Naruto: The Lost Story - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Revelation Films
  • MSRP: £12.99
  • Running time: 40
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Naruto

Naruto: The Lost Story

By Dani Moure     March 12, 2008
Release Date: March 03, 2008


Naruto: The Lost Story
© Revelation Films


What They Say
Naruto and the others arrive at the Village Hidden in the Waterfall on an escort mission for Shibuki, the young leader of the village. Things seem peaceful until Kakashi leaves on urgent business and the village is attacked by Suien, a former Hidden Waterfall jonin, and his band of rogue ninja, who are after the village treasure, Hero's Water. Now Naruto must join forces with cowardly Shibuki and show him what it means to be a hero!

Includes Naruto: The Missing Tape, 15 minute animated short.


The Review!
A side story set before the chuunin exams provides a bit of fun for the characters but not a whole lot of development.

Audio:
I watched this OVA in the 5.1 Japanese language mix, and noticed no dropouts or distortions. The mix itself seems to be upsampled, like many Manga releases, from the stereo track. As such there's not a great deal of directionality to the dialogue or anything, but the track comes across in much the same way as the TV series.

Video:
The video is presented full-screen and, for the most part, looks quite nice. Colours are quite vibrant and well reproduced, and I didn't notice any aliasing. There's a little bit of dullness in some of the backgrounds, but overall it looks quite pleasing. Where it's let down is in the panning sequences, during which there's some very noticeable judder which can be quite annoying at times.

For this release the openings and endings are presented in their original, untouched Japanese kanji form. It's nice to get this for a TV show aimed at a young audience, but even better is there is a translated credit scroll after each episode. Unfortunately, the Manga-produced full credit scrolls from the ends of each episode are gone, meaning we don't get any translated voice actor credits or anything.

Packaging:
No packaging was included as this was a check disc.

Menu:
The menus are well done and fit the style of the show perfectly. The main menu loops through character shots, while the selections are static at the bottom of the screen and the opening theme plays over the menu. Sub-menus are all in a similar style, some with a bit of movement and music and others static, but they're all in the same theme and easy to access.

Extras:
The only extra here is a good one; a bonus OVA that runs about 17 minutes in length, entitled "Find the Red Four Leaved Clover". It's a fun little diversion with Naruto and a couple of kids, but the best thing about it, is that it's the first English language release of the short outside of Japan. It's great that Manga went the extra mile to acquire, release and subtitle this fun short.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Taking a side-step from the TV series with this release, Manga's latest disc from Naruto is presented at a cut-down RRP for an OVA that is about the equivalent of two episodes in length. Mission: Protect the Waterfall Village has Naruto and the gang embarking on a mission to do just that, and given that it's a one-off release you can probably guess what's going to happen. It's standard Naruto fair and brings nothing new to the table, but it does provide a fair amount of entertainment and if you're looking for another adventure with the characters to tide you over until the next release of the TV series, you could do far worse.

In this mission, the core group - Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura - are escorting a young man called Shibuki and a group of children back to the Hidden Waterfall Village, accompanied by Kakashi. When he leaves, the group think there's little to worry about, until they're ambushed by a group who are trying to claim the Hero's Water. Said water has been used throughout the ages by the villagers, who drink it to increase their chakra by up to five times as much so they can protect the village.

The group's leader is a man who used to be a part of Hidden Waterfall Village, Seien, and he takes some of the children in the village hostage in order to get his own way. He also manages to outwit both Sakura and, somewhat uncharacteristically, Sasuke, and take the pair of them hostage, leaving just Naruto and Shibuki as the only two who can make the save. But in true action series fashion, Shibuki doesn't want to concede, and it's down to Naruto to convince him to fight for his village and defeat Seien.

Unfortunately, the outcome is pretty obvious. I'd hesitate to say that mentioning how Naruto ends up saving the day with the gang coming out on top in the end is even a spoiler, because you know exactly what is going to happen while the story is playing out. It's just unfortunate because the OVA is an enjoyable and well executed story despite its predictability, and it shows the characters doing what they do best.

The other thing working against The Lost Story is that it is a one-off outside of the TV series, and as such the character development lies firmly at zero. It would be nice to think we'd see a bit of a change in Naruto, Sasuke or Sakura coming out of this adventure, but ultimately you know it's not going to happen. The characters will keep on plodding along as they always have, and indeed they do in the final few moments of this story.

Of course, all this is a bit harsh against something that is never really setting out to do any of the above, but it's quite hard to overlook when you're being asked to pony up a fair amount of cash to it. If you look hard enough you can find one of the TV series box sets, at over 6 times the amount of content, for the same price, and as such this disc becomes something that's less and less appealing. So why a reasonable content grade? Well, knowing all of that beforehand, you'll know whether you need this in your collection or not, and given what it is, it is a lot of fun and far better than a lot of side-stories other series have gone on in years past. It's easy to watch, fun and exciting for the 40-odd minutes, so in that sense it's worth a purchase if you're a huge fan of the show and need to own everything worthwhile in the series.

In Summary:
The Lost Story isn't going to win any awards for originality, but it is a fun and well-executed side-story that provides an entertaining mission for the core group of characters we've come to love from the TV series. It's not without its faults, but many of them are more due to the nature of what the OVA is rather than the story itself. Ultimately, if you're a huge Naruto fan, it's worth tracking down especially if you find it with a bit of a discount on the already cheap MSRP, but if you're looking for something to complement the TV series in any significant way, you'll not really find it here.

Features
Japanese Language (2.0; 5.1),English Language (2.0; 5.1),English Subtitles,Bonus Short: Find the Red Four-leaved Clover

Review Equipment
Samsung LE40M86 1080p HDTV, Philips DVP 5980 region free DVD player upscaling to 1080p via HDMI, Pioneer HTP-GS1 5.1 Surround Sound System.

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