Anime DVD Review: Naruto Shippuden Box Set 19

Naruto Shippuden Box Set 19 is a two-disc set that contains episodes 232 through 244 of Naruto Shippuden. The first disc contains seven episodes, and the second disc includes six episodes and the set’s special features.

The vast majority of the episodes in this set are filler material. In fact, out of the 13 episodes included on this set, 11 of them are filler. Only the final two episodes include canon material.

When it comes to the filler material, a lot of more of it focuses on what’s happening in the village while Naruto is away, and less of it focuses on Naruto’s journey at sea. The filler that takes place in the village includes stories that focus on Hinata, Shino, Tenten, Sai, and Kiba. Of these stories, my favorite is “Sai’s Day Off,” where he goes for a stroll through the village and he thinks about the bonds he shares with Naruto and Sakura. For a filler episode, this one did a fantastic job of providing some character development for Sai. He’s definitely not the character that we first met at the beginning of Naruto Shippuden, and I liked how reflective he got in this episode as he seems to realize for himself how much he’s changed.

For the comedic filler episodes, my favorite was “Kiba’s Determination.” Kiba’s frustrated over how much a loser like Naruto has improved and become the village hero. After being chided by both his mother and Shino, Kiba decides to train to become stronger. When he tries to get Kakashi to help him, Kakashi summons his ninja hounds and has them work with Kiba. The training with the ninja hounds was really amusing, especially when the ninja hounds bite Kiba as he’s trying to defeat them to get a scroll from Pakkun. The funniest part of that is when Big Bark Bull bites the top of Kiba’s head and almost looks as if he could devour Kiba.

Most of the Naruto filler stories weren’t that good, except for “Naruto’s Vow,” which was the final filler episode before returning to canon material. Here, Naruto meets Akatsuchi and Kurotsuchi from the Hidden Stone village, who have an assignment to deliver a letter from the Tsuchikage that’s addressed to the Mizukage. This filler episode provided some background for the conflict between these two villages, and I was almost convinced that it was actually canon material from the manga. However, after doing some research, I discovered that this was actually a filler episode. It ended up being a well-done filler episode, and it definitely ranks up there as one of the better filler episodes to appear in this section of Naruto Shippuden.

And then, we finally return to canon material when Naruto arrives at his destination and meets Killer Bee. When Naruto learns that Killer Bee is the jinchuriki of the Eight Tails, he asks Bee to help train him so he can learn to control the Nine Tails. Bee refuses because he’s on “vacation.” After Naruto gets to know Motoi, he is taken to the Waterfall of Truth, since this is where Killer Bee started his training to control his tailed beast. Naruto meets another version of himself, the part of him that exists that still harbors ill will toward the people of his village for shunning him for so long. The final episode in the set sees Motoi telling a story about himself and Killer Bee when they were growing up, which gives the audience a glimpse into Killer Bee’s backstory and what his life was like before we met him in the series.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, there are four bonus features included. The first is storyboards, which contains three pages from Episode 238 and three pages from episode 239. This feature is pretty much what’s shown up in previous box sets for Naruto Shippuden. However, I was surprised to see that there wasn’t an Art Gallery included.

“Clean Openings and Clean Endings” includes three versions of the opening and the closings that appeared on this set: a version without any text, a version with English subtitles, and a version with Romaji subtitles. The English credits are also available.

“More From Viz Media” includes links to a lot of trailers for properties that Viz Media was promoting at the time this DVD set was released.

After watching this set, I would primarily recommend it for the canon material that appears right at the end of the set. There’s also the occasional filler episode that’s decent to watch, but you can skip a lot of the filler and not miss terribly much.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Naruto Shippuden Box Set 19 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower Has Limited Bilingual Hulu Run

Neon Alley has now made the Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower anime film available for bilingual streaming for a limited time; you can either watch the English dub or watch with the original Japanese audio with English subtitles.

Hulu Plus subscribers can watch the film in high-definition on their TV. mobile devices, and computer.

New Anime Releases: July 8, 2014

Here are the new anime releases for July 8, 2014. If you see any errors or omissions in this list, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

Flowers of Evil Complete Collection [DVD]
Flowers of Evil Complete Collection [Blu-ray]
Naruto Shippuden Box Set 19 [DVD]
Sasami-san@Ganbaranai! Complete Collection [DVD]

Viz Media and Eleven Arts Present the Theatrical Premiere of Road to Ninja – Naruto the Movie in August 2014

Viz Media and Eleven Arts is providing a special theatrical premiere for the English dub of Road to Ninja – Naruto the Movie in a host of major cities beginning on August 29, 2014.

The new film, which is the sixth in the Naruto Shippuden feature film series will premiere in more than 45 cities throughout the U.S. including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Seattle and other major locations. Tickets will go on sale starting July 11, 2014. Additional ticket information and a complete list of theatre locations are available at:

http://www.elevenarts.net/th_gallery/naruto-roadtoninja.

