Naruto Shippuden Vol. #10 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, June 11, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Naruto's egged on by Orochimaru and that just makes several of his hidden tails twitch pretty hard.
What They Say
In the midst of their spying mission, Team Kakashi is suddenly confronted with the Leaf Village's sworn enemy, Orochimaru. Naruto challenges him, and during their battle, his anger brings forth the power of the Nine-Tailed Fox. Naruto will never give up his determination to find Sasuke and bring him home, but in his rage he risks losing all awareness of himself and hurting those he cares for the most.
Contains episodes 40-43.
The bilingual presentation for Naruto continues to be a solid affair as the two stereo tracks are encoded at 256kbps. The series is fairly standard television fare but it handles itself well and there’s a bit of an extra oomph to it at times with the generally full sounding mix. There are moments of good directionality but by and large it’s nothing all that exceptional. The best moments continue to really be the opening and closing sequences with the music but that’s also somewhat normal. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback of the Japanese track or from spot checking the English track.
Originally airing in 2007, the transfer for these TV episodes is presented in their original full frame aspect ratio. The production values for the series continue to be quite good and the authoring side of the release brings a lot of that to light. Naruto has a lot of movement at times and it maintains a very strong look with no motion artifacts or break-up in general. Throughout the four episodes that are on this disc, there aren’t any real issues to be found at all. There are a few moments of some mild aliasing during a panning sequence and a bit of noise in some of the darker scenes here and there, but by and large this is a very solid looking release that covers a good range of settings without any discernable issues. Colors are nicely solid, bitrates are healthy with a number of good peaks and everything just feels very appealing. Fans of the show are likely to love how this looks.
The tenth volume of the series breaks its cover routine at a perfect spot with Naruto letting the beast within out. The character artwork is all white and we get a black background this time but he's surrounded by the red chakra of the nine tailed beast that's in him and it looks intense, definitely a stark departure from what's come before. There’s a lot of color here, with a red original logo on the right side and the US logo along the top brings in reds, oranges, blues and even some pink. The back cover is kept to white with some gray background circles to give it a bit more accent. A few shots from the show are included that are decent and the summary covers a fair amount of ground with what’s going on here. The episodes are listed clearly by name and number while the rest is given over to production credits. As is usual, Viz wants nothing to do with a technical grid that would make it easy to break down what’s here, so you have to find the basic stats within the various areas of text. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reverse side cover.
The menu for this release is pretty decent and stands out more than most other companies at this point in time. There’s a black cloud like border around the screen with a static image of Yamato and Naruto almost in an action pose next to each other while the background has animation from the film playing through it as various weapons fly by. It’s really nicely creative to fit in with the show overall and it does highlight some care and creativity. The music is spot on for something uplifting and energetic. Menu navigation is straightforward with a strip along the bottom and episode navigation isn’t bad as you can access the parts of each episode from one submenu. Everything loads quickly but the disc doesn’t read our players’ language presets as it defaults to English with no subtitles.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It's not exactly a criticism that I'm saying it, but this set of episodes definitely has a very Dragon Ball Z flavor to it. There have been some dragged out moments so far in the first forty episodes of the series as we've seen a few fights go on a bit, or a chase run a bit too long, but that hasn't been exactly the same thing. What gives this one a different feeling is that the four episodes are all about the face off between Naruto and Orochimaru. It's a slow build to be sure but it has a certain intensity to it that allows it to work, though I can imagine it would be infuriating to watch it on a weekly basis.
These four episodes really do whittle down the cast a fair bit, though we do get a few mild moments of flashbacks that help to expand it a touch for a minute or two. With the meeting at Tenchi Bridge now having gone horribly wrong as Orochimaru has seen through Yamato's disguise since he pulled out a kunai knife to defend himself, the focus has shifted to a mild verbal sparring sequence between Naruto and Orochimaru. Naruto's really very singled minded when it comes to what he wants and it's all about getting Sasuke back when he's got Orochimaru in his sights. Orochimaru can certainly egg him on easily enough just by saying that Sasuke is a much tougher opponent than he is, but what gets Naruto is that Orochimaru refers to Sasuke as “His Sasuke,” and Naruto just can't take that.
Outside of a few minutes spent where Kobato talks to Yamato about how he saw through his disguise, there's really only one significant moment that doesn't revolve around Naruto and Orochimaru. That is when Kobato explains how he knows that this group is definitely important, though it's a misguided statement, because he figures that Sasori wouldn't have told them anything unless he wanted to, and that means he wanted these people to go there to meet him. Of course, just because Yamato and the others are here doesn't mean that they're the ones Sasori imparted the information to, and they all aren't since we have Sai and Yamato here. Sai does has the start of his subplot in this volume but it's a miniscule moment toward the end that hasn't quite revealed all that much just yet outside of Danzo of the Foundation really being quite the ass.
When it comes to the overall main thrust of this volume, I'll easily admit that it does come across as long. But it's a good long as we see Naruto being slowly taken over by the Nine Tailed Fox within him as the first three tails are out as Orochimaru goads him into attacking him. The power build up in him is definitely impressive to watch and the visual change in him as he goes over the edge, losing control of his sanity, puts him in a very creepy state. Full of reds and blacks, grinning wildly and loving the battle he enters into, the two of them cause a great deal of destruction as everyone else just watches along from a relatively safe distance. I've seen some of Naruto when it comes to his power in my haphazard way of watching this franchise, but so far this is turning out to be my favorite because it has a certain intensity and power to it, wild in fact, that lets the build up to it feel like there's a good bit of payoff. And having it happen against Orochimaru is the icing on the cake.
The four episodes of this volume give me a lot of what I've been waiting for when it comes to a fight between these two. I saw some of their last match-up back in the original series before the filler hit so getting back to this material is definitely welcome. Naruto's inner beast has a great coming out moment here and we see him really going to town in a gleeful manner with his fight against Orochimaru. So much so that all else falls to the wayside and he even nearly kills Sakura at one point. Orochimaru for his part gets to have a lot of fun as well, first in teasing Naruto verbally and then in attacking him in a few different ways, so much so that he doesn't appear to be holding back much either, and that makes it all the more fun to watch. Definitely a solid set of episodes that deals with what lurks within Naruto.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Viz Media
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2