Anime Review - Naruto
Cover of the first Naruto manga volume
Naruto (NARUTO -???-?, romanized as NARUTO) is an ongoing Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. The plot tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, an adolescent ninja who constantly searches for recognition and aspires to become a Hokage, the ninja in his village that is acknowledged as the leader and the strongest of all. The series is based on a one-shot comic by Kishimoto that was published in the August 1997 issue of Akamaru Jump.
The manga was first published by Shueisha in 1999 in the 43rd issue of Japan's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. Currently, the manga is still being serialized with forty-seven tankobon volumes released so far. The manga was later adapted into an anime, which was produced by Studio Pierrot and Aniplex. It premiered across Japan on the terrestrial TV Tokyo network and the anime satellite television network Animax on October 3, 2002. The first series lasted 220 episodes, while Naruto: Shippuden, a sequel to the original series, has been airing since February 15, 2007. In addition to the anime series, Studio Pierrot has developed six movies for the series and several original video animations (OVAs). Other types of merchandise include light novels, video games and trading cards developed by several companies.
Viz Media has licensed the manga and anime for North American production. Viz has been publishing the series in their Shonen Jump magazine, and as well as the indidividual volumes. The anime series began airing in the United States and Canada in 2005, and later in the United Kingdom and Australia in 2006 and 2007 respectively. The films, as well as most OVAs from the series, have also been released by Viz, with the first film premiering in cinemas. The first DVD volume of Naruto: Shippuden was released by Viz in North America on September 29, 2009, and it started broadcast in Disney XD in October from the same year.
As of volume 36, the manga has sold over 71 million copies in Japan. Serialized in Viz's Shonen Jump magazine, Naruto has become one of the company's best-selling manga series. The English adaptation of the series has also appeared in the USA Today Booklist several times and volume 11 won the Quil Award in 2006. Reviewers from the series have praised the balance between fighting and comedy scenes, as well as the characters' personalities, but have criticized it for using standard shonen plot elements.
8.5 / 10
Anime Adaptation Graphics :
9 / 10
Characters Uniqueness :
8.5 / 10
Episode life-span satisfactory :
8 / 10
9.5 / 10
Overall Rating :
9 / 10
Naruto Uzumaki is a young boy who has the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox sealed within him. Twelve years before the start of the series, the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox attacked the ninja village Konohagakure, slaughtering many people. In response, the leader of Konohagakure and its ninja military – the Fourth Hokage – sacrificed his life to seal the demon inside Naruto when he was a newborn. Konohagakure, however, regarded Naruto as if he were the demon fox itself and mistreated him throughout most of his childhood. A decree made by the Third Hokage, who replaced the Fourth Hokage after his death, forbade anyone mention the attack of the demon fox to anyone. Years later, Naruto is tricked by the renegade ninja Mizuki into stealing a forbidden scroll, but is stopped by his teacher, Iruka Umino. When Iruka almost dies while protecting Naruto from Mizuki, Naruto defeats Mizuki using the power from the scroll, which develops the supernatural ability Jutsu Shadow Clone Technique that creates clones from himself. That encounter makes Naruto realize he was the container of the demon fox.
The main story follows Naruto and his friends' personal growth. Naruto befriends two comrades, Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno, who are assigned with him to form a three-person team named Team 7 under an experienced sensei named Kakashi Hatake. Like all the ninja teams from the every village, Team 7 is in charge in completing missions requested by villagers such as being bodyguards. During the course of the missions, Naruto also befriends other characters that he meets throughout the series. They learn new abilities, get to know each other and other villagers better, and experience a coming-of-age journey as Naruto dreams of becoming the Hokage of Konohagakure. After several missions, Kakashi allows Team 7 to participate into a ninja exam in which they can improve their ranks, and thus, be part of harder missions. During the exams, Orochimaru, a criminal at the top of Konohagakure's most wanted list, attacks Konoha killing the Third Hokage as an act of revenge. This causes one of the three legendary ninja, Jiraiya to search for his partner Tsunade, to become the Fifth Hokage. During that search, it is revealed that Orochimaru also desires to acquire Sasuke Uchiha due to his powerful genetic heritage. Believing Orochimaru will be able to give him the strength needed to kill his brother Itachi, who destroyed all his clan, Sasuke goes to him. Tsunade sends a group of ninja including Naruto to make Sasuke return to Konoha, but Naruto is unable to defeat him. Naruto does not give up on Sasuke, leaving Konoha for two-and-a-half years of training under Jiraiya's tuition to prepare himself for the next time he encounters Sasuke.
