Anime Film Review: Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower

Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower was the fourth film for Naruto Shippuden, and it was directed by Masahiko Murata. The film was released to Japanese theaters on July 31, 2010. Viz Media holds the North American license for the film. The company released the film on both DVD and Blu-ray on September 17, 2013; this review will cover the DVD version of the film, since that is the version that I watched. The DVD includes both an English dub and Japanese audio with English subtitles.

Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower
Directed by: Masahiko Murata
Written by: Junki Takegami
Starring: Junko Takeuchi, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Saori Hayami, and Ryūzaburō Ōtomo
Run Time: 85 minutes
Rated: TV-PG

The film opens with Naruto, Yamato, Sakura, and Sai in the middle of a mission to capture a missing-nin puppetmaster named Mukade. They are all armed with chakra-knives, which allow a ninja to infuse their chakra into it for added effect.  Their search takes them to the ruins of the city of Loran that’s located in the middle of the desert, where they corner Mukade. Unfortunately, Mukade is able to unleash the power of the Ley Line, an ancient chakra flow deep underground Loran. As he does, a mysterious light appears, which sucks Naruto and Yamato into it; Sai is able to save Sakura by grabbing onto her and pulling her onto the ink bird he’s riding on.

When Naruto awakens, he discovers he’s gone 20 years into the past. He meets Sara, the Queen of Loran, and also encounters three Konoha ninja who are on a mission there: Minato Namikaze, Shibi Aburame, and Choza Akimichi. It’s discovered that Mukade appeared in the past six years prior to Naruto’s arrival, and that he is in disguise as Anrokuzan; in this disguise, he serves as the minister of Loran. In secret, Anrokuzan is creating “Puppet Ninja Forces” and is taking people away to create the puppets by claiming that Queen Sara has ordered it. Sara doesn’t want to believe what she’s hearing about Anrokuzan at first, but she is persuaded once enough evidence piles up to prove that Anrokuzan isn’t who he says he is.

The film reaches its climax when Naruto fights against Anrokuzan; it’s thought that if Anrokuzan is defeated, then time should start shifting back to normal and allow Naruto to return to the time period he belongs in.

When I first read the back of the box and saw that The Lost Tower is a time travel story, I was a little worried that it would end up being a rather hokey story. Admittedly, it’s kind of a strange story, but the interactions between Naruto and Sara were pretty decent and were probably the best part of the film. I also enjoyed quite a bit of the musical score for the film.

Unfortunately, there are also some logistical flaws in the story that ultimately weaken the film. The biggest one would be the fact that at the point in time the story takes place in, Minato had only recently learned that Jiraiya had figured out the Rasengan. However, during the climax after Minato learns that Naruto knows Rasengan, Minato miraculously knows how to fuse two Rasengans with different chakra natures. I had a hard time believing this part of the story, and to me, it weakens the climax.

In the end, Naruto Shippuden: The Lost Tower wasn’t as strong of a film for the franchise as it could have been. I would only truly recommend this film to Naruto fans who want to watch all of the anime that’s associated with the franchise.

As for the actual DVD release, there were four bonus features included. First is the short, “Naruto and the Three Wishes.” It’s an OVA set earlier in the franchise, back before Sasuke left the Hidden Leaf Village to join up with Orochimaru. Kakashi and the 12 Hidden Lead genin are having some kind of an outdoor party. When Kakashi leaves to get a drink, Naruto digs a magic lamp out of the sand and a genie appears. After wasting the first two of the three wishes the genie will grant, most of the other genin begin chasing after Naruto to get the bottle from themselves and use the last wish.

There was the occasional portion of this short that was somewhat amusing, but for the most part, I didn’t think it was that great of a short. The ending of the short was also a little on the predictable side. It didn’t help that the animation was a bit on the sloppy side for this short, especially since there were several shorts were characters were very obviously off-model.

Next is “Japanese Trailer,” which takes you to a menu that has four trailers for Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower, as well as two trailers for Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Blood Prison. Unfortunately, all of the trailers have Japanese audio and no English subtitles.

“Clean Ending” is the ending credits of the film without the credit text.  “More From Viz Media” has promos for properties that Viz was promoting at the time this DVD was released.

If you’re a fan of the Naruto franchise who wants to own all of the Naruto material that’s available commercially, then you need to buy either a copy of this DVD or a copy of the Blu-ray pressing of this film.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of the DVD release for Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Additional posts about Naruto:

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