Manga Review: Naruto Volume Two

Naruto Volume 2 is a manga with the story and art by Masashi Kishimoto. Viz Media holds the North American rights to distribute the manga in the United States, and this manga volume was published in 2003. This English adaptation, which is presented as an “unflipped” release, was adapted by Jo Duffy; the translation was done by Katy Bridges and Mari Morimoto. Naruto is rated “T” for Teen.

Naruto Volume 2
Written by: Masashi Kishimoto
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: November 19, 2003

In the second volume, Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke finish their final test and become junior ninja. However, all they’re being given are “D” level missions, such as babysitting, yard work, and running errands to neighboring villages; with the rank they are at, these are basically the only missions they get to build up experience until they make it up to the next ninja level. Naruto, being the knuckleheaded ninja that he is, starts to throw a fuss about the missions his team has to do, and tries to insist on doing missions that are higher ranked. Kakashi and Naruto’s teammates chide Naruto for his behavior, but the Hokage decides to permit the team an opportunity to take on a “C” level mission. Naruto and his team are assigned to serve as bodyguards to protect a bridge builder named Tazuna from bandits and thieves. But, as the start on their way, Naruto and his team quickly learn that Tazuna had omitted some very important details about his situation, and that the mission is really a higher ranked mission than the Hokage had realized. Because of this, Naruto and his team find themselves face to face with some of the most lethal Mist Ninjas. Can Naruto and his teammates prevail?

What I enjoyed about reading this volume of the Naruto manga is the fact that the action sequences with the fighting flow at a natural pace. In comparison, the anime ended up dragging the fight sequences out by a ridiculous amount; the opponents would spend so much time talking in the anime that you found yourself thinking, “Just shut up and fight already!” Luckily, this is not the case with the manga. This volume was an enjoyable enough read, but it definitely focuses more on the action than on plot or character development; however, I know from the anime that more character development is on the way in later volumes.

When it comes to the art in this volume, it feels like Kishimoto was starting to get his groove on a little more when it came to drawing the characters. The look of the characters is more refined in comparison with the first volume, and they’re starting to look much closer to their anime counterparts. There’s definitely more “busy” panels in this volume due to the battles near the end of the volume, but Kishimoto knows how to use the “busy” look effectively to portray the fights. Even in non-fighting scenes, Kishimoto has a good feel for effectively utilizing “sound effects” in his drawings to help convey characters’ reactions.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of this manga volume that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Additional posts about Naruto:

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