Manga Review: Naruto Volume 16

Naruto Volume 16 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 from what I’ve seen of the anime series, I would agree with this rating.

Naruto Volume 16
Written by: Masashi Kishimoto
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: September 4, 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 16 opens with the conclusion of Naruto and Gaara’s battle, and it essentially ends in a draw. At the end of it, Naruto is able to make Gaara understand that he knows the pain and loneliness that Gaara has dealt with for all these years. The end of this scene gives the hint that perhaps Gaara may try to change.

Meanwhile, in Konoha, the Third Hokage dies during his battle with Orochimaru. However, before he dies, the Third Hokage takes Orochimaru’s jutsu and leaves him unable to make signs. After the memorial for the Third Hokage, Jiraiya is approached about becoming the Fifth Hokage. He turns it down and suggests Tsunade, the third member of the Legendary Sannin. He and Naruto leave the village to go on a mission to track down Tsunade and offer the position to her.

And while that is going on, Itachi Uchiha and Kisame Hoshigaki of the Akatsuki arrive in the village. They end up in a battle against Asuma, Kurenai, and Kakashi. Kakashi is affected by Itachi’s Mangekyo Sharingan, which takes him out of the battle. Guy jumps into the fray to help out. Later, when Sasuke learns Itachi has returned and is after Naruto, Sasuke goes out in search of them.

There were a couple of sections in Volume 16 that I thought were really moving. The first was seeing the parallels between Naruto and Gaara once their fight came to an end. Even more moving than that, though, was the memorial for the Third Hokage. Iruka has a flashback to after his parents were killed by the Nine-Tailed Fox, and how the Third Hokage had comforted him when he was trying to deal with that loss. After the flashback, Iruka sees Konohamaru crying over the death of his grandfather, and Iruka gives him a hug to comfort him. I also want to mention that I also really liked the cover illustration for Volume 16; seeing Naruto and Iruka having ramen together just looks really sweet.

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. I’m really looking forward to reaching the point in the manga where Tsunade is introduced to compare it to her introduction in the anime. Tsunade has become one of my favorite characters in the series, so I can’t wait to finally see her in the manga.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous 15 volumes of the Naruto manga series, then I feel confident that you’ll enjoy reading Volume 16.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Naruto Volume 16 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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