Naruto: The End is Only The Beginning
By Brandon Fern
MCC Web Editor
It’s no secret that anime is popular in America, however, when you think of anime, you are more likely to think of such popular comics like “Dragon Ball Z,” “Sailor Moon,” or “Naruto.”
As some of these manga (graphic novels) franchises continue to gain popularity; “Dragon Ball Z” with the release of the film “Battle of Gods”, and Sailor Moon gaining new fans with the anime “Sailor Moon Crystal”, “Naruto” has recently ended with its final two chapters.
After 15 years, Masashi Kishimoto’s manga phenomenon officially came to a close on November 10, with early scans and raws appearing on manga scanlation sites such as “MangaHead” and “SenManga” on November 6.
However, just because the original story of the young ninja wanting to become Hokage (a ninja village leader) has ended, the Naruto franchise still has a ton of steam left in it. Kishimoto announced that he will work on a special project called the “Naruto: New Era Opening Project” (Naruto Shin Jidai Kaimaku Project), to celebrate the fifteen years he has spent on the “Naruto” series.
The project begins in the next chapter of the franchise with a large amount of releases and events that are a part of it. The first is the release of the film “The Last: Naruto the Movie,” taking place during the time skip between Chapters 699 and 700.
The plot revolves around a villain named, Toneri Ōtsutsuki, who is a member of a clan related to the Sage of the Six Paths (a god-like figure who gave chakra to the world in order to create peace), sending the moon on a collision course towards earth as a penance for mankind’s weaponization of chakra.
The film is also a love story according to Kishimoto, covering how Naruto reciprocates the love expressed by his childhood friend, Hinata, leading to their eventual marriage and family in chapter 700. Kishimoto stated in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun that he wanted to write about the romantic relationships in the manga, but remark on the difficulties he had doing it.
“I am not good at writing romances,” Kishimoto said, “because I feel embarrassed when trying to do so.”
The film will be released in Japan on December 6, with a novelization released two days after. Along with this, the anime “Naruto Shippuden” will also have a special released two days prior to the release as a tie in, detailing the history and relationship of Hinata and her sister, who are targets of the villain in the film.
Along with the film, the last data book, which is a series of supplementary books expanding on the Naruto Universe, was released on November 4 in Japan, covering volumes 44-71.
The Manga will also continue, as a miniseries/ side story covering the next generation, as well as side story books, revolving around a particular character for each one to be released starting with Kakashi Hatake (Naruto’s ninja teacher).
For those lucky enough to live in Japan (or have the income to fly there spontaneously), a large Exhibition commemorating the end of the series called “End of Serialization Commemoration: Masashi Kishomoto’s Naruto Exhibit.” will open next summer in the cities of Tokyo and Osaka.
While there is no official end to the anime itself, it is expected to run into the next year at least, along with Viz Media, an English distributor of the Naruto anime and manga, releasing the most recent film “Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie” on November 25.
Viz also announced that the final volume would be released in America late next year or in early 2016. Along with the very great possibility of more games following the recent release of “Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution,” the Naruto franchise, much like “Dragon Ball Z” or “Pokemon,” won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.