Naruto is one of the most beloved anime and manga series in the industry and with that, comes a lot of discussions and debates about its many different themes, elements, characters, and storylines. Naruto Uzumaki’s journey to become Hokage and gain the acceptance of his people is one that has become a worldwide phenomenon, which is why questions as mundane as “When did Naruto come out?” are quite common even now.
Why are people asking this? Because the release date is often used to contrast and compare the series to others that came out at a similar time. Here, we take a look at when exactly Naruto was released.
Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers for the Naruto series.
Explaining the timeline of Naruto‘s release
This franchise started as a manga series on September 21, 1999, when the first chapter of the series, written and drawn by Masashi Kishimoto, was published through Weekly Shonen Jump. Kishimoto was a struggling artist at the time and this series proved to be his call to fame. A very successful anime series on the story began airing on October 3, 2002, taking the franchise to newer heights.
Almost 24 years later, Naruto remains one of the most popular and successful anime in the entire world, with some of the most iconic characters in the history of the medium. However, the question regarding the release date of Kishimoto’s series is due to a connection with another popular shonen franchise, Hunter X Hunter.
Yoshihiro Togashi’s magnum opus was first released on March 16, 1998, so it came out more than a year before Kishimoto’s series did. This is important because there have been fans accusing one creator of plagiarizing the other’s work, but as it stands, Togashi didn’t do any of the plagiarism that he has been accused of, because his work was published first.
The comparisons with Hunter X Hunter
The comparisons between these two series have been going on for years now. This is because there are some similarities between both worlds, and some characters even have some similar traits.
Some of the similarities include that Sasuke hails from a clan that has been massacred and is looking for revenge (much like Kurapika from Hunter X Hunter). Furthermore, he has a complicated and disturbing relationship with his older brother (much like Killua Zoldyck). Gon and Killua’s friendship, one being goofy and extroverted, while the other is broody and introverted, mirrors that of Sasuke and Naruto.
There are also Hunter Exams and Chunin Exams, terrorist organizations with powerful outcasts like the Phantom Troupe and Akatsuki, characters hiding their true age (Biscuit and Tsunade), and more – the list goes on with a lot of weirdly specific similarities. And that has resulted in Kishimoto often getting the short end of the stick and being accused of plagiarizing.
Regardless of whether Naruto has taken inspiration from Hunter X Hunter, it cannot be denied that it is a massive success story. It took Masashi Kishimoto from being an unknown entity to one of the most popular manga authors out there and his work is still relevant even to this very day.
And considering it all started in 1999, it says a lot about the series’ staying power.