Anime DVD Review: Naruto Shippuden Set 1

Naruto Shippuden Set 1 Season One: Original & Uncut is a three DVD set that contains the first 13 episodes of Naruto Shippuden. The first two discs contain four episodes and extras, while the third disc contains five episodes and the special features.

Naruto Shippuden Set 1
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Format: DVD
Release Date: January 26, 2010

The beginning of Naruto Shippuden takes place two-and-a-half years after the end of the first Naruto series. We see Naruto return to the Hidden Leaf Village, and he and Sakura are tested against their former teacher, Kakashi, to see how much they have progressed in their training during the past two-and-a-half years. We also learn that Gaara has become the Kazekage (the leader) of the Hidden Sand Village, and we see him kidnapped by the Akatsuki organization.

When I started watching the episodes in this set, the updated character designs for many of the characters took a lot of getting used to. However, these updated character designs make a lot of sense, since most of these characters were 12-13 years old during the first series, so they would grow taller and look a little different after two-and-a-half years. What also really got me as a viewer was when some flashbacks appeared early on in the set of scenes from some of the very early episodes of the series, and realizing just how little Naruto had looked back then.

When it comes to the story that appears in these early episodes of Naruto Shippuden, I really enjoyed seeing Naruto and Sakura doing the same bell challenge with Kakashi that they had done back in the early days of Team 7. As a viewer, I was really amused to see just how much Sakura’s power had grown since the end of the first Naruto series.

I was also happy to see how far Gaara had come since we had last seen him at the end of the first Naruto series. Unfortunately, that happiness was short-lived when he was kidnapped by Deidara and Sasori from the Akatsuki. And speaking of the Akatsuki, it was nice as a viewer to finally see more members of the organization than just Itachi and Kisame. While we’d heard a number of references to the organization in the first Naruto series, they were hardly seen. I also think that Deidara and Sasori are nice additions to the Naruto cast. Naruto Shippuden is definitely off to a good start, and I’m looking forward to seeing more.

When it comes to the set itself, the bonus features were spread out over all three discs. The first disc has three extras included: a set of trailers, advertisements for Shonen Jump magazine and manga titles VIZ Media was promoting, and an advertisement for where to purchase VIZ Media titles online. The second disc also has three extras, which are essentially the exact same extras that appeared on the first disc.

The third disc has seven extras. The first is a set of trailers, the second are the same advertisements for Shonen Jump magazine and manga titles that appeared on the first two discs, and the same advertisement for where to purchase VIZ Media products online.

“Voice Actor Featurette: Return of a Ninja” is a 14-and-a half minute documentary that includes interviews with some of the English dub actors and the ADR Director. The documentary talks about the change in tone between Naruto and Naruto Shippuden, and the voice actors talk about how their characters have changed and evolved from the first series. While this is the kind of bonus feature I’ve come to expect from VIZ Media releases, I thought this featurette was a bit better than usual. As a viewer, it was nice to hear from some of the voice actors their thoughts on how their characters have changed since the previous series, and what kind of changes they made to the characters’ voices to depict those changes if that was necessary.

“Relationship Chart: Team Kakashi” has the user select an image to see how the characters on the team connect. Included in this feature are Naruto, Sakura, and Kakashi. It’s a rather simple interface, where you use your DVD player or Blu-ray player remote to choose which character you want information on. When a character is chosen, text for how that character relates to the others appears on the screen

“Production Art” has 15 screens of production sketches of some of the characters from Naruto Shippuden. The final extra is “English Credits,” where you can see the credits for the English dub.

On the one hand, I have to give VIZ Media credit for trying to go to a little more effort with the extras on this set when compared to the Naruto Uncut box sets. However, I really don’t understand why they decided to include extras on all three discs, especially since a lot of the extras are the same between discs.

I would definitely recommend this DVD box set to anyone who is already familiar with and enjoys the original Naruto series.

Additional posts about Naruto:

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