Manga Review: “Naruto” Volume 24

Naruto Volume 24 is a manga by Masashi Kishimoto, and it was released in North America by VIZ Media’s Shonen Jump imprint in 2007. The series is rated “T” for teens; from what I’ve read of the manga and from what I’ve seen of the anime series, I would agree with this rating.

The main character of the series is Naruto Uzumaki; he’s the number one hyperactive knuckleheaded ninja in the Hidden Leaf Village. Naruto’s dream is to become the leader of his village one day and to be acknowledged by others. When Naruto was a baby, a fox demon was sealed inside of him; because of this, the adults in the village have shunned Naruto out of fear of the fox demon. He started proving himself a little during the Chunin Exam, and has started receiving training from Jiraiya, one of the three Legendary Sannin. At this point, Naruto, along with Shikamaru, Choji, Neji, Kiba, and Akamaru, are trying to get Naruto’s teammate Sasuke back from Orochimaru.

Volume 24 continues the battles that Shikamaru, Kiba, and Naruto are having the remaining members of the Sound Four. But there’s a few surprises that take place over the course of these battles.

First, during Naruto’s battle with Kimimaro, Sasuke unexpectedly emerges from the coffin and runs off.  As he does, Rock Lee suddenly appears on the scene; he’s survived the surgery, and he sneaks out of the hospital to try to help his friends out. Lee tells Naruto he’ll take care of Kimimaro so Naruto can go after Sasuke.

With this particular portion of the story, VIZ Media decided to make a change; instead of accidentally drinking alcohol and being able to use the Drunken Fist, Lee accidentally drinks Tsunade’s “private potion,” which enables him to use the Potion Punch. OK, I understand that VIZ Media wasn’t wanting to show underage drinking in the manga, but the “private potion” and “Potion Punch” changes just sound stupid. And I find it interesting that the English dub of the anime didn’t make the same edit.

During this volume, Shikamaru, Kiba, and Lee appear that they’re about to lose in their respective fights. But another surprise takes place when the Sand Siblings arrive and save them. Temari backs up Shikamaru, Kankuro backs up Kiba, and Gaara backs up Lee. There’s some great scenes here, especially the interactions between Shikamaru and Temari. Temari and Kankuro seem to have an easier time dealing with their adversaries than Gaara does. But when all is said and done, Gaara is able to prevail over Kimimaro.

Another part of this volume that really stands out to me is the interactions between Lee and Gaara during both the fight itself and in the aftermath. I really loved seeing Lee tell Gaara that he doesn’t hold a grudge against Gaara for injuring him so badly during the Chunin Exam that he almost had to give up being a ninja. It’s really not in Lee’s character to hold a grudge, so I found this to be realistic. And during Gaara’s appearances in this volume, the reader can see that Gaara has started changing from when he seen during the Chunin Exam arc. I don’t think this will provide too much of a “spoiler,” but this volume ultimately lays the foundation for the alliance that will exist between the Village Hidden in the Leaves and the Village Hidden in the Sand.

Volume 24 still has some action in it, but it’s nowhere near as action heavy as Volume 23 had been. This volume also has a focus on character interactions and providing some more moments with the Sand Siblings to help establish them more than they had been during the Chunin Exam arc.

Even though I’ve already seen the story from watching the anime series, seeing it again in a manga form is still a different experience. I still think seeing these scenes in their original manga form are just as powerful as when I saw them on television. By seeing the original manga source material, I can tell that the anime adaptation was rather faithful to the story as it was presented in the manga.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous 23 volumes of the Naruto manga series, then I believe that you’ll enjoy reading Volume 24.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Naruto Volume 24 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

VIZ Media Announces Its Top 10 Selling Digital Manga for the Week of November 11, 2014

VIZ Media has announced the company’s top 10 selling digital manga for the week of November 11, 2014.

