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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Naruto The Movie 3: Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom Impression

Naruto the Movie 3
An escort mission of a foreign prince and his son, simple in concept but does anything with Naruto go smoothly? In Naruto The Movie 3: Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom Naruto, Sakura, Rock Lee and Kakashi are assigned to escort prince Michiru Tsuki and his son, Hikaru, back to their island home, the Crescent Moon Kingdom. The journey sees Naruto butt heads with the spoiled younger prince, the round Michiru buying a travelling circus as well as visiting Hikaru’s mother who is discussed at the size of Michiru. As the group boards a ship back to their kingdom a storm is encountered where Hikaru shows his worth, an arguing point with Naruto, while saving the monkey Kikki and tiger Chamu. With new friends in tow, Naruto, Sakura and Lee pledge to be friends, they arrive at the kingdom to find tragedy waiting.

The former advisor, Shadadaba, has recruited three ninja to help overthrow the king, who lies dying, protected by his loyal troops. After a daring escape the fight beings for Michiru and Hikaru to retake their homeland, but only after a failed escape attempt. How will Naruto, Kakashi, Lee and Sakura get through this jam (and in their new summer uniforms)? That is what watching is for.

This third Naruto movie offers up what is the standard big screen Naruto formula. Escort mission, spoiled and/or rich client (both usually) and a fight to retake a homeland, heritage or something of value. The animation is very loosey-goosey. Not in a bad way, but the action reminds of something out of Fooley Cooley, especially Rock Lee’s second fight. Things get fast and furious and a little wacky at times but looks great with crisp animation and the movie quality. The voice acting is above par with all the actors from the series intact. So solid voice work, good musical score, fluid animation, crisp movie-quality look and feel … and a forgettable story.

Yes, the story does not offer the flare of Clash in the Land of Snow or the super powered baddies of Stone of Gelal (spelling). The prince with his fat father and bow skills do not gain any sympathy from the viewer. The brief appearance by King Kakeru Tsuki gets more sympathy. Our heroes do their thing with Rock Lee just thrown in with minimal lines, no real value of him being in this movie. The battles are good, but the bad guys don’t add to much either, they are not memorable from the poisonous Karenbana, strong Kongo and stone glove wearing Ishidate. Even Kikki and Chamu are novelty, not adding to the story besides becoming friends with the prince.

Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom has all the spit and polish expected in an anime movie, but with forgettable characters it’s worth the rental while purchasing the previous two movies.

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