The Naruto (Japanese: ナルト) manga and anime series features an extensive cast of characters created by Masashi Kishimoto. The series takes place in a fictional universe where countries vie for power by employing ninja who can use superhuman abilities in combat. The 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. It is followed by the sequel series Boruto: Naruto Next Generations by Ukyō Kodachi, which continues where the epilogue of the first series left off. The series' storyline follows the adventures of a group of young ninja from the village of Konohagakure (Village Hidden in the Leaf). The eponymous character of the first series is Naruto Uzumaki, an energetic ninja who wishes to become Hokage, the leader of Konohagakure and holds a monster called the Nine Tails in his body. During the early part of the series, Naruto is assigned to Team 7, in which he meets his rival Sasuke Uchiha, a taciturn and highly skilled "genius" of the Uchiha clan; Sakura Haruno, who is infatuated with Sasuke and has Naruto's attention and Kakashi Hatake, the quiet and mysterious leader of the team. Over the course of the series, seeking out Sasuke when he ran away from the village, Naruto interacts with and befriends several fellow ninja in Konohagakure and other villages. He also encounters the series' antagonists, including Orochimaru, a former ninja of Konohagakure scheming to destroy his former home, as well as the elite ninja of the criminal organization Akatsuki who seek out jinchuriki like Gaara for the tailed beasts. The eponymous character of the second series is Boruto Uzumaki, the son of Naruto and Hinata Hyuga who is assigned to Team Konohamaru also known as Team 7, which includes Sasuke and Sakura's daughter – Sarada Uchiha, Orochimaru's artificially created son – Mitsuki and the group's leader – Konohamaru, the Third Hokage's grandson whom Naruto befriended as a child. As he developed the series, Kishimoto created the three primary characters as a basis for the designs of the other three-person teams. He also used characters in other shōnen 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, however, were praised for incorporating many of the better aspects of previous shōnen 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 both praise and criticism given to Kishimoto's work in the manga and anime adaptations.
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