The official website for Shueisha’s Jump J Books label of novels revealed the title, story, and cover illustration (seen right) for Sakura Hiden, the third of six planned Naruto epilogue novels.
The novel, penned by Tomohito Ōsaki (Gintama, Black Cat, Nurarihyon no Mago novels), will be titled Naruto – Sakura Hiden: Shiren, Haru Kaze ni Nosete (Naruto – Sakura Hidden Legend – Feelings of Love, Riding on the Spring Wind.)
The website lists the story:
…”Another time, OK?” After saying this, the man left on a journey. Time passes after the battle with Toneri Ōtsutsuki, and the season is now spring. As an elite medical ninja in Konohagakure, Sakura has been overcome with hard work as she opens the path to a new kind of medical treatment. Busy but peaceful days. Although she is cheering on her friend’s romance, her own feelings remain unspoken… Sakura whispers, “How much longer must I wait…?” Just then, a creeping darkness attacks both Sakura and Konohagakure…! As a medical ninja, she is a woman who conceals her own feelings. Sakura stands up against a new “trial!”
Sakura Hiden will ship in Japan on April 3 for the price of 650 yen (about US$5,) and will contain 250 pages. The novel was originally scheduled to to be released in June, with Akatsuki Hiden scheduled for April. The other two novels focus on Gaara and the village of Konohagakure. One novel will be released per month for a total of six months.
[Warning: These summaries contain spoilers.]
Spoiler: [The story of Naruto – Kakashi Hiden: Hyōten no Ikazuchi revolves around Kakashi Hatake, who is melancholy despite his new position as the Sixth Hogake. In addition, an incident has occurred in the new peaceful, orderly ninja world.
Shikamaru Hiden is hinted to feature a battle between Shikamaru and the “strongest genjutsu-user.” Akatsuki Hiden is listed to reveal the “truth of the Akatsuki,” and features images of Deidara, Kisame, Kakuzu, and Hidan. Gaara Hiden is hinted to be a story of love, something the Kazekage does not know very well, the preview for Sakura Hiden hints that the result of Sakura’s feelings will be revealed, and finally, Konohagakure Hiden will look at the other ninja in Konoha and what happened to them “after the original manga.” The preview image shows Shino, Kiba, and Rock Lee.]
Kishimoto had said in an interview in November that he will still have other work left to do in the Naruto franchise until summer, so he will not begin preparing his next non-Naruto title in earnest until after that. A new film following Naruto and Hinata’s son Bolt and Sasuke and Sakura’s daughter Sarada will open in August, and a manga mini-series focusing on a “new generation” will launch in the combined 22nd and 23rd issue of Shueisha’s Shonen Jump magazine.
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