The UK release of Naruto Shippuden … progresses further once more (Ha! Haven’t used that intro yet!) as Box Set-that-is-actually-just-a-standard-2-disc-release 29 arrives on shelves, containing Episodes 362 – 374. The previous box set was entirely made up of filler episodes, so you’ll be happy to hear that this set contains nothing but adaptations of the original manga!
The fourth Great Ninja War is reaching its climax as the gathered allied forces are now fighting the people responsible for the whole mess, revived super-powerful foe Madara and his protégé and former friend of Kakashi, Obito. Kakashi is understandably a bit shaky to start with, given the friend he was pretty sure was 100% dead is now not only alive but the villain he is supposed to stop. This leads to a good role reversal as his student, Naruto, manages to talk him back round, and soon Kakashi and Obito begin to battle while Naruto and the rest of the forces try to tackle Madara. Speaking of Madara, he is soon on top of a partially revived Ten-Tails, the ultimate Tailed Beast that wields crazy power and can, once complete, bring about the Infinite Tsukuyomi, a technique that will place everyone is a pleasant dream… forever: the very reason this war began in the first place (hell, the very reason the lead villains have been doing things the whole series, as it turns out…). As you can imagine, this fight gets pretty crazy, with Naruto and his fellow Tailed-Beast-possessing friend Killer B try to take down the Ten Tails with the help of all the gathered forces, but, without getting too spoilery, this is one of the very rare times in Naruto where the good side suffers some legit losses, and one of them is actually of some note!
Away from the battlefield, Sasuke and his … well, allies would be pushing it… his current associates successfully revive the fallen Hokage, the previous leaders of the Hidden Leaf Village, as planned, rescuing their souls from being trapped in demonic summoned monster’s belly… void… thing. Before they head off into battle though, Sasuke asks the founder and first Hokage Hashirama, what the true meaning of shinobi and village are, leading to the Hokage sitting down to recount the clan wars between Madara’s Uchiha clan and Hashirama’s that eventually led to the founding of the Hidden Leaf, as well as a fateful showdown between the two former friends. These are really fun to watch, seeing how the way of life we’ve seen from the first episode began and getting a closer look at both Madara when he was around originally and Hashirama, someone who has always been touted as among the most powerful shinobi ever. The big clash between the two in Episode 370 is quite the spectacle, living up to the fact that the battle had been so legendary that it inspired the statues of the two men beside the waterfall where Naruto and Sasuke battled, way back when in the original series.
After that we switch back to the main conflict, but to give any more details would spoil earlier plot points in this set, but I’ll say this: the conflict doesn’t calm down, that’s for sure…
“Guren” (“Crimson”) by DOES is still your opening theme, and indeed lasts the whole set. “FLAME” by DISH// is your closing theme up to Episode 366, where it then switches to “Never Change” by SHUN and Lyu:Lyu from Episodes 367 to the end of the set. The extras are, of course, clean opening and ending, plus some trailers. I also feel I have to mention that the cover art on Amazon and Zavvi et al seems to be based on the US cover, complete with more official looking logo and a giant number 29 on it, but the cover I’m using here is from the official Manga UK shop and matches the template they’ve used on previous releases, so I feel it’s safe to assume the other cover is a placeholder that has yet to be replaced!
So, Naruto Shippuden Box Set 29 is a strong collection of episodes, not only covering “canon” manga adaptation, but the content itself is full of action and some pretty dramatic happenings. Plus you get several episodes of flashback to a period not yet covered in the series, which tells a good, self-contained story and has a top-class “over-the-top” fight to boot. This is a release no Naruto fan can do without.