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Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 11, 2011 by  



Featuring a confrontation between Naruto and Sasuke, the Konoha Village under attack and a storyline that is so awesome, “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds” definitely my favorite “Naruto” film yet!  But to add to the excitement of this action-driven film on Blu-ray is its wonderful picture quality and lossless audio soundtrack!  If you are a fan of “Naruto” and own a Blu-ray player, I highly recommend picking this film up! A wonderful entry to anime on Blu-ray courtesy of Viz Media!

Image courtesy of © 2002 Masashi Kishimoto/2007 Shippuden. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds (Gekijōban Naruto Shippūden: Kizuna)

MOVIE RELEASE DATE: 2008

DURATION: 90 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:85:1), English and Japanese DTS-HD Audio 5.1,  Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Viz Media

RATED: Suggested for T for Older Teen

Release Date: October 25, 2011

Originally created by Masashi Kishimoto

Director: Hajime Kamegaki

Screenplay: Junki Takegami

Music by -yaiba-, Yasuharu Takanashi/Theme Song by Home Made Kazoku

Character Design by Tetsuya Nishio

Art: Hitoshi Nagasaki, Yuji Ikeda

Chief Animation Director: Mamoru Sasaki

Anime Production: Studio Pierrot

Featuring the following voice talent:

Junko Takeuchi/Maile Flanagan as Naruto Uzumaki

Noriaki Sugiyama/Yuri Lowenthal as Sasuke Uchiha

Satoshi Hino/Ben Diskin as Sai

Chie Nakamura/Kate Higgins as Sakura Haruno

Houchu Ohtsuka/David Lodge as Jiraiya

Kazuhiko Inoue/Dave Wittenberg as Kakashi Hatake

Keiko Nemoto/Megan Hollingshead as Shizune

Masako Katsuki/Debi Mae West as Tsunade/Fifth Hokage

Rikiya Koyama/Troy Baker as Yamato

Kentarou Itou/Robbie Rist as Chouji Akimichi

Kouichi Toochika/Steve Staley as Neji Hyuuga

Kujira/Steven Blum as Orochimaru

Motoko Kumai/Michelle Ruff as Amaru

Nana Mizuki as Hinata Hyuuga

Nobutoshi Canna/Henry Dittman as Kabuto

Showtaro Morikubo/Tom Gibis as Shikamaru Nara

Unshou Ishizuka as Shinnou

A group of mysterious flying ninja have arrived from overseas to launch a sudden attack against the Hidden Leaf Village, leaving behind a wake of destruction. The group is revealed to be the “Sky Ninja” from the Land of Sky, a nation thought to have been destroyed by the Hidden Leaf Village long ago. To save their village, Naruto and his friends set out to stop this new threat. During the course of the mission, Naruto crosses paths with Sasuke, his friend who has parted ways from the Leaf Village.

Since 1999, “Naruto” created by Masashi Kishimoto (“Karakuri”) has been one of the most popular anime and manga series in Japan and has easily become a favorite best selling anime/manga series among fans all over the world.

For the anime series, since 2002, “Naruto” lasted until 2007 with a total of 220 episodes. The series would follow the adventures of a boy named Naruto Uzamaki, who may not be the brightest ninja from the Konoha Village but he makes it up with heart and also tremendous power as the killer beast known as the nine-tailed fox has been sealed within him.

Earlier in the series, the anime series focused on Naruto and his team members Sasuke Uchida and Sakura Haruno as they would go on adventures and learn to become a team and also honing their ninja abilities. The series would then begin to introduce other young ninjas from the village who Naruto would be paired up with and the young ninjas would take on rival clans to helping people in need. But somehow as the series continued, Sasuke Uchida would then go off on his own personal mission to stop his brother Itaki Uchida, who murdered the whole Uchida clan and his family, only leaving Sasuke alive.

Within those six years, we have seen Naruto and his friends grow as friends and also in their abilities. For Naruto, all he has wanted is to become the next Hokage (the leader of the village) when he grows older and to help his friends accomplish missions. He knows that to be a good leader, he will need to get stronger so he can protect the village once he grows older. Of course, there is so much involved in the “Naruto” anime series and what makes its special is its humor, its action but also how well the series integrates so many characters but yet features a good number of character driven episodes that makes the viewer appreciate many of the characters in the series.

“Naruto”, the first series ended with the young ninja leaving to train with Jiraiya for two-and-a-half years.  And now the storyline has picked up years later in “Naruto Shippuden” as Sasuke is now the enemy but Naruto and Sakura continue to hold out hope that they can save their old friend and partner.

“Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds” is the fifth “Naruto” film and the second “Naruto Shippuden” film that was released in Japanese theaters in August 2008.  And many fans have come to see the film as a special “Naruto” film because it features Sasuke and also Naruto and Sasuke working together once again.

The film begins with a mysterious Sky Ninja Clan which were defeated by the various ninja villages during the second Ninja War and now they want revenge.  We see many of the Sky Ninja flying towards Konoha and immediately attacking the city, causing destruction and death everywhere.

As Shikamaru and friends try to defend the city, Naruto tries to fight in the battle but is stopped by an older man who tells Naruto that he needs his help taking care of the wounded.  When Naruto brings the wounded to the emergency room, Sakura is shocked to see how well they were taken care of and Naruto tells them it was a doctor named Shinno who saved them.

A famous doctor, we see a young boy named Amaru looking for him.  The boy collapses and when he wakes up, Shinno is with Naruto.  Amaru asks for Shinno’s help as their village have been targeted by the Sky Ninja, so Tsunade assigns Naruto, Sakura and Hinata to accompany Dr. Shinno and Amaru to their village.

