Manga Review: Naruto Volume Eight

The main character of the series is Naruto Uzumaki, and he is the number one hyperactive knuckleheaded ninja in the Hidden Leaf Village. He dreams of becoming the leader of his village one day, and wants everyone to acknowledge him. Up to this point in his life, Naruto has been shunned by the adults in his village, because a fox demon was sealed inside of him when he was a baby.

Naruto is a member of Team 7, along with Sakura Haruno and Sasuke Uchiha. Together, they are competing in the Chunin Exam. At the end of the exam, the ninja who are deemed worthy enough are promoted from the Genin rank to the Chunin rank.

Naruto Volume Eight
Written by: Masashi Kishimoto
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: December 6, 2005

In this volume, the Genin who made it through the second exam learn the true reason for the Chunin Exam. The main focus of Volume Eight is on the preliminary battles that decide which ninja will actually progress to the third and final exam. The matches that take place in this volume are: Sasuke versus Yoroi, Abumi versus Shino, Misumi versus Kankuro, and Sakura versus Ino.

Shino’s match finally allows Kishimoto to show the reader what kind of character Shino is. Prior to this match, the reader basically saw Shino in the background or talking with his team members, but not using his ninja specialty. This match finally lets the reader see this ability and to learn a little bit about Shino’s clan.

The match between Sakura and Ino also let the reader see backstory for both of these characters. The backstory takes place in their younger days at the academy, and shows what their friendship was like back then. Unfortunately, their match doesn’t finish in Volume Eight, so you have to read Volume Nine to find out how the match between the two kunoichi ends.

This volume also has some focus on Sasuke and the curse mark he received from Orochimaru during the second exam, including its effects on him and the effort to seal the mark.

Even though I already know the story of the Chunin Exam from watching the first Naruto anime series, I was still interested in seeing how these events were originally presented in the manga. Kishimoto’s storytelling abilities make the manga a compelling read, even if you already know the story from the anime. I especially liked how Kishimoto showed Sakura and Ino’s backstory and tied it into what was going on during the girls’ match.

If you’re a fan of Naruto and have read and enjoyed the previous seven volumes of the series, then you’ll definitely enjoy reading Volume Eight.

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