The Naruto Shippuden anime has taken plenty of breaks from its ongoing Fourth Great Ninja War storyline ever since it started. Often, the series uses these breaks to cover some of the lesser-known supporting characters and explore how they’re dealing with the epic events unfolding across the land. Other times, the storytelling style shifts dramatically and presents an episode or two told entirely through flashback, often in or just before the time period established in the original Naruto anime series. Neither methods progress the series very far and both act primarily as filler episodes meant to appeal to hardcore fans.
The end result can be a bit of a gamble. While most viewers end up being frustrated with yet another delay in the main storyline, some may appreciate these filler episodes if they focus on a character they hold a particular affection for. Conversely, having entire episodes revolving around a character that viewers dislike or even worse, feel indifferent towards, can be very frustrating and cause fans to jump ship. Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 28 is one such gamble taken to the extreme.
Unlike previous sets, this latest volume of the Naruto Shippuden anime on DVD contains 13 episodes that are not just all filler but also all star the same character, Kakashi. Admittedly, Kakashi is somewhat of a fan-favourite when it comes to Naruto supporting characters and these episodes do cover several different story arcs that take place at different times throughout Kakashi’s life, but none of these glimpses into the past really affect the present story events at all and, despite them revealing quite a lot about Kakashi’s youth and training, don’t really affect the way the viewer sees the character afterwards.
The exception to this is a couple of the set’s final few episodes which reveal a group of youths that Kakashi trained before taking on Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura. Each of the three children are instantly likeable refreshingly original creations and the mystery of the team’s destruction is captivating and surprisingly emotional.
This small arc, which viewers will have to watch the next DVD set to see its conclusion, also makes an impact on the main Naruto timeline by adding some more depth to the earlier anime episodes. Several Naruto Shippuden flashback episode have attempted to retcon some complexity into the original series but none have done it as well as it’s done here. Similar to how watching Rogue One will forever change how A New Hope is seen, it will be hard for anyone who has seen these episodes to watch the original Naruto anime series the same way again.
Those who do pick it up though, will be pleasantly surprised by several of the episodes towards the end of the set and fans of Kakashi in particular will find very little to complain about here.
Region 4 DVD Available From: FishPond.com.au
Naruto Shippuden Uncut Set 26 DVD Review
After several volumes of episodes dedicated to supporting characters that served nothing more than plot devices to stretch out the Fourth Great Ninja War for as long as possible, Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 26 finally gets the long-running anime series back on track with a collection of episodes that return the focus to the series’ protagonist, Naruto, and give the current story arc some much-needed plot progression.
Starting with two forgettable episodes featuring a resurrected nobody (What was his name again?), Naruto Shippuden then seemingly abandons, for now anyway, the tired encounter-with-a-dead-friend-or-enemy-cue-flashback style of the previous 20 or so episodes and dives headfirst into a genuinely riveting battle featuring the five Kage (leaders of the different ninja clans) and several emotionally charged moments between Naruto and the Tailed Beasts.
It’s these moments with the Tailed Beasts that prove to be the real highlight of these episodes as not only is the viewer given several glimpses into the actual origins of these legendary creatures, but the events unfolding in these episodes also act as a natural way to evolve Naruto’s friendship with Nine Tails and further develop him into the hero that will be needed to win this epic war and save his friends.
DVD and Special Features
As with previous releases of the Naruto and Naruto Shippuden anime series, these episodes are only available on a DVD set, most likely due to the fact that the series hasn’t really been given a proper home video release in Japan yet. The version of the anime episodes released outside of Japan are the same ones that aired on Japanese television which is why each episode is accompanied by a bizarre half-minute montage of footage (this was used on Japanese television to display the show’s numerous sponsors).
Having said that, all of the episodes look completely fine with zero pixilation and distortion. Naruto Shippuden remains one of the most-popular anime series in Japan and thus can afford some extremely well-animated episodes, some of which are even comparable to other franchise’s big screen theatrical releases.
Did You Know?
In the original Naruto pilot manga, Nine Tails was actually Naruto’s father and Naruto was literally a fox demon who could take human form (due to him being Nine Tail’s son). Naturally, these plot elements were adjusted for the main series once it was picked up.
Both the English and Japanese audio tracks are available in 2.0 surround and sound fine. A 2.0 track is expected for a Japanese production (they are generally much lower-tech than Western companies) but it is a shame there isn’t a 5.1 English option as most new English dubs of anime series now provide this.
The English subtitles do a good job of translating the Japanese dialogue with no noticeable errors. There are several instances of rather flat or odd-sounding script though but none of these are too distracting.
Who Should Watch Naruto Shippuden?
Naruto Shippuden is an anime series that is suitable for teenagers and up. There’s no nudity to speak of and the sexual references are almost non-existent but the intense combat scenes and use of blood may disturb younger viewers and their parents or guardians.
While the Naruto Shippuden anime series is fully dubbed in English, a lot of the Japanese words have been left in from the original version to help the series appeal to the Japanophile market in the West. Audiences are expected to understand the meaning of words like, Rinnegan, Kage, Sharingan, and Jinchuriki without any explanation given and even the series’ title, Naruto Shippuden, remains untranslated (the English title should be, Naruto Hurricane Chronicles, for those that are curious). This likely won’t be an issue for viewers used to hearing Japanese words in other anime series, but it can detract from the experience for others.
Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 26 is a return to form in many ways for the Naruto Shippuden anime series. The episodes on these two DVDs provide the perfect blend of story and character growth and those who had grown tired of the numerous fillers in previous volumes may find themselves tempted to give the Naruto Shippuden anime series one more try after watching this one.
Region 4 DVD Available From: FishPond.com.au
Have you watched this volume of Naruto Shippuden? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below.