With an extremely popular series, Japanese fans expect to see the appearance of an art book. Prior to the art book's existence, the artists are allotted or budgeted for color pages in a monthly issue. This goes over a period of time, and with the frequency of a manga being published in Japan, the amount of color pages drawn collects over chapters. Then they appear again in art books for fans who want an archival copy of the images. So it is no surprise that Nauto has its own art book in Japanese and to then know that Viz re-released it in English as a present for Naruto fans.
The manga is more detailed and richer than the anime drawings, so for anime viewers, the art book only covers drawings from the first season of Naruto. This is a hardcover book arranged in a thematic format featuring images showcasing personalities from various characters to recapping enemies or bringing out messages of what the artist wanted to show.
What also makes this art book neat is a long translated interview with the mangaka Masashi Kishimoto for how his characters are formed and then a timeline workflow process to drawing a Naruto artwork. This is a source of inspiration for people who want to be artists of their own right.
Naruto is still an ongoing bestseller for Shonen Jump, and does not appear to be concluding anytime soon with its Shippuden addition, so as mentioned before, this art book is a dated one, but if you happen to appreciate the younger side of Team 7 then this is an art book to not miss owning.
Reviewed by Linda Yau, October 2011
Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm (PS3)
Anime Videogame Review
We've played Naruto fight games before. We've played a lot of Naruto fight games before....
But none that looked like *this* — holy hannah, never before has a videogame looked more like the anime series, in fact, we'll go as far as to say that it looks better than the anime series! Played on a PS3 and viewed on a 50inch Sony LCD HDTV, we were totally blown away by the level of detail and the absolute attention to accuracy regarding the characters and situations that make up the universe of Naruto.
If fact, the first time you start playing you'll actually be distracted by the look and feel. Button mashers be warned, this is not an easy game to learn, there's no instruction manual (although the ultra-cool metal case includes some awesome extras such as a card-game card, a lazer etched cel, and the soundtrack on a bonus CD), and the learning curve to pull off those killer moves is steep. We recommend you master these moves BEFORE you connect to other players on the internet, lest you have your ass handed to you.
When you do get to perform your ultimate jitsu, of course, the game takes over for a few seconds but the results are more than worth it for the spectacular fashion in which they are rendered. Overall, and despite some drawbacks, this game is killer and Bandai/Namco has a huge hit on their hands.
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, January 2009
Naruto: Clash of the Ninja Revolution
(for Nintendo Wii)
Anime Videogame Review
When I heard about the Wii, I thought I would never get addicted to any of their games. They are geared more towards kids and I am most certainly not a kid... age-wise, at least. After being forced to go through the Wii experience, I found out that I am still mentally 12 years old and loved the interactivity of the Wii. Where else but on the Wii can you work up a sweat beating the crap out of Orochimaru?
Maybe I should start at the beginning for all the adults out there. Orochimaru is the evil bad guy that the entire ninja Leaf Village is up against. Specifically, Naruto (our title character), Sasuke (his best friend and main competitor in becoming the future leader of the village), and Sakura (Naruto's love interest and Sasuke's secret admirer) lead by Kakashi Sensei are fated to be the ones that can slow Orochimaru's plan to take over the village. Between learning new skills from Kakashi Sensei and finishing up missions, Naruto and his friends have to save people that Orochimaru is killing and figure out a way to find where he is.
The great thing about this game is that it takes these elements of the anime and make it work in the game as well. You have one on one fights that are similar to the Street Fighter games but since you are playing with the Wii, every twitch and swipe and jiggle of the Wii-mote and Nunchuks correspond to a particular move that your character does. You no long have to press the buttons down, down, forward, forward, punch for your fire balls; all you have to do is pump you hands up and down with the Wii-mote and Nunchuk to simulate building up your chakra for Naruto's Rasengan and then launch it at your opponent. Oh, if that doesn't pique your interest, think of the possibilities that these controllers offer for the rest of the characters like Shikamaru, Kakashi Sensei, Jiraiya, AND even Orochimaru himself.
When you get bored of the Street Fighter portion of the game, skip over to the minigames and skill tests that Sakura-chan introduces you to. My favorites were Multiple Shadow Technique, kunai training, and Rasengan training minigames. In the Multiple Shadow Technique minigame, Naruto tries to hide from you using this technique and you have to spot which one is the real Naruto. In the kunai training minigame, you have to throw as many kunai as possible at cutouts of Naruto, Sasuke, and Kakashi Sensei. Remember: if you see Sakura; don't hit her because she's negative points. I described the Rasengan training before already so I won't bore you with any details. All three of these minigames sounds infinitely easy to play and they are but to master them and reach Master Ninja level (ahhhhhhh the test of a true gamer) requires sweat, concentration, and maybe some batteries. Also, these minigames and tests can help hone what skills you don't have when playing in Street Fighter mode so you can go back and not look like a sissy so much.
