Naruto Returns – Naruto’s friends are tested as an attempt to overthrow Tsunade begins and they must all fight – or fall. New secrets about Pain are revealed, but they only add to the mystery of his identity. As Pain commences with the final destruction of Konoha, Naruto and the Toads prepare to take on in battle. Can Naruto save his beloved village?
If you are particularly attached to the vibrant ninja village that is Konoha, then perhaps you might give Naruto volume 46 a bit of a skip, seeing as author artist Masashi Kishimoto pretty much destroys the whole place over the course of this book!
As per usual it is pretty much all out action from start to finish, with very little place for comedic moments but loads of space for drama, mysteries and big reveals! Essentially we get to see just about every Konoha ninja that we’ve come to know and love face off against one of the attacking Pains, and for the most part, things don’t go that well for the ninja of the Hidden Leaf.
This volume does however mark the return of Naruto, who up until now has been missing out on the action thanks to his training with the toads – and needless to say our young, more serious protagonist has more than powered up just a little!
This is an action-packed, exciting volume that will no doubt appeal to all Naruto fans, or to anyone who enjoys some good Shonen fighting action.
Combined with Kishimoto’s detailed and expressive pencils that keep your eyes glued to the page for longest of times, Naruto volume 46 is well worth the read if you are an action manga fan!
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naruto_manga
Dreams – Naruto’s sensei Kakashi believes that the diabolical Zabuza survived their last battle. Now, in anticipation of their enemy’s return, Kakashi puts Naruto, Sakura and Sasuke through rigorous training programs to increase their focus and control. This time, their job of protecting the old bridge builder Tazuna and his family will be a hundred times more difficult!
After a very much action-packed Volume 2, Naruto Volume 3 slows down the pace considerable for the first two thirds or so, focussing on special chakra training for the trio of young ninja, giving us a little more insight into their characters. At the same time we are given a little more background surrounding the people, location, and situation that Kakashi and his group find themselves in, all of which helps to build up to a very explosive last third of the book, where all out, over the top fighting between the ninja takes centre stage once more! (Ending as expected on quite the cliffhanger!)
Author/Artist Masashi Kishimoto once again effortlessly combines his slapstick humor, drama and action to produce a wonderful page-turner of a manga volume, and when combined with his masterful artwork which is so full detail, emotion and action, never mind his superb bringing to life of all the slapstick humor he throws around, makes for an addictive and fun read that any action comedy Shonen fan will be sure to love.
Definitely a recommended way to spend a lazy afternoon!
Related Link: Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naruto
I’ve been away from the Naruto franchise for quite a number of years now, and on a spur of the moment decision, decided to pick up Naruto Shippuden: The Movie to give it a spin just for the fun of it. Disappointingly, I found nothing had changed since I last left the series.
Again, the movie is nothing more than a money spinner to empty the wallets of already loyal Naruto fans, and certainly doesn’t do anything for new viewers who might not be all that familiar with the franchise – no character development, no lasting impacts, no real substance – just a lot of varied, over the top fight scenes. However, that said, once again it is an enjoyable standalone adventure with all the classic Naruto humour and action which fans of the series are sure to enjoy – so based on that alone, I would have to say it’s a success then!
The plot revolves around a ninjutsu user who unseals a powerful entity which has previously attempted to destroy the world with its fearsome and unstoppable terracotta army. The protagonist has the entity’s soul locked in his own body, and is now on a race against time to reunite it with its sealed away physical body before the priestess of the Land of Ogres has a chance to destroy it.
This threat is big enough to mobilise all the lands, and Naruto’s Team 7 is no exception, as they are joined by Neji and Rock Lee and tasked with protecting and escorting the priestess to the site of the body in order to prevent the destruction of everything! Just one thing though. The priestess has visions of the future and her latest premonition is simple – Naruto is going to die, and nothing can change this destiny!
Other than some beautifully rendered backgrounds, the animation for the movie is very much the same standard used for the television series, which means it doesn’t stand out as being special at all. Don’t get me wrong, it is pretty decent, but certainly not of the high quality one would expect from a movie outing. One negative thing to note though is the terrible CG used for the terracotta army, coming across as really cheap and low budget and quite honestly, spoiling some of the fight sequences towards the end of the movie.
Soundtrack on the other hand is fantastic, with solid voice acting from all the usual actors and actresses.