After the training period, a mysterious organization called Akatsuki attempts to capture the nine powerful tailed beasts including the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox sealed inside of Naruto. Several ninjas from Konohagakure, including Team 7, fight against the Akatsuki members and search for their teammate Sasuke. Although they manage to save the host from the One-tailed beast, Gaara, Akatsuki is successful in capturing seven from the creatures. Sasuke, in the meantime betrays Orochimaru and faces Itachi to take revenge. Although Itachi dies in battle, Sasuke is later told by the Akatsuki founder Madara Uchiha that Itachi was ordered by Konohagakure's leadership to destroy his clan. Saddened with the revelation, Sasuke joins forces with Akatsuki to destroy Konohagakure. Meanwhile, as several Akatsuki members are defeated by the Konohagakure ninja, the leader, Pain, invades the village to capture Naruto. However, Naruto defeats all of Pain's bodies and convinces the real one to leave. While the villagers rebuild Konohagakure Tsunade is dismissed from her position as the Hokage as she ended in coma for using all her energy to protect the villagers from Pain. Therefore, the elder Danzo quickly takes the role.
Masashi Kishimoto first created a one-shot of Naruto for August 1997 issue of Akamaru Jump. Despite its high positive results in the reader poll, Kishimoto thought "[the] art stinks and the story's a mess!" Kishimoto was originally working on Karakuri for the Hop Step Award when, unsatisfied by the rough drafts, he decided to work on something different, which later formed into the manga series Naruto. Kishimoto has expressed concerns that the use of chakras and hand signs makes Naruto too Japanese, but still believes it to be an enjoyable read.
When originally creating the Naruto story, Kishimoto looked to other shonen manga as influences for his work, although he attempted to make his characters as unique as possible. The separation of the characters into different teams was intended to give each group a specific flavor. Kishimoto wished for each member to be "extreme," having a high amount of aptitude in one given attribute yet be talentless in another." The insertion of villains into the story was largely to have them act as a counterpoint to the characters' moral values. Kishimoto has admitted that this focus on illustrating the difference in values is central to his creation of villains to the point that, "I don't really think about them in combat." When drawing the characters, Kishimoto consistenly follows a five-step process: concept and rough sketch, drafting, inking, shading, and coloring. These steps are followed when he is drawing the actual manga and making the color illustrations that commonly adorn the cover of tankobon, the cover of Weekly Shonen Jump, or other media, but the toolkit he utilizes occasionally changes. For instance, he utilized an airbrush for one illustration for a Weekly Shonen Jump cover, but decided not to use it for future drawings largely due to the cleanup required. For Part II, the part of the manga beginning with volume 28, Kishimoto said that he attempted to not "overdo the typical manga style" by not including "too much deformation" and keeping the panel layouts to make it easy for the reader to follow the plot. Kishomoto said his drawing style changed from "the classic manga look to something a bit more realistic."
