Akira Okubo, Akio Shiraska, and Kenji Taira.

Naruto is the story of a young shinobi (ninja) named Uzumaki Naruto. He has a knack for mischief and is the biggest troublemaker at the Ninja Academy in the shinobi Village of Konohagakure. Naruto is special and an outcast, because when he was a baby, his parents imprisoned a nine-tailed fox spirit within his infant body. Now, 16-years-old and incorrigible as ever, Naruto is still serious about his quest to become the world’s greatest ninja.

The current Naruto story arc continues the Fourth Great Ninja War. The conflict begins when Akatsuki villains Madara and Kabuto declare war on the Five Great Nations, the world of the ninja. The five great leaders, known as the Gokage, form the Allied Shinobi Forces to fight back.

As Naruto, Vol. 60 (entitled Kurama – Chapters 566 to 575) starts, Naruto battles the other tailed beasts. His partner in battle is Killer Bee, the jinchûriki (hosts) to the eight-tailed octo-beast. Naruto’s mentor, Hatake Kakashi, and Guy join them to form a quartet against Madara. Now, Naruto tries to align himself with the other tailed beasts. Will he be successful? Can he also take on Madara? Naruto’s comrades, however, aren’t about to let him fight alone.

Meanwhile, Uchiha Sasuke, Naruto’s former teammate, decides that it is time to fight Naruto again. Kabuto, who revives dead shinobi to fight in the Fourth Great Ninja War, has summoned a special reunion for Sasuke.

The Naruto manga continues the current long story arc, the Fourth Great Ninja War. Once a year or so, we get a volume that shows the evolution of Naruto – how the outcast becomes a hero. It is an ongoing process, as it seems as if Naruto has to learn to become a hero over and over again. Naruto Volume 60 is one of those graphic novels that shows Naruto grasping something, some idea, some technique, etc. essential to his journey to becoming whatever he is supposed to become.

Naruto creator, Masashi Kishimoto keeps the series fresh in this way – not that he really needs to do so. The subplots and characters keep growing, and most of them are fantastically interesting. For instant, this Uchiha family element promises great new fun in the coming graphic novels (or tankoubon).


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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