Naruto Shippuden Box Set 13 is a three DVD set that contains episodes 154 through 166 of Naruto Shippuden. The first dis contains five episodes, the second disc contains four episodes, and the third disc includes four episodes and the set’s special features.
The episodes in this set start with Naruto, Shikamaru, and Shiho trying to decipher a coded message that Jiraiya sent back to Konoha. After headway is made on deciphering the message, Naruto becomes an apprentice to a toad named Fukasaku; they go to Mount Myoboku so Naruto can learn how to go into Sage Mode.
The episodes in this set also see the Six Paths of Pain and Konan going to Konoha in order to capture Naruto, and wreaking havoc on the village as they interrogate people in order to find him. As this is going on, Shizune and her team have figured out a piece of the puzzle regarding the Six Paths of Pain, while Ino’s father uncovers another important detail during an examination that he’s doing.
One of the Six Paths of Pain ends up in a major confrontation with Kakashi, while the remaining Paths of Pain have battles with Shizune and her team and Ino’s father and his team. By the end of this set, Pain uses a jutsu to turn Konoha into rubble, and Naruto returns from Mount Myoboku and gets into a fight with Pain. Also, during the last episode in this set, Hinata plays a very important role.
After I finished watching this set, I was like, “Wow! This has gotten very intense!” There are several important character moments that take place, the stakes are raised, and the viewer finds that they’re sitting on the edge of their seat, waiting to see what happens next. Because of the way the episodes were broken out for these releases, Volume 13 ends on such a major cliffhanger. I really want to watch Volume 14 in order to find out what happens.
While I love the story that appeared here, I was disappointed in the animation in the final episode in this set. For an episode that has such a crucial character development for Hinata, I believe top-notch animation really needed to be used. Instead, what was used was some of the worst animation in the Naruto franchise that I have seen to date. I have to wonder if the animator were either in a rush to get the episode done, or if it was given to some of the lower-ranking animators at Studio Pierrot, or if this episode was contracted out to a third-party studio whose work is inferior that what I’ve become accustomed to in Naruto.
When it comes to the actual DVD box set, it’s just like the previous seven sets, because only the third disc in the set actually contains any bonus features. All three discs include a trailer for Viz Media’s Neon Alley service at the beginning of the disc.
However, one thing that was very noticeably different with this release are the menus. On previous sets, the main menu has background music, showed various clips from the episodes included on the disc, had an icon next to the menu selections that was used to make the menu selection, and had used a font that didn’t look plain. Starting with Volume 13, however, the main menu is silent instead of having background music, a plain font is used, and you use a line that appears underneath the menu item to make a selection. The setup menu was also noticeably different. Instead of choosing your language and subtitle options separately, they are combined together; the choices available are: English, English with English subtitles, Japanese, and Japanese with English subtitles. When I saw that, I felt that Viz is starting to go a little cheaper with producing this box than they had with the previous Naruto Shippuden box sets.
There are a total of six bonus features included on the third disc. The first is the English credits for Naruto Shippuden. The second is labeled as “More From Viz Media,” but all that’s included is the same Neon Alley trailer that appears at the beginning of all three discs in the set.
“Clean Opening” contains a textless version of the one opening that appeared in this box set, while “Clean Endings” contains textless versions of both of the endings that appear in this set. “Production Art” includes 10 pages of production sketches of the characters that appear in this Naruto Shippuden set.
The final extra is “Omake,” which is a collection of the short pieces included after the ending credits of Naruto Shippuden. Due to the seriousness of so many of the episodes included in this box set, only seven episodes out of the 13 on this set have an omake at the end. Because of this, this particular feature only runs for seven minutes. It should also be noted that if you watch the set with the Japanese language and English subtitles, this feature no longer defaults to the English dub version; the feature now can be seen with the original Japanese language track. To me, this is one of the few positive changes that Viz Media made for this box set.
Basically, these are the bonus features I’ve come to expect on these Naruto Shippuden releases, so there were no real surprises here.
If you’re a fan of the Naruto franchise, you need to see all of the episodes in this box set, because this such a major story arc for the Naruto Shippuden anime series. If you’ve been collecting the series to include in your home video collection, then getting Naruto Shippuden Box Set 13 really should be a no-brainer.
I wrote this review after watching a copy of Naruto Shippuden Box Set 13 that I checked out through the King County Library System.