Kishimoto added that, as Naruto takes place in a "Japanese fantasy world," he has set certain rules, in a systematic way so that he could easily "convey the story." Kishimoto wanted to "draw on" the Chinese zodiac tradition, which had a long-standing presence in Japan; the zodiac hand signs originate from this. When Kishimoto was creating the setting of the Naruto manga, he initially concentrated on the designs for village of Konohagakure, the primary setting of the series. Kishimoto asserts that his design for Konohagakure was created "pretty spontaneously without much thought", but admits that the scenery is based on his home in the Okayama prefecture in Japan. Without a specific time period, Kishimoto included modern elements in the series such as convenience stores, but specifically excluded projectile weapons and vehicles from the storyline. For reference materials, Kishimoto performs his own research into Japanese culture and alludes to it in his work. Regarding technology Kishimoto said that Naruto would not have any firearms. He said he may include automobiles, aircraft, and "low-processing" computers; Kishimoto specified the computers would "maybe" be eight-bit and that they would "definitely not" be sixteen-bit. He has also stated that he has a visual idea of the last chapter of the series, including the text and the story. However, he notes that it may take a long time to end the series since "there are still so many things that need to be resolved".
When asked about what was Naruto's main theme during Part I, Kishimoto answered that it is how people accept each other citing Naruto's development in such part. Since being unable to focus in the romance during Part I, Kishimoto that during Part II he was to emphasize this theme more, despite finding it difficult.
Directed by Hayato Date and produced by Studio Pierrot and TV Tokyo, the Naruto anime adaptation premiered in Japan on TV Tokyo October 3, 2002, and ran for 220 episodes until its conclusion on February 8, 2007. The first 135 episodes are adapted from the first twenty-seven volumes of the manga, while the remaining eighty episodes are original episodes that utilize plot elements not seen in the original manga.
Episodes from the series have been published in DVD. The first DVD series has been the only one to be collected in VHS format. There are a total of five series, with each of the including four episodes per volume. The series has also been collected in a series of three DVD boxes during 2009. The newest DVD series is Naruto The Best Scene which collects scenes from the first 135 episodes from the anime.
Viz licensed the anime series for broadcast and distribution in the Region 1 market. The English adaptation of the anime began airing on September 10, 2005 and finished on January 31, 2009, with 209 episodes aired. The episodes have been shown on Cartoon Network's Toonami (United States), YTV's Bionix (Canada) and Jetix's (United Kingdom) programming blocks. YTV still airs the show with newer ones at midnight on Sundays and with reruns at 4am on Tuesdays-Fridays. Beginning on March 28, 2006, Viz released the series on DVD. While the first 26 volumes contain four episodes, since DVD volumes have five episodes. Uncut editions are compiled in DVD Box Sets, each containing 12-15 episodes, with some variation based around story arcs. In the American broadcast, references to alcohol, Japanese culture, sexual innuendo, and the appearance of blood and death were sometimes reduced for the broadcast, but left in the DVD editions. Other networks make additional content edits apart from the edits done by Cartoon Network, such as Jetix's stricter censoring of blood, language, smoking and the like. The series has also been licensed to the websites Hulu, Joost, and Crunchyroll, which air episodes online with the original Japanese audio tracks and English subtitles.
Naruto: Shippuden (??? ???, Naruto Shippuden?, lit. "Naruto: Hurricane Chronicles") is the ongoing sequel to the original Naruto anime and covers the Naruto manga from volume twenty-eight on. The TV adaptation of Naruto: Shippuden debuted in Japan on February 15, 2007 on TV Tokyo. It is developed by Studio Pierrot and directed by Hayato Date. ABS-CBN is the first TV network (TV network outside Japan) to broadcast Naruto: Shippuden. ABS-CBN has initially aired the first 40 episodes of Naruto: Shippuden until March 19, 2008. Beginning January 8, 2009, TV Tokyo began broadcasting new episodes via internet streaming directly to monthly subscribers. Each streamed episode is be made available online within an hour of its Japanese premiere and include English subtitles. Viz began streaming English subtitled episodes on January 2, 2009 on their official website for the series. The uploaded episodes include both previously released episodes and the new episodes from Japan. Beginning in October 2009, the English dub of Naruto: Shippuden started airing weekly on Disney XD.
The series is being released to Region 2 DVD in Japan with four or five episodes per disc. There are currently four series of DVD releases divided by story arc. There is also a special feature included with the seventh Naruto: Shippuden compilation DVD based on the second ending of the series called Hurricane! "Konoha Academy" Chronicles. Besides the regular DVD series, on December 16, 2009 it will be released one named Kakashi Chronicles: Boys' Life on the Battlefield (?????~??????????~, Kakashi Gaiden ~Senjo no Boizu Raifu~?) featuring episodes 119-120 which are set during Kakashi Hatake's childhood. The first North American DVD of the series was released on September 29, 2009.