1. Bleach Volume 62
2. Chibi Vampire: Airmail
3. Naruto Volume 67
4. Naruto Volume 1
5. Naruto Volume 2
6. Blue Exorcist Volume 12
7. Trinity Blood Volume 9
8. Lucky Star Volume 5
9. Nisekou: False Love Volume 5
10. Vampire Knight Volume 19

New York Times Manga Best Seller List: November 2-8, 2014

Here are the top ten selling manga in the United States for the week of November 2-8, 2014, according to the New York Times.

1. Attack on Titan Volume 14 by Hajime Isayama
2. Bleach Volume 62 by Tite Kubo
3. No Game, No Life Volume 1 by Yuu Kamiya and Mashiro Hiiragi
4. Attack on Titan Volume 1 by Hajime Isayama
5. Fairy Tail Volume 43 by Hiro Mashima
6. Pokémon Adventures Black and White Volume 5 by Hidenori Kusaka and Satoshi Yamamoto
7. Black Butler Volume 18 by Yana Toboso
8. Nisekoi: False Love Volume 6 by Naoshi Komi
9. Attack on Titan: No Regrets Volume 2 by Gun Snark, Hikaru Suruga and Hajime Isayama
10. Naruto Volume 67 by Masashi Kishimoto

VIZ Media Offers Fans a Vivid Selection of Exciting Anime Releases for the Holidays

VIZ Media gives fans a wide array of exciting new anime releases to consider for wish and gift lists this holiday season.

New and veteran fans are invited to dive into legendary anime series such as the newly dubbed and uncut Sailor Moon and Ranma 1/2 with box sets that also contain a wealth of extra features and special bonus material. VIZ Media is also proud to present Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, the vivid sci-fi/action series from the famed anime studio, Production IG, presented in a comprehensive DVD and Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. Fans of the world’s most popular ninja, Naruto, will not want to miss the hero’s latest animated feature film, The Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie, which also will be available on DVD and Blu-ray formats.

New Anime Series Holiday Debuts

GARGANTIA ON THE VERDUROUS PLANET · Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack
MSRP: $69.99 U.S. / $81.99 CAN; DVD MSRP: $44.82 U.S. / $51.99 CAN · Available Now

In the distant future, Ledo, a young soldier from space wakes up and finds himself marooned on an ocean planet. Growing up in space, and knowing nothing but battle, he is a stranger in a strange land, full of odd customs and a foreign language, but he’s not alone. Starting a new journey on this verdurous planet, Ledo must find a way to survive and reconcile the fact that he may never be able to return home!

VIZ Media gives Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet a collection-worthy treatment with a 16×9 high definition presentation and the inclusion of 2 bonus OVA episodes. The home media releases feature premium packaging with an O-Card for the DVD edition and an illustrated chipboard box with a full-color 2-sided Amaray™ wrap and a special Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet art book included with the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack.

RANMA 1/2 Set 4 · Limited Edition Blu-ray
MSRP: $54.97 U.S. / $63.99 CAN; DVD MSRP: $44.82 U.S. / $51.99 CAN · Available December 2, 2014

The Mayhem continues in the latest RANMA ½ home media set!! Shampoo visits Ranma, bringing a souvenir bell from China along with a Phantom Cat, who’s in search of a bride! Ranma will have to endure his fear of felines in order to defeat the Phantom Cat. Then, after a series of certain events, Ryoga becomes the strongest martial artist in the world. After that, Kuno gets his hands on a secret sword call the “Mangamaru,” which grants the user here wishes, and one of them is to have a date with the Pigtailed Girl! Finally, a mysterious foursome has come from China in search of the legendary Dragon’s Whisker and will stop at nothing to get it. But what is the Dragon’s Whisker and what does it have to do with Ranma? Set contains Episodes 70-92 on 3 Blu-ray or DVD discs housed in a gorgeously illustrated chipboard box with embossed foil stamping.

