- Story: Masashi Kishimoto.
- Art: Masashi Kishimoto.
- Released: August 3rd, 2004.
- Imprint: SHONEN JUMP.
- Pages: 184.
As Kakashi holds off Zabuza, the battle between Naruto, Sasuke and Haku has reached its boiling point. As Haku and Naruto fight, Haku recalls his childhood and sheds more light on how he came to posses such amazing abilities. During the immense battle, Inari gathers the villagers for a last-ditch effort to defend their village from the onslaught of Gatô’s henchmen. Just as the battle appears to be over, Gatô arrives to take matters into his own hands and double crosses Zabuza. Once back in their village Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura have been selected to participate in the Chûnin Exams.
First off let me just state that I was not prepared at all for what was about to happen in this volume. I was expecting the typical fight between two highly experienced ninja and there would only be one victor. What we got however was completely different. I will not spoil anything, I will just say that the way this whole ordeal ended made me feel a certain kind of way. From start to finish this volume was an emotional roller coaster. I did not expect these feelings to come from this volume. However, as we learn more about the characters and watch their fates unfold before our eyes it is difficult to not feel emotion.
The fights between both parties were action packed and perfect in every regard. At no point in either fight did it appear one sided. Haku did appear to be out of Naruto’s and Sasuke’s league at the beginning, but as the fight wore on the playing field was evened out. The fights are one of more enjoyable parts of the series, in my opinion. It’s astounding that most every ninja has their own special abilities, and I look forward to seeing them in future fights.
The story is still progressing at a perfect pace. I have yet to feel robbed of anything in this series as of yet. Each volume is consistent and the story maintains a perfect balance. Masashi has a way of sliding in sad and serious moments that draw you closer to the characters and make them more relatable. For example, at first I did not like Haku, but as we learned more about him it became apparent that his childhood had molded him into the person he is and his hardships defined him. Almost all the characters play a key role and are not easily forgotten.
Overall this volume was nearly perfect. Between the story and characters, this volume had me completely enthralled. As sad as this volume was it had a solid and even happy ending. I am excited to see how the exams play out and if Group Seven can make the cut. Hopefully we find out in volume 5. Naruto volume 4 was an excellent read.