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.

New Anime Releases: April 8, 2014

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

The Familiar of Zero Season 1 [DVD]
The Familiar of Zero Season 1 [Blu-ray]
Naruto Shippuden Volume 18 [DVD]
Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie -Rebellion- [Blu-ray] (Import)
Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie -Rebellion- [Blu-ray Limited Edition] (Import)

Anime DVD Review: Naruto Shippuden Box Set 16

Naruto Shippuden Box Set 16 is a two-disc set that contains episodes 193 through 205 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 in this set are still “filler” material. In the first filler episode, Naruto finds a photo of a man who he met as a spirit early on in his genin years. He flashes back to how he met the spirit of the man named Kisuke, and becomes involved in a situation that includes Kisuke and a spy that has infiltrated the Hidden Leaf Village. The major issue I had with this filler episode is the fact that it contradicts an episode that takes place earlier in Naruto Shippuden, where Naruto is shown being afraid of ghosts. Since this story took place before that particular episode of the series that I’m referencing, shouldn’t Naruto not have a fear of ghosts anymore due to meeting Kisuke?

The next filler is flashback of Team 7 going on a mission to retrieve a stolen treasure. Sakura is captured by the thieves, and Naruto and Sasuke end up stuck together due to one of the thieves’ web-like jutsu, and they have to find a way to defeat the thieves without the ability to perform seals with their hands. Not only was this a rather pathetic story for a filler episode, but the animation was terrible during the “flashback” portion; while the animation isn’t as bad was the Naruto and Pain fight, it still looks rather horrendous, especially because it doesn’t match the quality of the animation that appeared in the beginning that led into the flashback story. The characters looked so off-model in this that I nearly wanted to weep.

The next filler episode sees Shikamaru reminiscing about his team working with Team 7 to save a hostage that had been taken by bandits. Sadly, this was a rather forgettable filler episode, so I really don’t have much to say about it.

The final filler episode where Sasuke once saved a girl named Naho not knowing that she’s related to the Feudal Lord. When the Leaf Village is asked to provide bodyguards for her, Sakura and Naruto are assigned to the job because Sasuke has been sent on another mission with Kakashi. Naho throws a bratty temper tantrum and insists that she wants Sasuke. Naruto tries to disguise himself as Sasuke to appease her, and they end up fighting a group that’s wanting to kidnap Naho. Of the four filler stories, this one was probably the best, even if Naho was acting like a spoiled brat for most of the story.

And then the set finally returns to canon material. With Tsunade still in a coma after Pain’s invasion of the village, Danzo is appointed as acting Hokage. One of the first things he does is to issue an order to have Sasuke eliminated. In addition, he also tells Sai to keep a watch on Naruto; however, as a precaution, Danzo also assigns a couple of other Foundation members to keep watch on Naruto as well, just in case Sai doesn’t follow through.

Omoi, Karui, and their leader arrive at the Hidden Leaf and see the damage that the village has taken. Omoi and Karui overhear Naruto, Sakura, and Sai talking about Sasuke, and they demand answers. Naruto agrees to talk to them privately and share what he knows about the Akatsuki. When they’re alone, they only want to know about Sasuke, and Naruto refuses to sell him out. Instead, he offers to let them beat him up. Karui takes him up on the offer and punches him over and over until Sai intervenes.

The five kage are invited to a summit being hosted by the Land of Iron a neutral nation that’s protected by samurai rather than ninja. Naruto decides that he wants to plead his case to the Raikage to spare Sasuke’s life, and after some hesitation, he is given assistance by both Kakashi and Yamato. Unfortunately, when they encounter the Raikage as he heads to the summit, but he refuses to listen to Naruto.

Sasuke, meanwhile, has decided to assassinate Danzo. When he catches wind of the five kage summit and the fact that Danzo will be attending, Sasuke and his group sneak into the summit, with the help of one of Zetsu’s clones. Unfortunately, Zetsu’s clone sells them out and they come under attack by the samurai.

The actual summit itself is rather contentious, especially with the Raikage constantly thundering on and doing rash things like smashing tables. During the meeting, it’s decided to establish a Shinobi Alliance, and that Danzo should lead it. It’s discovered that Danzo is using a jutsu to try to control Mifune, the mediator. At this point, the other kage distrust Danzo. After the Raikage tries to fight Sasuke, as well as Gaara trying to intervene, Madara makes an appearance at the summit and explains why he wants all nine of the tailed beasts. When the kage refuse to hand over Killer Bee and Naruto to him, Madara declares that the Fourth Great Ninja War.

