Anime DVD Review: Naruto Shippuden Set 20

Naruto Shippuden Box Set 20 is a two-disc set that contains Episodes 245 through 257 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 20
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Format: DVD
Release Date: October 14, 2014

Right at the beginning of this set, we see Naruto overcoming his dark self and passing the first test. Killer Bee becomes Naruto’s instructor to help Naruto learn how to conquer and control the Nine-Tailed Fox. This is accomplished by having the Jinchuriki fight against the tailed-beast.

As Naruto battles the Nine-Tailed Fox, he receives some surprising help from his dead mother, through chakra that had been infused into him before she died. There’s a five episode arc that gives backstory on Naruto’s mother, Kushina, as well as on how Kushina and Minato met, and the birth of Naruto and the attack of the Nine-Tailed Fox that took place the day Naruto was born.

I absolutely loved getting this backstory. As we learn from Kushina, Minato hadn’t given Naruto all of the details during the time that Naruto had been able to communicate with his father earlier in the series. While I liked seeing how Naruto’s parents met, I was most appreciative of getting to see what actually happened on the night that the Nine-Tailed Fox attacked the Hidden Leaf Village. While we’ve heard some bits and pieces about it since the very first episode of the first Naruto anime, it was nice to finally get to see exactly what happened. I did have one gripe, though. For the animation that was used when the Nine-Tailed Fox was launching its attack on the village, there were either still and static shots or animation that looked as if the animators were cutting corners. It could have been worse, though. I mean, the animation quality could have been as painful as what appears in a particular section of the Invasion of Pain arc!

After Naruto finishes his fight with the Nine-Tailed Fox and can begin controlling its chakra, he’s able to sense negative energy coming from Killer Bee’s weapon, which was the Samehada he had taken from Kisame earlier when Bee thought Kisame had been killed. Kisame appears and tries to escape in order to send what he’s learned to the Akatsuki. Killer Bee tries to stop him, but Kisame forces Samehada to absorb Killer Bee’s chakra. It’s up to Guy to try to stop Kisame, and there’s an epic fight that sees Guy taking down Kisame. But when Aoba tries to extract intel from Kisame, Kisame escapes and summons sharks to come and eat him.

Before Kisame is killed, though, the audience gets to see some backstory on him, from both before he joined the Akatsuki and after he’s partnered up with Itachi. I was glad to finally have some backstory for Kisame, because we knew so little about him prior to this point. But this seems to be something that Kishimoto has done several times during the series: just before killing off a character (usually a villain), that character’s backstory is provided to the audience shortly before the character’s death. When I saw in a preview that we’d be seeing Kisame’s backstory, I knew that Kisame was going to die.

The next two episodes see Madara going to the Hidden Rain Village to try to retrieve Nagato’s Rinnegan. Konan intercepts him, and the two of them have an epic battle. Unfortunately, Konan is the one who loses. It’s a shame about Konan, because I really came to like her at the end of the Invasion of Pain arc.

In this set, we also see that Kabuto has teamed up with Madara, and Madara shares with Kabuto what he has for the upcoming war. Kabuto also reveals that he knows Orochimaru’s reanimation jutsu, which he uses to resurrect Deidara. Together, Deidara and Kabuto go to the island where Naruto and Killer Bee are. Onoki and his bodyguards, Kurotsuchi and Akatsuchi, try to stop both Deidara and Kabuto. But it turns out Kabuto’s not interested in either Killer Bee or Naruto. His true goal is Yamato, who he manages to capture and uses him to bolster the abilities of Madara’s Zetsu Army.

Just as it looks like the war is actually going to start, we see that the final episode is the first of a four-part 10 year anniversary special that’s basically a recap of scenes of Naruto and Sasuke. At the beginning of the first episode, there’s a couple of new scenes I’d never seen before. Outside of that, everything else was basically footage I’d already seen earlier in the series. This was a disappointment for me, both because it delays the start of the war, and the fact that I’m not really a fan of “recap” episodes that primarily recycle footage. And since this is a four-part recap, the remaining three episodes are going to be opening the next box set.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, there are six bonus features included. The first is an art gallery, which includes six pages of line art of characters that appeared in the episodes in this box set.

The second feature is omake, which includes the five omake that appeared at the end of five episodes that appeared on the second disc. These omake were done in order to help promote the then-forthcoming Naruto spin-off anime, Rock Lee and His Ninja Pals. So it uses the chibi style that appears in that series, and the segments are humorous in nature. For me, these were a mixed bag. Some were funny, while some either weren’t funny or were frightening.

Next is storyboards, which contains three pages from Episode 250. “Clean Openings and Clean Endings” includes three versions of the openings and the closings that appeared on this set: a version without any text, a version with English subtitles, and a version with Romaji subtitles. The English credits are also available.

“More From VIZ Media” includes links to a lot of trailers for properties that VIZ Media was promoting at the time this DVD set was released.

This DVD set is a “must get” for Naruto fans who want to own all of the episodes of Naruto and Naruto Shippuden in their anime home video collection. This set is worth it not only for the plot progressions that take place, but for the backstory on Naruto’s parents as well.

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