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

September 23, 2013 by  



“Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower” is the best “Naruto” animated film yet!  And it looks and sounds incredible on Blu-ray!

Image courtesy of © 2002 Masashi Kishimoto/2010 Shippuden. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower

MOVIE RELEASE DATE: 2010

DURATION: 85 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: September 17, 2013

Originally created by Masashi Kishimoto

Director: Masahiko Murata

Screenplay: Junki Takegami

Music by -yaiba-, Yasuharu Takanashi

Theme Song by Kana Nishino

Character Design by Tetsuya Nishio, Hirofumi Suzuki

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

Saori Hayami/Eden Riegel as Saara

Ryuzaburo Otomo/J.B. Blanc as Mukade

Toshiyuki Morikawa/Tony Oliver as Minato Namikaze

The Rogue Ninja Mukade is about to be caught by Naruto’s team when he summons forth the power of the Ley Line – an ancient underground channel of chakra. Naruto gets caught up in the chakra and is sent back in time to the city of Loran, known for its thousand towers. There he encounters the future Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze, on a top-secret mission and the Queen of Loran, Sara, whose rule is threatened by Mukade. Will Naruto be able to return to his own time, and can a chance encounter in the past save the future?

 

Plus, in an exclusive animated short, Naruto and his friends come across a magical genie in a bottle. The time has come for the last wish, but Naruto just may squander it!

The fourth Naruto film “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower” features Naruto being whisked into the past trying to save a queen and her village from a powerful foe, but this time Naruto gets some help by someone he may be close to.

What is “Naruto Shippuden”?

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: The Lost Tower” is the seventh “Naruto” film and the fourth “Naruto Shippuden” film that was released in Japanese theaters in July 2010.

Naruto begins with Yamato, Naruto Uzumaki, Sakura Haruno and Sai are sent to the ruins of Loran to capture Mukade, a ninja that has great control of puppets.  As the group pursues him, they see Mukade approaching some seal and in the process he opens the seal unleashing a powerful beam of light which sucks Naruto and Yamato inside, while Sakura and Sai manage to escape, wondering what happened to them.

Back in time 20-years ago, we see Minato Namikaze (who would later become the fourth Hokage but is also the father of Naruto) in Konoha and Jiraiya trying to show his friend that he had mastered the rasengan. With the Hokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi having heard news of Anrokuzan’s evil plan, he sends out Minato, along with Shibi Aburame (father of Shino) and Choza Akimichi (father of Choji) plus a young teenage Kakashi Hatake, all on a mission to stop Anrokuzan.

Naruto awakes and sees a mysterious girl singing, he is then approached by three men with masks who reveal themselves to be Konoha ninjas and they tell him that he must leave the city as they have a mission to follow.  Naruto also has a mission to follow and that is to stop Mukade but first, he must find his teammates.

As he arrives to the town center, where a festival is takng place, he realizes the young girl that he saw singing was the Queen of Loran, Sara.  As she greets the people, someone pushes her and the balcony that she was standing on begins to break apart.  Fortunately, Naruto is able to rescue Sara, who accidentally mistakens him as a bad guy.

But he tells her that he is responsible for saving her and when asking her how she fell, she felt that someone pushed her.  When he asks if someone is after her, she tells them no.

Meanwhile, Minato, Shibi and Choza arrive and find out that Naruto is from the future.  Naruto jokes that Minato looks like the fourth Hokage but Minato tells him to not speak about anything as it could disrupt the present time.  But believes that if they can defeat Mukade, he can go back to his time period.  He gives Naruto his Flying Thunder God Kunai which allows him to transport to Naruto’s place if he uses it.

But for now, they believe the man they are after, Anrokuzan is the same as Mukade and that Anrokuzan is the minister of Loran.  Saara who hears this feels they are wrong as Anrokuzan would never do anything to hurt her and annoyed by their claims, she leaves.  Minato tells Naruto that as they go after Anrokuzan, his duty is to protect Saara at all costs.

As Naruto goes after Saara, Saara is struck from behind and taken to a dark room where she sees threatening figures.  When Naruto finds her, he is about to attack but the figures reveal themselves to be women and children who are looking for their brothers or husbands who have been taken away after they followed an order by the Queen to be enlisted to work for the city.  Saara claims that she gave no such order and nothing bad can happen in the city because people are all cheering.

But when Naruto sees that the people cheering are actually puppets, Saara sees a puppet version of herself saying hi to the crowd on the balcony.  She realizes something bad is going on and decides that she will help the people find the missing men of her city and get to the bottom of what is going on.

But what they don’t know is that with the seal open in Loran, there is a chakra source that feeds on to Anrokuzan/Mukade that gives him unlimited power, making him invincible. Can Naruto protect the Queen and can Minato and others stop Anrokuzan/Mukade?

VIDEO:

“Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower” 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: The Lost Tower” is presented in English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0. 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: The Lost Tower” comes with the following special features:

  • Naruto and the Three Wishes – (14:46) An animated short that was shown after “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower” in Japan, the short takes place when Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura were training and discover a genie lamp willing to give three wishes.  But when the other groups hear about this, everyone wants the lamp to make their own wish.
  • Japanese Trailers – Japanese theatrical trailers for “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower”.
  • Production Art – Featuring the film’s concept art that can be viewed by using your remote or keyboard’s left or right directional button.

In the “Naruto Shippuden” anime and manga series, the Naruto storyline unveiling his family was one of the biggest surprises but for those following the series, we have gotten short glimpse of the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze.

And with “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower”, the fourth “Naruto Shippuden” film tries to show us more of Minato and his abilities but also giving fans a chance to see Minato and Naruto together but also to see familiar faces of characters (who are younger) who would be important during Naruto’s timeline.

“The Lost Tower” is one of the better “Naruto” animated films as the story  is well-structured but as most animated summer films tend to be non-canon, at least the writers use the storyline to show a connection between Naruto and Minato but most importantly featuring an antagonist that is so powerful that even the Konoha ninja elite have a problem fighting him.

The story contains what you love about a Naruto film.  His ability to have an impact on a person through his positive attitude but his character as a person who will protect the people that he cares about.  And this film makes things extra special when you see both Minato and Naruto together in a film.

In Japan, the film aired with a special short which is included on this Blu-ray release.  A fun storyline that involves Naruto finding a lamp with a genie that gives three wishes, what happens when everyone wants to make their own wish and try to get the bottle away from Naruto.  As one can expect, hilarious moments and just a fun animated short that fans will no doubt be happy to see.

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 (plus a 2.0 lossless track) 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 including the animated short 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.  But also for the fact that “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower” is the best “Naruto” animated film yet!

Recommended!

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