In addition to all of that, Sai ends up telling Sakura that Naruto is in love with her, at the same time that it’s been announced that Sasuke is a wanted criminal; this causes a lot of emotional stress for Sakura. Also, during an encounter with Madara, Naruto and the audience learn some history about the ninjas.

Once you make it past the four filler episodes, a lot takes place in the canon material to set the stage for next major plot point, which is the start of the Fourth Great Ninja War. I really enjoyed the Five Kage Summit, because it allowed the audience to finally lead all of the leaders of the five great nations. We also learn an interesting secret about Danzo during the summit.

Speaking of Danzo, I have to say that I didn’t like the guy before he became the acting Hokage. However, after seeing these episodes, I like him even less than I had before this point.

And the ninja history that Madara provides seems to be setting the stage where Sasuke and Naruto will be destined to battle with each other before the end of the series.

This DVD set ends at just the perfect place to make a viewer want to continue. The last things the viewer sees is Madara declaring war, and the four kage who are still at the summit declaring that they must form Shinobi Alliance in order to fight in the upcoming war. As a viewer, I’m now anxious to see how the news of the war will impact the various characters in the series.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, I want to first mention that I was glad to see that the menus have music and footage on them again. The silent menus of the past couple of box sets drove me nuts.

When it comes to the bonus features, there are five total. The first is “Storyboards,” which contains three pages from Episode 200 and three pages from Episode 203. The “Art Gallery” contains nine images, one for each for the tailed-beasts in the series.

“Clean Opening/Ending” includes three versions of each: a version without any text, a version with English subtitles, and a version with Romaji subtitles. I thought this was kind of a neat thing, because they hadn’t gone to this much effort on the clean opening and ending previously. The English credits are also available.

“More From Viz Media” is a menu to links of primarily Naruto and Bleach items that Viz was promoting at the time this DVD set was released, as well as a promo for the Neon Alley service. You can choose to either play all of the trailers or select which trailer you want to watch from the menu.

This box set is definitely worth it to Naruto fans that want to see how the actual storyline continues once you make it past the fillers that make up the first four episodes in the set. There’s quite a bit of action in the canon material, as well as important character development moments for characters such as Sakura and Sai. 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 16 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Anime Film Review: Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Blood Prison

Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Blood Prison was the fifth film released for Naruto Shippuden, and it was directed by Masahiko Murata. The film was released to Japanese theaters on July 30, 2011. Viz Media holds the North American license for the film. The company released the film on both DVD and Blu-ray on February 18, 2014; this review will cover the Blu-ray release of the film, since that is the version that I watched. The Blu-ray Disc includes both an English dub and the Japanese audio with English subtitles.

At the beginning of the film, Naruto is framed for the attempted assassination of the Raikage, the leader of the Hidden Cloud Village, in addition to the murders of Jonin from the Hidden Mist Village and the Hidden Rock Village. When these accusations against Naruto come to light, Tsunade orders that he be sent to a criminal containment facility known as Hozuki Castle.

When Naruto arrives at the facility, a seal is placed on him by Mui, the head of the prison; the seal limits Naruto’s chakra. During his first night there, Naruto creates a clone as a decoy and tries to escape from the prison. Unfortunately, his clone is secretly taken by Mui to have the Nine-tailed beast’s chakra extracted, so Naruto’s escape is attempt is discovered. Naruto is caught and is placed in solitary confinement.

During his time at the prison, Naruto befriends Ryuzetsu, a female ninja from the Hidden Grass Village who is pretending to be a male inmate. Ryuzetsu knows how Naruto ended up being framed for the crimes he didn’t commit, and that the goal is to extract the Nine-tails’ chakra in order to release the seal on the Box of Enlightenment, which can supposedly grant any wish. Naruto and Ryuzetsu team up together to try to foil this plan; unfortunately, they don’t succeed. The climax sees the seal being released from the Box of Enlightenment and the havoc that is wreaked because of it.

I have to admit that when I first read the promotional write-ups for Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Blood Prison, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect going into it. However, after watching this film, I can truly say that this is definitely the best film that’s been produced for Naruto Shippuden; in fact, it might even be one of the best, if not the best, film produced for the entire Naruto franchise.

