Anime Reporter brings you the early events of the Fourth Great Ninja War with Naruto Box Set 21 (episodes 258-270). If you’d like the chance to win a FREE copy of this box set, just click here and enter our Naruto DVD competition. (Or here to enter our One Piece DVD competition).
If you haven’t seen the events of the first three great ninja wars, then… well, don’t worry about it, they all took place before the events of this series started, but you should still try to be up to date before delving too far into this series.
We’re deep, deep into Shippuden territory here, though you could be forgiven for not realising it for the first few episodes of this collection.
We start off with a few episodes composed entirely of flashbacks. Entirely, entirely. There’s no frame of reference or connections drawn with current events for the duration of these flashbacks. Instead, we’re given all the major highlights and landmarks in the early friendship/rivalry of Naruto and Sasuke, and not for the first time in this series. Once we’re through the events that led to the pair becoming rivals, then friends, then quasi-enemies, it’s right into the first stages of the war itself.
Now, anyone up to speed with the series thus far may recall that the titular character isn’t yet among the ranks of the soldiers for the war, but is instead off trying to learn how to harness the power of the Ninetails with his comrade Killer Bee, the eight-tails Jinchuriki.
Nope, we pretty much get a few glimpses of modern-day Naruto training hard to reach his full potential. This collection is focusing on… pretty much everyone else. We see Naruto’s allies from the Hidden Leaf and many of the other ninja villages pushing their skills and training against hordes of enemies both old and new. Kabuto’s dark jutsu resurrects many of the greatest ninjas the world has ever known and binds them to his will. This means that we don’t just get to see old villains brought back as immortal zombie-ninjas, but we also see departed allies, friends and mentors return to fight against their will. As if that wasn’t enough of an obstacle, it’s hard enough to convince those ninjas who are still alive to work together with villages they considered to be bitter enemies just a season or two ago. Once the action gets going, though, it’s gooooooood.
Naruto has been around for a long time, and it’s no longer a series for casual watching. This storyline sees every viewer who’s stuck around from the very beginning rewarded for their time. Old battles and relationships start to take on new meanings and we really start to see old events in a new light. While Naruto has of course always centred on young Mr. Uzumaki, it’s also always benefitted from it’s very, very extended cast of characters and it’s never felt more appropriately or purposefully utilised as with this storyline.
Naruto Box Set 21 is relatively light on humour and perhaps spends a little too much time reminding viewers of everything that’s come before but what action there is, is intense and carries a weight of emotional significance with each and every skirmish. Escalation is not new to this series, but this is different. This is a skilfully wielded escalation that may just make you wonder if some of these were planned from the very beginning of the series.
Naruto Box Set 21 is available on DVD in the UK and Ireland from Manga Entertainment from Monday 10th August 2015. If you’re a Naruto fan, you can’t afford to miss one battle of the Fourth Great Ninja War. (So seriously, check out the DVD competition here, and you might not have to miss anything).