Overall, if you are familiar with the Naruto world and enjoy the franchise, then this is certainly worth watching, though as per usual don’t expect anything other than pure Naruto action from it – certainly nothing to affect the main timeline will be taking place. For people outside of the fanbase, this isn’t the best of movies to pick up because it offers so little, but as it goes, if you do like some over the top ninja with unrealistic abilities going at one another, then maybe you’ll get a kick out of it too.
As for me, well ‘meh’ is probably the best way to describe it. Not bad, but I could have continued my hiatus from the franchise and still missed nothing! :P
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naruto_Shippuden:_the_Movie
The Worst Client – Tired of menial tasks, Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura ask for a tougher assignment. But you should always be careful what you wish for! Along with their sensei, Kakashi, the trio must now guard a cranky old man from the Land of Waves. But Tazuna the bridge builder is in more danger than anyone could have imagined. And now the young ninja are too!
Volume 2 of Masashi Kishimoto’s smash hit Naruto continues where the first left off, with the result of the gruelling test young Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura just endured through finally announced. These new genin ninja are now officially a team and so need to undertake missions given to them by the village, in order for it to stay alive.
However, as you can imagine, the missions granted to low level ninja are pretty mundane and pretty soon Naruto can’t take this complete lack of serious action – which of course always means trouble for whoever is meant to be reigning him in.
His actions do however result in a new mission being assigned to the team, a slightly higher level task but still one that should fall well within the young team’s capabilities. A simple escort mission back to the Land of Waves.
Unfortunately, the problem with people is that they lie, and one such person just happens to be the cranky old man they and Kakashi have been hired to escort – with rather dire consequences.
Because quite frankly, the man who wants to stop the old man wants him dead. And will use whatever force he can lay his hands on to achieve this!
As you can tell from the synopsis, Volume 2 is for much of its page count a complete and utter knuckle sandwich of a fight, pitting our young and very inexperienced ninjas against some truly fearsome foes. Of course at this early point in their careers, Kakashi has to deal with most of the violence while the youngsters need to find it in themselves as to whether or not they are capable of taking part in real, life on the line combat.
Of course, blended in with all of this is Kishimoto’s trademark humour and as such the story never gets overwhelmingly dark, yet it handles some fantastic character development as it progresses, making for an absolutely thrilling and meaningful journey from start to finish.
As per usual Kishimoto’s pencils are absolutely fantastic as he easily plows through varying degrees of action, comedy and drama, bringing in loads of tone to the story being told. His characters and backgrounds are all beautifully detailed and he manages to masterfully mix the super deformed silly moments with the gut wrenching action that seems to keep one glued to the pages.
In summary, this is the perfect volume to follow up what was a great first volume in the series, and well, well worth picking up if you enjoy your action, comedy and all things over the top ninja!
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naruto
Wow, now there’s a major surprise announcement. Dattebayo fansubs, arguably the most known Naruto and Bleach fansubbing groups out there, have come out saying that they are finally to stop subbing Naruto, effective January 15th 2009.
Now I must admit that I used to be a big fan of Naruto, after first being introduced to it via Masashi Kishimoto’s original manga and then quickly made the jump to the anime release which at that stage was predominately being handled by the TW and AONE fansubbing groups, with AONE being the preferred choice thanks to their high quality translations.
But then came a speed-subbing group that seemed just to get it right from the start. Dattebayo Subs, or DB as they are more affectionately known, were releasing their subs literally a couple of hours after the show aired in Japan, instantly making them the favourite speed-subbers around. And as they got more to grip with their tools, so their quality of releases quickly rose and they soon became the number one distribution point for Naruto.
Honestly, I eventually stopped watching Naruto after the absolutely pointless and rubbish filler episodes that they kept insisting on stuffing in became so unbearable that it actually sucked all the fun right out of the show, and that was that. I was finished with Naruto. Yes, I still ensure that I catch all the movie releases, and every now and then I take a peek at the far more enjoyable Naruto Shippuuden, but for all intents and purposes, I can no longer call myself a Naruto fan.
But the point is that there are literally still millions and millions of viewers that do.
So why has Dattebayo decided to stop subbing the series? Well firstly, they’ve been in the game for a very, very long time now. Even I would have gotten tired of subbing the same old thing by now. Secondly, and the primary reason for their decision, Viz, the US licensor of Naruto, seems to have finally got its online act together enough to make it a viable, and more importantly, legal option to the fan-produced fansubs.
Remember, despite what anyone tries to tell you, fansubbing is illegal.
