Naruto: Shippuuden Volume 14

As Naruto sees Pain defeat Hinata and proceed to stab her with one of his iron rods, Naruto suddenly goes on a rampage by beginning to unleash his NineTails power to attack Pain but it’s not long before he starts to lose control, Pain himself tries to defeat this enraged Naruto in an attempt to capture his power, however, the longer the battle goes on, the closer Naruto gets to fully unleashing the Nine-tails completely, reaching to a point where his attacks don‘t affect him.

Already we have a massively animated battle between these two that takes up a whole episode and it’s very grand, especially with Naruto starting to transform into the Nine Tails. It’s a fight that some will be satisfied with, although there has been plenty of criticism when it comes to the animation as a few of the scenes are laughably bad and cartoony while a few character animations look inhuman. However if you can ignore this, then the scale of it is impressive. We find out some interesting story details on how Naruto attempts to control the Nine Tails power, which leads to one of his important questions about his past finally being answered.

The Pain arc comes to an end in these episodes and we get some more closure on Pain’s past which ends up being the strongest moment in this box set, showing his motivations and struggles that led to him joining the Akatsuki from his perspective. It’s a reveal that shows that Naruto and Pain share some values, even though they look at things differently. The climax fight of the Pain arc does end in a slight whimper but, overall, it does enough to satisfy.

Looking at Box Set 14 overall is quite strange since random arcs appear throughout; for example, at the beginning, we continue with the Pain arc through episodes 167 to 169, then we get a Naruto special for two episodes (170-171) until the Pain arc finally finishes.

So what is this special? Well, it takes place during the original series, when Naruto is preparing for the Chunin exam finals. He hears word of the Fourth Hokage’s legacy and tries to find out what it is. No one knows about it but Master Guy leads him to a series of trails that hold this legacy and, along with some friends, he tries to discover the mystery behind it.

Except, maybe, for some funny Master Guy dialogue, this two-episode return to the original series is a dud. It goes back to the more light-hearted adventures of the old series in a boring way, it really doesn’t feel like a throw-away arc. It also ruins the mood since we get to the more serious moments of the Pain’s past straight after it ends.

After the Pain arc is over, we actually get a more interesting past arc about Naruto that focuses on Naruto’s old academy teacher: Iruka Umino. He is given a task by the Third Hokage to teach the young Naruto, however Naruto’s misbehaviour leads Iruka to learn more about him while we learn more about Iruka himself.

This one is much better than the special; it’s another of those filler arcs that highlight hitherto underdeveloped characters. Iruka always felt like a forgotten support character that Naruto could rely on but we actually didn’t know much about him. This adds a bit of depth to his relationship with Naruto, so I actually applaud it.

Extras include production art and trailers.

In Summary

Overall, Box Set 14 is a good addition, finishing the Pain arc strongly while adding a new depth to important characters, only to be held back by a pointless special and some bad animation at times.

7 / 10