Konoha, the Hidden Leaf Village, is your average ninja hamlet,
except for one thing, it contains Naruto Uzumaki. Unbeknownst
to the children, but known to their parents, Naruto's body
contains the trapped spirit of Kyubi, a demon fox which had
been defeated twelve years ago. Because of their parent's
behaviour towards Naruto, the children of the village also
treat him with deferential fear. All Naruto wants is to become
the best ninja that he can and win the respect of the villagers
- especially Haruno Sakura who he has a crush on - and his
mentor Jounin Sensei, Hakate Kakashi. Only time will tell
if even his arch rival Uchida Sasuke will play a part on his
road to become the village's Hokage...
is no doubt that Naruto was one of the most anticipated
shows of 2006, its massive success and fan following, in both
Japan and America, created such a buzz that the show became
required viewing. I'll agree that it's a good show, but I'm
not sure that it is the great show that everyone thinks it
is - though this is often the problem with expectations outstripping
reality. For a martial arts program, aimed mainly at a juvenile
audience, you can't help but be carried away with the sheer
exuberance and sense of fun that underlies this coming of
One of the odd things you'll notice, though it does not detract
from the show, is that the individual episode titles shown
in the menu's are not the same in the shows themselves. This
is not a great problem, I would imagine that different people
translated the show's titles.
second volume contains three discs, which cover episodes fourteen
to twenty-six, which should keep you going for a couple of
weeks. The story picks up, where we left off in volume
one - with Naruto confronting his nemesis.
fourteen, The Number One Hyperactive Knucklehead Ninja
Joins the Fight, opens with a quick flashback to get you
up to speed before throwing you straight back into the fight
on the bridge between Naruto, his compatriots and Zabuza.
Not much in the way of plot progression in this episode, just
the unending fight with Zabuza. There are a number of well
choreographed fight scenes, which should keep the old blood
episode fifteen, Zero Visibility, the Sharingan Shatters.
Kakashi, having opened up the Shatingan eye on Zabuza in the
last episode, continues the unending and, at this point mind
numbing, fight on the bridge. It eventually looks like its
coming to the end when one of the crew is cleaved with a sword.
Though at the end of the episode your not sure which.
sixteen and the underlying weakness with the show is starting
to show as the fight on the bridge goes on and on. The
Broken Seal sees our heroes trying out their best techniques
to defeat Zabuza; personally I'd have lost the will to live
at this point and gone for a beer.
seventeen, White Past: Hidden Ambition, and Naruto
gets all emotional over the death of his friend. Kakashi takes
on Zabuza, whilst Naruto kicks Haku's arse. Thankfully at
this point we get back to a bit of plot progression as unmasked
Haku turns out to be someone Naruto knows. After telling Naruto
about his/her past, distressed and emotional Haku begs Naruto
to kill him/her.
Last episode in the first disc is episode eighteen, The
Weapons Known as Shinobi, and we are finally reminded
why all the fighting on the bridge is going on as the story
moves back to Wave Country, where Inari is trying to gather
conscripts to fight to save their village from the machinations
of Gato and Zabuza. Though Inari arrives on the bridge so
does Gato and his men.
two opens with episode nineteen, The Demon in the Snow,
and I think that we're all pleased to discover that the Ninja
fight on the bridge is finally over. Though there is some
fallout from the fight as not everybody survives. Zabuza discovers
that Gato intends to double cross him, something that he takes
umbrage at, after a final confrontation the bridge is finally
finished and named after Naruto.
Episode twenty, A New Chapter Begins: The Chunin Exam,
and the show gets back to Naruto's journey to become a Ninja.
Although we don't actually get the exam in this episode, that
happens a week after these events. Naruto, full of confidence
from his face off on the bridge, wants to continue his training.
However he is to discover that menial tasks can often teach
patience. Not a lesson he takes to, as he quickly gets into
a fight with some local kids.
penultimate episode on disc two is episode twenty-one, Identify
Yourself: Powerful New Rivals, and Naruto and the crew
finally get their applications for the Chunin exam from Kakashi
- obviously Naruto and the gang get into more fights.
Last up on the second disc is episode twenty-two, Chunin
Challenge: Rock Lee vs. Sasuke, Ok this is not going to
come as a massive surprise, but this episode is just another
showcase for the groups various Ninja moves as they get in
the mood to pass the exam.
So, on to the last disc in the set which opens with episode
twenty-three, Genin Takedown: All Nine Rookies Face Off,
which is by way of an introduction to the various rookie Ninjas
who are undertaking the Chunin exam, as well as an explanation
of what the exam is and how often it is held. It was pleasant
to view an episode that did not rely on the fighting so much.
You just know that with a title like Start Your Engines:
The Chunin Exam Begins, that episode twenty-four is going
to be the beginning of another fight fest, except that the
first exam is a written one, whose rules poor old Naruto is
slow to grasp. As the other various contestants correctly
use their secret techniques to cheat without getting caught
Naruto is in danger of failing. Naruto must pin all his hopes
on the tenth, and last question, if he and his team are not
to be eliminated.
obviously explains episode twenty-five's title, The Tenth
Question: All or Nothing. Naruto is in a terrible bind,
seems that if you choose not to answer the question you can
come back and try again, but if you attempt to answer it and
fail then you can never take the test again. Well there's
not really much tension in this choice as the show has run
and run, so I'll leave it to you to figure out if he solves
last show continues the Chunin exam with episode twenty-six,
Special Report: Live from the Forest of Death. The
show is really a catch-up, presumably for those who have come
into the show late. Naruto is interviewed about himself and
Each of the discs comes with English and Japanese stereo and
5.1 DTS tracks, with subtitles. Extras are non-existent except
for some trailers on disc two, but hey given the amount of
episodes that are in the set it would be churlish to complain
- the box set still works out a great value for money.
picture is good, as you would expect for such a recent show,
and the English voice artists do an adequate job, though,
to be honest, a great deal of the show involves people yelling
at each other so the opportunities to demonstrate subtle nuances
in tone are limited.
another good value anime box set; though I'd suggest you don't
watch too many episodes in one sitting as they can be a little