Monday, October 26, 2009

DVD Review: Naruto Shippuden, Volume 1

Naruto Shippuden is finally here! It's been a long road coming, but the story of Naruto can once again move forward! Seriously, how long were we stuck in filler land with VIZ's uncut boxed set releases? I think it's the better part of 100 episodes since we've seen a plot that truly, honestly matters. That takes a lot of dedication to sit through that much filler, but the real question is whether or not Shippuden is really worth the wait.

Let's get a couple things that annoyed me about this installment out of the way. VIZ only put four episodes on the disc! We've been accustomed to getting fifteen episodes on three discs in a colorful boxed set, and now we're reduced to an individual volume of episodes?! Ugh! The other thing that annoyed about this installment was the fact that the episodes continued the trend of recycling animation and dialogue from the previous episode or scene. That means the four episodes here could really have been cut down to three, and in the end it feels like the first series (and DBZ did); stretched out!

Okay, now that the rant is over, let's get on with what's actually here! So, in the first episode Naruto heads back home to Konoha and catches up with Sakura and Kakashi. Tsunade has other plans though, and rather than enjoying a steaming hot bowl of Ramen, Sakura and Naruto have to test their skills against Kakashi. This is similar to the first time they went up against him with Sasuke, and their goal is to capture two bells he's holding. Things are a little harder for Kakashi this time around and it's safe to say that Naruto and Sakura are far more dangerous than they were before (Sakura especially since Tsunade has taken the girl under her destructive wing).

Meanwhile over in the Village Hidden in the Sand, Gaara has been promoted to Kazekage and he has some troubles of his own. Some Akatsuki members have come to town and seem to be out to kill Gaara. While the fight between Kakashi and his former students rages on, Gaara and one of the Akatsuki have a duel of their own in the sky above the village. That's pretty much all we get from these four episodes and it definitely left me wanting the next installment as soon as possible.

The video quality on this release is comparable to what we've seen from the first series. That is to say that some of the animations are more fluid than others and the overall picture quality is quite vibrant and sharp. The sound quality is decent as well with most all of the same voice actors returning for both the Japanese and English dubs. On the bonus feature side of things we are left a little lacking from what we got with the original Naruto release, and when I say a little lacking, I mean there is nothing on this disc.

All in all the first installment of Naruto Shippuden will definitely please Naruto fans who suffered through the seemingly endless amounts of filler. Hopefully the future installments will eventually hold more episodes, because the stretching out of the content really makes four episodes feel unsatisfying.

Maki Rating:

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