For those of you who are following Naruto's adventures from episodes in Japan, this is a great game to reminisce Naruto's younger days and see the characters when they are still young and naive. For those of you who are following Naruto's adventures from episodes in other countries, enjoy the Naruto that you love now before everyone starts growing up.
Reviewed by Carolyn Whu, February 2008
Naruto Clash of Ninja 2 (For Nintendo Gamecube)
Anime Game Review
Nartuto: Clash of Ninja 2 builds on the success of the first game (reviewed a few months previously), but with many more characters to play (23 characters available now versus the first version which only had 8), and a much longer and more challenging story mode. The cel-shaded look is even sharper and more cartoon-like this time around, it really feels like playing an episode of the actual show.
Other good news for this version is that the fighting system is vastly improved. More special moves are available for each character, which lends itself to more exciting head-to-head competition between players. Beginning gamers should also find that simple button mashing still can be an effective strategy (which is what made the first game so good was that experienced and non-experienced gamers alike could play together and have a good time.) This makes Clash of the Ninja 2 a good "party game" that will allows up to four players to participate, taking full advantage of the Gamecube's abilities.
And since the Wii is backwards compatible, it is usable in your new console as well (but be careful that you don't end up throwing your controller through the TV set!).
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, February 2007
Naruto Clash of Ninja
(For Nintendo Gamecube)
Anime Videogame Review
If you are the type that is into anime, but not into the time it takes to master the intricacies of fighting games, then Naruto Clash of Ninja is for you.
Naruto is a fighting game based on a popular manga featured in Japan's Shonen Jump Magazine. The manga and the cartoon have been released in the USA, gone on to become wildly popular, and the game is a natural outgrowth of the popularity of the series.
There are dozens of sites that will explain the story behind Naruto, but to sum it up: Naruto is about a boy who is a Ninja student who happens to have a fox demon locked inside him. Luckily the game gives us a brief intro for those of us who don't know much about the show.
The story aside, the game itself is very appealing. While many other fighting games are increasing in complexity, Naruto Clash of Ninja seems to strive for simplicity. The fighting style is simple, which means you don't need to spend hours trying to learn all the different moves. This allows you to jump right into the game.
Most moves are done with the control stick and either the A or B Buttons, the Y button is used to grab and throw an opponent and the X button is used for the special move which is attained when your power meter known in the game as the Chakara gage fills up. These special moves are character specific, and match the powers of each character from the series.
For some the simplicity of the gameplay seems bad, they claim that the game lacks depth because the game is designed for kids. That may be true, but I find it good for adults who want a decent fighting game without having to study the game as if studying Gray's Anatomy. One thing I like about Nintendo games is that they are intuitive and can be easily grasped.
For fun I grabbed a few friends who were not normally into anime or the fighting game genre. Immediately we had a great time. They were able to get into the game even against seasoned game players. As one of them said I would call this the fighting game for the rest of us and I agree. Even if you are not a Naruto fan, this game is worth it if you want to have some fun with fighting games.
Below: Two illustrations from The Art of Naruto: Uzumaki.
Naruto Uncut Boxed Set Vol. 1
Anime DVD Review
There's an old saying that reads "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.", and this is essentially the basis for what has become "the" anime phenomena of 2006 - Naruto. Where DragonBallZ once ruled the cartoon universe, Naruto has come in and taken over as the king of fighting anime.
Naruto tales place in a world where ninja hold the ultimate power. Infused with the spirit of a once fearsome Nine-Tailed Fox, Naruto Uzumaki is a ninja-in-training who is learning the art of Ninjutsu with his classmates Sakura and Sasuke. The trio study under the instruction of their teacher, Kakashi, who helps the group face dangerous and daunting tests and challenges. Through their adventures, the young ninjas learn the importance of friendship, teamwork, loyalty, hard work, creativity, ingenuity, and right versus wrong.
Within each spectacular episode, we see that as the protagonists learn their skills, their powers grow and grow surprising, not just their opponents (as has often happened in DBZ), but surprising themselves! Naruto, filled with self-confidence often views himself as more capable than he really is, and ends up being quite the klutz -- but, as we watch him grow throughout the series we become more and more impressed by his abilities.
This ultimate UNCUT edition contains all the extra blood and nudity cut from Cartoon Network's broadcast of the series -- and trust us when we say that this show does not hold back on violence - even as broadcast the characters take a pretty severe beating, and this boxed set only enhances the experience.