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DVD Review

Naruto Unleashed
Series 3 - Volume 2


Starring (voice): Junko Takeuchi
Manga Entertainment
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 12
Available 26 May 2008

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 that had been defeated twelve years ago. Because of their parents' 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...

And so we come to Volume 3.2 in the seemingly never ending story of Naruto. And with it comes another bunch of episodes with ridiculously long titles and lots of exclamation marks - how surprised can one Ninja be?

This thirteen-episode box set comes with three DVDs and contains episodes 66 to 78, for all its repetition, with every episode becoming less of a chance to tell a story and more endless fighting. Now I know there are those of you that can’t get enough of this sort of thing and truth to tell if I had watched this over a period of a year or so then its possible that the repetitive nature of the show would not have been so obvious. Still there is no denying the popularity of the show, which has been the big thing for some time now. Due to the sheer numbers of episodes in the box set I’ll list the title, who the fight was with, and if there are any actual developments in the main story.

Disc one:

Episode sixty six: Bushy Brow’s Jutsu: Sasuke Style. Sasuke Vs Gaara. Naruto, aware of Gaara’s capabilities, begs with Kakashi to intervene in the match and that’s pretty much it for the whole episode.

Episode sixty seven: Late for the Show, But Ready to Go! The Ultimate Secret Technique is born. Sasuke Vs Gaara. This episode continues the fight from the last episode and, while that is going on, ANBU members appear to be up to no good. Whatever their plan is, it involves Gaara defeating Sasuke - although it looks like Sasuke might just beat Gaara, the planned attack from the ANBU begins.

Episode sixty eight: Zero Hour! The Destruction of the Hidden Leaf Village Begins! With the attack in full progress various ninja's clash in and around the area. Knowing that they are hard pressed Kakashi gets Sakura to wake up Naruto and Shikamaru as they will be needed on an A-ranked mission.

Episode sixty nine: Village in Distress: A New A-ranked Mission. In the midst of the ongoing fight Sasuke has gone off in pursuit of Gaara and now Naruto and Shikamaru must follow in his wake. Strangely enough this cues up another series of fights as a squad consisting of Pakkun, Naruto, Sakura, and Shikamaru head out on their mission to help Sasuke.

Disc two:

Episode seventy: A Shirker’s Call to Action: Layabout No More! The Squad Vs Sound Ninjas'. Hot on the trail of Sasuke the squad realize that they are, in turn, being chased by Sound Ninjas their only hope is for one of their number to sacrifice themselves in order to slow them down, Shikamaru volunteers.

Episode seventy one: An Unrivalled Match: Hokage Battle Royale! Sarutobi Vs the resurrected Hokages. For the most part the action moves away from either Sasuke or the following squad to the fight going on between the Hokage and Sarutobi - though, at the episodes conclusion, Sasuke finally closes the distance between himself and Gaara.

Episode seventy two: A Mistake from the Past: A Face Revealed. Sasuke Vs Temari. When Sasuke finally catches up with Gaara, Temari realises that, although both she and Gaara are still too weak to face him, if she did her sacrifice will allow Gaara to get away. Cue fight. In, as they say, another part of town Orochimaru reveals his plans to defeat all about him and achieve immortality by transferring his essence into Sasuke. Cue fight between Orochimaru and Sarutobi.

Episode seventy three: Forbidden Secret Technique: Reaper Death Steal! Orochimaru Vs Sarutobi. Well believe it or not the narrative moves only a little forward as most of the show is taken up with the main fight.

Episode seventy four: Astonishing Truth! Gaara’s Identity Emerges! Orochimaru and Sarutobi, Sasuke and Gaara, Kankuro and Shino. Well after what seems like a lifetime Sasuke finally catches up with Gaara. Gaara, having problems of his own controlling the sand demons within him, transforms into his semi-sand demon form, which bears an unfortunate resemblance to the sh*t demon from Kevin Smith's Dogma, astonishing indeed.

Disc three:

Episode seventy five: Sasuke’s Decision: Pushed to the Edge! Sasuke Vs Gaara. The whole episode is given over to the fight.

Episode seventy six: The Assassin of the Moonlit Night. Sasuke Vs Gaara Vs Naruto. The show is split between Sasuke and Gaara, interspersed with flash backs to Gaara’s childhood.

Episode seventy seven: Light Vs Dark: The Two faces of Gaara. Naruto Vs Gaara. In between fighting Gaara we learn a little more about his past.

Episode seventy eight: Naruto’s Ninja Handbook. Naruto Vs Gaara. And the fight continues without concluding. Mo doubt there will be numerous episodes on the next box set continuing this endless battle.

Disc one contains a few trailers for Bleach, Death Note, Vexille, Naruto and G.I.T.S: SSS and only an English or Japanese stereo track; there are no other extras in the set. The show is presented in its original, very clean, 4:3 aspect ratio.

Okay, so I can’t hide the fact that, after so many episodes and so little progression in the story, Naruto is getting a bit boring. But if you’re a fight fan you’re going to be in pig heaven.


Charles Packer

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