The second collection of Naruto
for Viz wraps up
the big story arc that was just getting started at the end of the
The Chunin Exams.
With a bit more action and some interesting
background information being revealed this is a fun and entertaining
Naruto is a 12 year old boy living in a village populated by
He isn't the best student around,
he's failed the test to become a ninja twice as the series opens and
looking good for the third time either.
What he lacks in discipline he more than makes up for in moxie:
loudly proclaims to anyone who will listen that he's going to be the
ever! The fact that everyone in the village shuns him and treats him
makes him even more determined.
There's more to the story than Naruto knows though. Twelve
years ago, a giant nine‑tailed fox attacked the land.
The village all turned out to face the
monster, and many ninja were killed, but the creature couldn't be
only way that the fox could be defeated was for the village elder to
his life and trap the fox inside a human body:
a baby boy named Naruto.
Shunned by the villagers and without a family, Naruto
becomes the class clown.
He figures that
it's better for people to be angry with him than ignoring him.
That changes one evening when the boy is
tricked into stealing a scroll of forbidden ninja techniques.
Naruto reads one, and miraculously masters
the complex maneuver which allows him to make "shadow clones" of
himself, countless copies that are solid and not just illusions.
Armed with this technique Naruto manages to become a ninja,
but that's only the beginning of his training.
Next the young warrior has to go through advanced training as
part of a
He's teamed up with Sakura, a cute
girl he has a crush on, and Sasuke, the highest scoring student in
Together they have to go through
some rigorous training with Kakashi, a masked master who seems like a
Is he just putting on an act?
After surviving a particularly dangerous mission in the last
collection, Kakashi decides that Naruto and the rest of his cell are
advance to the next rank.
taking the Chunin exam, a rigorous trial in three parts that will test
applicants both physically and mentally.
Having passed the first stage (in the last collection,) the
on to stage two, a test in The Forest of Death.
In this trial all of the three man groups are given either
an Earth Scroll or a Heaven Scroll.
are let into a large forest that has a tower in the center.
To pass each group has to reach the tower
with both a Heaven and Earth Scroll within five days.
All three members have to reach the tower,
and they can't read the scrolls, but besides that there are no rules.
To make things harder on Naruto and his team, a set of elite
ninjas have been sent into the forest, posing as a group taking the
order to kill Sasuke.
The first of these
to catch up with the young ninjas is Orochimaru, who manages to bite
the neck and leave a curse mark, a wound that will likely kill him.
With Sasuke near death and Naruto knocked out
cold due to fighting Orochimaru, it's up to Sakura to protect her
After that trial, comes the third and most difficult part of
one-on-one fighting matches
with the winners being promoted.
Like the first collection, this set has a lot of exciting
battles and is generally a good deal of fun.
set wasn't as silly as the last, they
toned down the comic relief just a bit, which is an improvement.
Being a kid's action anime however, the
fights aren't based on reality at all.
That brings me to my main complaint about the show; the ninjas
magicians than martial artists.
harnessing their inner power these ninja can walk on water, create
sheets of ice, throw fireballs, transport themselves, and on and on.
There are a few too many times when a ninja
will pull a new, powerful technique out of his hat just when the
It's not a huge flaw
In other shows that are more
grounded in reality it would be fatal, but this show asks you to
disbelief right from the beginning.
The animation is okay, but not great.
isn't a lot of detail in the character
Hair is just a field of color
without and texture, and many people look two dimensional.
The motion is alright, with the action
flowing fairly smoothly.
The show does
cut more than a few corners too.
most grievous example of this is the repeated scenes.
Each episode opens by replaying the last 3 or
4 minutes from the previous show.
doesn't sound like a lot, but when you're talking about a 22 minute
that's nearly 20%.
Having said all that, I still enjoyed the program.
Like other Shonen Jump based shows it has an
innocent charm and they cram each installment full of action and
The show moves so fast
(action-wise) it's hard to get caught up on the small flaws.
This set includes the next 27 episodes on 6 DVDs.
come in a single double-width keepcase
with each disc on its own side of a page.
They are not overlapping.