Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Naruto Shippuden DVD Box Set 1, Season 1

Naruto Shippuden: DVD Box Set 1
He’s back as he should be. Naruto Shippuden: DVD Box Set 1 from Viz offers up all the uncut action of the more mature … I mean more grown up Naruto. While the anime continued for well over 100 episodes after Naruto and Sasuke’s epic battle the true story ended there and begins again with Shippuden, in other words all those extra episodes were not needed. So where does that leave us Naruto fans …

It’s been 2-1/2 years since that day, the fateful fight where Naruto was left in ruin and Sasuke abandoned the village to seek his vengeance. Naruto is back home after training with Jiriya (SPELLING) and he’s ready to seek out and bring back Sasuke. A lot has changed but Naruto is still the same immature ninja he was before. Time for catching up is cut short as the Akatsuki make their move by sending two of their members to capture Gaara in order to obtain his Jinchuriki. Being the only team available, Team Kakashi is sent off immediately to assist the Sand Ninja in their pursuit of the two Akatsuki, Deidara and Sasori, who captured Gaara. Before they depart a little medical help is needed from Sakura. Joined by old Granny Chiyo, Sasori’s grandmother, Team Kakashi sets off for Gaara and is faced with a very familiar ocular jutsu using Akatsuki member while the recently dispatched Team Guy faces off with one sharky foe. The race is on as part of the Akatsuki’s plan is outlined by Granny Chiyo and its Gaara’s life in the balance.

The animation in Shippuden is a step above the average, long running TV series. There is a level of detail and quality seen in the entire Naruto franchise that’s also seen in long running series such as Gundam SEED and Dragon Ball Z. The being said I get to my first gripe which has nothing to do with this box set but rather the 100 or so ‘filler’ episodes that added nothing to the franchise and felt empty. After Naruto and Sasuke fight fans needs to then jump into Shippuden, it’s how the story should flow and does not mess up the 2-1/2 year window Naruto was gone. If he did all those missions after Sasuke left then he was only training for like 1-1/2 to 2 years. So that’s the only issue, otherwise the animation and voice acting are top quality and the story … oh yeah, the story.

The art style shows the grown Naruto and cast, which is very cool and the story rocks as the Akatsuki are on the move. Seeing all the familiar faces now grown is sweet and the story where Gaara is in danger rocks. The action is all over the place and while I read this story arc months ago in the manga seeing it animated is so sweet, totally fresh and new again. The teaser with Sasuke at the opening episode is excellent, but will be forgotten as the battles in the sand are just that good. More Akatsuki are introduced, more grown characters are seen and more background is unveiled … White Fang anyone?

Listen, fans get it, fans know what Naruto is all about. Coming in fresh at this point is not advised, too much great story to learn, to need to know, but for fans you cannot go wrong with this box set. The action and story, hot. The animation and design, hot. This is the definitive anime of this generation following on the heels of Dragon Ball Z. Think I’m a fan? Yeah, that happens when a series hooks you like this in so many ways and actually inspires you to try harder, to shape your own destiny.

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