List of Naruto characters
The Naruto anime and manga series features an extensive cast of characters created by Masashi Kishimoto. The series takes place in a fictional universe where different countries vie for power by using ninja who can use supernatural abilities in combat. The Naruto storyline is divided into two parts, simply named Part I and Part II, with the latter taking place two-and-a-half years after the conclusion of Part I. The series' storyline follows the adventures of a group of young ninja from the village of Konohagakure.
The major characters of the series during Part I
The titular character of the series is Naruto Uzumaki, an energetic ninja who wishes to become Hokage, the leader of Konohagakure. During the early part of the series, he is assigned to Team 7, during which he meets Sasuke Uchiha, a taciturn and highly skilled "genius" of the Uchiha clan; Sakura Haruno, who is infatuated with Sasuke yet has Naruto's affection; and Kakashi Hatake, the quiet and mysterious leader of the team. Over the course of the series, Naruto interacts with and befriends several of his fellow ninja in Konohagakure as well as other villages. He also encounters the series' antagonists, including Orochimaru, a former ninja of Konohagakure scheming to destroy his former home, and the elite ninja of the criminal organization Akatsuki.
The major characters of the series as they appear in Part II
While developing the series, Kishimoto created the three primary characters as a basis for the designs of the other three-person teams. He also utilized characters in other shonen manga as references in his design of the characters, a decision that was criticized by several anime and manga publications. The characters that Kishimoto developed were however praised for incorporating many of the better aspects of previous shonen characters, although many publications lamented the perceived lack of growth beyond such stereotypes. The visual presentation of the characters was commented on by reviewers, with praise and criticism given to Kishimoto's work in the manga and anime adaptation.
Creation and conception
When Masashi Kishimoto was originally creating the Naruto series, he looked to other shonen manga for influences while attempting to make his characters as unique as possible. Kishimoto cites Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball series as one of these influences, noting that Son Goku, the protagonist of Dragon Ball, was a key factor when creating Naruto Uzumaki due to his energetic and mischievous personality. To complement Naruto, Kishimoto worked on creating a rival that was a "cool genius", as he believed this was "the archetypal rival character". After reviewing different manga for ideas, he ultimately developed Sasuke Uchiha. When creating the primary heroine, Kishimoto admitted, "I don't have a definite image of what a heroine should be". He eventually created Sakura Haruno, emphasizing "her energy and flirtatious spirit" as her primary characteristics. These three characters would be the mold for the other three main Naruto teams.
The separation of the characters into different teams was intended to give each group a specific flavor. Kishimoto wished for each team member to be "extreme", having a high amount of aptitude in one given attribute, yet talentless in another. This approach was used to make each team perform best when individual members worked together to overcome their weaknesses. Having watched tokusatsu dramas as a child, Kishimoto wished for his teams to be different from the superhero teams in these dramas, dismissing the value of a team in which all the teammates were "strong to the point of perfection". Kishimoto notes that the different roles the characters assume is similar to many role-playing games, and "each character stands out better that way".
Kishimoto inserted villains into the story to counteract the lead characters' moral values. He stated that this focus on illustrating the difference in values is central to his creation of villains to the point that, "I don't really think about them in combat". The villains' physical appearances were also embellished in order to differentiate them from other characters, making it easier for a reader to follow the story and identify the villains, even in heated battle scenes. Kishimoto noted that making the villains "flamboyant" with a "showy costume" is "one of my guiding principles", as well as making them "more memorable".
When drawing the characters, Kishimoto consistently follows a five-step process: concept and rough sketch, drafting, inking, shading, and coloring. These steps are followed when he is drawing the manga and making the color illustrations that commonly adorn the cover of tankobon, the cover of the Weekly Shonen Jump, or other media, but the toolkit he utilizes occasionally changes. For instance, he used an airbrush for one illustration for a Weekly Shonen Jump cover, but decided not to use it for future drawings largely due to the cleanup required.