Meanwhile, Shikimaru along with Kakashi and Sai plan their retaliation against the Sky Ninja who are regathering for their next round of destruction. But far away, a sick Orochimaru and Kabuto are greeted by Sasuke and we learn that Dr. Shinno is responsible for teaching Orochimaru the regeneration technique long ago and that because he may have learned a lot since then, he sends Sasuke to bring Dr. Shinno to him.

As Naruto and group make their way to Amaru’s village, Naruto gets to learn that Amaru is a dedicated apprentice but also learns that Amaru is not a boy but is in fact a girl and that she has a crush on her sensei.

When the group arrive to Amaru’s village, they see it burning.  As Amaru rushes to check on the people of her village, all are gone.  But she hits a tripwire which sends daggers towards her, before she is hit, Dr. Shinno risks his life to save her and ends up getting killed in the process.

As Hinata goes to look for survivors using her jutsu, Sakura goes back home to request for reinforcements.   But as Amaru is dealing with the death of Dr. Shinno, a beast known as the Zero Tail attacks Naruto and Sakura.

Can Naruto defeat the Zero Tail and who is the person responsible for having the Sky Ninja attack Konoha?  Also, what happens when Naruto and Sasuke confront each other once again?

 

VIDEO:

“Naruto Shippuden” tends to have this look that is appropriate for television, but for a summer movie in Japan, you expect better, detailed artistic backgrounds and the good news is that is what you get with this film.  Presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1), the film looks absolutely vibrant.  From Naruto (and the nine tails) orange colors, to the overall character designs and closeups, there is a lot of detail in the artwork.

I detected no artifacts during my viewing of the film, nor did I see any banding.   Colors are vibrant, black levels are perfect and the artistic backgrounds look so gorgeous.  A lot of detail in the trees, the ground, as well as the scenery and the rising towers that come out of Amaru’s village.

For Viz Media’s first anime film on Blu-ray, the film looks absolutely great in HD!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds” is presented in English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.  And once again, I applaud Viz Media for giving anime fans a wonderful lossless soundtrack!

This is an immersive soundtrack.  It’s one thing to have clear dialogue and music coming from the center and front channels, but because of the non-stop action and explosions galore, there are great directional sounds that are panning from left to right and right to left through the surround channels.

In fact, there are many moments where the LFE just sounds magnificent as you can hear and feel those explosions around you.  This is an immersive soundtrack and because it is a film, they really went all out in making this film sound fantastic in HD!  Impressive!

Similar to a series like “Dragon Ball Z”, with “Naruto”, I have always enjoyed the voice acting of the English dub series. It’s well done and the voices fit the characters very well.  Especially Maile Flanagan’s Naruto Uzumaki. Personally, I didn’t think there would be a voice actor that could capture Junko Takeuchi’s Naruto vocals and sure enough, Flanagan does a great job. But I have watched the series in Japanese and English and for the most part, voice acting for both soundtracks are well-done.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds” comes with the following special features:

  • Movie Trailers – Featuring various “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds” theatrical trailers.
  • Special Opening – Featuring a compilation of clips from the film that was actually used as the opening theme for episodes 70-73 of “Naruto Shippuden” in Japan.
  • Production Art – Featuring the film’s concept art that can be viewed by using your remote or keyboard’s left or right directional button.

When it comes to anime films, especially one based on a major anime series, most of the time, these films are not canon.  They are typically summer films that are action-driven films that fans of the series tend to expect each year but whether or not they are good, it’s all subjective.

Of course, with the films, you get the bigger production and the films are much more beautiful too watch compared to the TV series, but one thing that “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds” does right is bringing back Sasuke, in another confrontation with Naruto which is pretty exciting as we know that Sasuke is an enemy to the Leaf Village.

Also, the film has a twist as the villain may surprise many people.

But the efficacy of this film is that it’s a well-written, action-driven storyline where Konoha Village is attacked and literally almost destroyed by the Sky Ninja.  And aside from having Naruto and Sasuke together again, the coolest part of the film is seeing the awesome strategist Shikamaru once again leading the battle against the Sky Ninja and possibly my favorite is seeing Sai in battle but also one of our favorite Konoha ninja’s making his return in battle for this film.

And that’s not it, you also get to see Naruto change into the Nine Tail Fox as he goes against the Zero Tail Fox.  We rarely get to see Naruto showcase his awesome power, but we get to see it in this film.

And whether or not this film is canon to the overall series, I’m not sure if it is or not but I’m guessing by the way things are playing out, the answer is possibly a yes.

So, there are a lot of positives going for this film!  Full of action, drama and for the most part, it’s my favorite “Naruto” film thus far!

As for the Blu-ray release, Viz Media’s entry to anime on Blu-ray is fantastic!  This film is literally taking advantage of the picture quality (the film looks vibrant and beautiful in HD) and a magnificent lossless audio soundtrack.  With so much action taking place in the film, the great news is that this soundtrack is immersive, utilizes all DTS-HD 5.1 audio channels including LFE and I was quite impressed of how awesome this film sounds on Blu!  Yes, there are only a few special features on this Blu-ray release but the PQ and AQ definitely make up for it.

Overall, if you are a big fan of “Naruto Shippuden”, I have no doubt that many of you are going to buy this film on DVD or Blu-ray.  But if you own a Blu-ray player, I highly recommend this Blu-ray release as the picture quality and lossless audio are fantastic.

“Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds” is definitely recommended!






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