The internationally acclaimed Japanese manga which debuted in 1999, Naruto, officially came to an end on November 4th, 2014, after 71 volumes Asahi News reports.
Naruto, by author Masashi Kishimoto, first appeared in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump comic anthology fifteen years ago, when the author was only 25. He recently had his 40th birthday, on November 8th.
According to Anime News Network, the series had more than 200 million copies in print as of September this year: 130 million were sold in Japan and 75 million in 35 countries worldwide.
The story is about a whimsical yet remarkably persistent teenage ninja, Naruto, who – despite having been a dropout with a very tough past – strives to become the greatest ninja to ever have lived. Armed with infallible optimism, Naruto experiences countless friendships, battles and overwhelming challenges, maturing into an exceptional fighter with praiseworthy morals. After a long and tortuous adventure lasting 700 chapters, the protagonist ultimately saves the world from annihilation.
The finalization of the series has shocked people in Japan and abroad. Japanese Twitter user @21tkc writes, “At long last, Naruto has finished! I've been reading this series in Shōnen Jump rather ardently for the past 14 years. It's probably the best manga I've read in my life. Thank you!!! I will definitely go see the movie" @siroame1011 writes, “I'll need to recover from the shock of Naruto finishing.” An anonymous reviewer wrote on Amazon Japan, “I read the final volume first thing this morning and, while heading to work, cried.” User @0619Ayato tweeted, “Kishimoto Masahi sensei (term used to address teachers or artists), congratulations on 15 years of hard work! Thank you immensely for thrilling and moving people, not only in Japan but worldwide. Even though the manga series has finished, I will continue to follow Naruto. This series will not end in my mind. Naruto will continue to live in my heart.”
Asahi News conducted an interview with Mr. Kishimoto some 12 hours after the series was officially complete. When prompted about his feelings now that the series is over, Kishimoto replied,
I don't feel much to be honest, since I just submitted the final chapter 12 hours ago. I thought I would feel somewhat relieved but I've gotten so accustomed to meeting a weekly deadline for the past 15 years that I feel as if I need to meet another deadline next week as well. I've been thinking of doing many things now, but I will probably start off by cleaning up my office. I'd like to play some sports perhaps and do something other than manga for a bit. Oh, I will also continue drawing manga, don't get me wrong. There is a short Naruto episode planned for next spring.
When asked about the time he first realized the popularity of his creation, Kishimoto replied, “Manga artists are always slouched over their desks, so even if we're told the manga is becoming popular we have no way to actually know to what extent this is true. I think I first realized it when I started receiving fan messages from overseas. Letters were arriving in languages I couldn't understand. Pictures of children dressed and posing as Naruto were especially heartwarming.“
Another article published in Asahi News confirms that the author will be releasing an extra Naruto episode next spring, and that a film adaptation entitled “The Last: Naruto the Movie,” which will “depict what happened between the 699th and 700th manga episodes” is scheduled to be released in Japanese theaters on December 6th.