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Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Rasengan Collection (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

October 31, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are a “Naruto” fan, this DVD is worth it, as it carries four of the feature films in one collection. But if you want the best picture and lossless audio quality, I recommend purchasing the Blu-ray releases. But for many people, to pay a low price for four films will no doubt get “Naruto Shippuden” fans to become interested in purchasing this collection. Recommended if you don’t own these four films on Blu-ray!

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


DVD TITLE: Naruto Shippuden The Movie – Rasengan Collection

RUN TIME: 360 Minutes

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

COMPANY: Shonen Jump/Viz Media

RATED: 14+

Release Date: October 3, 2017


The Will of Fire

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

Bonds

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

The Lost Tower

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


The Will of Fire – 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


Naruto faces a prediction of death as he confronts an evil spirit in Naruto Shippuden The Movie; ninja from the long-forgotten Land of Sky resurface to menace the Hidden Leaf in Naruto Shippuden The Movie: Bonds; another war between Shinobi looms in Naruto Shippuden The Movie: The Will of Fire; and Naruto is thrown back in time in Naruto Shippuden The Movie: The Lost Tower.


Just in time for the holiday season for the “Naruto Shippuden” fan comes the “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Rasengan Collection” collecting four feature films on DVD!

Included in this set are “The Movie”, “Bonds”, “The Will of Fire” and “The Lost Tower”.

The Movie

Back in 2007, “Naruto Shippuden the Movie” was released.

The film begins with a prediction that Naruto will die fighting a monster which will impale him and a funeral will be held for him.

The film then shows what happens a few days previous when a man named Yomi has attacked a shrine to steal the spirit of Moryo (a demon that wants to conquer the world and create his “Thousand Year Kingdom”.  But a priestess named Shion will do what she can to prevent the demon from conquering the world but when Yomi raises a stone army, Sakura, Rock Lee and Neji must guard Shion and deliver her to the shrine where Moryo’s body is kept.

The Will of Fire

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?

The Lost Tower

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.

“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?

Bonds

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 & AUDIO:

Before I begin, it’s important to remind people that a Blu-ray release is available for each of these four films, so 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 look very good!

As for the audio, the audio is presented 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: 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

“Naruto Shippuden The Movie: The Will of Fire” comes with the Japanese theatrical trailer.

“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.

 

The Movie

A film that showcases a prediction of what if Naruto died in battle fighting a demon.  Can a priestess named Shion and Naruto and friends do all they can to prevent the prediction from happening?

An entertaining film but of the Shippuden films, this film is the weakest in terms of storyline.

The Will of Fire

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.

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 one the best “Naruto” films yet!

The Lost Tower

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.

Bonds

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 and drama!

Overall, if you are a “Naruto” fan, this DVD is worth it, as it carries four of the feature films in one collection.  But if you want the best picture and lossless audio quality, I recommend purchasing the Blu-ray releases.  But for many people, to pay a low price for four films will no doubt get “Naruto Shippuden” fans to become interested in purchasing this collection.  Recommended if you don’t own these four films on Blu-ray!

Boruto – Naruto the Movie (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 13, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are a big fan of the “Naruto” manga/anime series, I highly recommend “Boruto – Naruto the Movie”. Action-packed, full of drama and excitement. Recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2002 Masashi Kishimoto/2007 Shippuden, BMP 2015. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Boruto – Naruto the Movie

ORIGINAL THEATRICAL DATE: 2015

DURATION: 90 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, DTS-HD Master Audio: English and Japanese 5.1,  2.0 Stereo, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Viz Media

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: March 28, 2017


Originally Created by Masashi Kishimoto

Director: Hiroyuki Yamashita

Screenplay: Masashi Kishimoto

Character Design by Hirofumi Suzuki, Masashi Kishimoto, Tetsuya Nishio

Music by -yaiba-, Yasuharu Takanashi

Art by Akemi Konno, Kazuyuki Hashimoto, Kentaro Akiyama, Masanobu Nomura, Mutsuo Koseki, Naruyo Kiriyama, Satoshi Matsuoka

Art Design by Hiroto Tanaka, Masaaki Endou

Chief Animation Director: Tetsuya Nishio

Anime Production: Pierrot


Featuring the following voice talent:

