Is new Minato manga a must-read for Naruto fans? Explained

As the renowned Fourth Hokage and the father of the main protagonist, Minato is a major character in the Naruto franchise (Image via Studio Pierrot, Naruto)
As the renowned Fourth Hokage and the father of the main protagonist, Minato is a major character in the Naruto franchise (Image via Studio Pierrot, Naruto)

With 792,257 preferences, Minato Namikaze won the Narutop99 Worldwide Popularity Poll, a contest for fans to vote for their favorite character in the franchise. As such, the Fourth Hokage was featured as the protagonist of a dedicated one-shot manga from Masashi Kishimoto.

Titled Naruto: The Whirlwind Inside the Vortex, the one-shot will be officially released on July 18, 2023. However, the first fanmade translations of the raw scans are already available, allowing fans to take a look in anticipation of the official release.

In little more than 50 pages, the manga delves into Minato's youth days, exploring how the future Fourth Hokage created the iconic Rasengan technique and focusing on his developing relationship with Kushina Uzumaki.

Disclaimer: This article contains major spoilers from the Naruto: The Whirlwind Inside the Vortex one-shot manga.

Masashi Kishimoto's brief return with Naruto emphasizes that the original franchise is on a whole different level

The birth of Rasengan was finally revealed

Kishimoto's new work concerning the original Naruto series is a gem (Image via Studio Pierrot, Naruto)
Kishimoto's new work concerning the original Naruto series is a gem (Image via Studio Pierrot, Naruto)

Set around the time of the Second Ninja War, the 52-page brand new story from Masashi Kishimoto shows how Minato created the Rasengan. With Kushina, the woman he loved, being a valuable military asset as the jinchuriki of the Nine Tails, Minato wanted to create a technique that would allow him to cooperate with her on the battlefield.

The manga begins with four-men Team Jiraiya, composed of the famous member of the Hidden Leaf's Three Legendary Ninjas, a young Minato, and two other ninjas, being involved in a battle against Roshi and Han, the jinchuriki of the Four Tails Son Goku and, respectively, the Five Tails Kokuo.

As the two jinchuriki unleashed a Tailed Beast Bomb, Team Jiraiya escaped thanks to Minato using his Flying Thunder God technique to teleport himself and his comrades away. Sometime later, Minato trained with Jiraiya, aiming to perfect the new jutsu he was developing. However, he was unable to properly control the direction of his chakra, which made the technique unstable.

With a stroke of genius, Minato took inspiration from how Jiraiya's popsicles were packaged together to knead two opposing whirls of chakra in the same direction, much like his hair had two whorls, one swirling to the left and one to the right. As such, a perfectly spinning ball of chakra formed in Minato's hand.

After Jiraiya left Minato alone in the training field, Kushina, who had temporarily run away from her bodyguards, approached the future Fourth Hokage, and the two started to talk. Minato revealed that, with her being the Hidden Leaf's greatest weapon as the jinchuriki of the Nine Tails, he had created the new jutsu with the purpose of fighting at her side and protecting her.

In a very touching moment, Minato confessed to Kushina that his greatest fear was losing her. Unfortunately, a moment after the Nine Tails sealed within Kushina started breaking the confinement, she lost control of her own body and partially transformed into the Tailed Beast.

Meanwhile, in Kushina's subconscious, the Nine Tails was threatening the girl to kill her if she didn't undo the seal, allowing the Tailed Beast to roam free. However, Minato contained the situation, reinforcing the seal. He openly declared his love for Kushina and his will to not lose her at any cost. As such, Kushina remembered the words that Mito Uzumaki had told her many years before.

The first jinchuriki of the Nine Tails, Mito taught Kushina that love is the only thing that may turn the chaotic vortex that is a jinchuriki's life into a harmonious spiral, like the one that symbolizes the Uzumaki clan. Motivated by Mito's words, Kushina unleashed the Adamantine Sealing Chains to bind the Nine Tails and suppress its chakra.

The beast started overpowering the jutsu, but Minato didn't give up and entered the fight in Kushina's mind. As the Nine Tails was about to release a Tailed Beast Bomb, Kushina used her chains again, while Minato unleashed his Rasengan, clashing against the Nine Tails' chakra.

The next panel showed an injured Minato waking up in the Hidden Leaf's hospital, where he is embraced by Kushina and watched over by Jiraiya and Tsunade. As Kushina asked Minato what the name of his new jutsu was, he answered that he called it "Halo Hair Whorl of Jiraiya Inspired by Frozen Dessert Twin Style Sphere", obviously causing the Kushina to say that it was too long.

