Naruto (NARUTO -ナルト-?, romanized as NARUTO in Japan) is an ongoing Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. The plot tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, an adolescent ninja who constantly searches for recognition and aspires to become a Hokage, the ninja in his village that is acknowledged as the leader and the strongest of all. The series is based on a one-shot comic by Kishimoto that was published in the August 1997 issue of Akamaru Jump. The manga was first published by Shueisha in 1999 in the 43rd issue of Japan’s Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine. Currently, the manga is still being serialized with forty-four tankōbon volumes having been released. The manga would be later adapted into an anime produced by Studio Pierrot and Aniplex. It premiered across Japan on the terrestrial TV Tokyo network and the anime satellite television network Animax on October 3, 2002. The first series lasted 220 episodes, while Naruto: Shippuden, a sequel to the original series, is currently on the air since February 15, 2007. Apart from anime series, Studio Pierrot has developed five movies for the series and several original video animations (OVAs). Other types of merchandise include light novels, video games and trading cards developed by several companies. Viz Media has licensed the manga and anime for North American production. Viz has been publishing the series in their Shonen Jump magazine, and has also been releasing the volumes. The series aired in the United States and Canada in 2005, and later in the United Kingdom and Australia in 2006 and 2007 respectively. The films, as well as most OVAs from the series, have also been released by Viz, with the first film premiering on cinemas. Naruto: Shippuden has also been announced to premier in 2009 in the United States. Serialized in Viz’s Shonen Jump magazine, Naruto has become one of the company’s best-selling manga series. As of volume 36, the manga has sold over 71 million copies in Japan. The English adaptation of the series have also appeared in the USA Today Booklist several times and volume 11 won the Quil Award in 2006. Reviewers from the series have praised the balance between fighting and comedy scenes, as well as the characters’ personalities. However, some of them have noted the series to have concepts which appear in several shōnen series.