Thursday, December 16, 2010

Naruto Review

As a group, we read the first three chapters of Naruto for our Graphic Novel class. After reading, we are now writing a plot summary and analysis of the manga novel’s style.

Naruto is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. The series is currently still in production and has not been finished. The main plot tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki. Naruto is a ninja still in training who is constantly seeking attention and recognition. His goal in which he works the whole novel for is to become a Hokage. A Hokage is a ninja who rules a village and is recognized as the most powerful ninja in that village.

Naruto Uzumaki has a very unique past, as do many graphic novel heroes. As a young boy, Naruto had the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox sealed within him. The story behind the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox is that twelve years prior to the start of the series, the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox attacked the ninja village where Naruto resides, Konohagakure, slaughtering many people. To defend his village from the attack, the leader of Konohagakure and the most powerful ninja (as referenced above), the Fourth Hokage, sacrificed his life to seal the demon inside Naruto. This happened twelve years prior to the start of the series therefore Naruto was a newborn when the demon was sealed within him. The Third Hokage, who took control after the Fourth Holage’s death, made it a law to never mention the attack of the demon fox or to talk about where the demon now resided. This decree also included Naruto, who does not become aware of the demon inside of him for many years.

The first chapter picks up showing Naruto as a trouble maker. His behavioral problems and mistreatment by town officials are explained by the demon inside of him. Naruto begins school and his adventures start when he joins team 7. The main plot line follows team 7, Naruto and his two friends, Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno. These two people are students along with Naruto who are chosen to be on a three-team, team 7, for training and to complete missions. Young ninjas join these teams in order to move higher in the ranks of ninjas and for Naruto, to eventually become Hokage. The purpose of these teams is to complete missions for the villagers however may trivial or difficult they may be. The main plot line follows Naruto’s team throughout their adventures and missions, showing each member’s growth and development not just as a ninja, but as a person. The story depicts each character’s personal lives and problems and how they affect their growth as a ninja. To simplify it, Naruto is like the soap opera, Days of Our Lives, but with more fighting, ninjas, Japanese culture, and younger characters.

The style of manga is different from that of western comics in many different aspects. Ranging from the use of lines in the different panels, all the way to the symbols used for action. For example, the lines drawn in manga were a lot different than those in western ones. There are thin, straight lines, that are dense to show shading, and detail. There are also normal lines to show shape and form. In manga, these lines are used often to dramatize the panels.
Addition to that, the characters, environment, objects, and so on, are all really close to realism. Even when they use magic to transform or multiply, there are many clones but all seem like realistic people. Of course the symbols, and clothes are not really seen in real life, but could easily be imitated, therefore do not stray far from realism. The detail shown in each person adds to the realism; every emotion in a person is portrayed with significant detail. For example, if someone is happy they are portrayed with squinting eyes, and a wide grin. Whenever they are angry we notice the obvious frown, and the smaller eyes. This is also seen in western style, but this is a lot more common, and obvious in manga.
Another important factor is the way the dialogue boxes were drawn. The dialogue boxes, and the lack off showed as much emotions as did the words inside. For example, for excitement the dialogue boxes had sharp jagged edges and the letters inside were bolder than normal. And as the panel is zoomed out and we would barely be able to hear the talking, dialogue boxes aren’t even present. Also outside of the dialogue boxes are random shapes, possibly letters in a different language, that show onamanepia, and so on. Along with the dialogue goes the facial expression. As mentioned previously, happiness and disappointment is all shown dramatically, but inner expression is shown also; especially in page 91, one panel in which we see “inner Sakura” behind the normal one, and so on.
Another large difference, one of the most obvious ones is the fact that manga is read the exact opposite of the “normal” western style. Online the pages have already been arranged backwards to make it easier for the reader, but chapter one was on the bottom of the list, and in each page the reader has to read it from right to left.

1 comment:

Michael Hancock said...

Your review nicely summarizes the premise of Naruto and goes on to identify some of the work's elements of visual style. The review tends to focus on analysis over evaluation; tell us more about whether you enjoy the work and why. The review comes to an abrupt end without your overall recommendation about the series based on your reading of volume 1. Finally, more careful proofreading would help to reduce or eliminate various errors here, including a sentence fragment, a run-on (fused) sentence, comma errors, and agreement errors.