For anyone not familiar with the franchise, Naruto is the name of the main character and the title of a Manga (Japanese comic novel) and animated television series in Japan. The story and illustrations are both done by Masashi Kishimoto, who’s Naruto mangawas first published in 1999 by Shonen Jump magazine.
Naruto is a long-running TV series that airs in Tokyo before being translated and re-voiced by an English cast for airing in the United States. The series is shown on television networks throughout the United States, and the DVD sets and CD soundtracks are both available for purchase on Amazon.com.
I was first introduced to Naruto a few years ago when my son, then eight, wanted me to watch it with him. Since then, I have become a huge fan. Naruto is a fascinating show that is a lot of fun to watch, and it has much to offer both children and adults. If you havn’t yet introduced your child to the series, here are some reasons why you should:
- Inspiration to Draw
Because Naruto is an animated series, reading the comic or watching to TV series can inspire young fans to draw, themselves. This can improve hand-eye coordination, encourage development of imagination–and develop a healthy hobby that can last a lifetime.
- Inspiration to Read
Reading manga can encourage even reluctant readers to read because of the extensive artwork that accompanies the text. And these comic novels can act as stepping stones to more complicated books. Remember, when a child learns to love reading, they don’t want to stop.
- An Excellent Example to Live By
Naruto is an excellent role model for young people. Among Naruto’s most prominent positive traits are loyalty, perseverance, fairness, and a strong sense of right and wrong.
- Makes Kids (and Adults) Consider Their Own Actions
The characters in the series experience many realistic social situations. And as they work through them over long periods of time, young people watching the series will be encouraged to think about how they would handle similar situations in their own lives.The characters on Naruto and written realistically, as though they are real people. They find themselves in situations that many “real” people face–such as having feelings for someone who doesn’t return their feelings, having trouble in school, wanting to impress everone so they won’t see you as an outsider, etc. So fans watching the show or reading the manga will know that they are not alone in having such feelings and will be encouraged to work through their emotions just as the Naruto characters do.
- Inspires Interest in Foreign Cultures
Because Naruto is written and animated in Japan, fans in America can learn aspects of the Japanese culture that are reflected through the television series and manga. This includes food, family relationships, friendships, schooling, attitudes toward growing up and shouldering new responsibilities, and more.
- Awesome Music
Much of the music created for the Naruto television series is excellent–not to mention fun. And, because many of the cover songs are sung in Japanese, fans of the show may develop a rudimentary familiarity with some words of the Japanese language after listening to the music. Fans may develop enough of an interest in the language to inspire them to being learning to speak Japanese, themselves.
- Inspiration to Learn a New Language
The Naruto dvd sets include the original Japanese voiceover tracks, as well as the English tracks. The sets also have an option to display English subtitles while listening to to the Japanese audio. So, fans who watch the shows while listening to the Japanese tracks while viewing the English subtitles will likely develop an even greater familiarity of the Japanese language. This may inspire fans to learn Japanese, just as listening to the soundtracks might.
The Most Affordable Way to Buy
The way to get the best price on the Naruto manga, at least for the entire first “season,” is to buy the Naruto 2008 Box Set for volumes 1-27. Purchasing them this way will save you about $3 per volume. For Naruto manga volumes 28 and up–the volumes of the Naruto Shippuden series (second “chapter” of the series), you’ll need to purchase them individually–at least, until a second box set is brought together.
The Naruto dvds are offered in a few different versions, but the most recent–and least expensive per episode–is the Naruto dvd box sets
with the super-thin jewel cases. The first of these sets was published October 6, 2009. Each includes 6 dvds and runs about 10 hours. These dvd sets include the English cast voiceovers, but also include the option to hear the original Japanese cast. Of course, the sets also offer the English subtitles option if you want to listen to the Japanese tracks, but still understand what they’re saying.
Video Games, Too
To make things even more fun, there are numerous Naruto video games available for most of the major video game platforms. The games are fun–and the graphics are quite beautiful in the more recent games–but I wouldn’t say the games have the same level of inspiration as I noted for the manga and television series. However, the games are good mental reinforcement of the characters, which means the child will remember the lessons learned in the other media. Did I mention, the games are FUN? : )