Naruto is an ongoing Japanese cartoon series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. The plot tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, an adolescent ninja who constantly searches for recognition and aspires to become a Hokage, the ninja in his village that is acknowledged as the leader and the strongest of all.
The anime series was produced by Studio Pierrot and Aniplex. It premiered across Japan on the terrestrial TV Tokyo network and the anime satellite television network Animax on October 3, 2002. The first series lasted 220 episodes, while Naruto: Shippuden, a sequel to the original series, has been airing since February 15, 2007. In addition to the anime series, Studio Pierrot has developed six movies for the series and several original video animations (OVAs). Other types of merchandise include light novels, video games and trading cards developed by several companies.
Viz Media(the one which brought DBZ 🙂 ) has licensed the manga and anime for North American production. The anime series began airing in the United States and Canada in 2005, and later in the United Kingdom and Australia in 2006 and 2007, respectively. The films, as well as most OVAs from the series, have also been released by Viz, with the first film premiering in cinemas. The first DVD volume of Naruto: Shippuden was released by Viz in North America on September 29, 2009, and it started broadcast on Disney XD in October of the same year.
As of volume 44, the manga has sold over 89 million copies in Japan. Serialized in Viz’s Shonen Jump magazine, Naruto has become one of the company’s best-selling manga series. The English adaptation of the series has also appeared in the USA Today Booklist several times and volume 11 won the Quil Award in 2006. Reviewers from the series have praised the balance between fighting and comedy scenes, as well as the characters’ personalities, but have criticized it for using standard shōnen plot elements.
In TV Asahi’s latest top 100 Anime Ranking from October 2006, Naruto ranked 17th on the list. Naruto Shippuden has ranked several times as one of most watched series in Japan