Naruto has dreams of overcoming that hostility, of course, by becoming the next village Hokage (or champion/leader). An indifferent student at the village's Ninja Academy, he struggles to master basic techniques — and when he succeeds in doing so, it’s frequently in comic fashion. When asked to conjure up human form in front of the class, the body he creates is of a voluptuous female pin-up (the "Ninja Centerfold") who so dazzles the male instructor, Iruka, that he gets a nosebleed. (Kishimoto and his assistants don't do anything in half measures here — when Iruka bleeds, it's a spurting geyser – a joke that's used twice in the first volume.)
Ninja mastery, we're told in the second volume (Kishimoto keeps a lot of background info back until book two, counting on his basic set-up to hold us), involves controlling the energies within the trillions of cells that comprised the human body, allowing skilled ninjas to perform amazing physical feats, to create doppelgangers and other illusions — in short, to do anything that the writer decides he wants his ninjas to do in a fight because they're just that amazing. Thus, we get several moments when a stunned adult is surprised by Naruto's abilities, but we readers have to be told just why it's so astounding.
Much of volume one is devoted to our hero's rocky path to graduation from Ninja Academy – his struggle to master the doppelganger technique and attempts at quickly cramming by swiping a scroll filled with ninja secrets – but it's not giving away much to note that Naruto makes it to Junior Ninja status. Teamed with two other Juniors – dreamboat super-student Sasuke and star-struck girl student Sakura – he undergoes the next level of training under the single uncovered eye of Elite Ninja master Kakashi, a teacher so strict that we're told he's never passed a student. Of course, we know that the Juniors won't fail (not with 11 volumes and counting in this series) even if the first volume concludes with Kakashi solemnly telling the trio that they'll "never be Shinobi." By the middle of volume two, our three students and their teacher are already caught in a fight-to-the-death against bad guy ninjas trying to kill a crotchety bridge builder.