Review by: Faith McAdams
Publisher: VIZ Media
Running Time: 350 minutes
Rating: T+ (Teen Plus)
Release Date: Available Now
Best. Naruto. Box Set. Yet.
“To be Hokage … that is my dream!”
Those words spoken with such determination that anyone within earshot would snicker at the thought but if you looked into the eyes of the boy that said it you couldn’t help be believe it. Naruto Uzumaki had made bold claims before but there’s one thing that can be said about him … he says what he means and tries to back up his words by doing. So in the opening episode of Naruto Uncut Box Set 7, when Naruto says he’s going to protect his friends and the village from the dangerous Sand Ninja named Gaara, he means it.
In the last box set, the Hidden Leaf Village is attacked by Orochimaru and his followers he tricked into joining him while Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura went after Gaara. In the fight, it is Naruto who stands alone against Gaara, facing off against him using all the power he can muster. It’s a vicious battle that has Naruto unleashing the very power that dwells within him and man-oh-man it takes a lot out of him. Yet a part of Naruto feels for Gaara and there’s a moment between them that I can only describe as a kinship between two powerful forces that are alike in many ways.
Naruto Uncut Box Set 7 begins with episode 79 and ends with episode 92 and I must say that these are, without a doubt, one of the most exciting 14 episodes connected with this great story arc that concludes the assault on the Hidden Leaf Village, Gaara and Naruto’s battle and the fate of the old Hokage. The conclusion of these three elements draws to an end gradually enough in episode 79 and makes it’s impact in the following one where the Third Hokage is laid to rest after having placed a curse on Orochimaru’s arms. The farewell to the Hokage is a wonderful episode that brings up different memories for everyone be it Sakura or Jaraiya.
The first major event in this box set comes in the form of two mysterious figures that enter the Hidden Leaf Village in search for somebody. It isn’t until Kakashi, Kurinai and Asuma make a rather frightening discovery that the identities of the two figures are none other than a shark-faced ninja named Kisame and Itachi Uchiha … the very same person who slaughtered every member of the Uchiha clan except for his younger brother Sasuke. Oh, you better believe the battle between the two self-proclaimed Akatsuki and three experienced Shinobi is downright dramatic and exciting.
Meanwhile, the elders of the Village feel that a new Hokage must be installed immediately and that it should be Jaraiya who sees this as a mistake … and, well, he much rather spend his time doing “research” for his next books anyway. He makes an odd suggestion on the candidate most likely to be a great Hokage and so he sent off to look for her with the aid of Naruto who sees this as an opportunity to learn new Jutsu. Trust me when I say that both Naruto and the Pervy Sage’s time together provides most of the enjoyable and hysterical moments of this box set. It’s just a real blast to see these two over-the-top personalities on a road trip together. Just check out the scene between Naruto and Jaraiya after Guy-sensei offers Naruto a parting gift.
Oh and there are moments that will surely put you on the edge of your seat. There’s a key scene between Sasuke and his brother Itachi. This is the moment Naruto fans have been waiting for since Sasuke was introduced to us in the first box set. Having mastered Chidori, Sasuke thinks he has what it takes to take on his brother but the end result doesn’t go as planned and Sasuke’s mind becomes horribly mangled in the process. It also become apparent that Itachi and Kisame is after Naruto … or more specifically they are after the power of the Nine-Tailed Fox.
It is also in these episodes that Naruto trains to develop one of his most impressive and tricky Jutsu that will serve him in episodes to come like his Shadow Clone Jutsu. If there’s one thing to be said about Naruto is that he has an iron will that you can’t help but admire and in a small way it impresses the very person they were sent out to find. Like Jaraiya, Lady Tsunade was at the top of her class and I won’t be spoiling anything by saying that Tsunade, Jaraiya and Orochimaru were placed together in a squad much like Naruto was placed on a squad with Sasuke and Sakura. Unfortunately, Tsunade is a compulsive gambler with a troubled past that continues to haunt her and – as a medical ninja – was able to make herself look a lot younger than her actual age.
The quest to find Lady Tsunade becomes even more interesting when it is Orochimaru who finds her first. In need of a cure for his arms, Orochimaru reaches out to Tsunade with a proposal that disturbs Lady Tsunade’s trusty assistant, Shizune. Will she accept Orochimaru’s offer knowing full well that the man intends to continue his plan to destroy the Hidden Leaf Village? Will Jaraiya convince her to do the right thing and accept her new role as the Fifth Hokage? These are questions that will surely be answered in the next box set but this one certainly did a great job of setting things up for a major confrontation.
Outstandingly overwhelming is the phrase I would use to describe Naruto Uncut Box Set 7 seeing as there are numerous key moments that make this among one of the most thrilling chapters in the orange ninja’s much-loved adventures. There is certainly a lot to absorb here and you can bet that the events seen here will echo throughout future episodes. You can say that these episodes set up events that will shape Naruto and the people around him (like Sasuke, for instance). Missing this box set would be a serious mistake if you’re a Naruto fan, believe it.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
There are certainly way too many memorable and monumental moments in this box set than the last one. Whether it’s the conclusion of Naruto’s battle with Gaara, Sasuke’s confrontation with his murderous brother Itachi or the search for the legendary Lady Tsunade there is just so much to absorb here.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
The episodes come out wonderfully crisp and colorful as always even on an HD setup. Speaking of HD, we definitely wouldn’t mind Naruto on Blu-ray but this will have to do for the moment and what’s seen here isn’t bad at all.
AUDIO QUALITY: A-
The audio quality isn’t a major leap but this one sounds better than previous box sets if you have a good sound system hooked up to your set. The Japanese voice cast is top notch once again and the English dub is definitely nothing to sneeze at either.
We probably already mentioned that animation students probably look forward to the storybook booklet that accompanies the box set and it’s great to see a storyboard comparison of another episode on the disc itself. There are a few trailers here but the production art stands out.
The attack on the Hidden Leaf Village is, by far, one of the most exciting story arcs and this box set closes the chapter to open a new one that is equally interesting. The search for Tsunade is not only an interesting one but it’s also a defining moment in Naruto’s life. If you thought the last box set was good, wait until you jump into these great episodes.