New Naruto Shippuden: Road to Ninja Trailer Released

April 5, 2012

Earlier this year we heard the news that Masashi Kishimoto would be involved with the new Naruto Shippuden movie, titled  “Road to Ninja”. Well now I am happy to say that a new trailer for the movie has been released!

I unfortunately can’t embed the video on this site, but you can watch it by visiting TV Tokyo’s official website

http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/anime/naruto/movie12/index.html

It’s only 27 or 28 seconds long, but it looks fantastic so far. I don’t want to spoil what little we are shown, so I won’t comment about the details here.

What I will say though is I am really looking forward to it just from seeing the short trailer alone, so be sure to let me know your thoughts on it – including things like how can some of the stuff we see in the trailer be possible – in the comments section below!

EDIT:

Since originally posting this, someone has uploaded a subtitled version of the trailer on Youtube, which you can watch here

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Naruto Shippuden Episodes 248 & 249 Review / Thoughts

February 9, 2012

As you can probably guess from the title, there were two episodes of Shippuden this week. Truth be told this was not only very welcome, but also needed as this part of the story deserves to be told together. So then, Naruto Shippuden episodes 248 and 249 – how did they turn out?

Brilliantly. Absolutely brilliantly. Since this is two episodes and a fair bit happened, I am going to make this review a little different to the others in that I won’t bother going in to lengthy descriptions about what every little plot detail was, instead I am going to leave it to you – the reader – to find out for yourselves when you watch it. If you have the slightest interest in Naruto, then you MUST watch the two episodes this week anyway, and if not then you are clearly reading the wrong review.

The two episodes cover the remaining part of Kushina’s story to Naruto about the Kyuubi’s attack on Konoha 16 years ago, and that of course includes Minato’s brief battle and encounter with Tobi. In the first episode I was a little surprised by the art style used to show the Kyuubi’s rampage of destruction, but surprised in a good way. It looked wonderful and was definitely a style I would like to see used again at some point. The art and animation throughout both episodes was very well done, and this is something that pleases me no end. I remember when I read these parts in the Manga and fell in love with them, but at the time after the experience with the Pain arc I was terrified that when the time came for these parts to be animated, they would suffer the same fate, but thankfully my fears were allayed after today.

I personally feel that the Minato and Kushina backstory is perhaps the most emotional story in Naruto, and while there are plenty of other moments like that (Haku and Zabuza, Sandaime’s funeral etc), I think for me this may just edge them out. The thing that really makes you realise how special it is has to be the fact that despite already knowing both of Naruto’s parents died prior to the start of the series, when you see just how it happened it is as heartbreaking as if you had only just found out. Minato and Kushina are wonderful characters, and despite only being in the series for a short time have won themselves countless fans, and deservedly so.

Ultimately it is those two who really make the story what it is as far as this part of Naruto is concerned. It could easily have turned out overdramatic or even annoying depending on who the characters were and what they were like, so it’s a testament to Minato and Kushina that they can make you care so much for them in such a short space of time.

As you can clearly tell from my words above, I loved the double bill this week. They were / are perhaps my favourite parts of the Naruto manga, and now the story has cemented its place amongst my favourites in the Anime too. I will be honest and say that if every episode or every arc could be as good as this, Naruto would easily rank as my favourite Anime or Manga series. While Naruto has quite a few flaws as a series, it’s for moments like these why I have persevered with it, because when Naruto gets something right, it gets it really right. I believe in volume 53 of the Manga (the volume covering this) Kishimoto said at the start that before making a start on this part, he consulted his wife for her thoughts and ideas on it. After loving both the Manga and Anime versions, let me just say that I only wish Kishimoto would ask for his wife’s help / advice more often, because if it turned out anything like this then Naruto would be one amazing series.

There is more I want to say, but I would end up going on and on about this forever if given the chance, so unfortunately I will have to leave this review at that. All I can say is that when you decide to watch the episodes, sit back, enjoy, and make sure you have some tissues nearby, because this will make even the most emotionally hardened person choke up.


Naruto Shippuden Episode 247 – Target: Nine Tails Review / Thoughts

February 2, 2012

After the absolute joy that was last week’s episode of Naruto, this one was always going to have an awful lot to live up to, so did it live up to expectations?

 

The answer is sadly no, I feel it wasn’t quite up to the extraordinarily high standards of the previous episode, though that is by no means a slight on this week’s offering.  This episode by normal Shippuden standards I would rate as excellent, it is indeed another great episode for the Anime and one you should make a point of watching.

 

As for the actual episode content, it picks up from last week with Naruto still trying to contain the massive power that is the Nine Tailed Fox, while also still in the company of his mother Kushina.  Early on in the episode, with help from Kushina and her special Chakra chains, Naruto manages to defeat the Kyuubi by entering Sage Mode and smashing it with a barrage of Giant Rasengens as well as a Rasenshuriken. In doing so, Naruto is able to claim the Kyuubi’s power without the hatred that comes with it, and thus (as you can see in the above picture) takes on a new form before he seals the Kyuubi again, apologising at the same time and telling the Kyuubi it just has to wait.