Fan Favorite Holiday Debuts

THE ROAD TO NINJA: NARUTO THE MOVIE · Blu-ray Combo Pack
MSRP: $29.99 U.S. / $37.48 CAN; DVD MSRP: $19.98 U.S. / $34.98 CAN · Available November 25, 2014

In Road to Ninja – Naruto the Movie, 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!

The Blu-ray edition features crisp 1080p High Definition video and also includes a special bonus art gallery.

SAILOR MOON SEASON 1 SET 1 · Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD
MSRP: $79.98 U.S. / $93.99 CAN; DVD MSRP: $44.82 U.S. / $51.99 CAN · Available Now

Sailor Moon depicts the adventures of Usagi Tsukino, a cheerful 14-year-old schoolgirl who often finds herself in unwanted trouble. One day, she saves a talking cat named Luna from some mean kids, and her life is changed forever. Luna gives Usagi a magic brooch that transforms her into Sailor Moon, guardian of love and justice! Now Usagi must work with Luna to find the other Sailor Guardians and the Moon Princess, whose Legendary Silver Crystal is Earth’s only hope against the dark forces of the evil Queen Beryl!

The stunning Sailor Moon Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack offers a deluxe, 6-disc collection (3 DVDs & 3 Blu-rays), housed in a beautiful shimmery holofoil chipboard box with specialty printing, and contains an array of exclusive extra features along with an 88-page full-color booklet filled with artwork, character profiles, an episode guide, lyrics, and more! Blu-ray episodes are presented in full 1080p High Definition video.

NARUTO © 2002 MASASHI KISHIMOTO /2007 SHIPPUDEN
© NMP 2012

VIZ Media Announces Top Ten Selling Digital Manga for the Week of November 4, 2014

VIZ Media has announced the company’s top ten selling digital manga for the week of November 4, 2014.

1. Bleach Volume 62
2. Blue Exorcist Volume 12
3. Naruto Volume 1
4. Naruto Volume 2
5. Claymore Volume 25
6. Dengeki Daisy Volume 15
7. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 1 Volume 2
8. Kiss of the Rose Princess Volume 1
9. Food Wars! Volume 3
10. Naruto Volume 3

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 143 (November 10, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Naruto, Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign, One Piece, Toriko, Food Wars!, Hi-Fi Cluster, Blue Exorcist, World Trigger, Nisekoi: False Love, and Bleach. In addition, this issue also includes the second chapter of Naruto as part of the “Jump Back” initiative.

For the series that carried over from previous issues I’ve read, I tried to put a little more focus in my write-ups about the progression of the story from the previous chapter. I will warn you that these write-ups will more than likely contain spoilers.

I only started reading Weekly Shonen Jump back in late February/early March of 2014, which means there’s a number of series published in the magazine that I jumped in the middle of. Since then, I’ve been able to start reading older chapters of some of the titles, but I haven’t managed to do this for all of the titles yet. Because of this, there may be times I might inadvertently include incorrect information in the write-ups. If you see something in a write-up that’s incorrect due to my having not read earlier chapters of a series, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know. Not only can I correct the incorrect information in the write-up, it will also help provide information for me to have when reading future chapters of a series in Weekly Shonen Jump.

Of course, you can always check out Weekly Shonen Jump for yourself by subscribing to the digital publication at VIZManga.com.

Naruto CH:699

This chapter sees Sakura and Kakashi finding Sasuke and Naruto laying on the ground at the Valley of the End, and she uses her medical ninjutsu to stop their arm stumps from bleeding. As she does this, Sasuke apologizes for everything he’s done up to this point. We also see everyone being freed from the Infinite Tsukuyomi through Sasuke’s help. We learn that Kakashi is becoming the Sixth Hokage, and that Sasuke is being pardoned. Sasuke decides he needs to go on a journey in order to know what the world looks like to the current version of himself. Sakura asks if she can come with him, he says it’s a journey of atonement and that she has nothing to do with his crimes, and gives her a tap on the forehead just like Itachi used to do to him. At the end of the chapter, we see Naruto handing Sasuke his old Konoha headband.

