Tag: Naruto Shippuden

Anime DVD Review: Naruto Shippuden Set 24

Naruto Shippuden Set 24 includes episodes 297-309 of the series on two DVDs. Audio options available for the set are the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and the English dub.

Naruto Shippuden Set 24

Publisher: VIZ Media
Format: DVD
Release Date: November 10, 2015

Set 24 continues the story of the Fourth Great Ninja War, and immediately opens with the battle between Gaara and the reanimated version of his father. The first episode in the set goes into a little more backstory for Gaara, and the viewer finally learns the truth about certain things that had been said in Gaara’s flashbacks from the first Naruto anime. I really enjoyed this particular episode, and to me, it was the best one to appear in this set.

Naruto also has a fateful encounter with a reanimated Itachi Uchiha. Important revelations and events happen during the two episodes that feature this part of the story, and this helped to make this my second favorite thing to see while watching the episodes included in this set.

The next six episodes continue to progress the story of the Fourth Great Ninja War. This includes the reanimation of the Sound Ninja Four, who are out for revenge against the Leaf Shinobi who defeated them during the original Naruto anime. The rematch is interesting, and the stakes are even higher than they were originally. I thought this was a great nod to the series’ past, and the pacing for this battle was perfect.

There are also two episodes that see a reanimated Hayate Gekko having to attack his Leaf Village comrades and encountering his lover, Yugao. These episodes provided some great backstory for Yugao, and also allowed the viewer to see what had happened behind the scenes in the original series that ultimately led up to Hayate’s death. These two episodes would be my third favorite thing to see while watching this set.

There’s an episode that shows Neji and Hinata in the middle of a battle, and Hinata reminisces about something that would have taken place during the first Naruto series. While this was a nice story, it was obviously filler material. And to be honest, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for Hinata to be remembering this event in the middle of a battle because you’d think she’d want to focus on the fighting that’s going on around her instead.

The final episode in the set is very obvious filler material. Naruto appears on the battlefield and recognizes a reanimated samurai, which leads into a flashback of how Naruto met this man. Unfortunately, this story doesn’t finish in this episode, so Set 25 will be continuing with this flashback. But not only is this obvious filler, this story also ignores things that have been established in canon material that was seen earlier on in Naruto Shippuden. By far, this episode was my least favorite on this set, and I’m not looking forward to continuing this particular story when I’m able to watch Set 25.

Naruto Shippuden Set 24 isn’t a bad release when it comes to the episodes, but there are a couple of things that weaken it a little. If the Neji and Hinata flashback and the final episode on the set hadn’t been included, I would have said that this was a very strong release. But the emotional aspects for the Gaara and Yugao storylines do help to make up for those weaknesses to some extent.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, there are five bonus features. First are the storyboards for a section of Episode 297, “A Father’s Hope, A Mother’s Love” (but on the disc, the storyboards are mislabeled as being from Episode 277). Next is the art gallery, which includes six pages of line art of the new characters that were introduced in this set. Next, there are “clean” versions of both of the openings and both of the endings that appeared on the episodes in this set.  There are three versions of the clean openings and endings included: a version without any text, a version with English subtitles, and a version with Romaji subtitles. There are also English credits, along with trailers for other properties that VIZ Media was promoting at the time this set was released.

Naruto Shippuden Set 24 is worth it for the Gaara, Itachi, and Yugao stories. You can skip the Hinata flashback and the final episode on the set and not really miss out on anything.

Anime DVD Review: Naruto Shippuden Set 21

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

Naruto Shippuden Set 21 includes episodes 258-270 of the series on two DVDs. Audio options include the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and the English dub.

Naruto Shippuden Set 21

Publisher: VIZ Media
Format: DVD
Release Date: January 20, 2015

Naruto Uzumaki, the star of the series, has gone through incredible growth since the beginning of the Naruto franchise. At this point, he’s gone from being the boy with the Nine-Tailed Fox demon sealed inside him who was shunned by his village to a young man who became a hero after saving his village when it was attacked by Pain from the Akatsuki. Naruto is currently hidden away, training with Killer Bee in order to learn how to control the Nine-Tailed Fox’s chakra, while the rest of the ninja world is gearing up for the Fourth Great Ninja War.

