Review

by Carlo Santos, Apr 27th 2012

Naruto Shippuden

DVD Box Set 10

Synopsis:
Naruto Shippuden DVD Box Set 10
Three years ago, Sasuke Uchiha turned against his comrade Naruto and went out in search of greater power. But Orochimaru, the villain who took Sasuke in, had an ulterior motive: he planned to transfer himself into Sasuke's body and gain the power of the all-seeing Sharingan Eye. When their powers collide, however, Sasuke comes out on top—and now he's a near-invincible ninja bent on revenge against his brother Itachi. Sasuke gathers a team of rogue ninjas for his quest, while Naruto and the rest of the Hidden Leaf Village try to track him down after hearing of what happened with Orochimaru. Both parties seek out the Akatsuki, a devious organization where Itachi Uchiha operates. When Sasuke runs into the Akatsuki's explosives expert Deidara, a deadly battle begins.
Review:

The tenth box set of Naruto Shippūden is truly a mixed bag, all over the place in terms of quality. A villain that was once the series' ultimate evil (Orochimaru) faces off against Sasuke in a surprisingly anticlimactic battle. Sasuke's recruitment effort for his new ninja team drags on for four barely-interesting episodes, while Naruto and friends spend much of their time strategizing and searching. Sasuke's showdown with Deidara is the action highlight of this arc ... but then sprawls out into multiple episodes with intermittent lectures about ninja physics. And believe it or not, two of the best episodes in this set are fillers. Does that make the overall product good or bad?

The best part, clearly, is the "Kakashi Chronicles" interlude that comes right at the halfway mark. Confined to two episodes rather than a never-ending battle arc, this adventure has it all: intense fight scenes, emotional highs and lows, and a legitimate purpose to the story, explaining how Kakashi got his scar and his Sharingan Eye. The later episodes in this set also excel as Sasuke and Deidara face off—their adrenaline-packed battle becomes a game of wits, with each combatant trying to outdo the other with increasingly complex moves. Sasuke's finisher is the most impressive of all, not because of any great power, but because all of it is so carefully planned ahead.

But that fight, like so many other things in this story arc, also has its flaws. The battle eventually unfolds into an excessive display of "Oh, here's my real best move!" over and over, and both ninjas keep having to stop and explain how their attacks work. But even stop-and-go pacing is better than the insufferable lull when Sasuke seeks out new members for his team. Over four episodes, the formula is the same: he recruits a new character, they get into some kind of conflict, and then the party continues to stroll through the wilderness. Usually there's also a flashback thrown in to eat up extra minutes. Paradoxically, these new sidekicks barely get to participate in the Sasuke-Deidara battle—so why'd they even join up?

Meanwhile, the good guys get a treatment that is muddled at best. The pacing is laughably bad when Naruto, Tsunade, and company are discussing what to do about Sasuke and Orochimaru—their meeting-room discussion is broken up into tiny, couple-of-minute snippets in between all the Sasuke scenes. Fortunately, things get more coherent once they actually plan to hunt down the Akatsuki and Sasuke himself, but again, it's mostly preparation and not a lot of battle. The one truly great scene comes at the end: a contemplative chat between village elders Jiraiya and Tsunade before a mission that sets up the next story arc.

The animation in these episodes is as inconsistent as the storytelling, with moments of greatness in between moments that are downright eyesores. The earlier episodes get the worst of it: Sasuke's battle with Orochimaru and his subsequent search for new teammates are hampered by flat (and sometimes sloppy) character designs, dull backgrounds, and stiff movement. Conversely, the Kakashi filler episodes are examples of how Naruto ought to look: shadows, highlights and textures add life to the characters and their environments, along with fluid fight scenes and vivid colors. As expected, Sasuke's battle with Deidara is also a visual showpiece, especially with Deidara molding monsters out of clay and setting off smoke-spewing explosions. But in between are some less impressive scenes, like flashbacks or minor-character activities, that lack the same level of polish. Whether it's a lack of shading or conspicuously static backgrounds, the animation shortcuts are clearly there.

The serious tone of the first several episodes is reflected in the music, with long, low chords accompanying Sasuke wherever he goes. This persistent gloom probably adds to the dullness of those episodes; fortunately the variety improves later on as ninjas battle it out to the sound of dramatic strings or hard-rock instrumentals. Meanwhile, the theme songs are predictably mid-tempo tracks that don't stand out too much, aside from helping to ease the mood when the story gets too serious.