This chapter did a fantastic job of wrapping up the overarching storyline, which of course was Naruto trying to bring Sasuke back. While there was a lot to be happy about, there were also parts that made this a bittersweet conclusion to this story arc. If this is the way the series had ended, I would have been satisfied with that. However, there’s still one more chapter to go, and it doesn’t appear until the end of this volume. Now I just have to make it through the other series and chapters in order to find out how Kishimoto brought the entire series to a close!

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign CH:027

In this chapter, we see that Shinoa’s squad and Narumi’s squad have been given the task of going after Lucal Wesker, a fifteenth progenitor. Unfortunately, Yu keeps doing and saying things to annoy Narumi’s squad. The extermination mission has a goal of eliminating eight out of the ten vampire nobles in Nagoya within fifteen minutes. But when the squads begin their attack, they somehow mess up and Lucal senses their snipers’ presence. The snipersh havr to change plans and settle for going after regular vampires. As Yu tries to find Yoichi, he has a run-in with Lucal.

It took a little bit for the chapter to get going, but once the mission went underway, the remainder of the chapter went by quickly. Once the mission started, there was a lot more action taking place in the panels, which helped to make the last little bit of this chapter a quick read. With the mission finally underway, I imagine the next chapter will be a quicker read than many of the recent chapters of this manga have been.

One Piece CH:766

This chapter continues Law’s flashback and backstory. Cora brings the Op-Op fruit to Law and forces him to eat it. Cora is injured, and he asks Law to deliver something to a Navy scout ship on the west coast of the island; that something is a little tube that can save a place called Dressrosa. When Law finds someone to give the message to and to help Cora, it turns out to be Vergo, who had a mission from the family to infiltrate the Navy. Vergo starts beating up Corazon for being a traitor. Doflamingo arrives on the island, but Law and Corazon are able to give Vergo the slip. The chapter ends with what looks like will bring about the end for Corazon.

After reading this chapter, I feel even more confident that this section of flashback will be wrapping up sooner rather than later. I definitely have a better idea of the type of character that Law is and why he acts the way he does. Is it just me, or have the recent chapters really turned Corazon into a likable character? Even though I already know that Corazon is going to die, I still can’t help but root for him to find a way to avoid that fate.

Toriko CH:300

At the beginning of this chapter, Zebra increases the sharpness of his voice cutter and gets a hit in on Master Gorilla Taurus. Coco contributes to the fight with Drip Poison and Toriko contributes Flying Fork. By launching this attack, they force the master to show his true form. Toriko and the others are able to cover themselves with armor as the master attacks; he destroys everything except for where they’re standing. After this, quite a bit of the remainder of the chapter focuses on the fight with the master. Toriko and the others defeat the master, which brings about the collapse of the north mountain area’s rules.

This chapter focused very heavily on action sequences. But I’m happy that the fight with Master Gorilla Taurus wasn’t stretched out to a ridiculous amount of time. But it’s also hinted that perhaps defeating this master could throw the natural order of things out of whack. But to be honest, I really don’t have a whole lot to say about this particular chapter.

Food Wars! CH:094

This chapter sees Soma and Megumi heading to the market to try to find some pike for Soma to try and cook before the finals. While they’re there, they run into Kurokiba and Alice. Megumi, as well as the audience, is given a lesson on how to select pike for cooking. When Soma and Kurokiba disagree on which pike is better, Kurokiba challenges Soma to making sashimi to prove which one of them has the better eye for fish. When they finish, Megumi is asked to judge which one is better. She has to say that Soma’s fish has a weaker texture. Megumi and the reader are then given an explanation about the “rigor index” and the “cohesiveness” of a fish’s meat. After hearing that the third competitor also has a good eye, Soma realizes that he’s at a disadvantage.

