Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto is the first manga I ever purchased and read. Many years have passed since then and it is still one of my all-time favorites. Not only is it the series that got me into manga, it’s one of the best shounen manga I’ve read with one of my favorite villain groups of all time, the Akatsuki.
Naruto means a lot to me. It made me laugh and cry; I grew immensely connected to its characters and its ability to humanize the quote on quote bad guys is top-notch. You really feel for the characters in this story, on both sides. It’s a great beginner manga, but it’s one that long-time fans will enjoy as well. Nostalgia aside, it’s amazingly written and it has some of my favorite characters in manga. Naruto is a series that recommend, but what’s the best way you can collect the series?
Ways to Collect Naruto
As it currently stands, there are three different ways you can collect Naruto: The singles, the manga box sets, and the 3-in-1 editions. I picked them all up to show you firsthand how they differ and compare.
First off, I want to take about how the series is collected in each. If you go the individual route, there are 72 paperbacks to collect. If you go the box set route, there are three box sets that fully collect the series. The first box set collects the first 27 volumes of Naruto and the second box set collects volumes 28-48, and the third box set collects volumes 49-72. If you go with the 3-in-1 Editions, there are 24 volumes that fully collect the series.
The 3-in-1 editions are the same height and width as the singles, which are also collected in the Naruto manga box sets. The only difference in terms of size between these two is their depth. The 3-in-1 editions are thicker than the singles, because they collect 3 volumes in 1.
When it comes to cost, the individual paperbacks are $9.99 USD a volume, the 3-in-1 editions are $14.99 USD a volume, and the box sets cost $174.99, $185.99, and $214.99 USD. These are their prices at full retail, but you can usually find all of these at discounted prices when you can find them in stock.
That being said, collecting the full series via 72 individual paperbacks would cost you approximately $719.28, the 24 3-in-1 editions would cost you $359.76, and the 3 Naruto manga box sets would cost you $575.97 USD at retail. The cheapest way by far to collect Naruto is the 3-in-1 Editions and the second cheapest would be the box sets.
I want to talk about availability real quick too, because Naruto is one of those series that has volumes that are temporarily out of stock. Select volumes, 3-in-1 Editions, and box sets have been in and out of stock, but it looks like a lot of them are finally coming back in. To keep an eye out on these temporarily out of stock volumes and sets, check out our updated list of manga restock dates.
That being said, please don’t pay crazy prices for any of the Naruto box sets, 3-in-1’s or individual volumes, because they will all restock eventually!
As far as their design goes, the Naruto individual paperbacks feature the original cover art. The spines of Naruto are white, while the spines of Naruto Shippuden are black. I really like the look of them on and off the shelf.
The Naruto 3-in-1 Editions feature new artwork. For the most part, aside from a few, the covers feature Naruto. They all have light orange spines, so they do look more uniform on the shelf. I personally like the change of the individual paperback spines, but some may not.
The box sets all feature different artwork. Box set one has Naruto on the front and Sasuke and Sakura on its side, so it highlights Team 7. Box Set 2 has artwork of Kakashi, Sakura, and Naruto on front and artwork of Naruto performing the rasengan on one side and artwork of Sasuke on the other. The back features a collage of the characters and highlights pivotal moments like the entrance of the Akastuski and Sasuke’s curse mark.
Box Set 3 is vertical, while the other two are horizontal. This is one of my favorites, because of the split graphic of Sasuke and Naruto on the inside, but also because of the artwork on the outside of Sasuke, Naruto, and Sakura as well as the back, which features all of Naruto’s comrades and Kakashi. Read up more on why the Naruto manga box sets are some of my favorite manga box sets to release to date.
Print and Page Quality
Print quality-wise, the individual paperbacks have more contrast than the 3-in-Editions. The blacks, in particular, are deeper and the mid-tones are more present in the individual paperbacks as well.
The biggest difference in quality between the two, though, is their page quality. The page quality of the 3-in-1 Editions is worse than the individual paperbacks. The 3-in-1’s have these newspaper-like thin pages, so they are extremely see-through. The pages in both have an egg-shell like texture and off-white color, but the individual paperbacks are printed on thicker, higher quality paper.
Both the individual paperbacks and the 3-in-1 editions are easy to read. They added enough margins around the panels so nothing is obstructed by or falls into the gutter of the volumes. Since the 3-in-editions are relatively flexible in comparison to other 3-in-1 or omnibus-like editions, they are easy and pleasing to read. The individuals are the easiest to read and are the most portable, but the 3-in-1 Editions have good readability too.
Translation and Lettering
As far as the translation and lettering go, I read them side by side and they are exactly the same. The sound effects are the same as well, so there are no differences to report here.
The only edition that comes with extras are the manga box sets. The first box set comes with a double-sided poster and a special booklet. The second comes with an exclusive mini-comic containing Naruto’s pilot story and a double-sided poster. And the third comes with a double-sided poster and a booklet as well.
Final Verdict: What is the best way to collect Naruto?
If you are looking for the cheapest way to collect Naruto, it is the 3-in-1 Editions. If you are looking for the highest quality page and print quality, it’s the individual paperbacks, which you can also collect in the box set. Like extras? The box sets are the only edition that comes with them.
Personally, I think the manga box sets are the best way to collect Naruto. I really enjoy the way the spines look on the shelf, they have the best print and page quality, and they allow you to collect the individuals at a cheaper cost, and you get the extras too. You can get a closer look at each of the editions in my review on YouTube and shop the series at trusted manga retailer below!
Looking for more manga to get into? Check out our manga recommendation guides!