Junko Takeuchi/Maile Flanagan as Naruto Uzumaki

Yuko Sanpei/Amana C. Miller as Boruto Uzumaki

Akira Ishida/Liam O’Brien as Gaara

Chie Nakamura/Kate Higgins as Sakura Uchiha

Daisuke Namikawa/Xander Mobus as Momoshiki

Hana Takeda/Laura Bailey as Kurotsuchi

Hidenori Takahashi/Max Mittelman as Konohamaru Sarutobi

Hiroki Yasumoto/Wally Wingert as Kinshiki Otsusuki

Kokoro Kikuchi/Cherami Leigh as Sarada Uchiha

Kouki Miyata/Brian Beacock as Chōjūrō

Nana Mizuki/Stephanie Sheh as Hinata Uzumaki

Noriaki Sugiyama/Yuri Lowenthal as Sasuke Uchiha

Ryota Takeuchi/Catero Colbert as Darui

Ryūichi Kijima/Robbie Daymond as Mitsuki

Satoshi Hino/Ben Diskin as Sai

Showtaro Morikubo/Tom Gibis as Shikamaru Nara

Yoichi Masukawa/Brian Donovan as Rock Lee

Atsushi Abe/Spike Spencer as Inojin Yamanaka

Hisao Egawa/Catero Colbert as Killer Bee

Kengo Kawanishi/Bryce Papenbrook as Yurui

Kensho Ono/Todd Haberkorn as Shikadai Nara

Saori Hayami/Melissa Fahn as Himawari Uzumaki

Yukari Tamura/Danielle Judovits as Tenten


Boruto: Naruto the Movie takes place in the Hidden Leaf Village with Naruto as the Seventh Hokage. The Hidden Leaf Village is planning to host the Chunin Exams to train new shinobi from the village and from their allied villages. Among the entrants are Sasuke’s daughter, Sarada, Mitsuki, an exceptionally talented yet mysterious shinobi… And Boruto, Naruto’s talented but impetuous son.

Meanwhile, Sasuke who’s been on a mission in another dimension appears before Naruto to warn of a strange impending danger. Shrouded with an evil aura, Momoshiki and Kinshiki appear and attempt to assassinate Naruto. Petrified, Boruto is shielded by Naruto, only to disappear in front of Boruto’s own eyes.


The popular manga series “Naruto” has been going strong since its debut in Shueisha back in 1999 via “Weekly Shonen Jump” magazine.   With 72 volumes published, the manga series ended in November 2014.  Meanwhile, the anime series, the first titled “Naruto” began in 2002-2007 and lasted for 220 episodes.  And would continue with “Naruto: Shippuden” which lasted from 2007-2017 with a total of 500 episodes created.

The original manga by Masashi Kishimoto is about a young ninja named Naruto Uzamaki, a ninja of the Konoha leaf village who grew up facing prejudiced within his fellow ninjas because the evil nine-tailed fox was sealed inside him. But throughout the series, we have seen how Naruto is a kind-hearted boy who has worked hard in protecting his friends and staying true to his word with the goal of someday becoming the next Hokage of the village.

In 2014, Kishimoto wrapped up the “Naruto” manga and in the final chapter (featured in volume 72), Naruto would eventually become the Hokage of the Leaf Village and he and his wife Hinata would have two children, Boruto and Himawari.

Meanwhile, Sasuke and Sakura would have a daughter named Sarada, Shikamaru Nara and Temari would have a son named Shikadai, Sai and Ino would have a son named Inojin and Choji Akimichi and Karui would have a daughter named Chocho.

Everyone has grown up and Naruto is busy as the new Hokage at the village, this causes resentment from Naruto’s son Boruto who feels that his father was never there for him or the family.

This leads us to the film “Boruto – Naruto the Movie” which featured anime production from Studio Pierrot, direction by Hiroyuki Yamashita, a screenplay by Masashi Kishimoto, music by -yaiba- and Yasuharu Takanashi and character design by Hirofumi Suzuki, Masashi Kishimoto and Tetsuya Nishio and art design by Hiroto Tanaka and Masaaki Endou.

The film begins with Boruto telling his story and him and his team partners, Sarada and Mitsuki being trained by Master Konohamaru and trying to capture a bear (or panda).   After their mission, the four go to see Naruto, the Seventh Hokage.

And as Boruto gets into a little argument with his father (for not being part of his life due to his duties as Hokage), he reminds his father about his sister and Naruto’s daughter, Himawari’s birthday and how he needs to be there.

