Naruto Box Set 05 (also w/special edition) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, December 28, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, December 04, 2007
What They Say
With the final round of the Chunin Exam only a month away, Naruto receives some special training from Jiraiya, one of the three legendary Sannin, to summon and master the chakra of the Nine-Tailed Fox Spirit within him. Can Naruto turn this dangerous force into a strength and overcome the odds, against the formidable Neji?
p>Meanwhile, a dark plan that affects the fate of the Hidden Leaf Village begins to reveal itself as the much-anticipated match between Sasuke and Gaara draws near!
Includes a storyboards booklet.
Contains 14 episodes.
The Chunin’s final round is finally on its way, but will Sasuke be there or will he no show?
For this viewing session I began with the Japanese track. Unfortunately this series does not possess a 5.1 for either language track, for it would have benefited greatly with all the fighting scenes. The balance though is a small problem since there are points when the battle music comes on and drowns out the dialogue. There are no drop outs in either of the three discs. I also did a spot check on the English track on episode 62 A Failure’s True Power.
This group of episodes aired in October of 2003 into January of 2004 and the transfer is pretty clean. The background of the mountains during both Kakashi’s training and Gaara’s spying which shows up exceptionally well bring the feeling of being there. The flashbacks come out with an old television feeling with the constant “snowy” black, white and gray dots. There are some really bad animation sequences early in the Naruto/Neji fight were the animation drop if highly noticeable, especially while the beginning of the Kage Bunshin sequences.
This 13 episode box comes in a flimsy, metallic casing which holds a fold out for the three discs. On the front it has in white Shonen Jump’s logo over the Naruto title and Uncut box set backing on orange paint just like in Volume 1 with volume 5 inside a orange chakra mark from Naruto’s palm. The box is gold with Naruot about to throw and Kunai on the cover, which is the first volume to actually have a character displayed on it. The fold out box has a single picture of Jiraiya on disc 1, Naruto on disc 2, and Neji on disc 3 within the box containing the original R2 cover art from second stage volumes 5-8.. The box is also large enough to hold the storyboard book of episode 58 without crushing either the book or the DVD foldout. The LE box also comes with the first of six “summoning figurines” with this volume containing the Boss Frog Gamabunta.
Each of the three discs have their own menu and particular piece of background music. Disc 1 is green with with a picture of Jiraiya sitting down, while disc 2 is orange with a picture of Naruto with a giant paint bruch, and finally disc 3 is light blue of Neji with weapons out . For the second straight box Viz changes the menu format. This time instead of rotating three stills of characters there is only one character with moving screen shots within a rolled out scroll much like the menu system that Viz used during the Inu Yasha release. The menu responds extremely quickly with the curser being a throwing star.
There is a five minute trailer for box 6 will focus on the highly built up Sasuke-Gaara fight as well as the war that breaks out between the Sand and Sound vs. Konoha. Also Shonen Jump Home video trailers for Hikaru no Go, Bleach, Prince of Tennis box sets and Death Note. A flip through page of Shonen Jump manga images from both regular Jump and advance series lines as well as the complete monthly Jump too. There are also English credits on an orange background with no music. There are also ten pages of production art: starting with Naruto, a pair of Jiraiya pics, Gamabunta,Neji, Temari, Sand General, Kabito in ANBU outfit, Shikamaru and finally Rock leaning on his crutch . The highlight of the special features is the eight sketches to screen clips from episode 56, where you can see the story boards on the screen and then activate the clip itself to see it in motion.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The last box ended with the arrival of the peculiar Jiraiya and we pick up with Naruto beginning his solo training with the frog hermit. It doesn’t go so smoothly with Naruto getting him to become his sensai because Jiraiya is far more interested in chasing skirts than teaching ninjutsu to Naruto. But, he does eventually yield to the power of Naruto’s legendary Sexy Ninjutsu which many pervert have succumbed to. Jiraiya is more than he appears though as the series quickly shows that he is the second of the legendary senin to arrive (Orochimaru being the first) into Konaha. Since he is now in charge of Naruto’s training he quickly discovers that his chakra is not being properly managed thanks to the seal placed upon him by Orochimaru in the second test of the Chuunin exam. After breaking the seal Naruto heads into his first true test by learning the summoning technique that both Jiraiya and Kakashi have done. This is the first time we actually see Naruto attempting to really try and separate his learning from Sasuke and go down his own path, while Sasuke escapes from the hospital to join up with Kakashi so that he can learn Chidori.