But before we get to see what’s going on with Naruto’s training or the war, the viewer must first sit through three episodes of a four episode 10th anniversary special, which recaps roughly 90 episodes of the first Naruto series. It seems that the point of this special is to emphasize the rivalry between Naruto and Sasuke, but it feels disconnected from the current story arc. Unfortunately, all this special does is to reuse footage from the original episodes and adds nothing new, which makes it feel pointless. Not only that, the flow of the narrative was choppy due to how awkwardly time skips were handled. For a 10th anniversary special, this was very disappointing. It felt more like a way to kill time to allow Masashi Kishimoto to get a little further ahead in the manga before continuing the canon storyline in the anime.

Luckily, the remaining 10 episodes in the set return the viewer to material that progresses the storyline. At first, it looks like the Allied Shinobi Forces are going to fall apart due to grudges that the various villages have against each other. But Gaara delivers a powerful speech and brings the forces together. As a viewer, I think I was just as moved by Gaara’s speech as the characters were.

As the forces mobilize toward the enemy, they discover that Kabuto has used a Reanimation Jutsu to bring many dead shinobi back from the dead and force them to fight for him. In addition, an army of White Zetsu is unleashed to support the Undead Army. As the Undead Army is deployed and encounters the Allied Shiboi Forces, the matchups cause reunions of former friends and former enemies to continue their battles from the past.

Of the reunions that we see in Naruto Shippuden Set 21, the most touching is when Sai comes face-to-face with Shin, his “brother” from The Foundation who had died. While we received backstory on Sai when he first introduced in the early episodes of Naruto Shippuden, this encounter with Shin allows the audience to see how different Sai was when he was younger and how he became the unemotional young man that we’ve seen up to this point. But the most important thing to come out of this reunion is Sai finally allowing himself to show his first real emotions since he was first introduced in the series.

In this set, Kankuro is able to have a rematch with Sasori, and Kakashi and Sakura get to see Zabuza and Haku again. I thought it was interesting to see that while Sasori was more than willing to fight Kankuro, Zabuza and Haku were only attacking their opponents because they had no control over their actions. We get to see flashbacks of Kakashi and Team 7 from the Land of Waves arc, but instead of simply reusing the original footage, a decision was made to reanimate the scenes. Personally I didn’t think the new animation worked very well, and I would have preferred to simply see the original footage.

Outside of the first three episodes, Naruto doesn’t appear much in Naruto Shippuden Set 21. He gets one episode that’s devoted to his training with Killer Bee, and there were occasional times where we might see him briefly before returning to the action taking place in the war. Hopefully we’ll see more of Naruto’s story mixed in with the war material in future episodes of the series.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, there were only three bonus features. First are “clean” versions of the opening and both of the endings that appeared on the episodes in this set.  There are three versions of the clean opening and endings: a version without any text, a version with English subtitles, and a version with Romaji subtitles. There are also English credits, along with trailers for other properties that VIZ Media was promoting at the time this set was released.

Unfortunately, the bonus features on Naruto Shippuden Set 21 are rather lacking when compared to previous Naruto Shippuden releases. Set 21 didn’t include any production art or storyboards, which had always been a feature previously. I don’t know if this is due to the Japanese rights holders not sending these materials to VIZ Media, or if the company chose not to include those features on this release.

Even with the three filler episodes and the relative lack of bonus features, Naruto Shippuden Set 21 is still a “must get” for Naruto fans who want to own the entire franchise in their anime home video collection. The canon material included on this release more than makes up for the filler, especially the backstories and the ninja from the series’ history that the audience has never seen before now.

Toonami Announces New Schedule Beginning February 7, 2015

Toonami announced on its Tumblr account that starting on February 7, 2015, Toonami’s schedule will be reduced to a midnight-3:30 a.m. run every Saturday.

