Naruto Volume Nine is a manga by Masashi Kishimoto, and it was released in North America by Viz Media’s Shonen Jump imprint in 2006. The series is rated “T” for teens; from what I’ve read of the manga and from what I’ve seen of the anime series, I would agree with this rating.
Naruto Uzumaki is the main character of Naruto, and he’s the number one hyperactive knuckleheaded ninja in the Hidden Leaf Village. His dream is to become the leader of his village and to be acknowledged by everyone. Up to now, Naruto has been shunned by the adults of the village because they fear the fox demon that was sealed inside of Naruto when he was a baby.
Naruto is a member of Team 7, and his teammates are Sakura Haruno and Sasuke Uchiha. Together, they are competing in the Chunin Exam, which is an exam that determines which ninja are worthy enough to be promoted from the Genin rank to the Chunin rank.
This volume continues with the preliminary battles that will decide which of the remaining ninja will progress to the third and final exam. The battle between Sakura and Ino that was in progress at the end of Volume Eight is quickly concluded at the beginning of Volume Nine. The other matches that take place in this volume are: Tenten versus Temari, Shikamaru versus Tsuchi, Naruto versus Kiba, and Hinata versus Neji.
Since I had seen the corresponding anime episodes before reading this manga, it was interesting to see that the match between Tenten and Temari actually takes place “off screen” while Sakura and Ino are talking to each other after their match. In that respect, I prefer the anime telling of this section, because the viewer gets to see both Sakura and Ino’s conversation and the match that takes place between Tenten and Temari.
As one would expect, the longest match in the volume is the one that includes Naruto. This is an amusing match to see, both in the manga and in the anime. There are a couple of twists during this match, and the conclusion is very amusing.
The final match between Hinata and Neji provides some backstory for Hinata that helps explain why she is the way she is. This match also allows the reader to get to know Neji better as a character. There’s also a bit of explanation of the Byakugan, the ninjutsu that is exclusive to their clan.
Even though I already know what’s going to happen due to seeing the corresponding anime episodes, I still enjoyed reading how the story is presented in the manga; however, like I said earlier, I was disappointed to not see Tenten and Temari’s match in the manga telling. One of the things I really enjoy about the Chunin Exam arc, especially these preliminary matches, is the fact that backstory is presented for several of the characters that are introduced in this arc, which allows Kishimoto to expand on the world that he was created for the Naruto universe.
If you’re a fan of Naruto and have read and enjoyed the previous eight volumes of the series, then you’ll definitely enjoy reading Volume Nine.