So to be honest, it is sad to see an icon like Dattebayo drop Naruto, but their reasons for doing so are good and I’m pretty sure that Viz will be more than pleased by this news. It’s like Dattebayo says:
“If we continued to sub Naruto, it would be a direct affront to Viz, a company that, for the most part, has been pretty amazing to us as fans. Sure, you can say that their dub sucks, or whatever other axe you have to grind, but never once did they ask us to stop subbing Naruto or Bleach, something that is well within their rights and power to do. We have episodes that have gotten almost a million downloads. We’ve had episodes that have gotten more downloads in their their first 24 hours than they had viewers when they showed on Cartoon Network.
I’ve often asked people I know in the anime industry why they think Viz never asked us to stop, and they say, “Well, Viz isn’t really into the whole C&D thing, they just don’t do that.” That may be true to some extent, but I’ve always liked to think it was because we had a silent symbiotic relationship. We only did things that helped the popularity of their shows, and they turned a blind eye to us.
But like any symbiosis, you have to know when its time to move on. That time has come. Viz and Crunchyroll have gotten their acts together and are trying something new, with one of the most popular shows in anime today. I, and the rest of the staff, know that if we continue to subtitle it, they will have to ask us to stop. That’s something they probably don’t want to have to do, because it will most likely make all of you very mad at them. That’s something they really don’t deserve.”
So hats off to you Dattebayo and thanks for the excellent work you have put in over the years for one of the premier and most enjoyed anime series around.
We look forward to seeing whichever project you guys next pickup!
Related link: http://dattebayo.com/pr/100
Naruto games have always been plentiful, but unfortunately just not that good, generally leaving a little bit of a bland taste in the mouths of the countless Naruto fans across the globe. Well that was until the original Naruto Ultimate Ninja came along.
Bandai has graced us with a stylish, frantic button-mashing fighter that is overly stylish, yet engaging and fairly simple to pick up. Based on the legendary Masashi Kishimoto’s enduring, ongoing series Naruto (which was unleashed on an unsuspecting public in 2003 and hasn’t looked back since), which tells the story of a brash, arrogant young ninja cadet who has the misfortune of having a nine-tailed demon fox sealed within him and how he aims at becoming the Hokage of his native village, the Village of the Hidden Leaf. Of course the stories have progressed far since those early days, but the premise of the story remains the same – super-powered ninjas fighting against one another.
Naruto Ultimate Ninja is set in the early arc of Naruto, when he was still a genin and as such features characters and scenarios from the first part of the long running Naruto anime series. Although the roster of ninjas that you can unlock and play with is not particularly huge, all the favourites are there, and you get to play with Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, Gaara, Neji, Rock Lee, Hinata, Kakashi, Shikamaru, Zabuza, Haku and even Orochimaru himself! Of course, many of your other favourites make an appearance as support characters and for Naruto fans this game is indeed filled with fanboy material.
The game features all the various modes that a fighting game should contain, including a versus and practice mode, but it is the scenario and mission modes that provide the meat to this title. The scenario mode has you completing a number of storyline battles with a character, with each battle increasing in difficulty until you face a final battle to beat that scenario and hopefully unlock some content.
The mission mode on the other hand is split over a number of levels, with each level consisting of a number of missions, with each mission carrying specific requirements in order to pass. Of course, the level of missions gets increasingly difficult, but the money you earn from completing these missions more than make up for it.
Money is gained for each successful mission and every battle win, and is used to purchase the gamut of bonus content that the game comes with. There are literally hundreds of unlockables and only a true fan will ever be able to earn them all. Of course, purchasing these is sometimes a lesson in frustration because you need to go through a lottery system to win, betting an amount of money and hopefully receiving a random item instead of drawing a blank, which quickly becomes more than a little tiresome.
Back to the fighting however, and it is interesting to see Bandai pull back from pushing out what could have been just a standard fighter with two buttons for two different kicks and two buttons for two different punches. Instead, the buttons are laid out in a particularly simple manner. One button to make you jump, one button to throw your shuriken and other collected items/powerups, one button to raise your chakra level in hope of triggering a chakra-fuelled cutscene attack and one button that handles all the actual attacking (oh and a trigger button for blocking of course).
There is a slight attempt at adding in different combos by mixing up the attack button with directional presses, but other than that you’ll find yourself continuously bashing the same button over and over again in order to dish out maximum damage. Things become a little more interesting though when you manage to land a strike when in a chakra powered up state, unleashing your cutscene driven attack. Each character has three levels of chakra attack and each and every one of them is different and absolutely a joy to behold. However, just to keep things interesting, you’ll be required to frantically input the given button sequence in order to carry out maximum carnage – otherwise you’ll find the damage dealt reduced as well as some of the longer sequences terminated halfway through.