As part of their announcement, Toonami commented, “For fans of GITS, IGPX, Bebop AoT, etc, we’re sorry but due to slipping ratings in those later hours, Adult Swim programming has determined a change is necessary. These shows may be back at some point- or they may not. Nothing is definitive on that front.”

The new schedule, beginning February 7, 2015, will be:

12:00 a.m.: Dragon Ball Z Kai
12:30 a.m.: Kill la Kill
01:00 a.m.: Naruto Shippuden
01:30 a.m.: Inuyasha: The Final Act
02:00 a.m.: Gurren Lagann
02:30 a.m.: One Piece
03:00 a.m.: Deadman Wonderland

Source: Toonami

Anime Soundtrack Review: Naruto Greatest Hits!!!!!

Naruto Greatest Hits!!!!! is a 15 track CD that includes four opening themes for Naruto Shippuden, eight ending themes for Naruto Shippuden, the ending theme for Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower, the ending theme for A Chunin Exam of Flames! Naruto vs. Konohamaru OVA, and the ending theme for Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Blood Prison. It was interesting to note that unlike the previous soundtrack CDs, this one does not put the movie and OVA themes where they go chronologically where they should go with the openings and endings; instead, they are put on at the end of the CD. This decision may have been made because if the OVA ending theme went where it was supposed to be, there would have been two songs by the same artist back-to-back.


The disc opens with “Formerly Transparent World” by Motohiro Hata, which is the seventh opening theme for Naruto Shippuden. It’s an upbeat track, and it’s also a memorable theme from the series. While I know this opens the disc due to where it falls chronologically, it’s great to hear this song opening this disc, because it works well as an opening track. This is one of my favorite themes that’s included on this disc.

Next is “Bicycle” by Ore Ska Band, and it’s the 13th ending theme for the series. It’s an upbeat track, and it’s one of the more memorable ones due to being both catchy and being featured in one of the omake. The only drawback to this song is the fact that the lyrics are very repetitive, especially in the chorus; the chorus is basically made up of the Japanese words for “bicycle” and “pedaling” being repeated. While that quirk with the lyrics is a little bothersome, I still enjoy the song musically. Hearing a Japanese act doing ska music is actually kind of cool.

This is followed by “Transient Fireworks” by Supercell, and it’s the 14th ending theme for Naruto Shippuden. It’s a ballad, and it’s one of my favorite ballad ending themes that I’ve heard for the series. I love how this song builds musically, and the singer has a great voice.

Next is “Diver” by NICO Touches the Walls, and it’s the eighth opening theme for the series. It’s an upbeat track and is another memorable opening theme for Naruto Shippuden. And unlike their previous theme for the series, “Broken Youth,” this one is memorable to me right when it starts.

“U’ Can Do It” by Domino is the 15th ending theme for Naruto Shippuden, and it’s another upbeat and catchy track. However, instead of the more rock-oriented songs or the slow ballads that tend to be associated with the themes for this series, this one is more of a dance/pop track. This different sound already makes it stand out, but it’s also one of the few themes that incorporates some English into its lyrics. This is one of the ending themes for the series that I really enjoy.

This is followed by “Midnight Orchestra” by Aqua Timez, and it’s the 16th ending theme for the series. This one is more of mid-tempo track, and admittedly, it’s not a song that necessarily grabs the listener right away. But after hearing it several times, it becomes more memorable. It’s a good theme, but it doesn’t rank as high on my favorites list as some of the other songs that appear on this disc.

Next is “Lovers” by 70ops, and it’s the ninth opening theme for Naruto Shippuden. It’s an upbeat and catchy track, and follows in the more rock-oriented sound that a lot of the opening themes tend to have. I have to give some serious props to both the singer and the musicians on this song, because the singer sounds great and the music is incredible. Not only that, but the vocals and music mesh well together. This is another track that I really enjoy listening to on this CD.

