Manga Review: Naruto Volume Five

Naruto Uzumaki is the number one hyperactive knuckleheaded ninja in his village, and it’s his dream to become the leader of his village one day. He also wants everyone to acknowledge him, because he’s been shunned by many of the adults in the village due to having a fox demon sealed inside of him.

Naruto has become a member of Team 7, along with Sakura Haruno and Sasuke Uchiha. In Volume Five, Team 7, along with other three man teams from both the Leaf Village and from outside, are gathering for the Chunin Exam. Those ninja who are deemed worthy enough by the end of the exam are promoted from the Genin rank to the Chunin rank.

Naruto Volume Five
Written by: Masashi Kishimoto
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: December 7, 2004

Volume Five introduces the reader to the other ninja who graduated from the same class at the ninja academy as Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke: Choji Akimichi, Shikamaru Nara, Ino Yamanaka, Hinata Hyuga, Kiba Inuzuka (and his dog, Akamaru), and Shino Aburame. In addition, the reader is also introduced to Might Guy, Kabuto, Ibiki Morino, and Anko Mitarashi.

A big portion of Volume Five is focused on the first part of the Chunin Exam, which is a written test. While it may sound like this could be boring on the surface, it was actually kind of an interesting read. This is primarily due to the fact that Ibiki, the proctor, has presented so many conditions that could cause a three man squad to be disqualified from continuing the Chunin Exam. It was interesting to see how the various characters react to the conditions that have been placed in front of them.

The end of Volume Five sees the ninja who passed the first portion of the exam getting ready to take the next portion. In fact, the volume ends right as Anko tells the ninja to start the next part of the exam. This guarantees that the action should get going right away at the beginning of Volume Six.

I’m already familiar with what happens in this part of the story, since I have already watched the early episodes in the Naruto anime series. Unfortunately, being familiar with the anime already does have some disadvantages, especially in regard to character design. I had the most trouble accepting Shikamaru in the manga, because his design at this point in the series is so rough, that his face really doesn’t look much like it does in the anime. Hopefully as the Naruto manga continues, some of these rough-looking character designs for the characters that were introduced in this volume will be smoothed out.

Even though I already know where the story is headed next, I’m still looking forward to reading Volume Six of Naruto and seeing how the Chunin Exam arc was originally presented in the manga.

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