After many successful tadpole summonings Jiraiya figures out how to teach Naruto to control some of the massive power flowing within him by forcing him into a life and death situation, as he cruelly throws him off a cliff forcing him to literally face his inner daemon, which is an intriguing interaction with the horrific Ninetailed fox and Naruto within his own subconscious as they strike up a bargain to help each other and Naruto finally summons a frog. Unfortunately, the frog is Gamabunta the boss frog, a behemoth that hadn’t been summoned since the death of the fourth Hakoge. Naruto sheer determination comes through as he fits to last on the bucking frog till sunset to make him admit that he is the one who summoned him and in turn making Gamabunta his subordinate. This is one of the most interactions in the series so far as we watch the dynamic between a high level weapon such as Gamabunta fight with the young ninja who is capable of doing ninjutsus well beyond his level. Naruto is unable to last as he passes out at the final moments but Gamabunta accepts him anyways and appreciates the amount of effort that the pesky ninja had put in as the scroll signed in blood is tossed at his feet by Jiraiya who hid safely in the distance.
But not all are trying to get better while they are waiting for the final round to begin, others like Garaa, are just working on thinning the crowd before it starts. The deranged, red haired demon from the village of Sand first crushes the sound ninja who tries to kill him then turns his sights on finishing the job on Rock Lee. The first job was successful the other was thwarted just like when Guy stepped in as Shikamaru and Naruto show up just in time to stop Rock from getting his second and final sand coffin. Then morning comes and everyone is to arrive at the coliseum-like arena for the battle and of course the series must find a way to throw in ridiculous hijinks to diminish an excellent growing of flow towards the climax of the final battles. Naruto makes it on time but first he has to do kagebunshin to do his own version of the running of the bulls which does nothing more than classic filler, which will waste about twenty minutes of your time as you’re eagerly awaiting the fighting.
The seeding is then announced and sitting in the pole for the first battle is Naruto against the man he swore to beat on the blood of his fallen friend Hinate, Neji the most talented member of the Hyuga family. Naruto underestimates him in the beginning since like always he is completely oblivious to the power of byakugan, which unlike the Sharingan which can imitate and see through an opponents attacks is a defensive blood line limit which allows the user to see far ahead and in 360 degrees around them coupled with Neji’s mastery of the rotation defense by forcing chakra out points in his body making the perfect shield. Also Neji’s powerful eyes can see the sixty-four chakra points of the body which by forcing his own chakra into them can see the points, an ability that is only supposed to be achieved by the head of the family not the son of the branch family of Hyuga. In most cases the person would be unable to stand and have zero chance of controlling any chakra, but since Naruto has two sources and Jiraiya’s training focused on the control of the Nine Tail’s chakra he pulls out the “red” chakra to continue the fight. He remembers his friends who refused to yield and summons the chakra to continue the fight which astounishes not only Neji but everyone else with the stadium and the by using the power of the Ninetails combined with his mastery of Kagebunshin actually defeats the genius with one final blow from underground.
The one of the best things that Naruto as a series does is we get to see both sides of this fight, Neji a boy who feels abandoned by both his father and his family and Naruto dealing with the burden of carrying the Kyubi within him. We hear Neji’s story during the battle of why his father died but after it is over and Neji is resting in the infirmary the head of the Hyuga family comes to hand Neji a scroll in his father’s own handwriting which explains the whole story to his son from beyond the grave and shows how no one is bound completely to their destiny.
Sasuke and Garaa were supposed to be next on the dance card but since Sasuke is no where to be found they make an unusual exception and go onto the next fight of kankurou and Shino, but since this was not part of the Sand’s plan kakurou forfeits. Which goes directly into Shikamaru and Temari which is a beautiful chess match of a fight, which if not for the pure laziness of Sikamaru would have been his victory, but like always he gives up at the last second after already capturing Temari within his shadow bind technique.
This only leaves Sasuke and Garaa left and time is extended another five minutes, which allows Sasuke and Kakashi to make a flashy but very tardy entrance. Shikamaru and Naruto run up to watch the match just in time to watch another flash of Garaa’s volience as he crushes the two men sent to stop him from showing up for his fight, crushing them within his sand without hesitation. The box ends with Garaa emerging into the light in time for his own battle to finally begin and the sixth box will conclude the Chunin exams, but as all the build up with Kabito showing up and the Sand ninjas mobilizing there is far more than meets the eye here.
Minus the running bulls episode which made me pull my hair out the fifth box had pretty good balance of action and comedy. The introduction of Jiraiya really helped since my favorite character Kakashi was rather none existent off training with Sasuke. The next box does appear to be extremely action packed which I’m looking forward to with the entire last three episodes of this box being a giant hype machine for the Sasuke/Garra fight, plus when does Orochimaru plan to make his move. A really entertaining fight and the Naruto’s first summoning of Gamabunta make this probably the best box that has come out so far from this seemingly endless shonon series.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Production Art,From Sketch to Screen Art
Sony SAVA D9000 Dual Stack DTS w/ 5 Disc Changer in stack 1 and subwoofer in stack 2 via Monster optical cable. Tv is Sony 55” SXRD Grand Wega 1080p widescreen rear-projection HDTV, Sony Playstation 3 Blu-Ray player via HDMI cable.
Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B-
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Viz Media
Running time: 325
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2