Review: Naruto Shippuden Box Set 22

Release Date
14/9/2015
Format
DVD
Publisher
Manga Entertainment
Certificate
15
Language / Subtitles
English, Japanese / English
Discs
2
Run Time
325 Minutes

Naruto Shippuden continues in Box Set 22, which contains episode 271 to 283, from Manga Entertainment. It’s a great time to be a Naruto fan, as we are firmly placed in the middle of the fourth great ninja war; the limelight from Naruto has been shed across other fan favourites and even some old comrades from beyond the grave.

“The Fourth Great Ninja War rages on, and danger comes from every angle. Old comrades and enemies have risen from the grave under the control of Kabuto to fight the Allied Forces. While some retain their calm, others must wrestle with their emotions. Naruto’s training has made him more powerful, but some believe his possession of the Nine Tails makes him a liability. Meanwhile, Sakura and the Medical Ninja face unique danger, as an enemy may be in their midst behind the allied lines. Can the Allied Forces survive assassins and their reanimated friends to win the war?” – Manga Entertainment

Naruto Shippuden Box Set 22 sees us firmly set in the fourth great ninja war; the allied forces are spread out on various fronts taking on enemies as they come. The story can feel rather erratic,  as we continue to switch from group to group, with the storyline for each taking only a couple of episodes. This, of course, affects the pacing, but when you consider this is part of a much larger on-going series, fans that have seen up to this point will be used to this. It also spares us from watching thirteen episodes dedicated to Naruto’s training, which is a lot more digestible when mixed with other on-going stories.

There is quite a few filler episode present but they are nicely mixed in with the episodes adapted straight from the manga, as opposed to Bleach’s use of filler that fills entire story arcs that you could skip completely. The episodes in question are not all too different from the main storyline as they follow the current events that are going on; I’d even go as far as to say that, if you’re unfamiliar with the manga, you may not even notice these filler episodes.

The first episode of this release “Road to Sakura” does contain a little easter egg for those that notice, a poster for Naruto the Movie: Road to Ninja; this, of course, was to tie in with the movie during its original Japanese release in 2012, but it just so happens that this is the next Naruto movie to be released in the UK, in October of this year.

If you have seen any Naruto up till now, then you know what to expect. Even so, it can still impress on occasion when a DVD release manages to look good on a larger screen. Fight scenes are the main attraction when talking of Naruto, and this release doesn’t hold anything back; get ready for some of the best, and perfectly animated, fights in the series.

This release features both English and Japanese audio tracks, with yellow subtitles to accompany the Japanese track. The opening song, “Totsugeki Rock” by The Cro-Magnons, is very catchy and I found myself listening fully before each episode; it really had that Naruto vibe. The first of two ending songs is “Kono Koe Karashite feat. CHEHON” by AISHA and the second ending song from episode 282 is “MOTHER” by MUCC.

Extras can be found on disc two and include storyboards which are a nice addition and not something you see very often included in a release. Trailers include those for Naruto Shippuden the series, an odd choice of trailer considering, and Naruto Shippuden: The Movie, another odd choice since the movie received a home video release five years ago. No clean opening or ending animation which comes as a surprise, but, given the OP and ED are present on other Naruto sets, it’s possible that they have already been included previously.

Verdict
The story jumps around and pacing is an issue but given the nature of the series this is to be expected; fans will appreciate the screen time dedicated to secondary characters and not with Naruto as the primary focus. Filler episode are inserted here and there, but nothing to be concerned about as they fit in nicely with the storyline at large. The storyboard extra is a nice feature that we don’t see too often, whether this is a common occurrence in Naruto releases, I’m not sure. Overall, a fairly solid release, animation is of a high standard and the fight scenes are animated perfectly, what more could you ask for.
7
VERY GOOD