Manga Review: Naruto Volume 23

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. He started proving himself a little during the Chunin Exam, and has started receiving training from Jiraiya, one of the three Legendary Sannin. At this point, Naruto, along with Shikamaru, Choji, Neji, Kiba, and Akamaru, are trying to get Naruto’s teammate Sasuke back from Orochimaru.

Naruto Volume 23
Written by: Masashi Kishimoto
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: November 6, 2007

Volume 23 sees Naruto, Kiba, and Shikamaru as the last members of the group who are still able to take on the remaining two members of the Sound Ninja Four. Kiba is separated from the others when he and Sakon fall. When it looks like Naruto is able to get the coffin that has Sasuke in it, he is stopped by the arrival Kimimaro. This leaves Shikamaru to face Tayuya alone.

This volume focuses on the three battlefronts that have developed. But of the three battlefronts, it’s Kiba and Akamaru’s fight with Sakon that gets the most attention. Even though I already know how these battles are going to go from seeing this arc in the anime already, there’s still a couple of sections of this battle that still freaked me out a little when I saw them in the manga.

For Kiba and Shikamaru, their battles see their opponents reaching their second state, which makes the Sound Ninjas stronger and raises the stakes for their fights. And for Naruto, he discovers that Kimimaro has a disgusting talent for taking out his bones from his own body, which have a high density and can be used as weapons. I’ll admit that this bone trick kind of grossed me out when I first saw it in the anime a few years back. Even though I know it’s going to happen when I’m reading the manga, it still kind of freaks me out a little.

I have to say that my favorite parts of this volume would be when we get to see the interactions between Kiba and Akamaru. While we saw a little bit of this interaction during the Chunin Exam, their relationship was explored a little more during the fight with Sakon. I especially liked the scene where Kiba tells an injured Akamaru that he’s done enough and that it’s his turn to protect his dog. At the risk of providing a “spoiler” here, I’ll say that this section truly establishes the relationship that Kiba and Akamaru have in the series going forward from here.

By the end of Volume 23, the stakes have been raised so high that it looks hopeless for our protagonists to be able to overcome these obstacles. I can’t really say much more beyond this, since I already know what’s going to happen and I don’t want to accidentally provide any “spoilers” to readers who haven’t made it past this point yet.

Volume 23 is a very action-heavy section of the story, so it helps to make this a quick read. It’s an exciting volume to read as the battles wage on.

Even though I’ve already seen the story from watching the anime series, seeing it again in a manga form is just as good as when I saw it on television. By reading the original manga source material, I could see that the anime was rather faithful to the story as it was presented in the manga.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous 22 volumes of the Naruto manga series, then I believe that you’ll enjoy reading Volume 23.

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