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Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto is a popular manga series aimed at a young teen readership. It has also spawned a successful anime series and feature films along with spin-off games and novels.

The series follows Uzimaki Naruto, an impulsive and mischievous young boy in the village of Konohagakure, who dreams of becoming a master ninja. The "shonen" series blends knockabout comedy, action and high drama – as our hero struggles to become a "Hokage," a leader among ninjas.

Though a trial version of the character appeared in a one-shot in 1997, the familiar version of Naruto debuted in 1999 in the Japanese version of Shonen Jump magazine. The first volume of the American paperback debuted in America in 2003 and has been a consistent top-seller. In an attempt to catch up with the Japanese collections, Viz initiated a "Naruto Nation" blitz in September 2007, publishing three volumes a month for four months. The flood of paperbacks did not dampen fans' enthusiasm for the series, which has also been a solid performer as an anime TV series for The Cartoon Network's Toonami bloc.

About Bill Sherman

Bill Sherman is a Books editor for Blogcritics. With his lovely wife Rebecca Fox, he has co-authored a light-hearted fat acceptance romance entitled Measure By Measure.

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