Having finished reading Dragon Ball, from volume 1, to volume 42, I find myself franticly looking for the next manga series to read. I look around, with options like One Piece or Bleach before me. Both are good -- but they are soooooo far into the series, I can't fathom being able to catch up - or join them in progress. I thought the same of Naruto -- having only read the first 10 or so volumes, with a few scattered volumes later on, and having followed it for a bit in the American Shonen Jump magazine. Still -- it's currently at volume 64. I mean, really! 64 volumes of Naruto have come and gone -- you wouldn't think I could catch up on that.
Still, I was interested when my comic store had volume 64 on sale, just released. Combine that with the recent Naruto video game, and I felt quite at home and knowledgeable about what was going on in the series.
That game, of course, is Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 (trailers below).
It really, quickly, filled me in on the biggest development of the Naruto series - that of the various Tailed Beasts, and their human hosts called Jinchuriki. We already know two of them -- One Tail and Nine Tails -- in the form of Garaa and Naruto. The trailers below quickly catches you up with the other Jinchuriki hosts -- who you only need to know about, in as so far as the fact that the villains in the series want to capture the Jinchuriki hosts. The destructive 10 Tails is also awakened, which is what volume 64 entails -- with volumes right behind it having revealed the big hidden villain of the series.
I actually do plan on going back, and reading what I had missed -- but it was nice to know, after even 50 or more volumes later, that characters still read and felt like they should -- and I didn't feel like I had missed a beat. The video game just nicely tied up any questions I had regarding all these new Tailed people. Also, Naruto might be more powerful than he's ever been - but he's still the same character, and easily transferable from whatever point any of you might have read about him last.
It turns out, coming back onboard, is quite appropriate right now - as the writer and creator of Naruto has said the series is in its final phase. Volume 65 looks to be returning to the plotline of Sasuke - who Naruto still has yet to save from the abyss.