After that is done, we go back to Kushina and Naruto talking. Kushina hits Naruto with the surprising news that she too was once the Kyuubi Jinchuriki, telling him that she had been brought to Konoha from a different village solely for that reason. Naruto is obviously surprised and also angry and questions why it couldn’t have been someone from Konoha, so Kushina explains that the people from her village were known for their powerful Chakra and stamina, as well as their mastery of sealing jutsu,  and that the very first Kyuubi Jinchuruki – Mito Uzumaki – was also from the same village and was the wife of the first Hokage – Hashirama Senju. The Uzumaki clan from the village are revealed to be distant relatives of the Senju clan from Konoha, and their alliance is still shown to this day by the symbol on the Konoha vests etc.

Years later when Mito’s life was coming to an end, Kushina was chosen to be the next host due to her special Chakra that stood out even amongst her village. Kushina tells Naruto about how Mito told her that even as a Jinchuriki you can be happy as long as you fill yourself with love, with Naruto crying tears of joy upon hearing this. Kushina then realises that Minato must not have had time to explain all the events of 16 years ago with the attack on Konoha by the Kyuubi and Madara. Naruto says Minato mentioned a masked man from Akatsuki attacking the village, but that’s all he knew.

Kushina then goes on to explain that Madara stole the Kyuubi from her when he used it to attack the village, when Naruto asks how he could do it, she tells him that he did so by striking at the moment the seal is weakest in a Jinchuriki – during childbirth.  Despite taking many precautions such as keeping the whole thing secret from the other villagers,  hiding outside the village during the birth and inside a barrier, as well as having ANBU Black Ops as guards, we get to see Madara standing outside the cave she was giving birth in next to the body of a member of ANBU he had just killed, but then unfortunately the episode ended.

 

That’s what I found a little disappointing, the episode seemed to end a little abruptly for my liking. The majority of the episode was taken up by Kushina explaining to Naruto about how she became a Jinchuriki herself and about her village – which is fine – but then at the end it was left with little time for anything else. Next week we will get to see Madara’s actions in full most likely, so that’s definitely something to look forward to. However, I would feel bad if someone were to make the mistake of thinking this is a bad episode after reading this review, as the episode in itself was fantastic. After last week I admittedly went in to this episode with unfair expectations, so even though everything was yet again done well and put together brilliantly, it was always going to have a hard time of living up to what I expected. This of course was entirely my fault, and as I said previously, by normal standards this is a fantastic episode. So overall, this was yet another great week for fans of  the Naruto Anime with some important things being revealed while at the same time keeping a lot of charm from the previous episode, mostly due to the wonderful chemistry between Minato and Kushina.

 

 


Naruto Shippuden Episode 246 – The Orange Spark Review / Thoughts

January 26, 2012

Before we even get started, let me just say I loved this episode. Loved loved loved it just as expected, and one of my favourite Naruto episodes as a whole. The only thing that gets me more excited than this episode is the fact that next week could well equal or maybe even surpass it. But anyway, I suppose I had better say why I enjoyed this so much!

 

Following from last week, the episode starts with Naruto fighting the Kyuubi. Naruto attacks it with his clones, and uses his Giant Rasengan and also Rasen Shuriken to wear down the Kyuubi so he could start extracting it’s power as Bee instructed him previously. However, despite making a start on pulling away that power, along with it comes all the hatred stored inside the Kyuubi, and Naruto begins to change on the outside by partially entering his Kyuubi cloak mode as the Fox’s influence begins to take hold.  Yamato gets ready to step in and try and control it before things get out of hand, but all of a sudden Naruto’s transformation stops, and on the inside he is taken to a bright and sparkly place where he meets a woman with red hair.

 

At first Naruto thinks it is the Kyuubi in the form of a woman to try and trick him, but soon realises that’s not the case. The woman hits Naruto over the head, but then immediately apologises for her short temper. After the woman tells him to take a guess, Naruto realises that the person standing in front of him is in fact his mother – Kushina.  Tears of joy stream down Naruto’s face as he instantly rushes over and hugs his mother, excitedly telling her how he had always wished to meet her. Naruto compliments Kushina on her red hair, and Kushina tells him he is only the second person who has ever done so – the first being Naruto’s father Minato – and so she tells Naruto that she will say something she only ever says to people who compliment her hair – that she loves him.  Kushina realises that Minato must not have told Naruto about her when they met, so she eventually begins telling Naruto about how she met and fell in love with Minato after Naruto asked how it happened.

 

Now I could go in to details about that story, but I am not going to. Truth be told almost the whole episode is about Kushina explaining some of her past to Naruto, and I don’t want to type it all out and potentially ruin it for those yet to see it. During the episode we again get to hear some new music which has me convinced we should see a new soundtrack released before the year is out, and the music choices as a whole were very good and fit well with the scenes.  For me these parts with Kushina and Minato’s past are truly some of the most emotional of all in the Naruto series, I am not going to give away spoilers for Anime only viewers, but this week is only the beginning in terms of emotion. The episode had nice animation, well placed tracks played throughout, shed some light on Naruto’s mother and some of the traits Naruto has clearly inherited from her, and overall gave more insight in to the past of Minato and Kushina, two of my personal favourite characters.

 

The episode was done brilliantly, the emotional parts were done just right, and at the risk of sounding clichéd, genuinely did give a warm feeling inside. Such was the quality of the episode that you honestly can feel so warm, happy and content just watching it. Kushina is instantly likeable and it’s excellent getting the chance to see her past. Basically, I can’t praise this episode enough, it was all but perfect and as good an episode as you will come across. By the standard of any Anime this episode was special, and all I can say is that everyone reading this should do themselves a favour and watch this too.