Naruto Uzumaki, the hyperactive adolescent, continues his
Ninja quest to become Hokage of his village, acknowledged
as the finest fighter and the best warrior...
was a show that, due to its pedigree, should have done well.
Produced by Studio Pierrot (Saiyuki Reload, Bleach)
and Aniplex (ROD TV, Full Metal Alchemist) and
directed by Hayato Date, who has worked exclusively on the
show, which is why it has such a feeling of continuity. Its
blend of comedy, usually from the estranged Naruto's antics
and pathos from his personal predicament, caught the imagination
of the anime fraternity very quickly. Of course it didn't
hurt the show that the original manga, by Masashi Kishimoto,
who drew his influence from Dragon Ball Z and Akira,
was already immensely popular. For the most part the show
follows the storyline in the manga, though extra shows had
to be constructed when the anime caught up and overtook the
Naruto's appeal for the juvenile audience is twofold.
First is the usual tale of a youth that has a destiny of which
he is unaware. Whilst still a baby, the great warrior The
Fourth Hokage defeated the nine tailed demon fox, a being
of immense power, and trapped its soul in Naruto. Now the
idea was that Naruto should be viewed as a hero for this sacrifice,
but the villagers hated him as he grew and treated him with
the same fear that they had treated the nine tailed demon
fox. Thus we can see Naruto as the perfect reflection of the
teenage experience, simultaneously feeling isolated from his
elders and culture, but also feeling the burgeoning power
of adulthood and the possibilities that this may bring. Now
this was powerful stuff, which resonated with its pubescent
For the slightly older audience Naruto, as a show,
offers great animation and, more importantly, integral character
development. This aspect of the show raises it above the level
of a 'fight of the week' series. As does the increasingly
rich cast and developing relationships which the show portrays.
Fear not, though, if fight shows are your bag then this contains
enough well choreographed action to keep you happy. One word
of warning, the content of the stories can often be quite
dark, therefore the target audience is probably teenage and
The show started in 2002 and is stilll going strong today.
This collection covers the first half of Season Two
and contains a huge amount of episodes, for a reasonable price
- it covers episodes twenty seven to thirty nine. Like the
previous episodes it is not unusual for fights to last more
than a single show, with the story being woven in between
Episode twenty seven, The Chunin Exam Stage Two: The Forest
of Death, opens with a recap before Naruto and friends
have to enter the aforementioned exam. However things do not
go as planned and a new villain appears in the form of Mubi,
who has disguised himself as Naruto... cue fight...
Episode twenty eight, Eat or be Eaten: Panic in the Forest,
and the action picks up with Sasuke taking on Mubi, whilst
rescuing the tied up Naruto. A series of fight start with
Episode twenty nine, Naruto's Counter Attack: Never give
In!, and the fight with the Grass Nin continues. Outside
the exam area three contestants from the hidden village of
Grass are found dead. A coincidence? I don't think so.
Episode thirty, The Sharingan Revived: Dragon Flame Jutsu!,
and Anko is on the trail of the killer, whilst Sasuke still
fights for his life.
Episode thirty one, Bushy Brow's Pledge: Undying Love and
Protection, Naruto's group have taken a beating with only
Sakura left to watch over her comrades, but when she falls
asleep Sound Ninjas attack. Anko confronts the killer Orochimura,
but is she strong enough to defeat him.
two has one extra in the form of six trailers for other shows.
Episode thirty two, Sakura Blossoms, and another episode
means another fight, this time between Rock Lee, Dosu and
Episode thirty three, Battle Formation: Ino-Shika-Cho!,
and in between the carnage of the preceding episodes we start
to get some information about Sasuke's past and the death
of his parents. The team continue to battle with the Sound
Episode thirty four, Akamuru Trembles: Gaara's Cruel Strength,
and Naruto is back in the fight. With the Sound Ninjas
having retreated it's time for the Rain Ninjas to make an
Episode Thirty five, The Scroll's Secret: No Peeking Allowed,
and with the team having lost their first Heaven Scroll they
head off to a dark tower where they believe they can find
Disc three has no extras.
Episode thirty six, Clone Vs Clone: Mine are Better than
Yours, and something is very wrong. No matter how much
they try they are not getting any closer to the tower and
their reserves of energy are running out. Just as they work
out that the distance is an illusion they are attacked.
Episode thirty seven, Surviving the Cut! The Rookie Nine.
Together again and having gained entrance to the tower the
second exam comes to a close and counting the dead only twenty
one of the seventy eight students have passed the test. Thankfully,
due to their determination and fighting techniques, Naruto's
group are through to the third test.
Episode thirty eight, Narrowing the Field: Sudden Death
Examination. Too many have passed the second stage test.
The Third Hokage determines that, in order to cut down the
numbers, elimination matches will be fought. First up are
Sasuke and Yoroi.
Episode thirty nine, Bushy Brows Jealousy - Lions Barrage
Unleashed. Susuke is removed from the match, second up
is Shino and Zuka.
Audio options are everything you might wish for, giving you
English or Japanese stereo, 5.1 or DTS. Both the original
and dubbed seiyuu (voice actors) do an excellent job with
the show. So the box set represents great value with a nice
amount of episodes. The episodes on offer have elements which
had previously been censored, which should appeal to Naruto
fans, but do make the show less suitable for a really young