One of the things I really liked about this film is the fact that there is a mystery aspect to it. Because of trying to maintain the mystery, the film is written in a way where the viewer is led to believe that something is true for a while and then is thrown for a curveball when information is revealed that proves that what was thought to be true really isn’t. I also appreciated how, as I watched Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Blood Prison, I wasn’t finding any blatant logistical flaws like I saw in Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower or the lack of explanations that hampered the storytelling in Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Inheritors of the Will of Fire.

I also have to say that overall, the animation in this film is better than in some of the other Naruto and Naruto Shippuden films. I’m glad to say that there wasn’t any blatantly bad computer animation in this film, so there’s no repeat of the “Attack of the Terrible CG Terracotta Warriors” that was prevalent in Naruto Shippuden: The Movie. There probably was computer animation that appeared in this film, and if there was, it didn’t stand out. The only real issue I saw in the animation was during the final fight scene, when Rock Lee and Guy are in a fight; however, I can’t say whether this was truly bad animation or if the director may have been attempting to use this animation for an effect.

When it comes to the Blu-ray itself, the video is in 1080p High Definition 16×9, and the audio includes DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0. This is the first time that I have seen any part of the Naruto franchise on Blu-ray, and I have to say that I thought the film looked gorgeous. The images were sharp and detailed, and I found the video quality to be pleasing to my eyes.

There are a total of six bonus features on the Blu-ray pressing of Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Blood Prison. The first is a 13-and-a-half minute short titled, “Chunin Exam on Fire! Naruto vs. Konohamaru!”; this is the short that preceded Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Blood Prison when it was screened in Japanese theaters.

The short sees the Chunin Exam taking place in the Hidden Sand Village, and among the participants from the Hidden Leaf Village are Naruto, Konohamaru, Moegi, and Udon. Naruto and Konohamaru are being competitive as the rules are being said, so Naruto misses something important that affects him later in the short. As fate would have it, Naruto and Konohamaru are randomly selected to fight each other first during the third stage of the exam. This short is rather funny, and I found myself laughing quite a few times throughout it. I would have to say that “Chunin Exam on Fire! Naruto vs. Konohamaru!” is probably one of the best Naruto shorts that I have personally seen.

The next bonus feature is an interview with Junko Takeuchi, the Japanese voice actress for Naruto. This feature runs for three minutes, and it has Japanese audio with English subtitles. The questions she is asked appear as text on the screen, and is followed by footage of Ms, Takeuchi answering the question. It was pretty standard for this type of interview feature, but I have to say that after seeing this interview, Ms. Takeuchi is very personable, seemed to enjoy herself during the interview, and she seems like she’d be a fun person to hang out with.

This is followed me “Message From Masashi Kishimoto,” which is one page of text where Kishimoto talks about both the film and the short. I liked getting to read Kishimoto’s thoughts on both of these productions.

“Art Gallery” includes five options. The first is “Production Art,” which consists of 13 pages of line art from the film. Next is “Color Production Art,” which includes 10 pages of art from the film. “Key Art” includes five pages of art from both the film and the short. This is followed by “Clean Booklet Excerpts,” which has six screens from what appears to be a booklet that would have been given out to moviegoers who saw the film in Japanese theaters. “Chibi Artwork” has one super-deformed image of Naruto and one super-deformed image of Kakashi. To be honest, I didn’t understand why the “Chibi Artwork” was included, because it doesn’t appear to have anything to do with either the film or the short.

Next is “Japanese Trailers,” which includes five trailers for Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Blood Prison. The Blu-ray pressing gives the viewer the option of watching each one individually or playing them all back to back. The five trailers run for a total of three minutes. The trailers are presented with Japanese audio but no English subtitles. I don’t know whether Viz chose not to put subtitles on the trailers, or if the licensor won’t allow them to include the subtitles.

The final bonus feature is “More From Viz Media,” which includes a trailer for Neon Alley, four of the Naruto Shippuden films, and the four Bleach films.

If you’re a fan of the Naruto franchise who wants to own all of the Naruto material that’s available commercially, then you need to buy either a copy of this DVD or a copy of the Blu-ray pressing of this film. If you have the capability to watch Blu-rays, then I would highly recommend going with the Blu-ray pressing; not only do you get the better video and audio quality, but you also get two bonus features that are not included on the DVD pressing (the interview with Junko Takeuchi and the message from Masashi Kishimoto).

I wrote this review after watching a review copy of Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Blood Prison that was provided to me by Viz Media.