Reviewed by: Azure
Released by: Manga Entertainment UK
Age Rating: 12
Region: 2 - UK
Volume 1 of 2
Length: 325 minutes
English 2.0 Stereo
Japanese 2.0 Stereo
Naruto Shippuden marks off a time shift in the Naruto storyline, and for fans of the anime a return to the main story rather than the infamous filler arcs. Naruto has been away from his ninja village training with the legendary Master Jiraiya, for the last two years and now it's time for him to return home.
The first episode kicks off with a teaser for what's to come at a later point of the story, then abruptly snaps back to Naruto as he arrives home to his village. Whilst the point of this is to get fans excited as to what's coming, it comes across like more of a trailer, particularly as this confrontation doesn't even happen on this disk. It's hard to judge but I suspect new viewers will instantly become confused, it's a shame as the time could have easily used introducing them to the series.
Much of the pull comes from seeing the cast of the original a little older and further on in their careers as ninja,and their reaction to seeing Naruto for the first time in years.
The main plot arc then kicks in as the Akatsuki an organisation of rogue ninjas kidnap Gaara the Kazekage of the sand. Naruto and his team are then deployed to help the sand ninjas retrieve him. It's pretty much business as usual from then on. The only major difference this time seems a more muted colour palette, presumably it's to make events more dramatic but it makes the on screen action a little less appealing.
The DVD includes both subbed Japanese, and English dub. It's nice to see Manga Entertainment including a more naturally flowing set of subtitles this time, rather than the awkward subs of the first Naruto Unleashed box set. The dub cast is carried over from the original Naruto, and in general the main cast are pretty solid. Where it flounders a bit is with the extras who sometimes sound a little over the top.
The DVD set is two DVDs covering the first thirteen episodes of the first series of Shippuden. It seems designed to be watched in large chunks as the menus seemed to cover each episode as a whole with no clear scene select. This means if you stop watching on a player without bookmarks you have to wind through yourself. The episodes also feature little "Ninja Academy Special class" segments which flesh out details about Naruto's world, but if you didn't know they were there and pressed next during the ending you'd end up missing them. Manga Entertainment have really missed out a trick, they could have easily included these skits in the sparse extras section rather then dumping the episodes 'as is' onto the DVD.
It's hard to recommend this set to anyone but Naruto fans, but they're well served here. It's a decent collection, but the fact that it ends mid way through a story means that unless you're purchasing it so you can own a select few favourite episodes, it's the potential start to a massive investment.