The English dub on these discs captures the characters' personalities well, from Sasuke's serious tone to the easygoing drawl of sidekick Suigetsu and other voices in between. Still, the performance is a bit rough around the edges compared to the original Japanese: Yuri Lowenthal's Sasuke seems bored of his very existence, there's too much growl in Naruto's voice, and depending on who you ask, there are about five different ways to pronounce "Orochimaru." Still, the dub has enough emotion to get the point across, and the script doesn't stray too far from the original translations. In addition to bilingual audio tracks, this 3-disc set also includes clean credits sequences, production sketches, and some end-of-episode comedy outtakes—fairly standard bonus content.

This mixed bag of hit-or-miss episodes results in a very average story arc: it has its pinnacles of greatness, but those are just as quickly canceled out by disappointing lows. For every great battle or stunning visual display, there's another part of the series that drags its feet aimlessly, or mails in some cheap-looking animation. The best that can be said about this segment of Naruto Shippūden is that it moves the story forward, opening up new scenarios for everyone. But the sheer inconsistency of these episodes makes one wonder about all the wasted potential.

Grade:
Production Info:
Overall (dub) : C
Overall (sub) : C+
Story : C+
Animation : C
Art : C+
Music : C

+ Shows its best side with action and drama in the Kakashi side-story, as well as an impressive fight in the later episodes.
Sluggish pacing and poor animation ruin the first several episodes, and even Sasuke's epic battle ends up going on too long.

