Manga Review: Naruto Volume 18

Naruto Volume 18 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 18
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.

At the beginning of Volune 18, Naruto finally masters the second stage of the jutsu he’s trying to learn. Naruto is told that he’ll learn the third stage as he and Jiraiya go to meet up with Tsunade.

Meanwhile, Tsunade and her attendant Shizune are approached by Orochimaru and Kabuto.  He wants her to use her medical ninjutsu to heal Orochimaru’s arms. She becomes angry when she learns that her former comrade killed the Third Hokage and tells them to leave; however, she stands down after Orochimaru says he can bring her dead brother and her dead lover back to life because he’s learned the forbidden reanimation jutsu. When she asks what he plans to do if she heals him, Orochimaru says he will annihilate the Leaf Village once and for all. Tsunade is given a week to make up her mind, and is told what she needs to do if she says yes.

Later, Jiraiya and Naruto run into Tsunade and Shizune at a drinking establishment. Jiraiya informs Tsunade that the village requests that she accept the title of the Fifth Hokage. After a bit of the pause, Tsunade rejects the offer and scoffs at the idea. Naruto becomes offended, and the two of the, battle outside. Naturally, Naruto loses, but she sees her brother in him and saw how he tried to use the Rasengen. Naruto asks her to give him three days to master the Rasengen. She responds with this wager: She’ll give him a week to master it, and if he does, she’ll give him the necklace she has that belonged to her grandfather, the First Hokage. Naruto accepts the wager.

Later, Shizune provides Naruto some backstory on the necklace, and it ties into the deaths of both Tsunade’s younger brother and her lover. It’s a sad story, and it really helps to explain Tsunade’s attitude and why she’s the way she’s been. While I already knew this backstory from seeing it in the anime already, I was still moved by it when I saw it in print as I read Volume 18.

Since I’m a lot further along in the anime, I can tell you at the risk of providing a spoiler that the necklace is more than a simple trinket, and that it will be playing an important role later in the series. The only other thing I will say is the fact that the necklace once belonged to the First Hokage is a very important piece of information for its importance later in the series.

Right at the end of the volume, Tsunade goes to see Orochimaru, but the audience is left in suspense as to what her answer will be.

I really enjoyed reading Volume 18, in large part due to large emphasis on Tsunade. She’s one of my favorite characters in the Naruto franchise, and I think she has a strong backstory. Even though I already know how the story is going to go from the anime, I’m still looking forward to reading Volume 19 in order to see how this part of the story was portrayed in the original manga source material.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous 17 volumes of the Naruto manga series, then I feel confident that you’ll enjoy reading Volume 18.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Naruto Volume 18 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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