She instead suggested calling the new jutsu "Rasengan", i.e., "Spiralling Sphere", an idea that Minato immediately agreed to. In the final panel of the one-shot, Minato smiled at Kushina, with the monument to the previous Hokages standing out behind them.

Minato's student-master bond with Jiraiya and love story with Kushina

Jiraiya and Minato (Image via Studio Pierrot, Naruto)
Jiraiya and Minato (Image via Studio Pierrot, Naruto)

As shown by the great success of the Narutop99 popularity poll, even after many years since the last chapter of the original manga, fans are still fond of the series, and Kishimoto's latest work reignites the interest even more. Undoubtedly, the so-called "Minato manga" is a must-read for all the franchise's fans.

The issue really valued Minato's character, highlighting the future Fourth Hokage's genius talent as a fighter as well as his sincere love for Kushina and his determination to never give up. Moreover, the one-shot also featured several goodies that the Naruto fandom will certainly appreciate.

Jiraiya and Minato's teacher-student relationship was beautifully portrayed, with the two interacting in a very natural way, almost like father and son. Minato's respect for his master, which years later will lead the future Fourth Hokage to name his son after the main character of Jiraiya's novel, was depicted very nicely.

Minato and Kushina, pregnant with Naruto (Image via Studio Pierrot, Naruto)
Minato and Kushina, pregnant with Naruto (Image via Studio Pierrot, Naruto)

So was Jiraiya's trust in the capabilities of his gifted pupil, as well as his attachment to him. Unsurprisingly, Jiraiya will look over Minato's son, Naruto, treating him as if he were his own. Moreover, the focus on Minato and Kushina's developing love story was very touching.

Kishimoto emphasized their mutual reliance, which is telling as initially Kishina didn't particularly like Minato, believing him to be frail and unreliable. These views changed as Minato rescued her from some Hidden Cloud ninjas and confessed his feelings to her. By the time the one-shot is set, they will have become a full-fledged couple.

It was very nice to see how their mutual love was the key factor that allowed Kushina to keep the Nine Tails at bay, while, on the other hand, it was the motivation that drove Minato into creating new techniques and becoming a stronger ninja to protect her.

Mito Uzumaki, a dignified and loving woman

Mito and Kushina (Image via Studio Pierrot, Naruto)
Mito and Kushina (Image via Studio Pierrot, Naruto)

Another nice touch from Kishimoto was the unexpected focus on Mito Uzumaki, the woman who became Hashirama Senju's wife as well as the first jinchuriki of the Nine Tails. As Kushina was selected to become the new host of the Tailed Beast when Mito entered her final years, the elderly woman comforted and reassured her.

Mito realized that, in order to counter the Nine Tails' efforts to overwhelm its hosts with negative emotions and take control over them, the jinchuriki would have needed to be surrounded by sincere love. She explained this to Kushina, helping her to cope with the beast's attempts to break free and even indirectly aiding the latter's son Naruto in fully controlling the Tailed Beast many years later.

In the one-shot, it was also shown that Mito told Kushina the story of the Uzumaki clan, whose members, hailed for their life force and sealing techniques, ended up engulfed in continuous fighting, as if they were captured in a vortex. However, as explained by Mito, that vortex can turn into a spiral.

The two things are very different, as a vortex is always flat, like an unchanged picture, while a spiral is three-dimensional and always changes at least a little, even if it seems the same. After climbing a massive spiral-shaped staircase, Mito brought Kushina to the top of the Hidden Leaf's Uzumaki palace, from which one can see the Hokage Monument.

Among the faces carved into the gigantic mountain, Kushina saw the First Hokage Hashirama, Mito's deceased husband. As such, she understood the meaning of the old woman's previous words: no matter how hard things can be, by clinging to one's loved ones, it's possible to do anything, even bear the hardships of being a jinchuriki.

Final Thoughts

The emotions of the original Naruto series are unmatchable (Image via Studio Pierrot, Naruto)
The emotions of the original Naruto series are unmatchable (Image via Studio Pierrot, Naruto)

Finally, it was also nice to see Han and Roshi using their Tailed Beast powers and working together as Hidden Stone ninjas. Unfortunately, despite their fighting on the village's behalf during the war, they will be isolated and left without adequate protection, which will allow the members of Akatsuki to beat and capture them one after the other.

After the release of this one-shot, Naruto fans are eager to see Masashi Kishimoto working on his original masterpiece again. It's hard to see Boruto's art and contents coming close to those of the original series, to the point where many people are wholeheartedly claiming that the 52 pages of the "Minato manga" are much more touching and interesting than the entire Boruto series assembled together.

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