Naruto is based on a manga series by Masashi Kishimoto.

One episode of the anime tends to cover one or two chapters of the manga, so by the time the last canonical arc of the anime came to an end, the series was quickly catching up to the manga. At that point, the anime switched to anime-only filler episodes to give time for the manga to broaden the gap; there ended up being 85 filler episodes produced. When the anime returned to producing manga-adapted episodes, the series title was changed to Naruto Shippuden.

Naruto Uzumaki, the main character, is loud, hyper, and rather unpredictable. He's an adolescent ninja who wants to be recognized and aspires to become the Hokage; the Hokage is the ninja in the village who is acknowledged as the leader and the strongest of all.

12 years before the start of the story, the village was under attack by the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox. The Fourth Hokage sacrificed his life and sealed the demon inside Naruto, who was a newborn at the time. The Fourth Hokage, who had been hailed as a hero for this, had hoped Naruto would also be respected in the same light as the containment vessel of the demon. However, the villagers shunned him instead, and regarded Naruto as the fox demon itself.

The Third Hokage made a decree which forbade anyone from discussing or mentioning the attack of the demon fox to everyone, even their own children. Naruto spent his childhood as an orphan without friends, family, or acknowledgment; and the adults in the village passed down these attitudes to their children. Since Naruto couldn't force others to befriend him, he got attention the only way that he knew how to - by pulling pranks and causing mischief.

In the first episode, Naruto is tricked into stealing a forbidden scroll. By reading the scroll, Naruto taught himself the Shadow Clone Technique, which has become Naruto's signature move. With this newfound knowledge, Naruto is able to save his teacher, Iruka Umino. Through saving his teacher, Naruto learned that he is the vessel of the demon fox; he also learned that someone besides the Third Hokage actually cared about him. By learning the Shadow Clone Technique, Naruto was able to graduate from the Ninja Academy.

The series follows Naruto and his peers as they go through personal growth and development as ninja, with emphasis put on their interactions with each other and the influence their backgrounds have on their personalities. Naruto finds friends in Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno, who are assigned to be part of a three-ninja team with Naruto.

From watching the first Naruto series, as well as what I've been able to see of Naruto Shippuden, I can see that Masashi Kishimoto has done a lot of "world building"; he has created a cast of characters that viewers can identify with, and he has also worked at building an overarching story that's very compelling.

In the United States, Naruto is licensed to Viz Media. The series made its debut on Cartoon Network's Toonami block on September 10, 2005. Unfortunately, Cartoon Network did not acquire the nights to Naruto Shippuden; instead, this series aired on Disney XD, but as of this writing, Disney XD no longer airs it.

The Naruto anime franchise has spawned several films, as well a collectible trading card game and a number of video games. Personally, I would recommend the Naruto franchise to anime viewers who are 12 or 13 years of age and older.

Release Year(s)
N.A. Licensor
Naruto2202002-2007Hayato DateStudio PierrotViz Media
Naruto: Find the Four-Leaf Red Clover!12003Hayato DateStudio PierrotN/A
Naruto: Mission: Protect the Waterfall Village!12004Hayato DateStudio PierrotViz Media
Naruto: Hidden Leaf Village Grand Sports Festival12004Hayato DateStudio PierrotViz Media
Naruto the Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of SnowN/A2004Tensai OkamuraStudio PierrotViz Media
Naruto12005Hayato DateStudio PierrotN/A
Naruto the Movie: Legend of the Stone of GelelN/A2005Hirotsugu KawasakiStudio PierrotViz Media
Naruto the Movie: Guardians of the Crescent Moon KingdomN/A2006Toshiyuki TsuruStudio PierrotViz Media
Naruto Shippuden3042007-ongoingHayato DateStudio PierrotViz Media
Naruto Shippuden the MovieN/A2007Hajime KamegakiStudio PierrotViz Media
Naruto Shippuden the Movie: BondsN/A2008Masahiko MurataStudio PierrotViz Media
Naruto: The Cross Roads12009?Studio PierrotN/A
Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Will of FireN/A2009Masahiko MurataStudio PierrotViz Media
Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost TowerN/A2010Masahiko MurataStudio PierrotN/A
Naruto the Movie: Blood PrisonN/A2011Masahiko MurataStudio PierrotN/A
Naruto the Movie: Road to NinjaN/A2012Manraj PannuStudio PierrotN/A

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