Review by: Clive Owen
Publisher: VIZ Media
MSRP: $24.92 US
Running Time: 125 minutes
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
The real race to save Gaara begins!
It sometimes takes an anime series a few episodes to really get going and in the case of Naruto Shippuden it’s actually true although the first eight episodes weren’t without their entertaining moments. Still, Naruto fans love it when things finally start getting semi-serious as it does in Volume 3 of Naruto Shippuden. As the series brings back its charming sense of humor and adds more action to the mix, the five episodes in this volume will actually impress.
In the final episode of Volume 2 of the series, the Sand Village’s own puppet master Kankuro takes on Sasori who reveals that he’s not just a master of puppets himself but he was once a citizen of the Sand as well. Soundly defeating Kankuro, the young man is brought back to the Sand with a deadly poison traveling in his veins and threatening to stop his heart.
Seeing no other choice, the Sand council sends somebody to get the Sand elders, a retired brother and sister spending their retirement fishing and taking it easy. Not wanting to bother with the decisions of the young, Granny Chiyo and her brother Abizo do decide to come to Kankuro’s aid only to find out that Granny Chiyo’s medical expertise is not enough to save the dying youth.
Fortunately, Team Kakashi is rapidly heading for the Sand Village and even meet up with Tamari who was also on her way back home. In their travels together, Naruto comes to reveal that he feels a special bond between himself and Gaara. Both had suffered emotional blows that made it difficult for them but he feels that Gaara has felt the pain deeper than he has felt. He even sheds tears for Gaara, a sight that touches even Tamari. When they do get there, it is Sakura – using what she learned from Lady Tsunade – who puts her Medical Ninja skills to work.
Meanwhile, the Hidden Leaf Village suspects that Gaara’s defeat could mean that the Akatsuki are more than capable of bringing down powerful Jinchuriki (or Tailed Beasts). Lady Tsunade decides to dispatch another team as backup and that team just so happens to be Team Guy. It’s actually great to see the older versions of Rock Lee, Neji and Tenten as they set out with their always hilarious mentor.
Speaking of the Akatsuki, the enemy begins a ritual that comes in the form of a Sealing Jutsu called Nine Phantom Dragons that is slowly draining Gaara. The enemy also senses that something is wrong and, after Kakashi-sensei sends his Ninja Hounds to look for the location of their hideout, they send out capable Akatsuki members to confront them.
In the case of Team Guy, they are met with none other than Kisame while Team Kakashi encounters another familiar enemy … Itachi Uchiha. Having fought Kakashi and faced Naruto before, this is Sakura’s first glance at Sasuke’s older brother and the reason her longtime crush went off the deep end in order to gets his revenge on him. This time around, though, Kakashi is wise to Itachi’s abilities. Meanwhile, Guy just isn’t able to remember his first encounter with Kisame as his team takes on the powerful shark-like Akatsuki.
Those fierce and fast-paced action scenes of the old Naruto series are back and it’s a good thing, although it’s clear that the best fights will come with Volume 4. In the meantime, it’s also good to see that the charming humor from the old series is back as well. You just have to love Granny Chiyo’s reaction to seeing Kakashi-sensei only to realize that it was all a case of mistaken identity. Also, Guy-sensei is still very much over-the-top awesome.
The series really picks up the pace and action in Volume 3 of Naruto Shippuden and that’s a very good thing. A lot happens in these five episodes as the chase to save Gaara takes a most dangerous turn but we can come to expect some really exciting times up ahead as the series continues to get even better.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Kankuro’s defeat places his life in danger as the poison in his body begins to take effect and the Akatsuki begins a ritual to extract the Tailed Beast within Gaara. Yet hope comes in the form of Naruto, Kakashi-sensei and Sakura as well as a backup team on the way. Meanwhile, the teams are confronted by two very familiar enemies.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
The episodes do look great on DVD and like past episodes in the series the action looks great in motion so this series is still visually pleasing.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The Japanese voice cast is my favorite but there’s nothing wrong with the English dub voices. I cannot get the closing theme song out of my head now … it’s that awesome.
The usual VIZ Media anime and manga trailers can be found with very little else to add to the disc … unless you count the ability to watch the episodes in its original Japanese language track.
The action and drama picks up in Volume 3 of Naruto Shippuden as Team Kakashi is joined by Team Guy in an effort to save Gaara from the Akatsuki. As the enemy begins a most dangerous and disturbing ritual, the others race to locate the Sand Kazekage and finds members of the Akatsuki waiting. These are some exciting episodes, indeed.