Similarly to Pokémon, Naruto has become something of a global phenomenon. Selling by the truckload in Japan and the US, the hit show has finally arrived in the UK, first on TV, and now on DVD.
Thanks to the scale of its reputation this series has a lot of hopes pinned on it, many even seeing it as make or break for anime outside its two main markets. Its ultimate success is hard to foretell but as an anime aimed at the younger generation, Naruto certainly deserves close inspection.
When a nine-tailed fox demon attacks Konoha village, the Ninjas who live there can find only one way to stop it – the fox is trapped in the belly of a newborn baby.
That baby is Naruto, when we meet him, a roustabout 12-year-old orphan, always getting into trouble at his village’s ninja academy and totally unaware of his vulpine passenger.
The story proceeds by following young Naruto’s antics as he plays up to his elders, attempts to become a fully-fledged ninja and formulates his ultimate goal – to be come the next Hokage, the ninja chief.
Naruto is a kid’s show, but a respectable one. There’s plenty of fun and tons of action but Naruto is not content to continually re-run the same story each episode. Characters are developed and story arcs fully explored.
Those who have to think hard to remember their teenage years will probably not be regular viewers, but even they will be forced to admit that Naruto is a clever combination of ‘wacky’ and ‘worthy’.