DVD Naruto Shippuden – Box Set 8
Naruto is a series even the most casual of anime fan is probably aware of. Based on the best-selling manga of the same name, the original television series ran for a total 220 episodes and its sequel series, Naruto Shippuden, has currently surpassed that number in Japan. It has become a global phenomenon, spanning everything from feature films to a whole range of merchandising. The latest release from Manga Entertainment, volume 8 of Naruto Shippuden, contains twelve episodes, from episode 89 (The Pride Of Power) to episode 100 (Inside The Mist).
Following the defeat of Kazuma in the last volume, Naruto and his fellow ninjas return home to the Hidden Leaf village in order to heal their wounds. Meanwhile, the village is sent a message concerning the location of series antagonist Orochimaru’s hideout. Naruto’s teacher Kakashi is sent along with three other ninjas on a reconnaissance mission to track the evil ninja. Eventually, they face off against Guren, a female ninja who has the ability to turn air molecules into crystal and subordinate of Orochimaru.
Meanwhile, Naruto is balancing healing with training, looking to learn the synchronizing jutsu from the sage Jiraiya. After successfully summoning Gamakichi and Gamatatsu, a pair of giant talking toads, Naruto struggles to understand the concept of connecting his heart with theirs.
But it isn’t long before Naruto, too, is called into action against Guren, and soon he is not just facing off against the Three-tailed beast, but also may find a clue to the whereabouts of his lost friend Sasuke…
Before looking at the episodes in greater detail, it is important to note that while this volume begins a new arc in the Naruto Shippuden storyline, its status as a ‘jumping on’ point for newcomers is extremely dubious. At this stage, the show expects the audience to be familiar with the characters and terminology that inhabit it; meaning only brand new elements are given any form of explanation or introduction. Episode 89 begins with no form of recap to the previous episode’s events, with only a thirty second comic segment at the very end bringing any new viewer up to speed with what is going on.
But no matter their likes and dislikes, there is one term in the anime fandom that is likely to result in an almost unanimous negative response, and that is filler. When it comes to anime, filler mainly describes story arcs that are not present in the source material (often resulting in a much lesser quality), but can also stretch to simple plot points being drawn out to the length of inanity. Lengthy anime shows such as Dragonball Z, One Piece and Bleach all fall victim to this, and Naruto is no exception. This release contains an anime-exclusive plotline, and makes no qualms about moving the story at a snail’s pace. For example, multiple episodes are spent with Naruto trying to build a connection with Gamatatsu in order to perfect the synchronizing jutsu; however, it is then revealed that Gamatatsu can’t use the water jutsu required for the synchronizing and the training has to begin from scratch. Watching Naruto try and sing and dance in synch with giant talking toads is so grating that even the episode itself stops to comment on how their training is seemingly taking forever.
While the art is not awful, its quality is reflective of a weekly series.
Maybe this wouldn’t be such a bitter pill to swallow if the majority of the cast weren’t so unlikable. Naruto is extremely arrogant, but also particularly dense. Most of the other ninja students’ goals seem to be to impress him, but are so horribly dull that it’s no wonder they seem to live in his shadow. Fan favourite Kakashi, while considerably better than Naruto, is also a very forced cliché – the seemingly all powerful ninja master who everyone respects, yet has ultimately been surpassed by his pupil.
Action is also extremely scarce in this volume, which only adds to the disappointment of the poor fight sequences. The bulk of the episodes portray Guren as a credible threat, her abilities even enough to rival Kakashi; however, when she and Naruto eventually cross paths, this build-up of tension amounts to nothing, with the protagonists taking a hasty retreat, never to properly cross paths again with the enemy within these twelve episodes. Instead, both teams go away to reassess their situations, standing around taking a further three episodes to explain something that could probably be done just as effectively in half.
While the art is not awful, its quality is reflective of a weekly series. Characters and backdrops lack any fine detail, and the ninja techniques also suffer from this drawback. Super speed is portrayed via characters staying completely static in front of a speeding back drop, making them seem more like cardboard cut-outs than highly skilled ninja. However, Sai’s unique ability to create animal creatures through calligraphy is a severely underused artistic highlight in the show, offering a stark contrast in art style, as well as being one of the show’s more interesting skills.
It only takes watching a few episodes to make it clear that this release is mainly for those who just can’t say no to Naruto. With nothing to entice newcomers, very little substance for even long-time fans, and as much padding as could possibly be crammed into almost five hours, volume 8 of Shippuden seems to have very little to offer anyone. The Naruto hype-train doesn’t seem to be slowing any time soon, but after 300 episodes, it’s certainly beginning to outstay its welcome.
Recent World Cinema Reviews
The Kid Stays In The Picture. The Kid Stays In
The Picture is a 2003 documentary based on Robert Ev…
State Affairs. Following the rise of the Gallic Noir in the world…
Accused. The Killing’s Sofie Grabol finds her family torn apart by…
Martha. The debut feature from hotly tipped Mexican director Marcelin…
Drunken Master. Drunken Master was screened as part of Derby QUADR…
Leave a Comment
No comments yet