The protagonists of the Naruto series are part of Team 7, a group of ninja affiliated with the village of Konohagakure. After Sasuke Uchiha's departure from Konohagakure at the end of Part I, the team disbands. During Part II, the team reforms with two new members, Sai, who occupies Sasuke's position, and Yamato, who acts as Kakashi's replacement when he is briefly incapacitated and later stays with the team when Kakashi returns.
Naruto Uzumaki (???? ???, Uzumaki Naruto?) is the primary protagonist of the Naruto series. He was the first character created by Kishimoto during the conception of the series, and was designed with many traits from other shonen characters, including Son Goku of the Dragon Ball series. In the series, Naruto has ambitions of becoming Hokage, the leader of Konohagakure. Because he is the host of the nine-tailed demon fox, a malevolent creature that attacked Konoha, he is ostracized by the other villagers. He compensates for this with his cheerful and boisterous personality, and over the course of the series, manages to befriend many foreign and Konoha ninja. He develops an especially close relationship with Sasuke Uchiha, one of his fellow ninja in Team 7, and treats him as his brother. Naruto's seiyu in the original Japanese anime is Junko Takeuchi, and he is voiced by Maile Flanagan in the English adaptation.
Sasuke Uchiha (??? ???, Uchiha Sasuke?) is one of the members of Team 7. He was created to be a rival to Naruto, as well as a "cool genius", which Kishimoto believed was an integral part of an ideal rivalry. He is one of the few remaining members of the Uchiha clan along with his brother, Itachi Uchiha, who killed the rest of their family. Due to this, Sasuke's sole desire is to kill his brother, and he develops a cold and withdrawn personality. His interactions with his fellow teammates, especially Naruto Uzumaki, make him focus less on revenge at the start of the series. During an encounter with his brother in Part I, Sasuke is easily beaten, which leads him to leave the village to seek more power from the criminal Orochimaru. His teammates' attempts to recover him from Orochimaru form a major component of the Part II plot. In the Japanese anime, Sasuke's seiyu is Noriaki Sugiyama, and his English voice actor is Yuri Lowenthal.
Sakura Haruno (?? ???, Haruno Sakura?) is the sole female member of Team 7. Kishimoto created her as the heroine of the series, although he has admitted that he has little perception of what an ideal heroine should be. As a child, Sakura was taunted by other children because of her large forehead, a feature Kishimoto has tried to emphasize in Sakura's appearances. She was comforted by Ino Yamanaka. As the two continued to grow, however, they became increasingly distant due to their shared affection for Sasuke Uchiha. During most of Part I, Sakura is infatuated with Sasuke, and spurns the advances of Naruto Uzumaki. After Sasuke leaves the village, she resolves to become stronger by training with Tsunade. In Part II, she displays highly developed skills from her training, and a more open disposition towards Naruto. In the Japanese anime, her seiyu is Chie Nakamura, and she is voiced by Kate Higgins in the English adaptation.
Kakashi Hatake (??? ???, Hatake Kakashi?) - where Kakashi is literally Japanese for "scarecrow" - is the leader of Team 7 and the sensei of Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura. Kishimoto had originally intended for Kakashi to be introduced earlier in the series than he actually was, and created him as an easygoing person that would be able to keep the members of Team 7 in check. Kakashi treats his leadership position with a detached manner, and is consistently late to meetings as a result. In a gaiden on Kakashi's past, this is shown to be the result of an incident in which he witnessed the death of one of his teammates, Obito Uchiha, who gave Kakashi his Sharingan eye and imparted many of his habits, including his tardiness. With Obito's Sharingan, Kakashi has amassed a reputation as a skilled and powerful ninja, earning the moniker "Copy Ninja Kakashi" (?????????, Kopi Ninja no Kakashi?). Although he mentors all three members of Team 7 early in the series, he concentrates on training Sasuke as the series continues, teaching him his Chidori technique; however, he is unable to prevent Sasuke from leaving the village to seek Orochimaru for greater power. Kakashi's seiyu in the Japanese anime is Kazuhiko Inoue, and his English voice actor is Dave Wittenberg.
