There are literally hundreds of thousands of Japanese anime to be watched, all across different genres and hence catering to different tastes. Anime is appreciated by all sorts of people from various cultural backgrounds in the world. However, there are a select few that become so popular that they end up being translated into English (either subbed, dubbed or both) and released in English speaking countries.
The one particular anime I wish to discuss in this article is Naruto. If you are reliably new to the anime scene, you may have heard of Naruto but not know much about it. It's likely that you have already been exposed to anime and do not realize it. Other long running and classic series include Dragonball, Dragonball Z, Dragonball GT, Pokemon and Bakugan. These other anime series are designed more for younger audience, boys primarily. Naruto on the other hand, I believe, is richer and has a deaf theme allowing it to be appreciated by a wider range of audience while still appealing to young boys.
Like pretty much all other anime, Naruto started as a manga. The story concept was conceived by Masashi Kishimoto. He also wrote and illustrated the art in the manga. The Naruto manga was published in 1999, which was then turned into anime and released to the Japanese public in 2002. It proved to be so popular that the translated into English and aired in the US (2005), Canada (2005) UK (2006) and Australia (2007). Naruto is still an ungoing series. The original series has completed with 220 episodes. The current second running series is called Naruto Shippuden.
Similar to other anime, the Naruto plot line is structured into arcs of stories where each arc often spans across several episodes. The arcs are separated by "filler" stand-alone episodes which have little or no consequential impact on the overall plot or character development. This approach is different to having purely stand-alone episodes where every episode is unrelated and inconsequential on the next episode. The idea of using arcs definitely has its advantages as you get to see deeper and more meaningful plots. Rather than experiencing short spurts of climax and plot resolutions, you get longer and grander climatic endings.
Basically, the story revolves around a boy with the title name Naruto Uzumaki who dreams of becoming a Hokage in his local village of Konohagakure. In the original series, Naruto is 12 years old. A Hokage is highest level achievable amongst ninja ranks and the individual at this level has the added responsibility of leading the village. The English translation for Konohagakure is Village Hidden in the Leaves and this is the primary geographic location for the stories.