In the latest Naruto Shippuden feature film, long ago, a mysterious masked shinobi unleashed the Nine-Tailed Fox onto the Village Hidden in the Leaves to spread chaos and destruction. But the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze, and his wife Kushina Uzumaki sealed the Tailed Beast into their newborn son, Naruto, to save the village, foiling the shinobi’s plan.

Years later, Naruto and his friends succeed in driving away the infamous Akatsuki, who have mysteriously returned from the dead. Upon returning to the village, the young shinobi are praised by their families for completing a dangerous mission. Reminded of how alone he is, Naruto begins to wonder what it’s like to have parents, when a strange masked figure appears before him – the same masked shinobi responsible for the death of his parents!

Charlene Ingram, VIZ Media Senior Marketing Manager, Animation, says, “ROAD TO NINJA – NARUTO THE MOVIE dives into the past and takes viewers on a fateful adventure depicting how Naruto and Sakura prevent one of their mortal enemies from stealing the Nine-tailed Fox Demon sealed inside the young ninja and fans will not want to miss this special opportunity to catch all the action in this special multi-city theatrical premiere.”

In the Naruto manga and animated series, Naruto Uzumaki wants to be the best ninja in the land. He’s done well so far, but Naruto knows he must train harder than ever and leaves his village for intense exercises that will push him to his limits. Naruto Shippuden begins two and a half years later, when Naruto returns to find that everyone has been promoted up the ninja ranks – except him. Sakura’s a medic ninja, Gaara’s advanced to Kazekage, and Kakashi…well he remains the same. But pride isn’t necessarily becoming of a ninja, especially when Naruto realizes that Sasuke never returned from his search for Orochimaru. Plus, the mysterious Akatsuki organization is still an ever-present danger. As Naruto finds out more about the Akatsuki’s goals, he realizes that nothing in his universe is as it seems. Naruto is finding that he’s older, but will he also prove wiser and stronger?

Viz Media’s Naruto Announcements at Anime Expo

Viz Media announced during the company’s Anime Expo panel that the Naruto Shippuden: Road to Ninja anime film will open in theaters in select cities on August 23, 2014.

The company also announced that it will be producing an English dub of the Naruto spinoff series, Rock Lee and His Ninja Pals. This series will be added to the Neon Alley service in Fall 2014.

Anime DVD Review: Naruto Shippuden Box Set 18

Naruto Shippuden Box Set 18 is a two-disc set that contains episodes 219 through 231 of Naruto Shippuden. The first disc contains seven episodes, and the second disc includes six episodes and the set’s special features.

The first four episodes are the only episodes with canon material that’s included in this set. It looks like Kakashi will be appointed to serve as the next Hokage, but Tsunade awakens from her coma before that can happen. Naruto, meanwhile, is Reverse-Summoned to Mt. Myoboku by Fukasaku. The Great Elder tells Naruto that he will meet an octopus and an enemy that uses the power of its eyes. Naruto is asked to sign a scroll that will allow him to Kyuubi’s chakra, which he signs after some initial hesitation.

Kabuto meets up with Madara and uses the Impure World Resurrection Technique to revive five caskets which contain Itachi, Sasori, Deidara, Kakuzu, and Nagato. Kabuto also offers a sixth of Madara’s choosing, in return for receiving Sasuke’s body. When it looks like Madara will refuse, Kabuto summons a sixth casket; the audience doesn’t see who’s in it, but Madara does. This forces Madara to accept, but on the condition that Kabuto can have Sasuke’s body after the war.

Now that Tsunade is up and about, she’s been briefed about the upcoming war and meets with the other Kage. At first, it looks like Killer Bee and Naruto will be kept out of the war; after Tsunade talks with the Raikage, they decide to have Yamato escort Naruto to a “resort,” which is actually an island in the Raikage’s land where Naruto can learn how to control the Nine Tails with instruction from Killer Bee.

After this, the remaining episodes in the set are all filler material that shows Naruto’s travel by sea as he heads toward the island. Naruto ends up being escorted by Yamato, Guy, and Aoba. Throughout these filler episodes, there’s a running gag of Guy being seasick; while this was amusing right at first, it quickly got old.

During these filler episodes, Naruto and his companions help a fisherman; the group runs into some of their comrades on another island and joins them on their mission to gather medicinal herbs and ointments for the upcoming war; Naruto and the others encounter a ghost ship; they encounter a group of pirates at a place called Battleship Island that feels like it came straight out of One Piece; Guy is kidnapped by a large bird and he has to be rescued by Naruto and the others; Guy tells Naruto a story about the “visualization” training he did with Lee; Naruto and the others end up with poisoned mushrooms on their ship; Naruto’s Shadow Clones get tired of being ordered around by Naruto and rebel; and after having some reservations about leading his comrades into war, Shikamaru is sent to somehow catch up with Naruto with supplies.