Orochimaru (????) is one of the primary antagonists of the Naruto series. To emphasize his role as a villain, Kishimoto worked towards making him appear "pasty and sickly" as part of his theme of distinguishing villains from the protagonists. In the series, Orochimaru is a former ninja of Konohagakure and a student of the Third Hokage. During his time in the village, he distinguished himself as one of the village's most powerful ninja along with his teammates, Jiraiya and Tsunade. His desire to obtain immortality led him to conduct experiments on other Konohagakure ninja, and he eventually fled the village and joined the criminal organization Akatsuki. After attacking fellow Akatsuki member Itachi Uchiha, who defeats him, he leaves Akatsuki and establishes his own ninja village, Otogakure, in the hopes of destroying his former home. His immortality technique involves transferring his consciousness between different host bodies, and his desire for a new host, particularly Sasuke Uchiha, is one of his driving motivations throughout the series. Because of his different host bodies and the disguises he assumes, a panoply of voice actors are utilized for Orochimaru; his most common seiyu in the Japanese anime is Kujira, and the corresponding English voice actor is Steven Jay Blum.
Akatsuki (??, lit. "Dawn" or "Daybreak") is an organization of criminal ninja that serves as the series' primary antagonists. Akatsuki's goal (as defined by its leader, Pain) is world domination, which they plan to accomplish by capturing the tailed beasts. The members of Akatsuki are ninja who have abandoned their villages, and are considered by their former homes to be S-class criminals, the most powerful and wanted ninja in the Naruto universe. At any given time, Akatsuki is composed of ten members, who operate in two-man teams. They share similar clothing, most notably a long, dark cloak bearing red clouds and a chin-high collar. Aside from an attempt by two Akatsuki members, Itachi Uchiha and Kisame Hoshigaki, to capture the nine-tailed demon fox within Naruto Uzumaki, Akatsuki is not prominently featured in Part I. In Part II, they take a more active role, capturing Gaara and extracting the one-tailed beast, Shukaku, from his body, as well as working towards capturing the remaining tailed beasts.
Team 8 is a group of Konohagakure ninja led by Kurenai Yuhi. The members of Team 8 primarily concentrate on tracking, with each of the members' unique abilities being utilized in this role. During Part II, Team 8, except Kurenai, due to her pregnancy, joins Naruto Uzumaki and Team 7 in their search for Sasuke Uchiha.
Kiba Inuzuka (?? ??, Inuzuka Kiba?) is a member of Team 8 characterized by a number of dog-like traits such as being very protective of his teammates and super sensitive and extremely keen senses such as smell . Most apparent of his connection to dogs is the constant presence of his ninja dog (??, ninken?), Akamaru. Kiba is fiercely loyal to Akamaru, unwilling to abandon him and putting himself in harm's way for Akamaru's sake. In exchange for Kiba's devotion, Akamaru fights with him in battle; he uses his heightened senses to Kiba's advantage, and helps to double-team opponents with volleys of physical attacks. Since Akamaru is naturally better equipped for combat, Kiba usually modifies his own abilities at the start of a battle, growing claws and traveling on all four limbs to increase his speed. He can also drastically increase his sense of smell, and by the second half of the series he can use it to track things dogs cannot. Kiba's seiyu in the Japanese anime is Kosuke Toriumi, and his English voice actor is Kyle Hebert.