Meanwhile a scientist comes in and introduces the group to a new invention.  Now, a jutsu can be contained in a mini-seal and put into a bracelet which gives anyone, ninja or not, the power to use a jutsu.  No chakra is even needed to use the new technology and the scientists want it used for the upcoming Chunin exam but Naruto is against it and believes a ninja should use their own skills.

Meanwhile, Boruto meets with the scientist and takes the special bracelet.

With the next Chunin exams coming up, Sarada and Mitsuki want to take the exam but Boruto, he has no desire.  He doesn’t want to be like his father and that means not wanting to be Hokage.  But for Sarada, she wants to be Hokage and tries to get Boruto to take part in the Chunin exam to let his father know he could do it.

Meanwhile, Sasuke Uchiha returns to the village and Boruto, not wanting to be anything like his father, goes to Sasuke to take him in as a pupil.  But Sasuke will only agree if Boruto can learn the Sharingan jutsu.

As the groups get ready for their Chunin Exam to see who will become a ninja, round three will be in front of a public audience.  During a battle Boruto uses the bracelet to best his opponent, but for Naruto, he is disappointed that his son resorted to such a tactic and disqualifies his son from the Chunin exam and also taking away his ninja bandana as punishment.

This leads to an argument and Boruto complains that his father is never there for him.  Meanwhile, a new evil force attacks everyone at the Chunin Exam.


VIDEO:

“Boruto – Naruto the Movie” is presented in 1080p High Definition and the film looks vibrant.  Colors look fantastic in HD and with this being a film ,there is a good amount of backgrounds and detail in the background artwork.  Picture quality is fantastic!

I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding issues during my viewing of the film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Boruto – Naruto the Movie” is presented in Japanese and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0. Both soundtracks are fantastic and dialogue and music are both crystal clear through the center, front and surround channels.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Boruto – Naruto the Movie” comes with the following special features:

  • Special Naruto OVA – (10:23) It’s Naruto’s big day as his inauguration as Hokage is about to take place.  But time’s getting late because Boruto and Himawari are arguing.  But what happens when Boruto upsets his little sister?
  • Clean End Credits
  • Storyboards – Featuring a gallery of the storyboards for the film
  • Art Gallery – Featuring an art gallery from the film.
  • Trailer – Featuring the Japanese trailers.

Watching “Boruto – Naruto the Movie”, I can’t help but be entertained by the fact that the film focuses on the children of the characters that many of us grew up reading.

“Naruto” having lasted so long as a manga and anime series was a big part of the lives of many people who watched “Naruto” grow from a child, to a teenager and a young adult.  Seeing how his heart and his passion would inspire so many but also seeing him determined to defeat those who threatened the village or his friends.

With Naruto, he is a student that felt he had to prove himself through hardwork and determination.

So, it’s fascinating to see how Boruto is much different than his father.  Naruto, who had always said he would become Hokage is now the new Hokage of the Leaf Village but this new role means being busy with work and unfortunately, that means no time spent with the family.

Hinata is literally taking care of both children and you can see how Boruto is upset at his father for neglecting them, but he harbors a bit of anger for his father not being there for him.

What’s even more interesting is that Boruto is not too aware of his father’s past and how he grew up, so he is not aware of the challenges or difficulties his father grew up with.

And because of his feelings towards his father, he asks his dad’s rival, Sasuke Uchiha to become his master.

But during this peaceful time, a lot has changed as well.  Scientists have developed bracelets with technology that allow anyone to harness jutsu used by ninjas and to make things worse, a new evil has decided to attack the Leaf Village during the Chunin exams (like what happened to Naruto and friends when he was much younger).

And I’ll leave it that.

This is a new beginning, a new chapter as Boruto will continue the storyline of the ninjas at the Leaf Village and while I’m not sure if “Boruto” will last for another 15 years but for this film to jumpstart the new generation and Naruto’s son, Boruto, now the focal point, needless to say, this series will be interesting, considering that he’s not like his father at all.

And if you think Boruto Uzumaki has special skills learned from his father, wait until one gets to see the included OVA which shows us how powerful Himawari Uzumaki can get.

As for the Blu-ray release, the film is vibrant and with it being a film, has more detail when it comes to art backgrounds.  Lossless soundtrack is also well-done and the voice acting for both Japanese and English dub are magnificent.

