Naruto Shippuden Set 12 is a three DVD set that contains Episodes 141 through 153 of Naruto Shippuden. The first disc contains five episodes, the second disc contains four episodes, and the third disc includes four episodes and the set’s special features.

Naruto Shippuden Set 12
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Format: DVD
Release Date: October 9, 2012

This first episode in the set concludes the backstory for Itachi that started at the end of Naruto Shippuden Set 11. After this, Sasuke and his new allies become part of the Akatsuki and are given the task of capturing the Eight-Tails. The audience is introduced to Killer Bee, the Jinchuriki host for the Eight-Tails. It turns out he’s the brother of the Raikage, and he also speaks in raps. From what was shown of Killer Bee in this set, I ended up becoming a little annoyed with his rapping.

The next eight episodes in this set start a new story arc. A young woman named Hotaru, a member of the Tsuchigumo clan, has been charged to protect a forbidden jutsu, and a group of ninja are trying to get it from her. Because of a treaty the Tsuchigumo clan has with the Leaf Village, Tsunade sends Yamato, Naruto, Sakura, and Sai on a mission to protect Hotaru and deliver her to a village where the rest of her clan lives. A young man named Utakata, who uses a bubble style jutsu, is also with Hotaru and ends up becoming involved in this storyline.

When I first started watching this particular arc, I had assumed it was simply “filler.” However, I came to discover that while the character of Hotaru was created for the anime, Utakata is actually a canon character from the manga series. Apparently, this particular storyline was done in order to give some backstory for Utakata. From my understanding, Utakata just kind of appears in the manga with little to no backstory. In that sense, it’s hard for me to consider this a “filler” arc, since it includes a canon character from the manga. This is a decent story arc, although I personally felt it ran a little too long. If this story arc could have been tightened up and run for only six or seven episodes, I think it would have been a little stronger.

The final two episodes in Naruto Shippuden Set 12 return to canon material from the manga series. After Naruto returns from the mission to protect Hotaru, he receives some terrible news concerning someone close to him. I will refrain from saying who it is and what happens in order to not provide spoilers. This news affects Naruto and some of the other characters, and Naruto spends time reflecting on this news.

I thought these final two episodes were very well done and really captured Naruto’s emotions at this point in the story. Shikamaru also gets a really good scene near the end of the final episode in the set. I will admit that I nearly cried by the time I finished watching the disc’s final episode. If you’ve followed the series up to this point and have really come to care about these characters, I think you may find yourself having a very similar reaction.

Speaking of Shikamaru, the character growth he has gone through by this point in the series has been absolutely incredible. Back in the first Naruto series, who would have thought the lazy and laid back Shikamaru would mature into the ninja that he has become?

When it comes to the actual DVD box set, it’s just like the previous six sets, because only the third disc in the set actually contains any bonus features. The first two discs include trailers for the Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations video game, Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds, and Bleach the Movie: Fade to Black.

There are a total of five bonus features included on the third disc. The first is the English credits for Naruto Shippuden.

“Clean Opening” contains a textless version of the one opening that appeared in this box set, while “Clean Endings” contains textless versions of both of the endings that appear in this set. “Production Art” includes 10 pages of production sketches of the characters that appear in this Naruto Shippuden set.

The final extra is “Omake,” which is a collection of the short pieces included after the ending credits of Naruto Shippuden. Due to the seriousness of so many of the episodes included in this box set, only four episodes out of the 13 on this set have an omake at the end. Because of this, this particular feature only runs for four minutes.

Basically, these are the bonus features I’ve come to expect on these Naruto Shippuden releases, so there were no real surprises here.

If you’re a fan of the Naruto franchise, you need to see all of the episodes in this box set. In my opinion, even the eight-episode arc that included an anime exclusive character is actually rather important and ties in with the canon story from the manga. If you’ve been collecting the series to include in your home video collection, then getting Naruto Shippuden Set 12 really should be a no-brainer.

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