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DVD Review

DVD cover

Naruto Unleashed
Series 7 - Volume 1


Starring (voice): Chie Nakamura, Junko Takeuchi and Noriaki Sugiyama
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 12
Available 24 August 2009

Naruto: Series Seven - Part One (2008) continues the show with mostly filler episodes, character development appears to have ceased as does any greater story arc. Although looking back now it is plain to see that the best of Naruto had been produced, the show would continue for another two seasons and continue to produce OVA’s and films.

Once again there are a generous number of episodes on the three DVD set. All discs are presented with either an English 2.0 dub or the original 2.0 Japanese track. Extras are limited to a couple of trailers on the first disc.

This latest volume kicks off with episode 157, Run! The Curry of Life, which finishes off one of the most pointless storylines appearing in the show before launching into a stand-alone show, Episode 158, Follow My Lead! The Great Survival Challenge. Naruto, along with others, is given a squad of three academy students, their challenge to assault a mountain. In some ways this is a small return to form with a lot of the type of humour which appeared in earlier episodes rearing its head again.

But, it is but a momentary respite from lesser filler shows as the series plods ahead with Episode 159, The Bounty Hunter from the Wilderness and episode 160, Hunt or Be Hunted?! Showdown at the O.K. Temple!. This is a pretty vacuous two parter, wherein Naruto, Hinata and Kiba are sent on an apparently easy mission to track down a thief, but another bounty hunter is also on the thief’s trail and initially the two parties clash.

Disc two includes the episodes 161, The Appearance of Strange Visitors; episode 162, The Cursed Warrior; episode 163, The Tactician's Intent; episode 164, Too Late for Help; and episode 165, The Death of Naruto. Episodes 162-165 make one continuous story, which is not dissimilar to an overlong episode of Scooby-Doo. Naruto and friends are sent to the aid of The Land of Birds to investigate strange tales of a ghost. Along the way many are accused of being this apparition of a dead warrior until of course those pesky kids work out the truth, and no it isn’t the bloke who runs the carnival.

Disc three starts another round of pointless filler episodes with episode 166, When Time Stands Still and episode 167, When Egrets Flap Their Wings. This time Naruto is up against Ooki a wandering Ninja who is out to steal as many Jutsus as possible. Obviously this creates a lot of opportunities for fighting to hide the gossamer thin plot.

Episode 168 Mix It, Stretch It, Boil It Up! Burn, Copper Pot, Burn and to be honest the less said about this the better as Naruto plunges the depths of banality with a show about cooking. The disc closes with a not half bad episode 169, Remembrance: The Lost Page, which looks to be the beginning of another story arc. Here Naruto is sent off to the Land of the Sea, with Anko, Shino and Ino to investigate tales of the monster Kaima. This is only the first episode so it spends much of its time introducing the new characters and getting Naruto and his group where they need to be.

I’ll be honest; Naruto has never been a favourite show. The continued need to have a fight every week becomes wearing after a while. In the past there have been some good stories, but with season seven it looks like the quality has decreased. Even the animation doesn’t look as vibrantly colourful as before. Still, if you’ve gotten this far in your Naruto collection you’re not likely to stop here, however it does mean that the show is increasingly becoming one which only hard core fans are likely to buy.


Charles Packer

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