Naruto Shippuden Vol. 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)
February 23, 2010 by Dennis Amith
The sequel to the popular “Naruto” series! Volume 1 features the first four episodes… and what a fun, action-packed series this has turned out to be!
Image courtesy of © 2002 Masashi Kishimoto/2007 Shippuden. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Naruto Shippuden Vol. 1
DURATION: Episodes 1-4 (100 Minutes)
DVD INFORMATION: Stereo Bilingual (Japanese & English), English Subtitles
COMPANY: Shonen Jump/Viz Media
RATED: Rated T for Older Teen
Release Date: September 29, 2009
Originally created by Masashi Kishimoto
Series Directed by Hayato Date
Produced by Tomoko Gushima, Ken Hagino
Series Coordinator by Junki Takegami, Satoru Nishizono
Character Design by Tetsuya Nishio, Hirofumi Suzuki
Music by Yasuharu Takanishi, Yaiba
Music Production by Aniplex
Anime Production by TV Tokyo, 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
Kenyuu Horiuchi/Troy Baker as Pain
Kouichi Toochika/Steve Staley as Neji Hyuuga
Kousuke Toriumi/Kyle Hebert as Kiba Inuzuka
Kujira/Steven Blum as Orochimaru
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
Yasuyuki Kase/Michael Lindsay as Kankurou
Yoichi Masukawa/Brian Donovan as Rock Lee
Naruto Uzumaki is back! After a long training journey with one of the Legendary Sannin, Jiraiya, Naruto has returned older, a little bit wiser, and a lot stronger! Sakura’s been studying under another of the Sannin, Tsunade, and is now an accomplished medic ninja with a few new battle skills of her own.
To show off their new skills, Naruto and Sakura team up to take on their old master, Kakashi. While the three battle it out, the Village Hidden in the Sand is infiltrated by the Akatsuki, who are after Naruto’s old rival and the newest Kazekage of the Sand – Gaara!
Contains episodes 1-4:
The Akatsuki Makes Its Move
The Results of Training
The Jinchuriki of the Sand
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.
Here we are now with “Naruto Shippuden” (Naruto: Hurrican Chronicles), a sequel to the “Naruto” series which began a month after the first series ended in Feb. 2007 and as of Feb. 25, 2010, “Naruto Shippuden” aired its 149th episode in Japan. The series has been streaming through Hulu.com a week after its airing in Japan with English subtitles but for fans who have wanted the English dub, the series began airing on Disney’s XD channel. The series has been released in individual volumes (with a total of four episodes) courtesy of Shonen Jump Home Video ala Viz Media and also as complete season box sets.
In the sequel, Naruto arrives after his training and now he’s a little older, taller but still is the same naive and energetic kid that he was when he left. Many things have changed since Naruto has left. Sasuke is still gone. Sakura has been training under current Hokage Lady Tsunade, while in the sand village, Gaara has succeeded his father as Sunagakure’s Kazekage (the leader of the village).
This time the threat to the ninja clans are the Akatsuki, a criminal organization which includes powerful ninjas who defected from their villages and a group which include Sasuke’s brother Itachi. At this current time, not much is known of what the Akatsuki are planning but the ninja clans are all under alert trying to figure out what their next move will be.
Here is a brief spoilerless summary of the first four episodes.
EPISODE 1 – Homecoming – Naruto arrives after his two and half year training with Jiraiya and learns of how things have changed a bit in the village.
EPISODE 2 – The Akatsuki Makes Its Move – The criminal organization Akatsuki makes its move against the Sand Ninja. Meanwhile, Naruto and Sakura must go against their sensei Kakashi in redoing one of their earlier test trials.
EPISODE 3 – The Results of Training – Kakashi learns how far Sakura and Naruto have become. Meanwhile, a traitor is revealed from the Sand Village.
EPISODE 4 – The Jinchuriki of the Sand – The conclusion to Naruto and Sakura’s test. Meanwhile, Gaara takes on Akatsuki’s Deidara.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
One thing I noticed when it came to “Naruto” is that the series has had its share of well-animated and well-painted artistic backgrounds but then for some of the filler episodes, has had a decrease in quality. Fortunately, “Naruto Shippuden” looks very solid. I really like how the characters look much older and the emotions on the character’s faces to the action that takes place in the Leaf and Sand Village is pretty cool. For the most part, with the four episodes that I’ve watched, Studio Pierrot has done a pretty solid job with “Naruto Shippuden”.
As for the audio, audio is pretty much Stereo Bilingual (Japanese and English). 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. But I have watched the series in Japanese and English and for the most part, voice acting for both soundtracks are well-done. Since the series is front channel driven, for those with a modern home theater receiver probably will enjoy a more immersive soundscape by selecting stereo on all channels.
Subtitles are in English.
“Naruto Shippuden” doesn’t come with any special features but trailers.
What a wonderful start for “Naruto Shippuden”. So, many fans who have been watching the anime series since its release back in 2002 have grown with this series and watched every episode continuously for so many years and now, here we are with the sequel that is full of action and for the most part, seeing how these characters progressed as a ninja and also have grown older in terms of the way they look. As usual, there is a lot of action but there is a lot of humor in the series and to see him and Sakura together especially taking on Kakashi-sensei was so hilarious.
These uncut episodes do include the commercial bumpers in the beginning and end and also includes the short animated sequence which features the characters in super-deformed format or features a character teaching the viewer something about their village or special ability.
Overall, “Naruto Shippuden” is a great anime series and this first volume is definitely a great start for the sequel. But if you are planning to watch the series from beginning to end, you may want to purchase the DVD box set 1 which contains the first 13 episodes, special features and a limited edition version of the complete season which comes with a mini ninja Naruto and an exclusive art card.
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