Not content to merely dominate the manga best seller charts in the U.S., the publishers of Mashashi Kishimoto's popular ninja fight series Naruto are offering fans a chance to get a jump on the 45th paperback volume in the series. The May issue of Shonen Jump magazine, which has been serializing the adventures of the mischievous student ninja since its U.S. debut, is printing the key to accessing an online preview of 127 pages of the book. (Typical volumes run to 192 pages.) This preview will be available on the Shonen Jump website through May 5th.
The paper version is set for a July 2009 release. Recently, series publisher Viz Media has been putting books out at an accelerated pace, pushing the series from volume 34 through 44 over a three-month span. With volume 45, Naruto returns to its usual quarterly release schedule. In it, our title hero and his friend/rival Sasuke learn more about their respective increasing fighting powers as Naruto's village faces an attack. This growing strength is a double-edged sword for our hero: the more powerful he becomes, the harder it is to control the demon trapped within his body.
With its combination of intense fight sequences and knockabout humor, Naruto has a world-wide readership that American comics publishers would envy, with more than 85 million copies of his adventures in print world-wide. If Shonen Jump's newest promo gimmick doesn't increase the boy's paperback readership, it could add to greater interest in the mag, which is also home to serialized adventures of other Viz series like Bleach and One Piece. As the flagship figure of the boy's manga action line, Uzamaki Naruto is Peter Parker to Viz's Marvel.