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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Naruto Uncut Boxed Set, Volume 7 (Special Edition)
Naruto Uncut Boxed Set, Volume 7 (Special Edition)
VIZ // Unrated // May 6, 2008
List Price: $69.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted April 21, 2008 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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The Show:

It's hard to deny that Naruto has become one of the world's most popular anime franchises. Heck, all you really have to do is hit an anime convention and see how many cosplay characters you can pick out of the crowd. The masterpiece created by Masashi Kishimoto has more volumes of manga than you can shake a stick at and an anime with over 200 episodes. You just know going into a DVD release that you need to be vested for the long haul and thankfully VIZ's uncut collections capitalize on that.

While you can find DVDs of Naruto edited for the younger American audience the original Japanese version is by far the better of the two. After all, would you want to watch some watered down shadow or one that packs more of a punch? Punch it is!

Six volumes of Naruto have already been released and so much has happened to the plucky little ninja. Last time around the final leg of the exams took a sour note as Orochimaru sprung a trap that led to a full-on assault against the Leaf Village. The slithery villain went toe to toe with the Third Hokage while Sasuke chased after Gaara and the Sand Ninja. Before the volume closed out Naruto and Sakura were sent on a special mission with Kakashi's dog summon to stop Sasuke. Once they arrived they found Gaara transforming into a sand demon of sorts and it led to a huge battle between he and Naruto.

As the seventh volume picks up Naruto and Gaara are still locked in battle and our hero has just transformed with Gamabunta into a Nine-Tail Fox Demon. The trick here is to get close enough to Gaara so that Naruto could hit him and knock him out to kill his transformation. Needless to say after quite a lot of fighting they are a success and Naruto eventually saves the day. At this point the series displays some interesting comparisons between Naruto and Gaara that really show their similarities. Gaara leaves wondering how Naruto gets his strength and Sasuke watches, stunned at the power he just witnessed.

When the dust settles Naruto and company head back to the Leaf Village as everyone is trying to pick up the pieces. While most everyone is rebuilding in some fashion Sasuke is wandering around cursing himself for not having the power to save Sakura, Naruto is still training, and Sakura is thinking about how to repay her friends for helping her. In the meantime a pair of shady figures shows up in the Leaf Village and they seem to have ill-intent.

Soon enough we learn that one of them is Sasuke's older brother. That's right, this is the guy that Sasuke has sworn to kill for slaughtering the entire Uchiha clan. Before Sasuke can get to him Kakashi and some other Leaf ninja square off against the elder Uchiha and his partner. This encounter leaves Kakashi bedridden with injuries and folks unsure about how to treat him. Meanwhile Naruto and Jiraiya have left town in search of Tsunade who is another legendary Sannin that has been deemed worthy of being the next Hokage.

These two storylines intersect as Sasuke's brother is searching for Naruto for the power of the Nine-Tailed Fox. This leads to Sasuke following after them and trying to save Naruto while killing his brother in the process. Let's just say that things don't go quite as well as Sasuke would have hoped for but luckily for him Jiraiya was there with Naruto.

The rest of this volume doesn't offer a lot in the way of action or dramatic moments. Naruto trains to learn a new jutsu while Orochimaru surfaces long enough to contact Tsunade and see if she'll heal the wounds left by the Third Hokage. She's an intriguing character that seems like she'll add a lot to the series and I'm definitely curious how this storyline is going to play out in the next installment.

As it stands the seventh release for Naruto isn't quite as epic as the previous one though I don't necessarily begrudge the show because of that. This volume is all about building up storylines and fleshing out some characters which is just fine in my book. The writing is solid and the plot is fluid and interest. Some nice action at the beginning also helps complete the previous leg of Naruto's journey just fine. If you're a Naruto fan then you'll be pleased with this latest installment but be warned about the downtime.

The DVD:

Video:

Originally airing in 2002 Naruto is presented with a 1.33:1 fullframe aspect ratio and features a vibrant transfer. The characters absolutely pop from just about every frame with a bright palette and a pleasing art style. With the recent production date the show doesn't have a lot of visible flaws though it's hard to deny that there are some here and there. A slight amount of grain blankets areas of the feature where colors are shaded or murkier than most. Some bits of compression where identifiable as well. Apart from these minor borderline nitpicky gripes there really was nothing to complain about. This is a solid looking show that is presented well on DVD.

Audio:

The audio presentation for Naruto comes in the form of two 2.0 stereo tracks. The English dubbing offers up some irritating voices and an experience that one might call overacting. The Japanese language track was much better with easily acceptable vocals and equivalent quality in sound. With the limitations of a stereo track it's no surprise that there is little to no directionality. It wasn't bad by any stretch of the imagination but a 5.1 offering would have gone a long way. Still, this collection is problem free; it just doesn't go out of its way to impress.

Extras:

The seventh installment of Naruto keeps things up with another storyboard booklet (this one for episode 82) and a few tidbits on the third disc. You can expect to find light fare once again with a production art gallery, preview for the seventh volume, and storyboard comparison for episode 85. If you have a little extra cash floating around you can also get a collector's edition of this release which includes a summoning figure for Gamakichi.

Final Thoughts:

Naruto is just one of those series that has lasting appeal with all audiences. It's rare that something is as widely accepted, but the action, humor, and heartfelt storytelling are perfect reasons for its success. This volume closes out the rock-solid storyline with the Leaf Village War and the loose ends it ties up aren't very surprising. With that being said the rest of this installment spends its time focusing on characters and building the next arch. The pacing is rather slower with this volume but there are some promising leads to the next release.


Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!

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