Naruto Shippuden continues its UK DVD release with Box Set 22, containing Episodes 271 to 283 (can I point out that it is a two disc, standard sized amary case, not a box set! I’m aware it’s far too late for them to change the naming system, but that still annoys me, especially when they collect every four sets… into a box set!) . The first episode is set in the false world of Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie, and is purely there to promote the film, so I won’t rag on it too much for not continuing to main story, although I can’t say it’s much fun to sit through. We then rejoin the main arc, where the Allied Shinobi Force is facing Madara Uchiha, Kabuto and a whole host of resurrected ninja from the far past to the near present. This includes finally seeing the often mentioned in legend/flashbacks Hanzo the Salamander in action, Shikamaru, Choji and Ino facing their old teacher/mentor/father figure Asuma, and even the until-now-inanimate Gedo statue come to life and attack everyone.
We also see the titular Naruto finally become wise to the war that’s happening while he’s off training, and along with the ever-rapping Killer B, eventually escapes all the measures put in place to stop him from leaving. As he makes his way to the battlefront, he continues to interact with his Demon Fox spirit and promises to save it from its anger, just like he’s going to do to everyone else. These scenes certainly get across Naruto’s will to help all his friends, though if you haven’t picked up on that desire by now you’ve been watching something else!
Sadly, but rather predictably, the Box Set contains some filler episodes near the end. The war is taking a break for the evening (which is nice of them) but the Allied Shinobi Force is now aware that the white half of the often seen Zetsu character (or characters, I guess) is not only cloned many times over, but also has the ability to disguise itself/themselves as anyone, and therefore can mislead and even attack from anywhere. The filler deals with this idea, and goes down the rather predictable and somewhat clichéd route of people acting out of character slightly and therefore being found out as an impostor at the last possible second. It also has a bunch of mums fighting sumo wrestlers, which is not a cliché, I’ll give it that much!
We then go back to the main plot line / manga adaptation in the last two episodes for some important scenes involving Naruto, Killer B and their respective village Kage, which includes some nice backstory for B, well, I say nice, I mean as in it’s well written and shown, it’s not actually very nice (as per usual with these Jinchuriki! Who’d of thought having a demon creature sealed inside you would lead to people distrusting you?)
“Totsugeki Rock” by everyone’s favourite pre-historic Japanese band The Cro-Magnons is still your up-beat opening for Episodes 271 to 281 before switching to “Moshimo” by Daisuke for the last two episodes, which is a pleasant, if not a little nasal, song. Similarly, “Kono Koe Karashite feat. CHEHON” by AISHA is still your closing theme for 271 to 281, then it switches to “MOTHER” by MUCC for the last two episodes.
Now we get to the big question, should you put down your money on Naruto Shippuden Box Set 22? Well, as I said last time, this is technically the opening salvo on what is the final battle of the series, but it’s so early on that by the time we get to the final battle you’ll have long forgotten some of these events. There are some filler episodes on this set, but there is more canon story than not on the two discs, and some important or just well written character moments that mean if you’re a fan of the show you can’t miss this. I’m giving it the same score as last time because it’s the same as last time, the box contains plenty of action, canon plot and good animation that if you like Naruto, you’ll like this set and want it in your collection.