Akamaru (???) is Kiba Inuzuka's ninja dog (??, ninken?), best friend, and constant companion. At the start of the series, Kiba carries Akamaru around on his head or inside his jacket. By Part II of the Naruto storyline, Akamaru grows large enough for Kiba to ride atop his back, but since Kiba spends so much time with Akamaru, he fails to notice this drastic difference. With his heightened sense of smell, hearing, and the ability to detect others' chakra levels, Akamaru acts as a valuable tool for Kiba in hostile situations. To help Kiba keep track of opponents, Akamaru can urinate on them, giving them a strong odor that can easily be tracked. In battle, however, he relies on Kiba to provide the chakra for the combination attacks they execute, which requires Akamaru to transform into a clone of Kiba. In the original Japanese anime, Akamaru is voiced by Junko Takeuchi, who is also the seiyu for Naruto Uzumaki, and Kosuke Toriumi, who voices Kiba, when Akamaru transforms into a clone of Kiba. In the English adaptation of the anime, he is voiced by Jamie Simone, but when Akamaru transforms, he is voiced by Kyle Hebert, who additionally acts as Kiba's voice actor.
Shino Aburame (?? ??, Aburame Shino?) is one of the members of Team 8 and is fascinated with insects; he spends his free time capturing and studying insects and often uses them as analogies during conversation. A deep connection with insects runs in Shino's family, as each person born in to the Aburame clan is infused with a special breed of insects known as "destruction bugs" (???, kikaichu?) during birth. In exchange for using Shino as a hive and feeding on his chakra, the bugs do as he commands. During a battle, Shino directs his bugs towards an opponent, boxing them in without their knowledge and absorbing their chakra once they have been surrounded. Shino's merciless tendencies, in regards to opponents as well as his attachment to insects, have caused other characters to label him as "creepy". Nevertheless, Shino cares deeply for his teammates, being acutely aware of their inner workings and always regretting when he is unable to help them. In the Japanese anime, his seiyu is Shinji Kawada. His first voice actor in the English anime was Sam Riegel, who voiced Shino in episodes 23 and 24, but in all following appearances, he has been voiced by Derek Stephen Prince.
Hinata Hyuga (?? ???, Hyuga Hinata?) is a member of Team 8 who suffers from a lack of self-confidence throughout the series. She is always reluctant to speak her mind or to do something that might antagonize another character, causing her difficulties whenever she is on a mission. This results in her effective expulsion from the Hyuga clan even though she is the eldest daughter of the clan's leader and thus its heiress. Hinata's inability to stand up for herself caused her father to disown her at a young age, leaving her in the care of her teacher, Kurenai Yuhi. Soon after her introduction, Hinata begins training to become stronger, both to overcome her own weaknesses and to prove her worth to her father. Her efforts begin to prove successful towards the end of Part I, as her father takes a greater interest in her training.
Though Hinata's training has in large part been to prove herself, she also trains to try and win the attention of the series protagonist Naruto Uzumaki. Inspired by Naruto's confidence and determination, Hinata becomes infatuated with Naruto to the extent that she immediately blushes or faints upon seeing him. However, as the series progresses, she goes out of her way to help him. While Hinata is hesitant to openly admit her feelings for him, most characters (except for Naruto, who only considers her behavior "weird") are aware of her feelings. In the anime, Hinata's attempts to impress Naruto result in her creation of a new ability capable of instantly blocking or attacking anything in her extended field of vision. During Part II, Hinata finally admits her feelings to Naruto while protecting him from Pain. Her seiyu in the Japanese anime is Nana Mizuki, and her English voice actor is Stephanie Sheh.
Kurenai Yuhi (?? ?, Yuhi Kurenai?) is the leader of Team 8. Of all her students, Kurenai is closest with Hinata, acting as a surrogate parent in the absence of Hinata's father and helping Hinata overcome her weaknesses. Whenever Kurenai appears in the series, she is usually accompanied by Asuma Sarutobi. Because of this, many other characters assume them to be a couple, though they both deny this. During Part II of the series, Kurenai is revealed to be pregnant with Asuma's child, making their relationship clear. In battle she specializes in casting illusions, and is shown to be particularly skilled with illusions involving plants. In the Japanese anime, her seiyu is Rumi Ochiai. In the English adaptation of the anime, she was voiced by Saffron Henderson in episode three, and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn in all subsequent appearances.