Continuing from where we last left off, we find out that the Grave Robbers are known as Furido’s 4-Man Team and are currently on a mission to destroy the Hidden Leaf Village to rebuild the Land of Fire to its former glory. It doesn’t look too good for our heroes; the whole village has been sealed off with a jutsu, Furido has revived four of the Twelve Guardian Ninja to perform one of the most powerful lighting attacks called Limelight, and the Leaf Shinobi must defend the village against the undead – although this isn’t Naruto Shippuden: Zombie box-set edition (even if it sounds cool).
As you can tell, this arc has built up a really big climax for itself and I was expecting a really epic battle to go down but sadly as episodes went by, my enthusiasm slowly faded away, and the problems were resolved too quickly, making me feel less satisfied then I should. As for the final part of the arc, we get some surprising revelations on Furido and Sora and a very promising action sequence, but they are too stretched-out in the last episodes, making them feel boring. I do feel disappointed that this grave robber arc was not exploited to its full potential – but on a positive note, it dovetails into the next arc quite nicely.
Next, we are introduced to the Akatsuki members who have been chasing the two-tail jinchūriki for their secret plans: Hidan who is obsessed with religion, and Jashin who is loud-mouthed and disrespectful to all the people he meets. His partner Kakuzu is a more sinister and ill-tempered character who cares more about money rather than the Akatsuki ideals. Both partners don’t get along, but you can see why they have been teamed up; their powers aren’t discussed in this box-set.
Naruto begins the next phase of his wind chakra training which leaves him out of the action for a while and supports most of the comic relief, at times it’s good but some are downright bad (Naruto’s favourite Ramen restaurant has turned into a tsukemen shop causing him to rant to the owner daughter, this was unfunny and got annoying very fast).
The most interesting character in these episodes is Azuma (the teacher of Shikamaru, Chōji, and Ino) one of the Twelve Guardian Ninja. His past is more developed in the anime than the manga, so he steals rather more of the spotlight in these episodes than Naruto, which makes a good change. Again, the episodes end on a cliffhanger that leaves you eagerly anticipating the next box-set.
Both the themes remain the same, the opening “Blue Bird” is starting to feel quite repetitive now but I always enjoy watching and listening to “Nico Touches the wall – Broken Youth” closing when that comes around.
Extras remain unchanged.
After feeling disappointed in the Grave Robber arc, I’m glad to report that the introduction to the new Akatsuki members and a well-placed cliffhanger make this box-set worth the purchase.