Thu, 3 January 2008
Manga Review for Naruto Volume 5: The Challengers by Masashi Kishimoto. Translated by Mari Morimoto. Adapted by Jo Duffy. Originally published in Japan by Shueisha in 1999. Published in US by Viz Shonen Jump, $7.95, Rated T for Teen.
Cell 7 is getting prepared for the first round of the Chunin Exam to become journeymen ninja but first things first. Rock Lee challenges Sasuke to a one on one match before the test even starts! Naruto and company are a little intimidated by the assemblage of ninja at the Exam since a lot of them are not rookies like their team. Naruto almost wets himself when he finds out the first round of the Exam is a written test. We all know and even HE knows he's not exactly the brightest lightbulb in the room. There are 10 questions with a value of 1 point each with the total points of each team being the combined score of all three members. What makes it a bit tricky is that the ninja are not told what score it takes to pass. If any team member gets caught cheating, 2 points will be deducted from each member. If you lose all 10 points you fail and will be asked to leave. Sakura has no problem with the questions since she is the smartest on her team but Naruto and Sasuke are going to have to figure out some way to get the answers from other examinees without getting nabbed.
The reader is caught just as much off-guard as Naruto's team when you find out that the first item of business for the Chunin exam is a 10 question written test. I was expecting some sort of slam bang tournament in which fighters duke it out. What Kishimoto is able to do in Volume 5 is to give a hint of each ninja's powers without giving too much away as they use their various abilities to cheat without catching the eye of any of the proctors. Well, actually, some do get caught, but nobody worthwhile. Kishimoto also introduces two important relationships. The first is that between Sakura and Yamanaka Ino, who appear to be rivals for the affections of Sasuke (even though he hasn't shown interest in either). The second is that between Naruto and Hyuga Hinata, a shy girl that Naruto thinks is a freak, but she has an unuttered crush on him. Great character designs, art, and writing.
My Grade: A
Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 8:02am CDT