One of the big draws for most of us here at Thwip! to our current predicament of love for all things panelled was scanlated manga. We had just gotten access to high-speed internet and for some reason a few good souls were translating these Japanese comics.
One of the big ones that got us all hooked was Naruto by Kishimoto Masashi. Even looking back at the series now, it still holds up as one of the best examples of great shounen manga.
So, we are here to recommend all 700 chapters (or 72 volumes if you will) of this story about the most hyperactive ninja around.
For those who do not know, Naruto is about this cheeky brat of a ninja (by the way, this is a world full of ninjas) that has taken it upon himself to get everyone to accept him (the people of his village think he is pretty obnoxiously annoying) to the point that they will make him leader of the village.
Sounds simple right?
As the story unfolds, we see that this is no mean feat. There is no crazy politics, just a huge amount of backstory and history and straight-arrow motivations that are taken a bit too far to the extreme.
So, typical shounen stuff really.
What the strength of the series is though is the characters. There is a whole host of people we meet, some for not enough time sadly, and many of them are so fascinatingly fleshed out that it is hard not to remember them and root for them in one way or the other.
Couple that with the fact that there is a great deal of effort to make all the characters we meet visually unique, which is no mean feat. Even as time goes by and we hit a time skip and the characters age, they become even more distinct and the world grows even larger. It is amazing how much care and craft that Kishimoto-sensei put into the series and that love transmits to the readers.
There are some bits and pieces that are flawed, most especially the final villain, due to many reasons, but Naturo’s journey up to that moment is more than worth it.
If you haven’t read it yet, you should check it out.