Overall, if you are a big fan of the “Naruto” manga/anime series, I highly recommend “Boruto – Naruto the Movie”.  Action-packed, full of drama and excitement.

Recommended

 

Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] Blu-ray Box Set 2 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

fate-unlimited-2

Much better than the original anime series in terms of story, character development and animation, “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” just rocks!  And it’s an anime series that I highly recommend!

Image courtesy of © TYPE-MOON, ufotable, FSNPC All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] Blu-ray Box Set 2

SERIES RELEASE DATE: 2014

DURATION: Episodes 13-25 + OVA (325 minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition/16×9, English and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0, Subtitles: English and Spanish

COMPANY: Aniplex of America Inc.

RATED: Suggested 13 and Up

Release Date: February 16, 2016


Directed by Takahiro Miura

Screenplay by Akira Hiyama, Kazuharu Sato, Tatsuki Ichinose

Music by Hideyuki Fukasawa

Original Concept by Kinoku Nasu

Original Character Design by Takashi Takeuchi

Character Design by Atsushi Ikariya, Hisayuki Tabata, Tomonori Sudou

Art Director: Koji Eto

Anime Production by ufotable


Featuring the following voice talent:

Ayako Kawasumi/Kari Wahlgren as Saber

Junichi Suwabe/Kaiji Tang as Archer

Kana Ueda/Mela Lee as Rin Tohsaka

Noriaki Sugiyama/Bryce Papenbrook as Shirō Emiya

Atsuko Tanaka/Megan Hollingshead as Caster

Hiroshi Kamiya/Kyle McCarley as Shinji Matō

Jouji Nakata/Crispin Freeman as Kirei Kotomine

Mai Kadowaki/Stephanie Sheh as Illyasviel von Einzbern

Masaki Terasoma/Lex Lang as Sōichirō Kuzuki

Miki Itou/Julie Ann Taylor as Taiga Fujimura

Nobutoshi Canna/Tony Oliver as Lancer

Noriko Shitaya/Cristina Vee as Sakura Matō

Rikiya Koyama/Matthew Mercer as Kiritsugu Emiya

Shinichiro Miki/Todd Haberkorn as Assassin

Tomokazu Seki/David Earnest as Gilgamesh

Yuu Asakawa/Melissa Fahn as Rider


Fuyuki City will be changed forever following the events that will come to be known as the Fifth Holy Grail War. With the Masters and Servants slowly revealing themselves and their intentions, the stage is set for the grand finale, and at the center of it all is Shirou Emiya and Rin Tohsaka.

The Holy Grail War continues, with each Master and Servant duo making their move for the omnipotent wish granter. Caster’s plans have been set in motion, beginning with taking Saber captive while Rin and Archer go their separate ways to continue their fights on their own. Without Saber’s aid, Shirou’s principles are put to the ultimate test. With many battles to come with expected and unexpected enemies, Shirou’s resolve begins to take form. Is his desire to protect people and become a hero, genuine? Or are they simply borrowed feelings? And will it be enough to carry him to the end?


When it comes to video games and its characters, I don’t think I’ve seen a title derived from a video game, within the last decade, achieve so much attention than the “Fate” series from TYPE-MOON. This series has captivated people from all over the world, merchandise continues to sell very well (considering its price for importing) and it’s quite impressive to see how the fanbase continues to grow and are dedicated to “Fate”!

My first introduction to the “Fate/stay night” was just hearing about the original anime TV series. But it was the first PSP video game release (“Fate/unlimited codes” on the PlayStation Network that actually got me hyped for this series and made me learn more about the characters.

The more I researched, the more I started to noticed that a lot of people online were excited about this video game and discussing the anime series and while I never really understood the commotion of the series, I figured there were so many fighting games in Japan with characters that people go crazy for.

But then the Sony PSP game came out on the PlayStation Network and the huge number of posts on Danny Choo’s official website in regards to dolls or figures, may they be the release of Nendoroids from Good Smile! or FIGMA figures from Max Factory, suffice to say, I’ve seen the popularity for this “Fate/stay night” achieve critical mass not just in Japan but all over the world.

While “Fate/stay night” and “Fate/zero” were released first and the 2010 film “Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works” was released in the U.S. several years ago, in 2014-2015, the action/fantasy anime series, “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” aired on Japanese television and is an adaptation of the “Unlimited Blade Works” storyline from the “Fate/stay night” visual novel.

