Anime Quick Information
|Average Rating: 9.36|
Ryan scored this with 8/10. Disagree?
Back with a new opening theme that might just drive you insane if you actually listen to it, Naruto returns as eccentric as ever, with Team 7 (Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura) entering the second stage of tests for the Chuunin exam, and by the end of this volume, the preliminaries for the third.
If you don’t already know, the world of ‘Naruto’ is one in which ninja are an important commodity. A human resource serving every role from upholding order, defending their respective villages from attack, performing espionage and training other ninja, to carrying out a wide range of missions under the guidance of a historical martial and moral code. A number of other systems, which are often accounted for in the context of the world’s own internal logic, also exist to guide young ninja.
Indeed, Naruto is a series whose cast is, whether you like it or not, predominantly a group of teen and pre-teen ninja, all of who belong to the rank of Genin (the lowest recorded rank, which means that they graduated from school). The Chuunin exam, which is the heart of this volume and the next, is a series of often life-threatening challenges, offering those who succeed the privileged rank of Chuunin (which is that of an intermediate ninja).
The world of Naruto is engaging, intricate and imaginative, but whether you like the series or not may depend more on how much you like the characters - who are the soul of the proceedings. Fortunately most of the characters are either fairly well developed, showing a surprising range of emotion, or have a little hook that will no doubt earn them their fair share of fans (simple as some of the characters are, you might find yourself liking and rooting for them). Even those among the cast whose basic character traits you already know can still afford a surprise every now and then.
This volume manages to prove this by taking many of the characters we had previously seen standing in the background, looking moody, and revealing how they fight. Compared to the earlier volumes, this one is dominated by action. First, each team is taken aside and given either a ‘Heaven’ or an ‘Earth’ scroll, and then released into the ‘forest of death’ through one of many gates around the enclosure. Every team, possessing just one ‘Heaven’ or ‘Earth’, must get one of each, by fighting other teams and securing their scrolls. This means, naturally, however, that only a half of all the teams can pass the exam, that teams may defeat each other only to discover the scroll they already have, and that they are being hunted by everyone else. With just five days to go and plenty of inherent dangers, it is hard to imagine how this volume could be anything but more action-oriented than its predecessors.
The presence of Orochimaru, a powerful and scheming, snake-like ninja, renowned for his strength, also adds tension to the events. More powerful even than the Jounin (higher ranked ninja who often act as teachers), his infiltration of the Chuunin exam sets forth a series of events that last into the series triple digits. Taking an interest in both Naruto and Sasuke, Orochimaru curses the latter, before proceeding with his plans. A series of battles with Orochimaru form the first line of action, followed by Sakura’s stand against a team of ninja from the sound village, as a small army of leave village genin slowly rise to Team 7's defence. Lacking a scroll by the fourth day, however, Sasuke, Naruto and Sakura decide to ambush another team on their way to the tower (where they are to take the two scrolls).
Despite how much happens during the space of Naruto’s rather generous collection of thirteen episodes (in terms of action, character and story development), the sense of repetition is inescapable - unless you really love your fast forward button. The reason for this is simple: every episode bar one or two begins with a slightly edited series of footage from the last episode, and anywhere up to about four minutes worth. This even excludes the frequent flashbacks and long explanations of moves or tactics used to get the upper hand on opponents (though they are actually far less common than in the last volume), which have become iconic of the series.
The presentation is of variable quality, in particular, the animation can appear as though it were from two wholly different anime, if certain action sequences were compared with other parts of the series.
By and large, however, this is ‘Naruto’ through and through. I can’t imagine many people who enjoyed earlier volumes forsaking the series because of the faults contained in this one volume alone. The growing cast and there expanding horizons, the deepening of the plot, character development, humour and intrigue provided should be enough for most any Naruto fan (just don’t expect quite as much emotion as in the Zabuza and Haku story arc).
Naruto will probably always be a series characterised by its use of filler and repetition, but if you can look past that, then there’s plenty to enjoy in these early days of a series that will no doubt continue to grow.
Screenshots (click to pop out)
|Score:||8 out of 10|
|Date Published:||Wed, 13 Jun 2007|
1. Comment by Jayme
2. Comment by Anonymous
3. Comment by Cyburn
4. Comment by Jayme
5. Comment by Wildcard
|Your rating of "Naruto #3"?:|
|out of 10|
Type the characters you see in the picture above.