Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com
Naruto Shippuden Set 22 includes episodes 271-283 of the series on two DVDs. Audio options include the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and the English dub.
Naruto Shippuden Set 22
Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Set 22 opens with the episode, “Road to Sakura,” which ties in with Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Road to Ninja. While the episode accomplished what it set out to do, which was to introduce the idea of alternate universes that appears in the film, this was kind of painful to watch. The humor used in it really wasn’t that funny, and the episode feels like obvious filler that has nothing to do with the storyline going on in the series. The only thing I truly liked about this episode was actually getting to see Sakura’s parents. Prior to this episode, Sakura had referenced that they existed, but the audience never saw them.
Fortunately, the series returns to the canon storyline after this, and we get a couple of episodes that focus on Ino, Shikamaru, and Choji having to fight against a reanimated version of their teacher, Asuma. These two episodes become very emotional, especially when it comes to Choji. While there are emotional scenes for Shikamau and Ino, Choji gets the most of them. But these two episodes see Choji go through some very important character development, and I found myself feeling sympathy for him as he went through his emotional struggles. For me, these two particular episodes are the strongest and most memorable ones included in this set.
Naruto and Killer Bee receive some focus in this set as well, and there’s two episodes at the end that provide some backstory and character development for Killer Bee and A. I personally enjoyed getting to see the flashbacks featuring these two characters and getting to know the two of them a little better. These two episodes would come right behind the two Choji ones on my list of favorite stories included in this set.
During the Fourth Great Ninja War, we get to see a major development that drastically changes how the Allied Shinobi Forces will have to fight with the Akatsuki. Thanks to this development, it’s going to be harder for the protagonists to be able to discern who is friend and who is foe. I’m looking forward to seeing what repercussions this can have for the canon storyline. There’s at least one filler episode in this set that focuses on this idea, but it had some major plot holes and was on the boring side.
Fortunately, there’s not as much filler in this set as there could have been. Outside of “Road to Sakura,” there were only three other episodes that fall into this category. Of the filler material, I actually kind enjoyed “The Allied Mom Force!!” This episode allowed us to get a glimpse of Ino’s mother, and I also enjoyed seeing the mothers protecting the village from invaders with both their strength and whatever cookware was available for them to use. The storyline with Konohamaru was kind of annoying, but the mothers help make up for that.
The animation in this set is on the weak side, and there are several instances where characters look less defined, almost to the point of looking blobby. While this animation isn’t anywhere near as bad as what appeared in the Invasion of Pain arc, the weakness is still very noticeable. At least most of the stories that appear here help to make up for the weaker animation to some extent.
When it comes to the DVD set itself, there are four bonus features. First are the storyboards for a section of Episode 277, “Unison Sign.” Next, there are “clean” versions of the openings and 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.
I was glad to see the storyboards return, since they had been missing from the previous set. However, it’s surprising that the production art hasn’t returned as a bonus feature. I don’t know if there might be issues with the Japanese rights holders involved, or if they weren’t offered or provided any production art for the episodes included in this set.
Naruto Shippuden Set 22 is a “must get” for Naruto fans who want to own the entire franchise in their anime home video collection. The set primarily focuses on canon material that begins to show some progression for the Fourth Great Ninja War, as well as some character development for Choji, A, and Killer Bee. And when it comes to the filler episodes in the set, most of them are at least somewhat tolerable.