The first half of the anime series was released in the U.S. courtesy of Aniplex in August 2015 and here we are with the second and final half on Blu-ray in February 2016.

It’s important to note, in order to prevent any confusion, “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” takes a page out of visual novels in which you choose your adventure, this is the same for this anime series. This is not a sequel, it’s not remake, it’s another route in which the story unfolds.

Where “Fate/stay night” focused on the character of Shiro, “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” focuses on the character of Rin.

Before I go on about “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]”, let’s first discuss “Fate/stay night”.

What is “Fate/stay night”?

“Fate/stay night” is a Japanese visual novel developed by Type-Moon and was originally an adult game for the PC and then later released for the PlayStation 2. The popularity of the video games led to a manga series which was serialized in Shonen Ace magazine and in 2007, a 24-episode anime series was released and a total of four video games. In April 2012, “Fate/Zero” aired on television. While the previous serious featured anime production by Studio Deen, the 2014 series, “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]”, features anime production by Ufotable.

While there are some differences between the various “Fate” storylines, the story of the Holy Grail War remains the same.

“Fate/stay night” takes place during a time in which a war is developing between the magi. For two centuries, seven sorcerers have gathered and engaged in a war known as “The Holy Grail War” in which the winner will be able to make their wish come true.

The Holy Grail War has occurred every 60 years and one war happened prematurely a decade ago.

For each of these magis, they will each be given a servant from one of seven classes: Saber, Archer, Lancer, Berserker, Rider, Assassin and Caster. And these servants must abide by their master’s request. And as the magi will be able to make a wish, so will the servant.

“Shiro Emiya, like his father, he wants to be a man of justice. While staying late at school, he witnesses a fight between two servants: Archer vs. Lancer. And because Shiro witnessed it, he is killed by Lancer.

Archer’s master, Rin, comes to the aid of Shiro by bringing him back to life. Shiro has now been made to a magi and has been given the servant named Saber, and with this new power, Shiro vows to end this war for “The Holy Grail”.

But while each of the seven magi are to be enemies, Shiro is not that kind of person. He respects Rin for saving his life and considers her his friend. She tells him that they must be enemies but he refuses.

What is “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” about?

“Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” begins with episode 0 and focuses on the character of Rin Tosaka and wonders why her clocks have been set an hour earlier. While she often has dreams about her final moments with her father Tokiomi, Rin must now prepare for the Holy Grail War.

As she performs a summoning ritual and hoping to summon a Saber class, instead she summons a Servant of the Archer class, which she reacts with displeasure.

But as the two get to know each other, she eventually prepares to go to battle with Archer against other Servants, including an early fight between Archer vs. Lancer, which was viewed by Shiro.

But while each of the seven magi are to be enemies, Shiro is not that kind of person. He respects Rin for helping him and Sabre considers her his friend. She tells him that they must be enemies but he refuses. As Shiro, Saber and Rin are talking, they are attacked by Illyasviel von Einzbern and her giant servant known as Berserker.

While Saber does all she can to fight Berserker and protect her master Shiro, Rin also tries to protect Shiro….but her servant Archer is not thrilled that she has teamed up with Shiro/Saber. Rin tells him that for now, it would be good to work as a team and fight the other magi/servants.

And during the process of fighting against Berserker, Archer aims a devastating arrow towards both Berserker and Saber, hoping to kill both. But Shiro manages to protect Saber and take the brunt of the damage.

The following morning, Shiro has completely healed (thanks to his self-healing magical capabilities) and this leads to Shiro wanting to learn more about Saber, while Rin must make a decision to make Shiro her enemy or trust him and work together with him, despite the fact that the Holy Grail War is supposed to make them enemies.

In this version of the story, both Shiro and Rin are becoming closer, as he has fallen in love with her, while Rin has trouble of communicating her feelings, considering that she is finding herself falling for Shiro.

Also, by the second half, Shiro is no longer the master of Sabre and as for Rin and Archer?  You will need to find out what happens in the second half.

There are a good number of twist and turns in the storyline and the series concludes with literally a major bang.  And to tie things up, an OVA showing what happens several years later with the two main protagonists.

