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Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Will of Fire (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

November 19, 2012 by  



“Naruto” fans will surely enjoy this movie.  Naruto vs. Gaara, Naruto vs. his teammates in the hopes of saving Kakashi.  Exciting, action-packed and definitely the best “Naruto” film yet! “Naruto Shippuden The Movie: The Will of Fire” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2002 Masashi Kishimoto/2008 Shippuden. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Will of Fire (NARUTO-ナルト-疾風伝 火の意志を継ぐ者)

DURATION: 90 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 16×9, 1:85:1, English and Japanese, English subtitles

COMPANY: Shonen Jump/Viz Media

RATED: Rated T for Older Teen

Release Date: October 23, 2012

Originally created by Masashi Kishimoto

Directed by Masahiko Murata

Screenplay by Junki Takegami

Music by -yaiba-, Yasuharu Takanashi

Character Design by Tetsuya Nishio

Anime Production by Studio Pierrot

Featuring the following voice talent:

Junko Takeuchi/Maile Flanagan as Naruto Uzumaki

Chie Nakamura/Kate Higgins as Sakura Haruno

Noriaki Sugiyama/Yuri Lowenthal as Sasuke Uchiha

Akira Ishida/Liam O’Brien as Sabaku no Gaara (Gaara of the Desert)

Hideo Ishikawa/Crispin Freeman as Itachi Uchiha

Houchu Ohtsuka/David Lodge as Jiraiya

Kazuhiko Inoue/Dave Wittenberg as Hatake Kakashi

Kentarou Itou/Robbie Rist as Chouji Akimichi

Kouichi Toochika/Steve Staley as Neji Hyuuga

Kousuke Toriumi/Kyle Hebert as Kiba Inuzuka

Masako Katsuki/Debi Mae West as Tsunade/Fifth Hokage

Nana Mizuki/Stephanie Sheh as Hinata Hyuuga

Nobutoshi Canna/Henry Dittman as Kabuto Yakushi

Rikiya Koyama/Troy Baker as Yamato

Romi Paku/Tara Platt as Temari

Ryoka Yuzuki/Colleen O’Shaughnessey as Ino Yamanaka

Satoshi Hino/Ben Diskin as Sai

Shinji Kawada/Derek Stephen Prince as Shino Aburame

Yoichi Masukawa/Brian Donovan as Rock Lee

Four ninjas with kekkei genkai who have been guarding the Hidden Villages of Cloud, Stone, Mist, and Sand disappear from their respective villages. The Land of Fire comes under suspicion as it is the only country to have suffered no loss, and the tension among the five countries almost brings about a fourth Great Ninja War. In the Hidden Village of Leaf, Tsunade orders her men to keep strict guard against war and to try to find out what really happened. At the same time, it turns out that Kakashi has left the village. The bad news deeply disturbs Naruto and his friends.

To commemorate the 10th Anniversary of “Naruto” back in 2009, the third “Naruto: Shippuden” film titled “Gekijoban Naruto Shippuden Hi no Ishi wo Tsugumono” a.k.a. “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Will of Fire”) was released in theaters (the sixth “Naruto” film overall).

As the “Naruto” manga series has begun the “Fourth Great Ninja War” arc and the anime series now gaining momentum in regards to the Akatsuki arc, “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Will of Fire” has been released in the U.S. courtesy of Viz Media on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Viz Media.

“Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Will of Fire” begins with Kakashi giving Naruto a bell for him to fix.  The bell is a reminder to both Naruto and Sakura that a person who betrays his friends is the worst ninja out there.  And that memory of him and Sakura training with Sasuke enhances his resolve to find Sasuke because despite him being an enemy, he was their friend.

The film revolves around the potential outbreak of the Fourth Great Ninja War courtesy of a ninja known as Hiruko, a former friend of the legendary Sannin Orochimaru, Jiraiya and Tsunade.

When ninjas with Kekkei Genkai abilties begin to disappear from various villages with the exception of Konoha, villages start to suspect that Konoha may be involved in the disappearances of the missing ninjas.  And as troops start to threaten an invasion of Konoha, the Feudal Lord of the Land of Fire orders Tsunade to capture the real culprit or else the Land of Fire will break the peace and attack the village.

As for Hiruko, he is a missing ninja who left Konoha and developed the Chimera technique which allows him to absorb the chakra and kekkei Genkai of other ninja.  Having a few followers protecting him in Mount Shami, Hiruko is intent of obtaining the Kekkei Genkai of the Land of Fire to gain invincibility and to cause the Fourth Great Ninja War in order to conquer the world.  And to do that, she intends to use Kakashi, as she put a puppet curse on him over a decade ago and plans to use his Sharingan.

