Saturday, August 8, 2009

Naruto Uncut Box Set 10 Impression

The best and true end to Naruto’s childhood. This is the story viewers get with Viz’s Naruto Uncut Box Set 10. Yes it’s been out for a bit now and there are a handful more sets to follow but anyone who follows the Naruto manga is well aware the story, confrontation with Sasuke in this collection is where one story ends and another begins with Shippuden. So just what happened and why is this a must have for Naruto fanatics … lets see.

As the hunt for Sasuke continues its Rock Lee’s turn to take on a freakish opponent in the twisted and sick Kimimaro. Meanwhile Shikamaru continues his fight and looks to be on the wrong end of this battle as a little assistance arrives in the form of the former enemies turned allies Sand Shinobi. Shikamaru is saved and just as Rock Lee’s power is running out Gaara steps in and learns of Kimimaro’s true power and history. His abandonment, encounter with Zabuza as well as why he helps, will give his life for Orochimaru. This pain is the same pain Gaara has but the encounter with Naruto was the difference and is why Gaara now fights with the Leaf ninja. Kimimaro unleashes a dangerous move, the Bracken Dance, but the power is too much and Kimimaro’s wish is granted.

As one fight ends another begins. Naruto catches Sasuke but his friend is gone and only vengeance remains. As they try to reason with each other Sasuke reveals his past and looks to separate his present by destroying Naruto. The battle that ensues takes place in the Final Valley on the border with the Land of Fire and it’s a fight worthy of the valley as Naruto releases and is saved by the power of the Nine Tails while Sasuke unleashes the power of the curse mark and the power of his Sharingan, even revealing in his family history the power of the Mangekyo Sharingan and what must be done to reach this power. The battle concludes and no clear winner stands as Sasuke slinks into the darkness of vengeance while Naruto lays broken, broken body and broken promise. The future is bleak, it’s time to heal.

The story is epic, not just the fight with Gaara and Kimimaro but the clash of Naruto and Sasuke. This fight has been building since episode 1 and their friendship makes the downfall all the more bittersweet. It’s actually the level of this story that makes everything after pale until Shippuden starts. Not to knock the ‘filler’ content too much but it just does not live up to what Naruto fans have come to love. Finally learning about Sasuke and seeing the power these two former team mates unleash is worth a few watches. The animation is unlike anything seen so far with a speed and fluidity seen in series like FLCL. It feels as if the best, most over the top sequences were saved for this one epic battle which makes all the non-Shippuden fights to follow just feel watered down. It’s rare that an epic battle really lives up to it’s billing but this is one bout that will make any shonen anime aficionado salivate, the fight is that good. Enjoy the filler, it’s almost time for Shippuden to hit in box set form … or just watch online.

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