Naruto Box Set 02 (also w/Special Edition) -

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Mania Grade: B-

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  • 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
  • MSRP: 49.98/69.98
  • Running time: 325
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Naruto

Naruto Box Set 02 (also w/Special Edition)

By Justin Rich     January 04, 2007
Release Date: December 05, 2006

Naruto Box Set 02 (also w/Special Edition)
© Viz Media

What They Say
As Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura struggle in battle in the Land of Waves, they must come to terms with the often-painful reality of being a ninja. A little bit older, wiser and stronger, the three return to the Hidden Leaf Village only to face their next challenge: the Chunin Exam!
A horde of young ninjas has gathered from all over to participate, all with their own special brand of ninjutsu. Is Naruto ready to take the next step in his journey to become the greatest shinobi ever?

The Review!
As the wave arc comes to an explosive conclusion, bringing our team of ninjas back to Konoha just in time for the Chunin Exam, Naruto would much rather fighting for his life than passing school tests!

For this viewing session I began with the Japanese track. Unfortunately this series does not posses 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 22 Chunin Challenge: Lee vs. Sasuke.

This group of episodes aired in the end of 2002 through February of 2003 and the transfer is pretty clean. The background of the forest show 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. They only problem that is visible is during the mist scenes there is some spottiness especially as the mist crosses the characters.

This 12 episode box comes in a flimsy, metallic sky blue casing which holds a fold out for the three discs. On the front it has in darker blue Shonen Jump's logo over the Naruto title and Uncut box set in dark blue paint with volume 1 inside a turquoise chakra mark on Naruto's palm. The fold out box has a single picture of Zabuza disc 1, Haku disc 2, and disc 3 is Rock Lee with leg fully extended with the box containing the original R2 cover art from volumes 5, 6, 8 & 9 but skipping another Haku art from volume 7. The box is also large enough to hold the storyboard book of episode 15 without crushing either the book or the DVD foldout. The LE box also comes with a Sand Village cosplay headband and necklace.

Each of the three discs have their own menu and particular piece of background music. Disc 1 is gray with three rotating pictures of Zabuza, while disc 2 is pale blue with three rotating pictures of Haku and finally disc 3 is orange with two images of Rock Lee and a third bizarre picture of his insane sensai Guy. The menu responds extremely quickly with the curser being a throwing star.

There is a five minute trailer for box 3 which takes place in the forest of death and a couple of hints of round 3 and the first glimpses of Orochimaru. Also Shonen Jump Home video trailers for Hikaru no Go and One Piece Alabasta arc DVDs. 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 eight pages of production art of the nine different characters from each of the three teams from Konoha. The highlight of the special features is the eight sketches to screen clips from episode 22, 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)
We pick up this box with the battle on the bridge with Kakashi pairing off with Zabuza, Haku fighting Sasuke and Sakura playing worthless bodyguard. The battles wage on as Naruto desperately tries to reach them in time to help. Kakashi gets caught within Zabuza's mist technique while Haku shows Sasuke his own bloodline technique as the Sharingan takes on the Crystal Ice mirros; a technique that allows Haku to move freely from one mirror to the next but still attack from all angels making the opponent trapped in the middle a helpless victim.

Naruto's blind stupidity shows as he jumps into the battle to help Sasuke, which only makes things harder for him as he tries to defend himself and his teammate. Sasuke dives in front of Naruto as another barrage of needles come flying out of the mirrors protecting his friend, but causing him severe damage, unfortunately for Haku it is enough to cause Naruto to go berserk causing the seal on his stomach to break and allow the red chakra of the Ninetails to come leaking out as he crushes the bloodline technique. Haku is still alive though as his master is caught in a trap of Kakashi's from his summoned dogs, and about to feel the pain of the only technique that the copy ninja Kakashi had ever created Chidori or Lightning Edge. But, as Zabuza is about to be killed Haku steps in front and takes the full brunt of the attack. Zabuza still in his near death state fights with his corrupt former employer killing them with only a kunai in his teeth before dying himself.

With the Wave Country safe from tyrants Team Kakashi heads back to Konoha only to meet some strange team from the Sand Country, but what are members of other hidden villages doing within the village? The reason is that it is time for the Chuunin exam so that shonobi can become promoted if they pass. Members from every hidden village come to compete for an increase in rank that happens yearly at different locations.

This is a great change of pace in the series since we get to meet a vast and expansive cast of characters over the course of the next twenty episodes from within Konoha's other teams to members of the Sand, Sound and Water villages. It really delves into the natural abilities of each individual village and their principles as a society. Plus, it will lead to intriguing new relations amongst not only their individual team, but between teams that must become allies in grave circumstances.

After meeting the Sand ninjas, Rock Lee introduces himself by challenging Sasuke to a match and lands a swift kick to his ribs, but he only has hand-to-hand combat skills and cannot perform ninjitsu which leads him to loosing to someone with a bloodline limit. But, there will be no more fighting before the exam begins as all the leaders pull their teams away from their new foes.

The first test is to test espionage skills and to answer all the questions within a specific amount of time, and if you get caught, which is the most important word caught, cheating you are automatically eliminated from the Chuunin exam. As the teams have to rely on techniques and brain power Team Kakashi becomes nervous as their third member has neither. Also you can drop out of the exam so that you are able to take it again, but if you quit your whole team is disqualified.

Team keeps ticking and Naruto's blank paper isn't changing, and as the fate of his team lies firmly within his incompetent hands he is given a choice, stay with it and risk the fate of his team's chance of promotion forever or quit now and play again next year. He sticks with it and fortunately his bullheadedness pays off, since it wasn't the answers that mattered but sticking together and not getting caught was what actually was being tested. By sure dumb luck Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura get pass the first test only to head to test two in the Forest of Death! Can Naruto's stupidity help them there?

In Summary:
If the series isn't long enough to cut an episode off this release kind of bothered me, for twelve episodes just seems like a tease as we begin to get into the chunin exam. I understand that episodes 26 & 27 were a hour long special when it originally aired, but personally I'd rather see an extra episode included then shorting this box set. We get to see the emotional conclusion of the wave arc and the introduction to some extremely strange new characters; ranging from the stoic Gaara of the Sand to the hyperemotional Rock Lee. The first portion of the exam is a boring way to end the volume leaving it without the highly charged anticipation that box 1 had, but there is a lot to look forward too in box 3 so there remains some hope.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Production Art,From Sketch to Screen Art

Review Equipment
Sony SAVA D9000 Dual Stack DTS w/ 5 Disc Changer in stack 1 and subwoofer in stack 2 Tv is Sony 57" widescreen rear-projection HDTV Model #KPD 57WS550


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LeeSensei 7/29/2011 3:50:06 PM

Rock Lee wasn't losing to Sasuke. He was beating him so easily. Sasuke wasn't even close to being a match for him.



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