Manga Review: Naruto Volume 15

Naruto Volume 15 is a manga by Masashi Kishimoto, and it was released in North America by Viz Media’s Shonen Jump imprint in 2007. The series is rated “T” for teens; from what I’ve read of the manga and what I’ve seen of the anime series, I would agree with this rating.

Naruto Volume 15
Written by: Masashi Kishimoto
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: July 3, 2007

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. Unfortunately, the final part of the exam is interrupted by an invasion on the Hidden Leaf Village. In the confusion, the Sand Siblings make an escape, and are pursued by Sasuke, Naruto, Sakara, Shikamaru, and Pakkun.

Volume 15 sees Sasuke battle against Gaara, who has started to unveil some of the power of the Shukaku that is inside of him. During the battle, Sasuke uses Chidori too many times, which uses up his chakra. Fortunately, Naruto and the others arrive to help out. When Sakua jumps in the way to protect Sasuke, the Shukaku arm grabs her and pins her against a tree. It’s up to Naruto to try to defeat Gaara, but things go from bad to worse until near the end of the volume.

This volume also provides backstory for Gaara of when he was a child and the events that ultimately shaped him to be the character that we’ve gotten to know. When I saw this backstory in the anime, I nearly cried. It helps to make Gaara a more sympathetic character, and it made me feel sorry for him. Since I’m further along in the anime series, I can say without providing a “spoiler” that this backstory provides important information for things that happen later in the series.

I really liked the art that appears in the Gaara backstory section of this volume. As weird as this may sound, I think that little Gaara actually looks adorable. Visually, another thing I appreciated is how Kishimoto emphasizes that flashback sequence. The portions of the manga that take place in the present have a white background behind the panels; the pages with Gaara’s flashback, however, have a black background behind the panels. I thought this was a very effective way to emphasize that this is a flashback sequence, and I also think Kishimoto did it this way to also emphasize that these are not happy memories for Gaara. I believe that the black background is also supposed to help reinforce the idea that this is a “dark” sequence.

Even though I already know what’s going to happen in this volume from seeing this part of the story in the anime series, I was just as riveted when I read the original manga as I was when I first saw the story in the anime.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous 14 volumes of the Naruto manga series, then I feel confident that you’ll enjoy reading Volume 15.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Naruto Volume 15 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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