Otaku USA Magazine
Naruto: Keeping the Ninja Dream Alive

Not too long after the Naruto manga came to an end, series creator Masashi Kishimoto described being free from the shackles of weekly comic publishing. “It feels like being released, because I have no more deadlines,” he said in a public statement. He followed that up by expressing his appreciation to the fans: “Thank you very much for keeping on looking at how Naruto has grown for such a long time of 15 years.”

Yep, 15 years, and just as Kishimoto rarely took breaks, so too did the fans rarely stop talking about the series. We’ve had Naruto on the cover of Otaku USA magazine multiple times, most recently with the April 2015 issue, which is on stands and in the online store now. In the cover story, Daryl Surat talks about the enduring legacy of the series and what we can take away from the climactic battle and all that built to it. But like any good powerhouse, Naruto isn’t really going anywhere. Sure, the manga proper may have ended, but if the months since have been any indication, we’ll be following the adventures of Naruto Uzumaki and the rest of the expansive ninja cast in some form for quite some time.

First and foremost, there’s the anime, which is still going strong, with the 400th episode premiering on streaming site Crunchyroll later today. But if anything should move us beyond the notion of Naruto ever truly ending, it’s the fact that even an anime film titled The Last: Naruto the Movie isn’t truly that at all. The Last premiered in Japanese theaters on December 6, 2014, and it’s making its way to select US theaters this month. It was less than a month after that initial premiere, though, that we got word of the tentatively-titled Boruto: Naruto the Movie, which is coming to Japan this August. 

On top of that, Japan is getting a stage play next month. The appropriately-named Live Spectacle Naruto will cover the first arc of Kishimoto’s manga, with performances lined up for Japan, Macao, Malaysia, and Singapore.  

You might have seen one of our more recent posts about a Naruto art exhibit, too. The showcase will be held first at the Mori Arts Center Gallery in Tokyo before moving on to Osaka, and will have over 150 original Naruto manga pages on display. Visitors will receive an original 19-page Naruto manga by Kishimoto himself, and… wait, did we mention he’s also doing a Naruto mini-series that kicks off in the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump this spring? It’s all part of the larger Naruto’s New Era Opening Project in celebration of the series’ 15th anniversary, so it’s safe to say this ending is also a beginning of sorts. 

Those who want a more immediate and interactive fix can even get their hands on the next Naruto fighter, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, when it arrives on consoles and PC in the west this year. But what about the day this all inevitably dies down? What will the fans do when the New Era Opening Project comes to a close and there’s nothing Naruto on the horizon? Should the well ever actually run dry, the fans will no doubt be able to take care of themselves, as evidenced by projects like the newly-released Naruto Shippuden: Dance of War short film.

Turns out some of us have no problem keeping the ninja dream alive on our own. 

Read the Naruto cover ​story in the pages of the latest Otaku USA Magazine, on sale now. For more great anime features, pick up the April 2015 issue of Otaku USA at your local bookstore, order it from our online store, or subscribe to get every issue!

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