Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: VIZ Media
MSRP: $49.95 US
Running Time: 350 minutes
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
Is the bond of hatred stronger than the bond of friendship?
The Naruto Shippuden series certainly has taken a more serious and dramatic turn that goes well beyond what we have seen from the first half of the series and this is still just Season One. A lot has happened to Naruto and all the characters around him but there are just some things that don’t change and that is Naruto’s determination to save a teammate who turned to the dark side. In Season One: Box Set 4, Naruto displays the power locked within him and he and Sakura finally come face-to-face with the one they lost.
Captain Yamato’s plan to disguise himself as one of the fallen Akatsuki to meet up with the mysterious informer was a sound plan and it was working up until said informer turned out to see through the disguise and reveal himself to be none other than Kabuto … Orochimaru’s right hand man. In the first episode of the set, we find that Orochimaru is on the other side of the bridge as well.
Oh yeah, you read it right. Orochimaru, the treacherous snake who attacked the Hidden Leaf Village, killed the Third Hokage and managed to convince Sasuke Uchiha to join him. Seeing Orochimaru, the man who knows the location of Sasuke, Naruto’s anger pushes his Jinchuriki power of the Nine-Tailed Fox. As it did with the Pervy Sage during Naruto’s training, Naruto begins to sprout tails … four of them to be exact. Unfortunately, in this state, Naruto is out of control.
Locking horns with Orochimaru on a whole new level, Sakura, Sai and Yamato watch in horror as Naruto’s appearance in this state becomes frightening. Interestingly enough, even Orochimaru can’t help but think that the Jinchuriki power is more than enough to give him a real physical workout to the point that he does manage to push Orochimaru to his very limits. At one point, Naruto even smashes a massive crater that tears up the forest. Try as she might, Sakura rushes to help Naruto only to be injured by Naruto in the process.
Sensing that he’ll get killed by Naruto if he continues to battle him, Orochimaru retreats only to find himself confronting Sai. However, Sai isn’t there to battle Orochimaru but rather presents him with a scroll from Danzo instead. To Yamato’s surprise, it appears as though Sai has not only betrayed Team Kakashi but also the Leaf Village. Lady Tsunade was right all along when she told him to keep an eye on Sai so Yamato sends a clone to follow the young man when he goes off with Orochimaru and Kabuto.
Meanwhile, Yamato manages to calm Naruto’s Jinchuriki form down. He makes it clear that he was put on the team for this very reason seeing as he was the subject of a very interesting experiment. In fact, it is Orochimaru who recognizes something about Yamato as well as what he is capable of doing. Interestingly enough, Naruto doesn’t remember anything … until Yamato tells him everything.
As far as the situation with Sai is concerned, the rest of Team Kakashi try to piece together clues as to why Sai had betrayed them. Sakura finds Sai’s sketchbook and its contents are somewhat disturbing and leads them to believe that the young man’s childhood consisted of doing dirty work for Lord Danzo. It isn’t until Yamato’s clone takes them to Orochimaru that they come to realize the shocking truth about Sai and his real mission.
You see, within Orochimaru’s lair is none other than Sasuke Uchiha who we haven’t seen since he cut ties with the Leaf Village and his friends. What Sai finds is a more arrogant, angrier and deadly young man who immediately takes a disliking to Sai. He doesn’t quite understand why Naruto and Sakura are trying hard to save a person who doesn’t want to be saved.
Infiltrating Orochimaru’s lair, the rest of Team Kakashi discover Sai’s true intentions and they’re a taken aback by the possibility that the Hidden Leaf Village may be in danger. Then the moment Naruto fans have been waiting for occurs in one unforgettable scene that makes Box Set 4 a Must Have alone. It is here that Sasuke shows us exactly how powerful he has become over the years. Let’s just say that he’s in a whole other league. Which answers the question: Is the bond of hatred stronger than the bond of friendship?
Box Set 4 of Naruto Shippuden takes us through episodes that are slightly more darker as this series is really becoming far more interesting than when it first started. On top of that, there are memorable moments that will – no doubt – be one of many moments we can continue to look forward to in future installments. Naruto fans, this is the box set you must own.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
The Akatsuki informer’s identity is finally revealed as Captain Yamato and the rest of Team Kakashi face him but when Orochimaru shows his face it is Naruto who unleashes great power to beat him. Unfortunately, this power gets really out of control. Meanwhile, a betrayal among their ranks reveals a threat to the Hidden Leaf Village. More importantly, Naruto and Sakura are finally reunited with Sasuke Uchiha.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
The episodes look sharp and crisp on DVD and that’s a very good thing seeing as there are plenty of jaw-dropping battles here and, of course, an unforgettable scene that’s better on a bigger screen.
AUDIO QUALITY: A+
Once again, the Japanese voices and the English dub voice actors make for a great experience equally on both sides. For my money, however, Maile Flanagan is the voice I hear when I see images of Naruto. The score continues to work for this series and the new closing theme song is a new favorite.
The “Who’s Playing Who?” interactive voice actor game is actually very fun and a really entertaining addition we hope to see more of in future box set releases. There’s Production Art stills as well and the Interactive Character Relations Chart of Sound Village characters is worth a look as well. Of course, there are also trailers as well.
As the Naruto Shippuden series starts going down a darker path, it’s also becomes a lot more exhilarating as well as we can see from Season One’s fourth Box Set. Old villains are back and the reunion we’ve been waiting for since the first part of the series makes this a box set no Naruto fan shouldn’t be without. Interesting plot developments are certainly in the works and we will definitely be there.
Review copy provided by VIZ Media