NARUTO: SHIPPÛDEN COLLECTION 22

PrintE-mail Written by Dominic Cuthbert

Collection opener Road to Sakura is little more than a tie episode for Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie; there’s even a promotional poster in one scene. It has no bearing on the following episodes, but is a nice enough preface, with a confused Sakura struggling with apparent memory loss.

The rest continues the Fourth Shinobi World War: Confrontation arc and the hard slog against the Impure World Reincarnation. Dead shinobi are still on the rise, proving that no one ever really stays deceased in shonen. It does undermine the power of their original deaths, particularly with the frequent flashbacks to spin the yarn of their passing. But after learning the truth, and striking out to save his friends, the episodes shift into gear and demonstrate just how powerful Naruto has become. Little wonder then, that the most engaging and entertaining action sequences are those involving a glowing Naruto and Killer Bee giving it what for.

Sandwiched between the hinterlands of scattered fight scenes, are some tender reveries and moving revelations. Choji, Shikamaru and Ino, for example, are forced to clash with their former sensei, Asuma Sarutobi. Likewise, when the politics and subtlety of warfare shines through the big brawls, it’s a lot more interesting. Still blissfully unaware of the war, Killer Bee steps up Naruto’s training for some psychedelic scenes. The back and forth between Naruto and the nine tailed fox are especially dynamic in showing the inner struggle and temptation Naruto has had to deal with all his life. But he discovers that the demon isn’t all eat and maim, it’s a pipeline to his parents. On the same note, the lid is blown off Killer Bee’s past and underneath every ‘fool, you fool’, is an intricate and charming character.

Fans of the original Naruto series will be pleased as there are so many flashbacks to that time; one episode is even a clip show. It’s also plain to see that despite the wobbly quality of the animation, it has stepped up, with many of the character models undergoing refinement around the edges, particularly Sakura.

It might not quite be filler, but Collection 22 possesses more than a little padding. In amongst all the chaos and calamity the moral, as ever, is that friendship trumps all.

Extras: Storyboards and trailers.

NARUTO: SHIPPÛDEN COLLECTION 22 / CERT: 12 / CREATOR: MASASHI KISHIMOTO / STARRING: JUNKO TAKEUCHI, CHIE NAKAMURA, KAZUHIKO INOUE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW



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