Today on A Trip Down Memory Lane, I will be talking about the first manga I ever read and owned. That manga was Naruto Vol 4.
I loved comic books and I loved animes. Where do these two worlds meet? In mangas. Mangas might be my favorite form of entertainment and it all started while I was in middle school.
For those of you who might not know exactly where vol 4 is in the story, it takes place when Naruto and Haku fight. I had seen the anime up to this point so I knew what was going on. Though I haven’t read much of manga since than(Yet!), I am caught up entirely on the anime. I must say, this is one of the most important story lines in the entire series. This volume is a tone setter for sure. There is a chapter entitled “The Tools Called Shinobi”. The few chapters leading up to this painted that very picture. Ninjas were just tools the villages used to carry out missions of all sizes. When a ninja could no longer preform their duties, it was to the gallows for them. If a ninja died on duty, a new ninja would take their place and the world would keep on spinning. The relationship between Zabuza and Haku demonstrated this dynamic. Haku is a weapon of war for Zabuza. When Naruto and Kakashi defeat Haku, Zabuza shows no emotion. Haku even blames himself for not being good enough.
This is also a huge scene in showing how Naruto will impact the world. He shows compassion and mercy for his enemies, which is relatively unheard of. He even gets Zabuza to a shed a tear. This whole act may seem small considering how small of a role Haku and Zabazu play after this, but I think it is huge. It’s foreshadowing that the ninja world is tired of violence and heroes will be stepping up to challenge this mentality of shonobi as tools.
The fight scenes are also great. Naruto gets a small version of the nine tails cloak. His fight with Haku is awesome, as Haku is helpless to stop Naruto. The fight between Kakashi and Zabuza in the mist is also great. Kakashi’s Fanged Vengeance Technique is awesome but the lightening blade jutsu is still one of the sickest jutsu.
This manga opened my eyes to a brand new medium, a powerful medium. Mangas can be silly, humorous, sappy, romantic, but most importantly they can be powerful! Mangas are an adventure and you will have a hard time not bonding with all the characters. The characters, the life lessons, the atmosphere, make the pay-off completely worth it.
All in all, it is a very solid manga. If you’ve never read a manga or a Naruto manga before, of course I recommend starting at the beginning, but if you are just trying to jump into some awesome action scenes with characters expressing a moral lesson bigger than themselves, than this is the perfect manga. This was the first ever manga I owned and now, some odd years later, I am still collecting mangas.