This chapter ended up being one with a lot of explanation to it, and not much action. While the explanation was important, it just felt like it was bogging down the chapter for me, and I was having to try to force myself to stay awake and focus on the chapter. Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m wanting to get to the final chapter of Naruto, which is the very last chapter in this week’s edition of Weekly Shonen Jump. Hopefully next week’s chapter of Food Wars! will be a more interesting read.

Hi-Fi Cluster CH:008

In this chapter, Kandera jumps in and starts taking on the guy on the killing spree that has a Hi-Fi label. Peta is able to detect where the culprit will move to next, so Kandera suggests that the two of them work together to finish off the guy. Kandera’s plan works, and the bad guy is taken down. Afterwards, Peta asks Kandera if he had been involved in the Shibuya incident four years earlier; Kandera says, “Yeah, a little.” Peta also guesses that Kandera was the sole survivor of the special ops team back then. It turns out it was that incident that caused Kandera to lose his right hand. Kandera also reveals that he wasn’t the only survivor on his team. Some guy suddenly comes down, attacks Miri, and recognizes Kandera.

When I read the previous chapter, I had guessed that Kandera had somehow been involved in the incident that took place four years earlier, but I hadn’t come up with any specifics. Even if I had, I don’t think I would have guessed any of these revelations! At this point in the series, I have to say that Kandera is the most interesting character. It almost seems like Kandera should be the main character of Hi-Fi Cluster, not Peta.

Blue Exorcist CH:062

Professor Gedoin decides to use the Mask of the Chosen to force a demon to possess him because he believes that he’s the chosen one. After the mask does its thing, Gedoin declares that he’s demonically special. He turns into a necrophager and starts eating up all of the zombies. Izumo declares that she needs to fight, and calls on those who have gone on before her for their strength; Uke and Mike appear when she summons them. Izumo asks everyone to help protect her while she’s chanting a prayer. She finishes chanting to prayer to purify Gedoin as the chapter ends…

Recently, I read Volume 12 of the Blue Exorcist manga, which included Izumo’s backstory as well as the setup for this story arc. Now that I’ve read that, I have a much better understanding and appreciation for what’s been happening in not only this chapter, but the other chapters of this story arc that I’ve read since I started reading Weekly Shonen Jump back in late February/early March. Now that I understand it more, I’ve come to realize just how powerful of a story arc this is. I’m guessing that this arc will probably wrap up within the next couple of chapters, so I’m curious to see where the story of Blue Exorcist is going to go from here.

World Trigger CH:082

In this chapter, we see members of Border freeing people who are trapped in the rubble from the fighting. Meanwhile, Osamu is in the hospital, and Yuma is trying to find Replica. We see Osamu having a dream, which is actually flashbacks about the troubles Osamu had in getting into Border. At the end of the flashback, Osamu awakens and sees Chika and his mother watching him.

So the majority of this chapter ends up being a flashback/dream of Osamu’s. Since I didn’t jump into this story until this story arc was already in progress, I have no idea if anything from the flashback/dream has appeared in the series before or not. But because I jumped into the series so late, getting to see these scenes gives me a little more background on Osamu. So it doesn’t look like this story arc is completely over yet, but at least the battle that had been waging for some many chapters has finally concluded. This chapter makes for a nice break in the action.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:146

In this chapter, we see how popular Yui is becoming with the students at the school. Raku wants to offer her as much support as he can, but lately, he’s feeling like she really doesn’t need support from anyone. Raku talks with her and expresses his concerns. At home, Yui “accidentally” walks in on Raku while he’s taking a bath. After the incident, Yui’s bodyguard tells Raku to be more aware of Yui and to take her seriously. Right at the end of the chapter, Yui collapses.

I think it’s safe to say that Yui collapsed from working too hard, since we saw her doing so much for everybody at the beginning of the chapter. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m really not a fan of Yui. She comes across as a manipulator when it comes to Raku, and at times, it comes across as if her being such a good person is really an act of some kind; she comes across as being “too perfect.” While she’s not as annoying as Marika, I still don’t like her that much. I suspect this storyline will continue in the next chapter.

