My reaction to the filler that has been in some Naruto Shippuuden episodes has mostly been positive. I like the filler episodes that add more depth to characters that perhaps needed it; on the other hand some of the side-story filler has tended to be unexciting. Unfortunately Box Set 15 falls into the latter with some of the dumbest filler I’ve seen in Naruto and that’s not a good thing.
During the reconstruction of the Hidden Leaf Village, Naruto and friends revisit past memories of events during their childhoods, so most of these episodes are set around the time when Naruto, Sakura, Sasuke, and Kakashi were still Team 7. At first I thought that these episode would focus on Team 7 missions alone, however, they focus on other characters as well.
The best episodes here (sadly ranging from decent to average) mostly focus on some of the characters I like, including the Gaara episode where he joins up with Team 7 on a mission, yet the SandVillage Suna Assassination Squad are sent to eliminate him. It’s a believable event where Gaara further expands his ideals that will lead him to become the Fifth Kazekage. Another side story I liked was when Naruto works with a team that include a fifty-year-old genin. We are given brief moments from his part, including his flashback conversations with the second and third Hokage. Again this is a one-shot episode, so it never fully expands on some potentially interesting world building.
Some episodes are very mediocre; the only side story with two episodes is Jiraiya teaching a young Naruto how to break out of any genjutsu. They visit a village in a forest to help with his training but the village is taken over by some rogue Hidden Rain Ninja.It’s a pretty standard throwaway arc for Naruto and. sadly, it’s not well animated. We also get a further look into Rock Lee’s serious injury that he suffered during the chunin exams, showing Lee’s rehabilitation. This should have been interesting but it’s a shame that most of the episode focuses on Naruto being childish.
The worst episodes here are the really stupid ones. The one I severely dislike is the one where Naruto is sent to Training Ground Zero to retrieve an Ostrich, only to find out that the Ostrich can talk and decides to randomly shout out his attacks. It’s extremely cringe-worthy and a waste of time. Another is where Team 7 are sent on a mission to infiltrate a village full of cats, to get a cat print from the village leader. This leads to them having a cat-eared disguise that totally fools the cat soldiers. Again I found it to be pretty boring for what is supposed to be a funny episode.
That’s about it. As you can see, I feel quite mixed about recommending this box set as there is nothing in it that really adds to the main story and the rebuilding of the Leaf Village is never really expanded on. Still, if you somehow miss the old Naruto series then this might be enough for you to pick it up.
Extras include the usual storyboards and trailers.
The last thing I will mention is the fantastic ending theme “You can do it” by Domino – it’s worth checking it out. I’m really digging the animation and song in this one.
While hardcore fans of Naruto will pick this one up, I have great difficulty recommending this average box set.