Before leaving to face Hiruko and risk his life, Kakashi asks Shikamaru for a favor and that is to tell Naruto not to follow him.  In fact, worried that Naruto would do something rash, Naruto is placed in a jail cell as Kakashi goes out to find Hiruko.  He also asks Tsunade to put a special seal on him if Hiruko attempts to absorb him.  Kakashi disappears under Hiruko’s influence of the puppet jutsu.

Meanwhile, Tsunade brands Kakashi a missing nin and orders everyone to stay away from Kakashi.

When Sakura overhears this, she goes to visit Naruto and Naruto begs for her to release him from the cell.  He reminds her of the bond that they had with Sasuke and Kakashi and that friends would never betray their friends and to protect one another and to this day, he intends to keep that promise he gave Sakura that he would rescue Sasuke.  Hearing this, Sakura releases Naruto and both head out to find their teacher, Kakashi.

Upon hearing this news, Tsunade sends out Team 8, Team 10 and Team Guy to retrieve them and immediately some of the team members get into an argument when Shikamaru tells them that they may need to use lethal force against Naruto, while Rock Lee defends Naruto about protecting their group and his friends and he believes in Naruto.  But for Shikamaru, he intends to carry out the promise left to him by his teacher, the late Asuma Sarutobi who told him that he must protect the children of Konoha village.  And if Naruto threatens that, he will need to kill him.

As Sai is now part of the team and joins Naruto and Saura on their mission to find Kakashi, waiting for them are Hiruko’s followers, Ichi, Ni and San.  But also, hot on their trail are Team 8, Team 10 and Team Guy who are trying to stop them as well.

Will Naruto be able to save his teacher?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

Before I begin, it’s important to remind people that a Blu-ray release is available for “Naruto Shippuden The Movie: The Will of Fire”and if you want the best picture and audio quality, the Blu-ray is the way to go.

As for the DVD, the film 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 with an aspect ratio of 1:85:1, the film looks very good.   A lot of detail in the trees, the ground and surrounding environments but also the amount of shading and detail on the characters.  As “Naruto” films become more recent, there is an obvious increase in detail in overall look of the films and “The Will of Fire” looks very good!

As for the audio, the audio for “Naruto Shippuden The Movie: The Will of Fire” is featured in Dolby Digital English and Japanese. 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 Will of Fire” comes with the Japanese theatrical trailer.

When it comes to “Naruto” related films, for the most part, a lot of the films are not canon and really have no affect on the main storyline of the manga or anime series.

But what I enjoyed about “Naruto Shippuden The Movie: The Will of Fire” is that it brings up three important plot lines that Naruto fans who are watching the anime series have just seen.  Important plot lines that do play a big part in the future of “Naruto Shippuden”.

Those three plot lines revolves around Naruto’s ongoing promise to Sakura that he would bring Sasuke back.  The second revolves around Shikamaru’s promise to Asuma about protecting the children of the village and the third which revolves around Kakashi’s past of how he obtained the Sharingan and from who.

The first two are ongoing promises that are mean to be kept, while the third plays a much bigger part in the “Naruto Shippuden” series which is now being featured in Japan (note: America is a few years behind in storyline via anime series, and a few manga volumes behind from Japan).

But “The Will of Fire” is important to show the bond between the Konoha ninjas and as always with Naruto, he is never the type of person that would let anyone be hurt.  He is a protector and his goal to be Hokage means protecting everyone from harm’s way.

And when both his goal and Shikamaru’s goal clashes, it’s quite interesting to see how their fellow teammates respond when they must stop Naruto, as some believe in what Naruto is doing and others knowing they have a mission to do and the mission is priority.

There is also another cool addition to this film and that is another fight between Naruto and Gaara which I was not expecting.  It’s one thing for Naruto, Sakura and Sai to go after Kakashi and get into a duel with Hiruko’s protectors and also his own fellow ninja from Konoha, but to see Gaara involved and possibly meant to stop Naruto as well, that was cool to see another skirmish between the two, despite their admiration towards each other.

Suffice to say, this is an action-packed film and definitely one of the better summer “Naruto” films created because it has a stronger connection to the series when it comes to the characters and what they are fighting for.   While the previous film “Bonds” was great to see Naruto and Sasuke fight against each other and briefly work together, “The Will of Fire” is much more exciting due to the amount of characters and battles involved.

As for the DVD, picture quality and audio are good but if one wants better PQ and AQ, the Blu-ray is the way to go.  While I’m not sure if the Blu-ray release has more special features, I was surprised that the DVD only has the Japanese theatrical trailer.

Overall, “Naruto” fans will surely enjoy this movie.  Naruto vs. Gaara, Naruto vs. his teammates in the hopes of saving Kakashi.  Exciting, action-packed and definitely the best “Naruto” film yet!

“Naruto Shippuden The Movie: The Will of Fire” is recommended!






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