Series Director:Yasuaki Kurotsu
Director:Hayato Date
Series Composition:
Satoru Nishizono
Yasuyuki Suzuki
Junki Takegami
Screenplay:
Hayato Date
Masahiro Hikokubo
Yasuaki Kurotsu
Yuka Miyata
Satoru Nishizono
Yasuyuki Suzuki
Junki Takegami
Toshiyuki Tsuru
Shin Yoshida
Storyboard:
Charozo
Noriyuki Abe
Akitaro Daichi
Hayato Date
Masaaki Endou
Kiyomu Fukuda
Naoki Hishikawa
Masahiro Hosoda
Takayuki Inagaki
Hisashi Ishii
Kei Jūmonji
Yutaka Kagawa
Jun Kamiya
Shigeki Kawai
Hiroshi Kimura
Yuki Kinoshita
Hiroyoshi Kishikawa
Yoriyasu Kogawa
Junya Koshiba
Rion Kujo
Masaaki Kumagai
Tomoyuki Kurokawa
Yasuaki Kurotsu
Koji Masunari
Yukihiro Matsushita
Tokuyuki Matsutake
Shigeru Mita
Yuichiro Miyake
Kazunori Mizuno
Tsutomu Murakami
Masahiko Murata
Naomi Nakayama
Tsutomu Naniwa
Toshiya Nidome
Atsushi Nigorikawa
Toshiya Niidome
Ken'ichi Nishida
Mitsutaka Noshitani
Maki Odaira
Takahiro Ohno
Marabe Ono
Tetsuto Saitoo
Chikara Sakurai
Sumito Sasaki
Shinji Satoh
Gorou Sessha
Ogura Shirakawa
Yoshihiro Sugai
Masato Suma
Shigeharu Takahashi
Wakoudo Takahashi
Tetsuji Takayanagi
Chiyuki Tanaka
Toshiyuki Tsuru
Atsushi Wakabayashi
Keisuke Watanabe
Shuu Watanabe
Hiroyuki Yamashita
Shingo Yamashita
Yuu Yamashita
Hiroshi Yamazaki
Akitoshi Yokoyama
Episode Director:
Noriyuki Abe
Eitarō Ano
Hayato Date
Junichi Fujise
Kiyomu Fukuda
Hayato Goda
Naoki Horiuchi
Yoshihide Ibata
Hisashi Ishii
Yutaka Kagawa
Hiroshi Kataoka
Shigeki Kawai
Hiroshi Kimura
Yuki Kinoshita
Hiroyoshi Kishikawa
Masato Kitagawa
Rion Kujo
Masaaki Kumagai
Masaaki Kumatani
Yasuaki Kurotsu
Yasumi Mikamoto
Shigeru Mita
Yuichiro Miyake
Kazunori Mizuno
Masahiko Murata
Jun Nakagawa
Naomi Nakayama
Atsushi Nigorikawa
Ken'ichi Nishida
Hiroaki Nishimura
Mitsutaka Noshitani
Maki Odaira
Takahiro Ohno
Kunitoshi Okajima
Takahiro Okao
Katsumi Ono
Yūsuke Onoda
Maneko Ooku
Masahito Otani
Chikara Sakurai
Sumito Sasaki
Kazuma Satō
Mitsutoshi Satō
Shinji Satoh
Gorou Sessha
Ogura Shirakawa
Yoshihiro Sugai
Yuriko Sugaya
Hidetoshi Takahashi
Shigeharu Takahashi
Hideki Takayama
Hayato Takeda
Chiyuki Tanaka
Tomoya Tanaka
Tsuneo Tominaga
Hiroyuki Tsuchiya
Daisuke Tsukushi
Toshiyuki Tsuru
Hideaki Uehara
Fumiaki Usui
Atsushi Wakabayashi
Shuu Watanabe
Hiroyuki Yamashita
Yuu Yamashita
Hiroshi Yamazaki
Akitoshi Yokoyama
Unit Director:
Charozo
Akitaro Daichi
Hayato Date
Yasuaki Kurotsu
Koji Masunari
Tokuyuki Matsutake
Kazunori Mizuno
Masahiko Murata
Toshiya Niidome
Marabe Ono
Shinji Satoh
Chiyuki Tanaka
Toshiyuki Tsuru
Atsushi Wakabayashi
Keisuke Watanabe
Hiroyuki Yamashita
Shingo Yamashita
Yuu Yamashita
Music:
-yaiba-
Musashi Project
Toshio Masuda
Yasuharu Takanashi
Original creator:Masashi Kishimoto
Original Character Design:Yasuaki Kurotsu
Character Design:
Tetsuya Nishio
Hirofumi Suzuki
Art Director:
Hideaki Kudo
Shigenori Takada
Art:Hideaki Kudo
Chief Animation Director:
Seiko Asai
Kumiko Horikoshi
Yasuhiko Kanezuka
Gorou Sessha
Chiyuki Tanaka
Yumenosuke Tokuda
Zenjirou Ukulele
Animation Director:
Charozo
Hiroki Abe
Naoki Aisaka
Manabu Akita
Yoshinobu Aohachi
Erika Arakawa
Seiko Asai
Takahiro Chiba
Ik Hyun Eum
Akihiro Fukui
Manami Fukuyo
Kōji Furuya
Masatoshi Hakanda
Hiroki Handa
Noritomo Hattori
Hyo Jung Heo
Ken'ichi Hirata
Beom Seok Hong
Kumiko Horikoshi
Yūri Ichinose
Hiroaki Imaki
Keiichi Ishida
Hirokazu Ishino
Yūko Ishizaki
Yukiko Iwata
Min-Ho Jang
Hiroyuki Kamura
Yasuhiko Kanezuka
Koji Kataoka
Shigeki Kawai
Dae Hoon Kim
Kang Won Kim
Yuki Kinoshita
Yukari Kobayashi
Hiroki Koike
Yuki Koike
Ryo Komori
Masayuki Kouda
Yasuaki Kurotsu
Boo Hee Lee
Kengo Matsumoto
Hideaki Matsuoka
Tokuyuki Matsutake
Shin Minseop
Minoru Morita
Tsutomu Murakami
Hisao Muramatsu
Masahiko Murata
Takashi Nishikawa
Ichiro Ogawa
Yukimaro Ohtsubo
Hidehiko Okano
Hiromi Okazaki
Masaya Onishi
Marabe Ono
Noriko Otake
Hong Rong
Takashi Saijo
Konomi Sakurai
Shinji Satoh
Ryousuke Senbo
Gorou Sessha
Naoki Sousaka
Yoshihiro Sugai
Yuriko Sugaya
Hirofumi Suzuki
Natsuko Suzuki
Shinichi Suzuki
Naoki Takahashi
Makoto Takahoko
Itsuko Takeda
Tatsuki Takemoto
Kei Takeuchi
Chiyuki Tanaka
Hironori Tanaka
Hiroto Tanaka
Shinsuke Terasawa
Yumenosuke Tokuda
Eiichi Tokura
Megumi Tomita
Kayano Tomizawa
Akihiro Tsuda
Takenori Tsukuma
Zenjirou Ukulele
Atsushi Wakabayashi
Akira Watanabe
Keisuke Watanabe
Anna Yamaguchi
Hiroyuki Yamashita
Shingo Yamashita
Yuu Yamashita
Kwang Seok Yang
Mamoru Yokota
Hyo Sang Yoo
Hideyuki Yoshida
Hiromi Yoshinuma
Miho Yoshioka
Sound Director:Yasunori Ebina
Producer:
Fukashi Azuma
Tomoko Gushima

Full encyclopedia details about
Naruto Shippūden (TV)

Release information about
Naruto Shippuden (DVD box10)

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