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DVD Review

DVD cover

Naruto Unleashed
Series 4 - Volume 1


Starring (voice): Junko Takeuchi
Manga Entertainment
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 12
Available 25 August 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. 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 Naruto Unleashed: Series 4 - Volume 1 (episodes seventy nine to ninety one) in what I have been reliably informed is the last great season of Naruto - apparently it all goes down hill from here on. Still, the drunken appreciation of an anime fanboy in a pub may not be as reliable as one might hope, especially when it has taken seventy nine fairly repetitive episodes to get to this point. I will accept that this was never meant to be War and Peace and that it was never originally designed for you to watch thirteen episodes in one long... long... long... day's sitting, but you would still expect the plot to have moved a little further on than it has.

The show continued to remain popular until its recent cancellation, although we have reached season four the level of animation has remained consistent, though it is starting to show its age. While many other shows would be penny pinching by now, the quality remains relatively high. It still has ridiculously long titles, and almost all have an exclamation mark, but if you love unapologetic multi-episode fight shows then this puppy is for you. And if you do you won't be surprised to discover that season four kicks off with the conclusion of the fight from season three.

To be honest the more I watch it the less I understand what made this program so popular, every gap in the fighting is just there to set up the next set of fighting which then usually stretches interminably over two or three episodes.

The episodes are spread over three discs in the following order:

Disc 1
79. Beyond the Limit of Darkness and Light
80. The Third Hokage, Forever...
81. Return of the Morning Mist
82. Eye to Eye: Sharingan vs. Sharingan!

Disc 2
83. Jiraiya: Naruto’s Potential Disaster
84. Roar Chidori! Brother vs. Brother!
85. Hate Among The Uchihas: The Last of the Clan!
86. A New Training Begins: I Will Be Strong
87. Keep On Training: Pop Goes The Water Balloon!

Disc 3
88. Focal Point: The Mark of the Leaf
89. An Impossible Choice: The Pain Within Tsunade’s Heart
90. Unforgivable! A Total Lack of Respect!
91. Inheritance! The Necklace Of Death!

The show is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio with a nice clean print, the audio remains its usual English or Japanese 2.0 with subs. There is little in the way of extras, just some trailers on disc one, but hey if you’re a fan of the show you can’t really complain given the sheer number of episodes you get, it’s a pretty high bang for your bucks.

So high marks for the number of episodes and the reasonable animation which is pulled down - a little – by the lack of extras, but more importantly by the lack of any real story development over nearly one hundred episodes.


Charles Packer

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