Susan's Reviews > Naruto, Vol. 01: The Tests of the Ninja

Naruto, Vol. 01 by Masashi Kishimoto
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Oct 16, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: manga-graphic-novels, young-adult, juvenile

The popularity of this series simply can't be denied, and there's a reason for that. Take an action-packed series about the ultimate underdog (cursed at birth) who has to fight for every ounce of recognition he gets, then insert ninja training episodes, an intricate repertoire of ninja battling strategies, intense battle scenes, and struggles with inner demons and you've got quite a storyline. Some people may call some of these things cliche, but there's something about Naruto that taps into something archetypal and a huge population of followers clearly like what they see.

Even though the triad of main characters might seem pigeonholed at first (Sakura's the smart one, Naruto's the screw-up, Sasuke the moody cool kid) just try and have a Sasuke vs. Naruto debate with a group of boys and watch them all jump to analyze every minute nuance of the unique skills and personalities of both. Excellent for reluctant readers. The only real criticism I have is that many of the female characters (while they might be able to kick some butt) come off a bit silly, overemotional, or petty.

Age Recommendation: 10+

Violence: Considering all the characters are basically ninjas or ninjas-in-training, yes...but I would argue it's far tamer, less gratuitous and less troubling than what you find in most video games, and there's at least an underlying code of principles at play

Sex: (based on the first six volumes) utterly nonexistent. Sakura has an ongoing crush on Sasuke, but for these young ninjas, there's no time for love Dr. Jones...
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