“Freedom” by HOME MADE Kazoku is the 17th ending theme for the series. It’s another upbeat and catchy song; while it has a rock backing track, the vocals are definitely a combination of singing and rapping. This band also performed the theme for Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds, and I have to say that I think this song is much stronger than “No Rain No Rainbow” was. I really enjoy this song, and it’s another one that I really enjoy listening to on this disc.

This is followed by “Shout Out Your Desires!!” by Okamoto’s, and it’s the 18th ending theme for Naruto Shippuden. It’s another upbeat rock track, but musically, this sounds like something an alternative rock band in Western music would do than the other rock-sounding themes have sounded up to this point. It’s a refreshing change musically, and this definitely makes the song memorable.

Next is “Newsong” by Tacica, and it’s the 10th opening theme for the series. It’s more of a mid-tempo track than is usually associated with the series’ opening themes, but that helps it to stand out. In some respects, it makes me think of at least one of the themes that I heard for the Haikyu!! anime series that I liked.

“Place To Try” by TOTALFAT is the 19th ending theme for Naruto Shippuden. It’s an upbeat track, but I have to admit that it’s not as catchy as the other upbeat themes on this disc have been. I also have to admit that when I listen to this, I don’t recognize it at first until I reach the chorus. So for me, this isn’t one of the more memorable theme songs that appears on this disc.

Next is “By My Side” by HEMENWAY, and it’s the 20th ending theme for the series. It’s another upbeat rock track, but it’s one I recognize as soon as I hear it. It’s a very catchy song, and it’s another one that musically kind of makes me think of one of the Haikyu!! theme songs. This is another song that I really enjoy listening to on this CD.

“If” by Kana Nishino was used as the ending theme for Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower. This is a midtempo pop song rather than a rock track, but it’s a very memorable and catchy song. As soon as I hear it, I recognize it. Nishino’s vocal performance works very well for this song and she’s got a good voice. This is another song that I really like listening to on this disc.

This is followed by “Future Eve” by Okamoto’s, which was used as the ending theme for the A Chunin Exam of Flames! Naruto vs. Konohamaru OVA. Like their earlier song, “Shout Out Your Desires!!,” it’s another alternative rock leaning song. It’s also a catchy song once the lyrics kick in, and in some respects, I think this song is a little stronger than “Shout Out Your Desires!!” is; not that Okamoto’s other song is bad, but this one has more of a pop hook that’s easier for listeners to enjoy listening to.

The final track on the disc is “Roar” by U-suke, which was used as the ending theme for Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Blood Prison. Musically, this song almost sounds like it has some Latin music influence on it. It’s a mid-to-uptempo piece that is definitely memorable due to how different it sounds compared to many of the other themes that have been used for the anime series and the films. Even though it may be a noticeably different music style, it still works. It’s also a catchy song, and it’s a track that I enjoy listening to.

Overall, this is a pretty good collection of theme songs for Naruto Shippuden. It’s a rather solid collection from beginning to end, and there’s only one song on here that I thought was a little weaker than the others.

If you’re wanting to collect the various opening and ending themes for the Naruto franchise, then I would highly recommend acquiring this CD, along with Naruto Best Hit Collection, Naruto Best Hit Collection 2, Naruto Super Hits 2006-2008, and Best Hit Naruto. The best way to acquire these discs is to look around at sites that sell Japanese import CDs and trying to find the best deal.

I wrote this review after listening to a copy of Naruto Greatest Hits!!!!! that my husband purchased for me as a Christmas gift.

VIZ Media Begins 2015 With a New Digital Update for Their Neon Alley Streaming Platform

VIZ Media opens 2015 with a brand new digital update for its Neon Alley anime streaming platform.

New Sailor Moon Crystal episodes for January 2015 include the Season 1 finale, English subtitled Episode 13, “Final Battle – Reincarnation,” which is available now. The second story arc, The Black Moon Arc, begins on January 17, 2015.

Fans of the classic Sailor Moon anime can watch two subtitled and uncut episodes premiering every Monday. Episode 71 and 72, “For Friendship: Ami vs Bertheir” and “Rubeus the Heartless: The Tragic Sisters” debut on January 12, 2015.

