Naruto Unleashed
Series 2 - Volume 2

Starring (voice): Junko Takeuchi
Manga Entertainment
RRP: 24.99
Certificate: 12
Available 03 September 2007

Naruto Uzumaki, the hyperactive adolescent, continues his Ninja quest to become Hokage of his village. Acknowledged as the finest fighter and the best warrior, through a series of tests he and his friends grow as fighters and people. With his friends Sasuke and Sakura, Naruto must face the next stage of the Chnin Exam...

This new box set, Naruto Unleashed 2.2, contains a very generous thirteen episodes. Disc one contains five episodes (40-44), episodes 45-48 pop up on disc two, and the remaining four episodes - 49-52 are contained on the third disc. Together these episodes complete the remainder of Season Two of the show.

Although Naruto is an excellent show, you really have to be fight fans to sit through lots of episodes in one go. Presented together, as it is here, the endless lurching from fight to fight can become a little tiresome. Individually, each episode has much to commend it. However, an individual review of each would all consist of X and Y fight, using their best moves - the fight usually spreads across more than one episode until the good guys win or the bad guys retreat. This criticism isn't just a problem with Naruto, but also with most of the martial arts animes, which means that fans of this genre are getting exactly what they want, whereas anyone wanting an in-depth story is going to be sorely disappointed.

At which point you've got to ask yourself how it became so much more successful than similar shows - running to over 150 episodes. Well, there is no denying that the quality of the animation and fight choreography remains high throughout each episode; there is a nice mix of humour and fighting, even if the overall story takes forever to progress. There is a nod towards character development, but once again it's a slow and torturous process.

If merchandise is anything to go by Naruto is raking in the cash hand over fist. Apart from the inevitable console games, you can get pretty much anything you like from headbands and clothing to fake weapons.

Audio is a very decent English or Japanese stereo, 5.1 and DTS, with English subtitles. The only extras are six trailers for other shows, which really translates to no extras, just a bunch of ads.

In the end you get what you pay for, a fight show with an endless stream of combat.

Charles Packer

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