It's been two years since Naruto left to train with Jiraiya, and his first mission sends him to the Hidden Sand to help rescue Gaara. As both Gaara and Naruto come face to face with the Akasuki, Sakura takes her place at the front of the fight to save them. With Granny Chiyo at her side, she must battle Sasori, who can create golems from the undead. But Granny Chiyo is a puppet master too - only it could be Sakura's strings she's pulling!
Author/artist Masashi Kishimoto was born in 1974 in rural Okayama Prefecture, Japan. After spending time in art college, he won the Hop Step Award for new manga artists with his manga Karakuri (Mechanism). Kishimoto decided to base his next story on traditional Japanese culture. His first version of Naruto, drawn in 1997, was a one-shot story about fox spirits; his final version, which debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1999, quickly became the most popular ninja manga in Japan.