While both “Fate/stay night” and “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” have similar stories, look at both to be different and similar to the visual novel, two different routes. Also, the original Studio Deen series, “Fate/stay night” tends to add their own storyline not featured in the visual novel, handles characters a bit differently but also trying to incorporate other routes in the original anime series. There is also more character development and a noticeable difference in how action is depicted in ufotable’s “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]”.


VIDEO:

“Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” is much better than the original 2006 anime series. May it be budget differences, but one thing noticeable in ufotable’s “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” is how much detail there is when it comes to background art, character designs and also action sequences. Ufotable really went all out in creating an anime series in which the action is more developed and looks more effective. Colors are vibrant, CG use is well-done but the detail for background artwork is magnificent!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” is presented in English and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0. In terms of voice acting, both Japanese and English soundtracks are well-done. I actually prefer the voice acting in “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” versus the original 2006 series and the acting is much more emotional and captivating considering there is much better character development in this 2014 series. As for the lossless soundtrack, dialogue and music, including sound effects are crystal clear.

Subtitles are in English and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] Blu-ray Box Set 2″ comes with the trailer, TV spot, CM, PV collections and textless opening and endings.

EXTRAS:

“Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] Blu-ray Box Set 2” comes with a slipcase with package illustrated by Takashi Takeuchi, a 24-page booklet featuring an introduction, art production gallery, production notes, conversation between scenario writer/novelist Kinoku Nasu and Takahiro Miura (animator/episode director). Also, an exclusive Weiss Schwarz Collectible PR card.

Also, included is the “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] Original Soundtrack II”. The soundtrack is 1 hr. and 12 minutes long and features 24 tracks (23 tracks by Hideyuki Fukasawa, and “LAST STARDUST” by Aimer).


fate-unlimited-2

Having watched the final second half of “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]”, I can honestly say that I loved this storyline and it’s the best “Fate/stay night” storyline thus far!

In this alternate storyline to keep consistent with the virtual novel of choosing your own path, in this storyline, we see Shiro and Rin almost like boyfriend and girlfriend.  He is in love with her, she’s quite tsundere and without spoiling the second half, the antagonist is….  Let’s just say there are a few twist and turns in the series and you’ll be shocked.

But the build-up of the storyline and its unpredictable nature is what I loved about this series.

In previous stories, we saw Shiro and Saber as the two fighting against all odds but this time around, Sabre has been captured by Castor and to say the least, Saber is not featured as much in the second half until the final episodes.

Also, it was interesting to see the twisted nature of some of the servants, I think by the end of the series and also with the included OVA, that fans of the series will be happy with this alternate storyline.

As for the artwork, the character designs are well-drawn, well-shaded, while the art backgrounds are detailed and gorgeous. A lot of work went into this series and there is a noticeable difference between Studio Deen’s 2006 anime series with this 2014 series in terms of artwork, in terms of action sequences.

With the original, while there are many action sequences, the battles were simplistic, while for “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]”, the artwork is fantastic as there are many sequences involved in each battle.

But possibly what makes “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” even better is how this latest series handles the characters of Rin and Archer, Shiro and Saber and the amount of character development featured. There is more emotion and a much better Shiro this time around!

And with the better development of animation, action sequences and character development, it makes a huge difference that I don’t even know if I want to recommend anyone to watch the original 2006 “Fate/stay night”. Granted, this series and the original are to be treated as “different routes”, but considering not everyone is going to play the visual novel version, if you had to choose one, I would go for “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]”.

I do recommend watching the darker and more violent “Fate/zero”, while I don’t really recommend the film version of “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” because they improved the storyline with the anime series.

As for the Blu-ray release, as mentioned, the animation and character designs look magnificent. I didn’t notice any banding issues or artifacts and for the most part, I’m quite pleased of how this series looks in HD. The lossless soundtrack are English and Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0 and dialogue and musical score are crystal clear.

You get the standard trailer, TV spot, CM, PV Collections and textless opening and endings for special features and as for extras, you do get a slipcase, 24-page booklet, a Weiss Schwarz Collectible PR card and the second original soundtrack for “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]”.

Overall, if you are new to “Fate” or a fan who has watched the previous anime series such as “Fate/stay night” and “Fate/zero” will find “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” to be well-produced, much better in terms of honoring the original visual novel. But also an improvement when it comes to animation, character development and action sequences.

Much better than the original anime series in terms of story, character development and animation, “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” just rocks!  And it’s an anime series that I highly recommend!

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