Hello fellow followers! I would like to start this new topic with some backstory. For as long as I can remember, I have always had a fascination with Japanese culture. This passion first awakened when I saw Hayao Miyazaki’s amazing film, Spirited Away. The colorful characters, animation, and overall message stuck with me and opened up a hidden door in my mind. Then, when I turned 8, I found the “key” to my mind’s door in the form of manga. For those who do not know, manga are Japanese comics that are read from right to left. I believe that they portray emotions in a much more powerful way then they do in western comics. You are in the character’s shoes from beginning to end, and when it ends, you hunger for more. This topic is created to admire the many stories of the past, and how they helped shape me into the man I am today. Now, without any further ado, let’s get started!
- Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto Number of volumes: 72 Rated: T for teen
What better way to start Sunday’s new topic than with one of my favorite manga. The manga first introduces us to the main character, Uzumaki Naruto. He’s a 12-year-old student ninja of Konohagakure, (The Village Hidden In The Leaves), with a knack for doing pranks. He has no parents, and is extremely immature. He also has a nine-tailed fox spirit resonating inside him that was sealed by the Fourth Hokage (Village Champion). In the beginning of the series, Naruto is often made fun of by the other students, and continuously told that he will never become anything in life. The only people who treats him with respect are his teacher, Iruka, and another student, Hinata. This part made me feel extremely empathetic towards Naruto, because I used to worry about people accepting me. He gets put into a 3-man squad for the final test of moving up the Ninja ladder. His two other teammates consist of an abusive, volatile, kunoichi (female ninja) that’s madly in love with the other member of the team. That member is Sasuke, an extremely talented, and cocky ninja. At first, they see Naruto as a bumbling goofball with no real talents. However, as the series progresses, they begin to develop respect and kindness for him. This reminds me of many underdog stories, and it gives me a huge morale boost to never give up. The development of Naruto as he gradually grows up is one of the best parts of the series. You feel pain when the characters feel pain, and this is one of the best things that a manga can do. The main character is so relatable to me, and the gradual increase in maturity also applies to my life as well. I read the series as I grew up, and that’s probably why I hold it so dearly. The anime of Naruto is also very well made, and you can watch it for free on Crunchyroll.com. I highly recommend this series to absolutely everyone, and I would love to hear your thoughts about it in the comment’s section below. So, pick up a copy of the first volume ASAP, and prepare to go on a roller coaster ride of emotions!
Final Rating: 9/10 stars