The ever popular Naruto series continues its UK release with Box Set 25 of Naruto Shippuden, containing episodes 310 – 322. Unfortunately, though not surprisingly, most of this set contains filler episodes, with only the final two episodes of the set adapting Masashi Kishimoto’s original manga.
For a quick recap, everyone is deep in the Fourth Shinobi World War pitting the allied forces against the masked Madara and Kabuto, who has used his powers to resurrect a whole bunch of dead ninjas from the past, both recent and long deceased, who have no choice but to fight for him. Episodes 310 to 320 spin several tales to do with this concept, some of which lead to entertaining fights involving characters who were, for one reason or another, barely featured in the manga version of the story arc, including moments for the once popular bowl-haired Rock Lee and bug user Shino. Where as some just go down the old sentimental route, complete with Nartuo being the loving kind voice of reason again, and involving the childhood versions of the main cast for the hell of it.
The final two episodes are rather important, however. At the end of Episode 321, Madara Uchiha, long-talked-about villain from the past that we thought was the man under the mask, is resurrected. This not only leads to some interesting questions, but also leads to a rather well animated and really enjoyable fight scene where Madara gets to flex his muscles and takes on a large squad of allied forces ninja by himself and defeats them using only hand-to-hand combat (or taijutsu, to use the in-universe term). It’s a really entertaining scene that not only gets across that this man is every bit the person he’d been hyped up to be, but also because it’s so fluidly animated. Plus there is another surprise in store right at the end of the last episode…
“Niwaka Ame ni mo Makezu” by NICO Touches the Walls continues to be your opening for this set, whereas “I Can Hear” by DISH// is your ending theme up to Episode 319, when it switches to “Yume o Idaite ~Hajimari no Crissroads~” by Rake. As per usual the extras are the clean opening and ending, and some trailers.
So, Naruto Shippuden Box Set 25 then. It’s hard to recommend this one, given 90% of it is filler that has no consequence on the story as a whole… or even the story in the next episode a lot of the time. That being said, if you skip it you are going to miss a rather large, plot-significant event and one of the better animated episodes in a long time. I mean, some of the filler is fine, it fills some time but at least it does so with new fights for underused characters, but others are a real slog to get through. Best to wait for the price to drop, but if you’re enjoying the key plot then you’ll want this in your collection eventually.