The January 2015 Neon Alley update includes episodes from the following series:

BLEACH

Neon Alley adds new English dubbed Bleach Season 19 Episodes 268-279, which are available to stream now.

Viewers can now check out a total of 279 English dubbed episodes, as well as the complete subtitled Bleach anime series (366 episodes).

NARUTO

Neon Alley also kicks off 2015 with the addition of English dubbed Episodes 79-91 of the original Naurot anime series, which are all available now.

With the newest addition, viewers can enjoy a total of 91 English dubbed episodes as well as the complete subtitled Naruto anime series (all 220 episodes).

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN

Don’t miss three simulcasts of the latest subtitled episodes of Naruto Shippuden with Episode 394 on Thursday January 15, 2015, followed by Episode 395 on Thursday January 22, 2015 and Episode 396 on Thursday, January 29, 2015.

Also catch the latest addition of Naruto Shippuden English dubbed Episodes 277 – 281, with new additions uploaded every Saturday.

RANMA 1/2

Fans of the Ranma 1/2 anime series can enjoy two new English dubbed episodes of the classic martial arts comedy every single Friday throughout January, beginning with Episodes 127-130, which are available to stream now.

ROCK LEE AND HIS NINJA PALS

Catch new English dubbed Episodes 14-26 of the spin-off Naruto action series on January 15, 2015.

Fans can now watch Rock Lee and His Ninja Pals in its entirety (26 episodes) both subbed and dubbed.

VIZ Media Makes Holiday Shopping for Your Favorite Anime and Manga Fan Easy With New Comprehensive Gift Guide

VIZ Media presents a specially curated selection of anime releases and manga titles to suit a wide array of tastes this holiday season. Fans can review the entire list of suggested titles at: www.viz.com/holiday.

In addition, members of the VIZ Media team created a video spotlighting a few of their top holiday picks at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFXHPWcySwo.

Fans can highlight wish lists with a variety of anime releases, including Limited Edition Box Sets available on DVD and Blu-ray, such as:

SAILOR MOON Season 1 Part 1 Limited Edition DVD & Blu-ray Combo Pack Box Set

(PRE-ORDER) SAILOR MOON Season 1 Part 2 DVD & Blu-ray Combo Pack Box Set – Releases in February 2015

RANMA 1/2 Sets 1-4 – Limited Edition Blu-ray and/or DVD and/or Blu-ray Limited Edition Box Sets

BLOOD LAD: THE COMPLETE SERIES – DVD and/or Blu-ray Box Sets

GARGANTIA ON THE VERDUROUS PLANET COMPLETE SERIES – DVD and/or Blu-ray Box Sets

NARUTO THE MOVIE: ROAD TO NINJA – DVD and/or Blu-ray Set

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN THE MOVIE: BLOOD PRISON – DVD and/or Blu-ray Set

NARUTO TRIPLE FEATURE DVD Release – Features NINJA CLASH IN THE LAND OF SNOW, LEGEND OF THE STONE OF GELEL, and GUARDIANS OF THE CRESCENT MOON KINGDOM

BLEACH DOUBLE FEATURE DVD Release – Features BLEACH THE MOVIE: MEMORIES OF NOBODY and BLEACH THE MOVIE 2: THE DIAMONDDUST REBELLION

Manga fans have a wide variety of titles and series box sets that add plenty of excitement to the holiday reading season, including:

Pokémon Adventures Ruby & Sapphire MANGA Box Set

Pokémon Adventures Diamond & Pearl/Platinum MANGA Box Set

Pokémon Black & White MANGA Box Set 2

THE LEGEND OF Zelda Box Set

Voltron From Days of Long Ago: A 30th Anniversary Celebration

Hello Kitty, Hello 40

The Art of Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke: The First Story

Bakuman。 MANGA Box Set

Black Bird MANGA Box Set

Death Note MANGA Box Set

Ouran High School Host Club MANGA Box Set

Vampire Knight MANGA Box Set 2

One Piece MANGA Box Set 2

Fullmetal Alchemist MANGA Box Set

Readers that prefer to enjoy their manga digitally are invited to take advantage of special bundles and holiday pricing on entire story arcs of several popular series. VIZ Media’s digital story arc promotion is available on VIZManga.com, until January 1, 2015.