Bleach CH:604

This chapter sees Renji and Rukia coming upon the Quincies who are being targeted for death by the light that’s coming down. Other Soul Reapers are seeing the lights coming up from the Seireitei. The story returns to Etsu, where he learns what’s going on; the lives and powers of unnecessary Quincies and distributing them to those who need it. Right at the end of the chapter, we see Yhwach coming face-to-face with Ichibe Hyosube.

How come it seems like with each chapter of Bleach recently, not much is really happening? For me, each chapter is a quick read, but with the end of each chapter, I feel as if I’m not satisfied. The way Kubo has been stretching this story out more and more is starting to be a little depressing. I love the earlier chapters of Bleach that I know, but the more of these recent chapters I’ve read, the less I’m starting to care. Maybe this is due in part to skipping ahead to much later in the series and missing out on various developments that led to where the story is now, but I don’t know.

Naruto CH:002

This is the second chapter of the Naruto manga, which is being published as part of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s “Jump Back” initiative.

This chapter introduces Konohamaru, the grandson of the Third Hokage, as well as Ebisu, Konohamaru’s tutor. After having a run-in with Naruto, Konohamaru decides he wants to become Naruto’s disciple. Naruto learns that Konohamaru is upset because people only see him for who he’s related to, and not for who he himself is. Ebisu finds the two of them, and gives Naruto he ugly look that he always gets from the adults in the village who only see him for the fox demon he has inside of him instead of who he himself is. Naruto combines his shadow clones with his sexy jutsu in order to get rid of Ebisu. At the end of the chapter, Konohamaru decides he no longer wants to be Naruto’s disciple; instead, he wants to be Naruto’s rival.

It’s been kind of fun for me to be re-reading these early chapters that are appearing in Weekly Shonen Jump. It’s a nice reminder to remember where the characters and the story started, and then to realize just how much things have changed between that point and the end of the series. I do like how Naruto and Konohamaru have a similar issue of being seen by others for something out of their control instead of the people they are. Ultimately, even though Konohamaru wants to become Naruto’s rival, he ends up becoming a lot like Naruto as the series progresses.

Naruto CH:700

Ahhh… I finally made it to the final chapter! I’d heard little bits about it on social media due to people posting spoilers, but it was nice to finally be able to see it for myself. As I’d heard, it’s a chapter set in the future, where we see many of the main characters are now married and have kids of their own, and the kids are now in the academy. When it comes to the various couples, I’d figured out most of them over the course of the series, but there was at least one that totally caught me off-guard.

This was a nice way to wrap everything up, although I know there’s some shippers upset that their shippings were capsized by the existence of this chapter. Right now, we know the movie is coming up that will help bridge some of the gap between Chapter 699 and 700. I wonder if the manga mini-series that’s supposed to be released in Spring 2015 will continue to bridge the gap.

Anime DVD Review: Naruto Shippuden Box Set 20

Naruto Shippuden Box Set 20 is a two-disc set that contains episodes 245 through 257 of Naruto Shippuden. The first disc contains seven episodes, and the second disc includes six episodes and the set’s special features.

Right at the beginning of this set, we see Naruto overcoming his dark self and passing the first test. Killer Bee becomes Naruto’s instructor to help Naruto learn how to conquer and control the Nine-Tailed Fox; this is accomplished by having the Jinchuriki fight against the tailed-beast.

As Naruto battles the Nine-Tailed Fox, he receives some surprising help from his dead mother, through chakra that had been infused into him before she died. There’s a five episode arc that gives backstory on Naruto’s mother, Kushina, as well as on how Kushina and Minato met, and the birth of Naruto and the attack of the Nine-Tailed Fox that took place the day Naruto was born.

