Naruto is a tale that takes place in a land ruled by ninja. A battle between the ninja village of fire, Konoha, and a nine-tailed demon fox of incredible and frightening power sets the plot of Naruto in motion; the demon is so powerful that it could only be stopped by being sealed into the body of a baby boy by the Fourth Hokage at the cost of his own life.

12 years later, we meet the orphaned Uzumaki Naruto, the boy in which the demon fox is sealed. Holding such a terrifying monster within him, the adults shun him and although they are bound against telling their children what Naruto hides within him, they encourage them to avoid him at all costs. Naruto, without any friends, can't understand why he is so shunned and resorts to being the class clown in a desperate attempt to gain attention from others. He's not popular at all among his peers but he still tries hard to achieve his dream of becoming Hokage. After graduating from the academy and becoming a full-fledged ninja, Naruto is paired up into a three-man team with the two students he hates (Uchiha Sasuke) and likes (Haruno Sakura) the most. Things are rocky for Naruto at the beginning but as the series progresses, he soon proves that he's worthy of being a ninja and becomes stronger with each adventure that crosses his path.

Below is a list of terms that are important to know in order to understand a lot of what's going on in Naruto:

  • chakra - Mental energy required to do genjutsu and ninjutsu.
  • chuunin - One rank above genin.
  • genin - Lowest rank of ninja.
  • genjutsu - Illusionary ninja techniques that require chakra.
  • Hokage - Kage of Konoha.
  • jounin - One rank above chuunin.
  • kage - The one strongest ninja of each village.
  • Konoha - The hidden village of fire. Naruto takes place here.
  • ninjutsu - Ninja techniques that require chakra.
  • shinobi - Japanese for ninja.
  • taijutsu - Physical ninja techniques that do not require chakra.
  • The series was originally created by Kishimoto Masashi and began its publication in Weekly Shounen Jump in 1999. It became so popular that it was made into an anime a few years later, broadcasted for the first time on TV Tokyo on October 3, 2002. Both anime and manga are still continuing in Japan and there have even been two feature length movies, two OAVs and a ton of video games on various consoles.

    Naruto is currently available in North America, licensed by Viz Media. Chapters from the manga have been published in Shounen Jump USA since December 2002 and the first Naruto graphic novel was printed in July 2003 with later volumes being released every three to four months. The anime is set to air on the Cartoon Network in September 2005.