ONE PIECE, East Blue Saga Vols. 1-11
Rated ‘T’ for Teens
Cost: $44.00 for the entire bundle at $3.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

NARUTO, The Test of a Ninja Vols. 1-16
Rated ‘T’ for Teens
Cost: $64.00 for the entire bundle at $3.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

BLEACH, Reaper’s Road Vols. 1-21
Rated ‘T’ for Teens
Cost: $84.00 for the entire bundle at $3.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

SHAMAN KING, Spirit Voyage Vols. 1-15
Rated ‘T’ for Teens
Cost: $60.00 for the entire bundle at $3.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

ZOMBIE POWDER, Vols. 1-4
Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens
Cost: $8.00 for the entire bundle at $1.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

THE EARL AND THE FAIRY, The Journey to the Fairy Kingdom Vols. 1-4
Rated ‘T’ for Teens
Cost: $8.00 for the entire bundle at $1.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

DEATH NOTE © 2003 by Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata/SHUEISHA Inc.

VIZ Media Adds Exciting Anime Content for the December Update to the Neon Alley Free Anime Streaming Platform

VIZ Media moves into December and prepares to round out the year with its latest digital anime content update for Neon Alley. The free digital streaming platform experienced significant growth and programming expansion in 2014 and is preparing several noteworthy content and series premiere announcements for 2015.

New episodes of widely loved series such as Bleach, Naruto and Naruto Shippuden, Ranma 1/2, and Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon Crystal figure prominently in December’s programming update. These augment the Thanksgiving debut of the full series of Coppelion (dub) and the world premiere of the first 13 dubbed episodes of Naruto Spin-Off: Rock Lee and His Ninja Pals.

Catch the exciting digital continuation of Sailor Moon with the English dubbed premiere of Episodes 37-46, available to stream beginning on December 6, 2014 for a limited time on Neon Alley and Hulu. Two new subtitled episodes of Sailor Moon Season 2 will be added to the current series library every Monday throughout December. Sailor Moon Crystal fans also will not want to miss brand new episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal throughout December. Sailor Moon Crystal subtitled Episode 11, “Reunion – Endymion,” premieres on December 6, 2014, followed by Episode 12, “Enemy – Queen Metalia,” on December 20, 2014.

With the latest addition, Neon Alley now features over 30 series, and has a over 1,000 English dubbed episodes and 2,400 subtitled episodes for fans’ viewing pleasure! The 2014 update is augmented by scores of additional episodes from top-rated VIZ Media anime series including:

BLEACH

Neon Alley adds English dubbed Bleach Season 18 Episodes 256-267 available to stream beginning on December 1, 2014.

Viewers can now check out a total of 267 English dubbed episodes, as well as the complete subtitled Bleach anime (366 episodes).

NARUTO

For ninja fans, Neon Alley adds dubbed Episodes 66-78 of the original Naruto anime series, which will all be available beginning on December 3, 2014.

With the newest addition, viewers can check out a total of 77 English dubbed episodes as well as the complete subtitled Naruto anime (all 220 episodes) series!

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN

Don’t miss simulcasts of the latest English subtitled episodes of Naruto Shippuden every Thursday in December beginning with a special double premiere of Episodes 389 and 390 on December 11, 2014. Single episode simulcasts of the next 3 Naruto Shippuden episodes will take place every Thursday for the remainder of the month.

Also catch the action-packed addition of Naruto Shippuden English dubbed Episodes 19-23, bringing the total number of available dubbed episodes of the series to over 100.

RANMA 1/2

Ranma 1/2 fans can enjoy the addition of 2 new dubbed episodes of the classic martial arts comedy each week throughout December beginning with Season 6, Episodes 119-120 on December 5, 2014 and every Friday thereafter.