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Naruto Creator Kishimoto Talks End of the Series, International Fans

posted on by Karen Ressler
Artist plans to continue writing manga

Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun published an interview with Naruto manga creator Masashi Kishimoto on Monday.

Note: The interview quotations below may contain spoilers for the end of the series.

In the interview, Kishimoto stated that he is usually working in his room, so he did not know Naruto was so popular overseas until he started receiving many fan letters in many different languages. In particular, Kishimoto said it made him happy to receive fan mail with attachments, such as one that contained a photograph of a child dressed as Naruto.

Kishimoto also said that he had the end battle between Naruto and Sasuke planned from the beginning, but he "later decided on the details, little by little, such as whether they would fight each other as friends or enemies, their feelings and dialogues."

Kishimoto did not expect the series to run for 15 years. He said that his editor expected him to make the series last at least five years, but he could not end the series that early because the characters would not let him. "If I had made them act as I wished, the reality would have been lost."

Kishimoto finished the manga less than 12 hours prior to the interview, so he said he does not yet feel like the manga has ended. "I have had to meet a deadline every week for 15 years," he said, "so I feel that there's a deadline for next week."

When asked about Eiichiro Oda's One Piece manga, Kishimoto said that "One Piece has always been running ahead of the pack. I have been able to work so hard writing Naruto thanks to One Piece."

Kishimoto turned 40 on Saturday, but says he hasn't changed since he started the manga when he was 25. He does not yet know what he wants to do next, but he promised to continue creating manga.

Kishimoto began serializing the ninja manga in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in 1999, and ended the series in a two-chapter finale on Monday. Shueisha published the 71st compiled book volume in Japan on November 4, and Viz Media published the 67th volume in North America on October 7. The manga has more than 200 million copies in print worldwide.

The series has spawned multiple television anime, anime films, original video anime, and game adaptations. The Naruto Shippūden anime is still ongoing, and a film titled The Last -Naruto the Movie- will open in Japan on December 6.

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