I absolutely loved getting this backstory. As we learn from Kushina, Minato hadn’t given Naruto all of the details during the time that Naruto had been able to communicate with his father earlier in the series. While I liked seeing how Naruto’s parents met, I was most appreciative of getting to see what actually happened on the night that the Nine-Tailed Fox attacked the Hidden Leaf Village. While we’ve heard some bits and pieces about it since the very first episode of the first Naruto anime, it was nice to finally get to see exactly what happened. I did have one gripe, though. For the animation that was used when the Nine-Tailed Fox was launching its attack on the village, there were either still and static shots or animation that looked as if the animators were cutting corners. It could have been worse, though. I mean, the animation quality could have been as painful as what appears in a particular section of the Invasion of Pain arc!

After Naruto finishes his fight with the Nine-Tailed Fox and can begin controlling its chakra, he’s able to sense negative energy coming from Killer Bee’s weapon, which was the Samehada he had taken from Kisame earlier when Bee thought Kisame had been killed. Kisame appears and tries to escape in order to send what he’s learned to the Akatsuki. Killer Bee tries to stop him, but Kisame forces Samehada to absorb Killer Bee’s chakra. It’s up to Guy to try to stop Kisame, and there’s an epic fight that sees Guy taking down Kisame. But when Aoba tries to extract intel from Kisame, Kisame escapes and summons sharks to come and eat him.

Before Kisame is killed, though, the audience gets to see some backstory on him, from both before he joined the Akatsuki and after he’s partnered up with Itachi. I was glad to finally have some backstory for Kisame, because we knew so little about him prior to this point. But this seems to be something that Kishimoto has done several times during the series: just before killing off a character (usually a villain), that character’s backstory is provided to the audience shortly before the character’s death. When I saw in a preview that we’d be seeing Kisame’s backstory, I knew that Kisame was going to die.

The next two episodes see Madara going to the Hidden Rain Village to try to retrieve Nagato’s Rinnegan. Konan intercepts him, and the two of them have an epic battle. Unfortunately, Konan is the one who loses. It’s a shame about Konan, because I really came to like her at the end of the Invasion of Pain arc.

In this set, we also see that Kabuto has teamed up with Madara, and Madara shares with Kabuto what he has for the upcoming war. Kabuto also reveals that he knows Orochimaru’s reanimation jutsu, which he uses to resurrect Deidara. Together, Deidara and Kabuto go to the island where Naruto and Killer Bee are. Onoki and his bodyguards, Kurotsuchi and Akatsuchi, try to stop both Deidara and Kabuto. But it turns out Kabuto’s not interested in either Killer Bee or Naruto; his true goal is Yamato, who he manages to capture and uses him to bolster the abilities of Madara’s Zetsu Army.

Just as it looks like the war is actually going to start, we see that the final episode is the first of a four-part ten year anniversary special that’s basically a recap of scenes of Naruto and Sasuke. At the last at the beginning of the first episode, there’s a couple of new scenes I’d never seen before; outside of that, everything else was basically footage I’d already seen earlier in the series. This was a disappointment for me, both because it delays the start of the war, and the fact that I’m not really a fan of “recap” episodes that primarily recycle footage. And since this is a four-part recap, the remaining three episodes are going to be opening the next box set.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, there are six bonus features included. The first is an art gallery, which includes six pages of line art of characters that appeared in the episodes in this box set.

The second feature is omake, which includes the five omake that appeared at the end of five episodes that appeared on the second disc. These omake were done in order to help promote the then-forthcoming Naruto spin-off anime, Rock Lee and His Ninja Pals. So it uses the chibi style that appears in that series, and the segments are humorous in nature. For me, these were a mixed bag; some were funny, while some either weren’t funny or were frightening.

Next is storyboards, which contains three pages from Episode 250. “Clean Openings and Clean Endings” includes three versions 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.

This DVD set is a “must get” for Naruto fans who want to own all of the episodes of Naruto and Naruto Shippuden in their anime home video collection. This set is worth it not only for the plot progressions that take place, but for the backstory on Naruto’s parents as well.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Naruto Shippuden Box Set 20 that I checked out through the King County Library System.