I have to say that most of the filler episodes weren’t very good, and they progressively got worse as the set continued. To me, the worst story was the one about the poisoned mushrooms. And the story with the worst logic in it was the one about Shikamaru, because how did he realistically catch up with Naruto? What kind of route did Naruto take if Shikamaru had used a direct route? I understand that they needed some filler in order to allow Kishimoto to get a little further ahead in the manga, but couldn’t the writers for anime have come up with better filler material than this?

When it comes to the DVD set itself, there are five bonus features included. The first is “Art Gallery,” which is three screens of beach scenes that are in color; these scenes have nothing to do with the episodes that appeared in this set. Next is “Storyboards,” which contains three pages from Episode 228.

“Clean Openings and Clean Endings” includes three versions of both of the openings and the closings that appeared on this set: a version without any text, a version with English subtitles, and a version with Romaji subtitles. The English credits are also available.

“More From Viz Media” includes links to a lot of trailers for properties that Viz Media was promoting at the time this DVD set was released.

After watching this set, I can only truly say that the only episodes worth watching are the first four; if you don’t watch the remaining nine episodes, you really aren’t missing much.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Naruto Shippuden Box Set 18 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Anime DVD Review: Naruto Shippuden Box Set 17

Naruto Shippuden Box Set 17 is a two-disc that contains episodes 206 through 218 of Naruto Shippuden. The first disc contains seven episodes, and the second disc includes six episodes and the set’s special features.

This set sees Sakura tries telling Naruto that she loves him and has given up on Sasuke for good, but he doesn’t believe her. Sakura, along with Kiba, Lee, and Sai, leave to find Sasuke in order to kill him. Sakura, however, uses a sleeping gas to put the others to sleep so she can go after Sasuke herself.

Meanwhile, one of Sai’s clones talks to Naruto and tells him about Sakura’s intentions to kill Sasuke herself to free Naruto of his burden. Kakashi decides to try to stop Sakura on his own and instructs Yamato and Naruto to return to the village. Naruto, however, sneaks away from Yamato.

Danzo is heading back to the village after fleeing from the Five Kage Summit, and Madara transports Sasuke and Karin to fight against Danzo. A major battle takes place between Sasuke and Danzo, ending with Sasuke having the upper hand; as part of this, he also attacks Karin, who Danzo is using as a human shield.

As Sasuke is about to finish off Karin, Sakura arrives. Sakura claims she’s abandoned the Hidden Leaf Village, and Sasuke tells her to prove her loyalty by killing Karin. Kakashi arrives on the scene just as it seems that Sasuke is going to kill Naruto, but Naruto arrives in the nick of time. Sasuke and Nartuo have a confrontation before Madara takes Sasuke away.

Killer Bee also has a confrontation with Kisame. The Raikage arrives during the battle, and together, he and Killer Bee and decapitate Kisame. Before that, though, Kisame’s sword Samehada seems to favor Bee’s chakra. Bee claims the sword as a spoil of war, but it turns out there’s more to Samehada than what Bee believes.

These episodes also see the various Hidden Villages preparing for the Fourth Great Ninja War.

The episodes in this disc are very important for progressing the overall story, and because of events that happen, it creates a lot of changes for the Naruto universe. There were about three or four episodes in this set that, while they included some occasional progression the story, tended to be “clip shows” more than anything else. I can’t truly call those particular episodes “filler” because if you skip them, you will miss important pieces of information that help to progress the story. When watching these episodes, expect to see the scene of Sakura trying to keep Sasuke from leaving the Hidden Leaf Village during the Sasuke Retrieval Arc several times.

By the end of the episodes in this set, it’s obvious that the forthcoming Fourth Great Ninja War is going to be a major story arc.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, there are six bonus features included. The first is “Storyboards,” which contains three pages from Episode 209 and three pages from Episode 211. The “Art Gallery” contains 10 pages of line art of various characters that appear in the set.

There’s an “Omake” section included, even though there were only two omake that appeared within the 13 episodes included on the set.

“Clean Opening/Ending” includes three versions of each: a version without any text, a version with English subtitles, and a version with Romaji subtitles. The English credits are also available.

“More From Viz Media” includes links to a lot of trailers for properties that Viz Media was promoting at the time this DVD set was released.

Even with the episodes that tended to feel more like clip shows, this set is still worth it to Naruto fans in order to see how the series continues to progress. The confrontations between Sasuke and Danzo and Sasuke and Naruto are definitely worth watching. This set should really be in the anime collection of anyone who considers themselves a fan of the Naruto franchise.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Naruto Shippuden Box Set 17 that I checked out through the King County Library System.