Some of the scenes are particularly humorous to watch while others are downright nasty (though never bloody), but all are wonderfully executed and stylish to boot. A lot of the special attacks come straight out of the manga and anime, making it an instant hit with any long time Naruto fan.
While the characters are all polygonal in nature, the game plays out as a 2D fighter, though each level has a number of different planes which you can instantly travel between by pressing a direction and jump simultaneously. This becomes quite tactical after a while, because your support character will continuously pop in at the various levels to provide you with some or other power-up or special item which may just be what you need to swing the match in your favour.
There are a number of different levels waiting to be unlocked, all from a particular manga location, and usually linked together as you will see when during a battle after getting significantly beaten up you get the ‘change level’ option flashing on your screen. Each location is unique in its presentation, all has its own traps and pitfalls and all are wonderfully fleshed out with hidden areas and secret breakables.
The pacing of the fighting is relentless and at times can feel a bit unorganized and a matter of simple button bashing. However, as with any game in this genre, the more you play, the more tactical your battles become, finally resulting in a thoroughly satisfying experience.
Visually, Naruto Ultimate Ninja is a treat to look at, going entirely for a comic book look which results in a colourful, cel-shaded presentation with thick black outlines which looks as if it leaped straight out of the manga or anime episode. Even the narrative cutscenes are presented in a comic book format which simply adds to Naruto’s ultimately stylish look.
Naruto Ultimate Ninja looks superb and instantly appeals to fans of this type of animated entertainment, which makes it all the more pity that the developers cheapened out to an extent and provide simple stills for each scenario beginning and ending sequences. At least we get an animated opening sequence that is pretty much plucked straight out of the anime series, but I’m afraid that is pretty much it. A surprising decision when you notice just how much of the bonus material actually comes from the anime series itself!
Aurally, Naruto is actually a treat, featuring a strong cast of voice actors for both the Japanese and English language versions (yes, for a change you can actually get a game with its original Japanese soundtrack intact!) and a musical score seemingly plucked straight out of the anime. The sound effects are also top notch, though it must be said that overuse of some of the voices and phrases do become a little annoying after a while.
In summary, while not necessarily carrying the in-depth punch you would expect from a fully fledged fighting game, Naruto Ultimate Ninja more than makes up for it in terms of style and presentation, resulting in a madcap button-bashing exercise that is fun to play and even more fun to watch – particularly if you are already a hardcore Naruto fan!
Related Link: http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/action/narutoultimateninja/index.html
The Tests of the Ninja: In another world, ninja are the ultimate power – and in the village of Konohagakure live the stealthiest ninja in the world. But twelve years ago Konohagakure was attacked by a fearsome threat – a nine-tailed fox demon which claimed the life of the Hokage, the village champion. Today, peace has returned, and a troublemaking orphan named Uzumaki Naruto is struggling to graduate from the Ninja Academy. His goal: to become the next Hokage. But unknown to Naruto and his classmates, within him is a terrifying force…
I seriously doubt there is anyone who knows anything about anime that hasn’t heard of Naruto. Naruto has proved just as (and probably more so) invasive in western countries as Dragonball Z was a couple of years ago. Author/Artist Masashi Kishimoto unleashes this maelstrom upon us way back in 1999 – and it hasn’t looked back since!
Naruto volume 1 introduces us to all the primary characters in the Naruto universe. We’re introduced to the young and plucky, arrogant, untalented, boastful (but with a heart of gold) Naruto who serves as the protagnistic for the series, Sakura who serves as Naruto’s one-sided love interest and the boy ninja genius Sasuke (Sakura’s one-side love interest and Naruto’s chief rival – even if he doesn’t come close in matching up to him!). We learn of the tragedy of Naruto, particularly in reference to the secret of the Nine-tailed Fox, something that no one dares inform Naruto of and then the volume changes pace and we get to chuckle at Naruto’s various antics at the academy (where his is forever failing everything), a couple of romantic high jinks and then finally the forming of the very mismatched training team of Sasuke, Naruto and Sakura, under top ninja Hatake Kakashi.
The story is pretty solid for an opener and introduces all the characters in an extremely fast-paced, comedic writing and is a thoroughly enjoyable starting point for everyone who wants to get in on the global Naruto phenomenon.
Masashi Kishimoto manages to balance physical humour and dramatic elements brilliantly, meaning we get a book that will hold your attention and keep you laughing throughout the story. And because he is the artist on the title as well, we get everything presented to us exactly as he the writer intended, meaning timing, panel layout and composition all meld together seamlessly.
