Anime DVD Review: Naruto Shippuden Set 16

Naruto Shippuden Box Set 16 is a two-disc set that contains episodes 193 through 205 of Naruto Shippuden. The first disc contains seven episodes, and the second disc includes six episodes and the set’s special features.

Naruto Shippuden Box Set 16
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Format: DVD
Release Date: October 8, 2013

The first four episodes in this set are still “filler” material. In the first filler episode, Naruto finds a photo of a man who he met as a spirit early on in his genin years. He flashes back to how he met the spirit of the man named Kisuke, and becomes involved in a situation that includes Kisuke and a spy that has infiltrated the Hidden Leaf Village. The major issue I had with this filler episode is the fact that it contradicts an episode that takes place earlier in Naruto Shippuden, where Naruto is shown being afraid of ghosts. Since this story took place before that particular episode of the series that I’m referencing, shouldn’t Naruto not have a fear of ghosts anymore due to meeting Kisuke?

The next filler is flashback of Team 7 going on a mission to retrieve a stolen treasure. Sakura is captured by the thieves, and Naruto and Sasuke end up stuck together due to one of the thieves’ web-like jutsu, and they have to find a way to defeat the thieves without the ability to perform seals with their hands. Not only was this a rather pathetic story for a filler episode, but the animation was terrible during the “flashback” portion; while the animation isn’t as bad was the Naruto and Pain fight, it still looks rather horrendous, especially because it doesn’t match the quality of the animation that appeared in the beginning that led into the flashback story. The characters looked so off-model in this that I nearly wanted to weep.

The next filler episode sees Shikamaru reminiscing about his team working with Team 7 to save a hostage that had been taken by bandits. Sadly, this was a rather forgettable filler episode, so I really don’t have much to say about it.

The final filler episode where Sasuke once saved a girl named Naho not knowing that she’s related to the Feudal Lord. When the Leaf Village is asked to provide bodyguards for her, Sakura and Naruto are assigned to the job because Sasuke has been sent on another mission with Kakashi. Naho throws a bratty temper tantrum and insists that she wants Sasuke. Naruto tries to disguise himself as Sasuke to appease her, and they end up fighting a group that’s wanting to kidnap Naho. Of the four filler stories, this one was probably the best, even if Naho was acting like a spoiled brat for most of the story.

And then the set finally returns to canon material. With Tsunade still in a coma after Pain’s invasion of the village, Danzo is appointed as acting Hokage. One of the first things he does is to issue an order to have Sasuke eliminated. In addition, he also tells Sai to keep a watch on Naruto; however, as a precaution, Danzo also assigns a couple of other Foundation members to keep watch on Naruto as well, just in case Sai doesn’t follow through.

Omoi, Karui, and their leader arrive at the Hidden Leaf and see the damage that the village has taken. Omoi and Karui overhear Naruto, Sakura, and Sai talking about Sasuke, and they demand answers. Naruto agrees to talk to them privately and share what he knows about the Akatsuki. When they’re alone, they only want to know about Sasuke, and Naruto refuses to sell him out. Instead, he offers to let them beat him up. Karui takes him up on the offer and punches him over and over until Sai intervenes.

The five kage are invited to a summit being hosted by the Land of Iron a neutral nation that’s protected by samurai rather than ninja. Naruto decides that he wants to plead his case to the Raikage to spare Sasuke’s life, and after some hesitation, he is given assistance by both Kakashi and Yamato. Unfortunately, when they encounter the Raikage as he heads to the summit, but he refuses to listen to Naruto.

Sasuke, meanwhile, has decided to assassinate Danzo. When he catches wind of the five kage summit and the fact that Danzo will be attending, Sasuke and his group sneak into the summit, with the help of one of Zetsu’s clones. Unfortunately, Zetsu’s clone sells them out and they come under attack by the samurai.

The actual summit itself is rather contentious, especially with the Raikage constantly thundering on and doing rash things like smashing tables. During the meeting, it’s decided to establish a Shinobi Alliance, and that Danzo should lead it. It’s discovered that Danzo is using a jutsu to try to control Mifune, the mediator. At this point, the other kage distrust Danzo. After the Raikage tries to fight Sasuke, as well as Gaara trying to intervene, Madara makes an appearance at the summit and explains why he wants all nine of the tailed beasts. When the kage refuse to hand over Killer Bee and Naruto to him, Madara declares that the Fourth Great Ninja War.

In addition to all of that, Sai ends up telling Sakura that Naruto is in love with her, at the same time that it’s been announced that Sasuke is a wanted criminal; this causes a lot of emotional stress for Sakura. Also, during an encounter with Madara, Naruto and the audience learn some history about the ninjas.

Once you make it past the four filler episodes, a lot takes place in the canon material to set the stage for next major plot point, which is the start of the Fourth Great Ninja War. I really enjoyed the Five Kage Summit, because it allowed the audience to finally lead all of the leaders of the five great nations. We also learn an interesting secret about Danzo during the summit.

Speaking of Danzo, I have to say that I didn’t like the guy before he became the acting Hokage. However, after seeing these episodes, I like him even less than I had before this point.

And the ninja history that Madara provides seems to be setting the stage where Sasuke and Naruto will be destined to battle with each other before the end of the series.

This DVD set ends at just the perfect place to make a viewer want to continue. The last things the viewer sees is Madara declaring war, and the four kage who are still at the summit declaring that they must form Shinobi Alliance in order to fight in the upcoming war. As a viewer, I’m now anxious to see how the news of the war will impact the various characters in the series.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, I want to first mention that I was glad to see that the menus have music and footage on them again. The silent menus of the past couple of box sets drove me nuts.

When it comes to the bonus features, there are five total. The first is “Storyboards,” which contains three pages from Episode 200 and three pages from Episode 203. The “Art Gallery” contains nine images, one for each for the tailed-beasts in the series.

“Clean Opening/Ending” includes three versions of each: a version without any text, a version with English subtitles, and a version with Romaji subtitles. I thought this was kind of a neat thing, because they hadn’t gone to this much effort on the clean opening and ending previously. The English credits are also available.

“More From Viz Media” is a menu to links of primarily Naruto and Bleach items that Viz was promoting at the time this DVD set was released, as well as a promo for the Neon Alley service. You can choose to either play all of the trailers or select which trailer you want to watch from the menu.

This box set is definitely worth it to Naruto fans that want to see how the actual storyline continues once you make it past the fillers that make up the first four episodes in the set. There’s quite a bit of action in the canon material, as well as important character development moments for characters such as Sakura and Sai. This set should really be in the anime collection of anyone who considers themselves a fan of the Naruto franchise.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Naruto Shippuden Box Set 16 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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