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DVD Review

DVD cover

Naruto Unleashed
Series 8 - Volume 1


Starring (voice): Chie Nakamura, Junko Takeuchi and Noriaki Sugiyama
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 12
Available 14 December 2009

Konoha, the Hidden Leaf Village, is your average ninja hamlet; except for one thing... it contains Naruto Uzumaki. Unbeknownst to the children, but known to their parents, Naruto’s body contains the trapped spirit of Kyubi, a demon fox that had been defeated twelve years ago. Because of their parent’s behaviour towards Naruto, the children of the village also treat him with deferential fear. All Naruto wants is to become the best ninja that he can and win the respect of the villagers...

Naruto Unleashed (2006): Series 8 - Part 1 and the poor boy is no nearer his goal of becoming the Hokage than he was seven years previously. Still, in this three disc DVD set, Naruto continues to engage in missions which have become increasingly similar to what we have seen before. For fans of the show this is good news as what you have here is more of the same though the quality keeps dipping each season.

So, the set opens with the culmination of a story from last season, with Naruto and friends who have previously been sent to the Village Hidden in Stars to protect a powerful rock, only to find themselves embroiled in the local politics. Episode 183, The Star’s Radiance, culminates in typical Naruto fashion with the bad guy losing after the inevitable fight.

We get into season eight proper with three particularly weak episodes. Episode 184, Kiba’s Long Day, has Naruto chasing down his friend's dog that has become infected with a biological weapon, Episode 185, A Legend From The Hidden Leaf: The Onbaa!, sees a cute bear like creature attach itself to Naruto’s back. Unable to detach the creature Naruto learns to protect and nurture it. And Episode 186, Laughing Shino, is one of the most pointless episodes, apart from the laugh value, so far. Called to speak at a funeral where laughing will lose an inheritance, first Shino, then Naruto is drugged to make them laugh, but can Naruto keep his cool and do we really care.

Disc one, like all the discs has a clear 4:3 picture with audio options for only the English 2.0 Dub (which with all the shouting that Naruto does becomes quite grating) or the original 2.0 Japanese with English subtitles. The only extra on the disc is a few trailers for Bleach, Death Note, Bleach the Movie, and Naruto the Movie 2.

Disc two has no extras but kicks off with a fairly long story with episodes 187, Open for Business! The Leaf Moving Service, 188, Mystery of the Targeted Merchants, 189, A Limitless Supply of Ninja Tools, 190, The Byakugan Sees the Blind Spot! And 191, Forecast: Death! Cloudy With a Chance of Sun!

Here our young hero has been charged with protecting a merchant wagon train, a simple task, so why are they under so much scrutiny and attack? It turns out that the train contains the remnants of a great family fleeing the invasion of three particularly dangerous ninjas who are killing anyone who stands in their way. Cue tons of fighting with a cheesy ending.

Having exhausted themselves on such an extended story the writers return to the more familiar ground of one shot, cheap shot comedies. Disc three opens with episode 192, Ino Screams! Chubby Paradise, wherein our young hero gets embroiled in the machinations of one Princess Fuku who having eaten all the pies feels a little too chubby to meet the man of her dreams. So she hires a slim stand-in. After much slapstick comedy things turn out fine when everyone discovers that the Elvis look alike actually prefers his girls with a bit of meat on them. Episode 193, Viva Dojo Challenge! Youth is All About Passion!, and Rock Lee’s desire to fight makes him build a Dojo. Of course Might Guy decides to help him out by fighting him in disguise, but things do not go as smoothly as they might when a spy takes on Might Guy’s disguise. Episode 194, The Mysterious Curse at the Haunted Castle, is a mini quest to rescue a damsel, which involves a castle, a monster and of course Naruto winning. Episode 195, The Third Super-Beast!, and the last one of the set is a slight tale of potential betrayal and torn friendships which comes out alright following an overused plot device and of course a fight.

So, there you have it on episodes per set this remains a good deal for fans of Naruto, only three more sets to go before the show ends for good and we start on the follow-up show, Naruto: Shippuden. Doh!


Charles Packer

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