In terms of the book’s artwork, Kishimoto simply does not disappoint in giving us the goods. His characters are extremely detailed and yet at the same time can be presented in just as simple a form for all the usage of deformed art to impact the humour upon us. Instantly likeable characters combined with detailed and well proportioned backgrounds provide us with a thoroughly easy to follow and appreciate work of art – truly Kishimoto is one of the great mangaka of our time.
Naruto is an extremely pleasing book to look at and read, and you’ll find yourself instantly hooked the minute you pick this book up. Read, enjoy – and then go out and buy the rest of the series (which you’ll need to have deep pockets for – this is one series than looks like it may never end!).
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naruto
You get some very… strange people in the world I think. Some people who just aren’t…right. A good example is the following mail I received via the contact form from this blog over the weekend:
(I’ve blanked out some identifying info with a * just because I don’t want to be nasty)
Name: cody meyer
IP Address: 71.79.*.*(cpe-*-*-*-*.cinci.res.rr.com)
User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1; FunWebProducts; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)
On Friday, November 2, 2007, 11:54 PM, cody meyer wrote:
hi im in love wit naruto and how do you make a portal to narutos land
I haven’t replied to this mail (I normally reply to everything I receive), mainly because I am stumped on what to say. My first answer would be “…with jellytots”, but this might be a kid and I don’t want to be the guy who breaks the news that there isn’t a Santa or that the Easter bunny isn’t real – I don’t like those guys.
Actually, I AM hoping that this is a kid – otherwise America’s education system has a lot to answer for!
Naruto the Movie 3: The Animal Riot of Crescent Moon Island is the third Naruto movie to be produced and was released in August 2006. And once again, much like the earlier movies, it reeks of substandard filler arc material, proving once again that this is purely a movie made to give existing Naruto fans a quick fix of all things Naruto.
This time round the story has Naruto, Sakura, Rock Lee and Kakashi leading a protection contingent to a travelling prince and his son of the Moon Island country. Naruto and the princes son, Hikaru take an instant dislike to each other and a fairly eventful trip comes to a close with a visit to a travelling circus. So impressed by their performance and on his sons insistence on wanting the rare Siberian sabretooth tiger travelling with the circus, the prince purchases the circus lock, stock and barrel.
Its a stormy trip back to Moon Island, but the events that unfold on the trip does eventually lead to Naruto befriending the young and rather annoying Hikaru. However, when they finally land, they are in for one nasty surprise. There has been a coup de tat in Moon Island and the princes father has been killed, making him and Hikaru the evil ministers next target.
It is now up to Naruto and his comrades to protect the prince and his son against the ministers soldiers and his three deadly hired ninjas, one of which has the ability to turn a person into stone!
To be honest, the story is pretty basic Naruto stuff, with the usual little lesson to learn thrown in, and really comes across as an extended filler episode, which could just as easily have been broken up into 3 episodes and shown on TV instead of on the DVD scene. The pacing of the story is fairly slow and there are rather few action sequences in this movie, and in fact there are hardly any sequences worth mentioning at all (Apart of course from those involving Rock Lee – but that’s just because I like the character).
The animation is exactly the same as that used in any episode, with even the backgrounds not receiving the same luscious attention as they did in the second movie. A few sparse uses of CG, usually in panorama scans and opening door sequences. At least the colour palette used is fairly good, with some decent shadowing done on the character models.
Sound-wise Naruto doesn’t disappoint, but it really is a case where the sound is on par with a television episode and not something you’d expect to get on the big screen. The voice talent is pulled from the television series, so at least that continuity is there. The soundtrack itself borrows from classic Naruto source material, and nothing exciting gets brought to the table here.
In the end, the third movie is a passable Naruto experience, basically aimed at hardcore fans. It isn’t exciting and wont make you sit upright in your seat, but it does a solid job and I cant really complain about it. An average watch, Naruto fans not fed up with filler material might get something out of it.
(May 2012 Update: Watched it again, and to be honest, it isn’t a horrible movie. It is a little too over the top towards the end in terms of some of the fight scenes, and perhaps a little too soppy in terms of story, but it is a good tale, you don’t need to be a Naruto fan to enjoy it, it delivers plenty of action and drama, is animated rather nicely, and features a great voice cast and some excellent background music.
It’s certainly not a master piece by any stretch of the imagination, but it is quite watchable and certainly delivers what is expected in terms of its target demographic.)