Manga Review: Naruto Volume 12

Naruto Volume 12 is a manga by Masashi Kishimoto, and it was released in North America by Viz Media’s Shonen Jump imprint in 2006. The series is rated “T” for teens; from what I’ve read of the manga and from what I’ve seen of the anime series, I would agree with this rating.

Naruto Volume 12
Written by: Masashi Kishimoto
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: December 5, 2006

The main character of the series is Naruto Uzumaki; he’s the number one hyperactive knuckleheaded ninja in the Hidden Leaf Village. Naruto’s dream is to become the leader of his village one day and to be acknowledged by others. When Naruto was a baby, a fox demon was sealed inside of him; because of this, the adults in the village have shunned Naruto out of fear of the fox demon.

Naruto, along with his teammates Sakura Haruno and Sasuke Uchiha, are competing in the Chunin Exam; this exam determines which ninja are worthy enough to be promoted from the Genin rank to the Chunin rank.

Volume 12 opens with the first battle of the final test of the Chunin Exam, which features a fight between Naruto and Neji. This particular match ends up taking up most of the pages in this volume. However, there’s more than just a match taking place during all of this. There’s also significant character development for Neji, and the reader comes to learn why Neji acts the way he does and why he believes the things that he does.

By the time the match between Neji and Naruto ends, Neji becomes a much more sympathetic character than he had been prior to this match. In addition, the reader is also given insight into how the Hyuga clan functions and the relationship between Neji and Hinata’s branches of the clan.

After Kankuro forfeits his match and Sasuke is late for his match, Shikamaru is forced into his battle with Temari, Gaara and Kankuro’s sister. Their match takes up the remainder of Volume 12; during this match, the reader learns through Asuma that there’s more to Shikamaru than the lazy genin that he had basically been depicted as up to this point in the story. Since I’ve seen more of the anime than I’ve read of the manga, I can safely say that this is just the beginning of the character development that Shikamaru will receive over the course of the series. In fact, from what I’ve seen of the anime, I can safely say that Shikamaru is one of my favorite characters from the Naruto franchise.

The strength of Volume 12 is the fact that there’s a lot of character development mixed in with the fights. While the fights are important in order to progress the story, I also think character development is just as important at this point, since so many characters were introduced in the story through the Chunin Exam arc. The combination of the action and the character development makes Volume 12 a strong entry in the Naruto manga series.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous 11 volumes of the Naruto manga, then I feel very confident in saying that you will also enjoy Volume 12.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Naruto Volume 12 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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