Anime Reporter reports from the trenches as the Fourth Great Ninja War rages on in Naruto Shippuden Box Set 22. The box set is made up of episodes 271-283 and is split between seasons 12 and 13. This collection is due to be released on DVD in the UK and Ireland on Monday 14 September, courtesy of the fine folks at Manga Entertainment UK.
This box set carries on, as you might well expect, directly after the events of Box Set 21 (reviewed here). Or, well… I mean… it kind of does. Yes the last episode of Box Set 21 was episode 270 and we do indeed kick off this collection with episode 271, but there isn’t a particularly clear progression between the two. Episode 271 is a filler episode. This isn’t that unusual for the Naruto series, (and at least it’s only one episode, as opposed to, say, an entire season of filler), but we’re in the middle of a pretty significant and hectic arc. While, just one episode before, the various ninja villages were assembled together, fighting multiple incredible foes , the first episode of this collection inexplicably sees a lot of supporting characters back at their home village, with zero references to their battles or the fact that a potentially world-ending war is taking place. Nope, they’re far more interested in acting rather bizarrely to help an apparently amnesiac Sakura regain some of her memories. As filler, the events are wrapped up, if not neatly, then at least entirely and the very next episode is back on track with all of these characters and many more once again playing the parts of soldiers.
This collection sees Naruto come into the action just a little bit more than the previous collection, though the focus is still well and truly on the wonderful assembly of comrades from the different ninja villages continuing to fight against old enemies and allies with quite a few twists thrown in. It’s really just Naruto-action hitting its stride throughout these battles. This series has always excelled at shining light on a variety of characters, highlighting their motivations, their dreams and their humanity and the Fourth Ninja War is no exception.
Expect a lot of flashbacks, a lot of inner monologues and, actually, even a few moments that are genuinely touching, or else this old anime reporter might just be getting sentimental in my moderate age. There’s a second filler episode focused on the Hidden Leaf village while its shinobi are away at war, but this at least feels connected to the rest of the episodes and feels like much less of a cheat. We also get to see more of Naruto’s struggle to tame/ally with the Ninetails fox and we of course get more of Killer Bee’s rapping that we should.
All in all, Naruto Shippuden Box Set 22 carries on the Fourth Ninja War with some great action, a decent pace, the character development that this series excels at and just a couple of big-time revelations. If you don’t love Naruto by now, then this isn’t the place to jump in. If you’re a big time fan, then you shouldn’t have any problems with what you find inside this collection.