The Naruto fans have spoken – After winning the NARUTOP99 worldwide character popularity poll, the Fourth Hokage Minato Namikaze – perhaps better known as Boruto’s dad’s dad – is about to receive his own, brand new one-shot.
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As part of the Naruto anime’s 20th anniversary celebration, the franchise held it’s first ever wordwide character poll – the NARUTOP 99 – to determine who was the absolute most popular character in Masashi Kishimoto’s original manga.
From December 17, 2022 to January 31, 2023, fans could cast a vote once per day for their favorite of the 488 characters available. The top character would then receive a special one-shot from Kishimoto himself.
At the conclusion of the poll, after tallying the over 4.6 million votes that were cast via the official NARUTOP99 website, the father of the franchise’s titular protagonist took home the top spot with a total of 792,257 votes worldwide.
Itachi Uchiha took second place with 505,014 votes, while Sakura Haruno ended up in third with 489,619 votes.
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In response to these results, Kishimoto thanked fans for participating with both a personal message and a new illustration commemorating the polls’ 22 top ranked characters.
“Thank you for the incredible amount of votes!” the mangaka exclaimed. “It was fun seeing how results varied from region to region. I was shocked to see Minato at the top for all regions, and the fact that Sakura is so beloved by many people around the world made me proud as a writer.”
Turning to the piece itself, Kishimoto then playfully revealed, “To tell you the truth, I was actually rooting for Kurama. I was planning on drawing only the top 20 characters, but I really wanted to add Kurama, who was close at 22nd…So I ended up including him and Guy, who was in 21st place!”
“Sorry for completely ignoring the original plan to have the top 20 characters for the 20th anniversary because of my personal attachment,” he apologized.
Bringing his message to a close, Kishimoto confirmed, “Right now I’m working on the short manga for Minato who placed 1st. While trying to make a story that would match the expectations of his fans, I ended up with more pages than I had originally anticipated.”
“Please look forward to the secret story behind Minato’s jutsu!” he concluded. “I want to thank you all very much again for voting.”
While an exact release date has yet to be announced, Kishimoto’s special Minato one-shot will be published in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump sometime this summer.
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