Naruto (NARUTO—ナルト— NARUTO?) is an ongoing Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. The plot tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, an adolescent ninja who constantly searches for recognition and dreams to become the Hokage, the ninja in his village who is acknowledged as the leader and the strongest of all. The series is based on a one-shot comic by Kishimoto that was published in the August 1997 issue of Akamaru Jump. The manga was first published by Shueisha in 1999 in the 43rd issue of Japan’s Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine. Currently, the manga is still being serialized; fifty-nine tankōbon volumes have been released so far. The manga was later adapted into an anime, which 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 eight 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 has licensed the manga and anime for North American production. Viz has been publishing the series in their Shonen Jump magazine, and as well as the individual volumes. 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. Viz Media will begin streaming both series on their upcoming streaming service Neon Alley this fall. Naruto is one of the best-selling manga series of all time having sold more than 126.5 million copies in Japan alone. 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 7 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.
Twelve years before the start of the series, a powerful creature known as the Nine-tailed Demon Fox attacked the ninja village Konoha, killing many people. In response, the leader of Konoha– the Fourth Hokage– sacrificed his life to seal the demon inside the newborn Naruto Uzumaki. Konoha, however, regarded Naruto as if he were the demon fox itself and mistreated him throughout most of his childhood. A decree made by the current Kage, the Third Hokage, forbade anyone mention the attack of the demon fox to anyone else. This included Naruto, who was not aware of the demon inside of him. Years later, Naruto is tricked by the renegade ninja Mizuki into stealing a forbidden scroll that would teach him a secret ninja technique, but he is stopped by his teacher, Iruka Umino. When Iruka almost dies while protecting Naruto from Mizuki, who also reveals that he is the container of the Nine-Tailed Fox, Naruto uses the Jutsu he learned from the scroll that creates multiple clones of himself, Shadow Clone Technique, to defeat Mizuki. Naruto is assigned alongside Sasuke Uchiha, whom he often competes against, and Sakura Haruno, whom he has a crush on, to form a three-person team named Team 7 under an experienced and severe sensei, the elite ninja Kakashi Hatake. Like all the ninja teams from every village, Team 7 is charged with completing missions requested by villagers, such as doing chores or being bodyguards. After several missions, most notably their mission to Wave Country as Tazuna the bridge builder’s guards, Kakashi allows Team 7 to participate in a ninja exam in which they can advance to a higher rank, and thus, take part in more difficult missions. During the exams, Orochimaru, a criminal at the top of Konoha’s most wanted list, attacks Konoha and kills the Third Hokage in an act of revenge. This forces one of the three legendary ninja, Jiraiya, to search for his former teammate Tsunade, who has been nominated to become the Fifth Hokage. During the search, it is revealed that Orochimaru desires to acquire Sasuke due to his powerful genetic heritage, the Sharingan. Believing Orochimaru will be able to give him the strength needed to kill his brother Itachi, who destroyed his clan, Sasuke eventually joins him after a humiliating defeat at his brother’s hands. Tsunade sends a group of ninja including Naruto to make Sasuke return to Konoha, but Naruto is unable to defeat him and bring him back to the village. Naruto does not give up on Sasuke, however, and he leaves Konoha to train for two and a half years under Jiraiya’s tutelage in order to prepare himself for the next time he encounters Sasuke. After the training period, a criminal organization called Akatsuki attempts to capture the nine powerful tailed beasts that are sealed within people—including the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox sealed inside of Naruto. Several ninjas from Konoha, including Team 7, fight against the Akatsuki members and search for their teammate Sasuke. Although they manage to save Gaara, the host of the One-Tailed beast, Akatsuki is successful in capturing the other seven creatures whose hosts die in the process. In the meantime, Sasuke betrays Orochimaru and faces Itachi to take revenge. After Itachi dies in battle, Sasuke is told by the Akatsuki founder and leader Tobi that Itachi was ordered by Konoha’s leadership to destroy his clan. Saddened with this revelation, Sasuke joins forces with Akatsuki to kill Konoha’s superiors who orchestrated the Uchihas’ elimination. Meanwhile, as several Akatsuki members are defeated by the Konoha ninjas, their figurehead leader, Pain, invades the village to capture Naruto. However, Naruto defeats him and convinces him to abandon the Akatsuki. With Pain’s eventual death, Tobi-disguised as one of Konoha’s founding fathers Madara Uchiha-announces that he wants to obtain all nine of the tailed beasts in order to perform an illusion powerful enough to control all of humanity. The leaders of the five ninja villages refuse to aid him, and instead, join forces to confront him and his allies. This results into a fourth ninja world war between the unified armies of the Five Great Countries collectively known as the “Ninja Alliance Army” and Akatsuki’s forces. During the conflict, it is revealed that Tobi is actually Obito Uchiha, Kakashi’s former teammate who was supposed to be dead, but he was saved by the real Madara Uchiha and has been working under him ever since.
A kunai (苦無 kunai?) is a Japanese tool possibly derived from the masonry trowel. Two variations are the short kunai (小苦無 shō-kunai?) and the big kunai (大苦無 dai-kunai?). It is a good example of a basic tool which, in the hands of a martial arts expert, could be used as a multi-functional weapon. It is commonly associated with the ninja, who used it to gouge holes in walls.