Naruto Shippuden: The Movie – Rasengan Collection Review
When VIZ Media sent me a copy of the Rasengan Collection, I was ecstatic. I love anime series like Naruto very much, but what I admittedly love more are the movies. The quality of those adventures and action is unlike anything you will see in the regular TV series. Now what makes the opportunity to watch the Naruto Shippuden: The Movie – Rasengan Collection so great? For someone like me I feel more engaged given the chance to also watch these in english. Not only that, but when it comes to Shippuden, that is when everyone has reached new levels of awesome.
Everyone has their preference when it comes to anime. Some like watching it in the original language because they enjoy those voice actors/actresses more, or some are able to understand that language. Others like myself will watch it either way, but would rather be able to soak in the visuals without paying too much attention to subtitles. It can be pretty easy to miss something just by trying to catch all the words across the screen.
Naruto faces a prediction of death as he confronts an evil spirit in Naruto Shippuden The Movie. That alone was something that made this story unique. Who Naruto and company had to protect was an irritation (at first), her predictions shook things up where you wanted to see if the future can be defied. A question that no one else can really answer aside from Naruto himself who lives to say no when the world wants him to move. When it came to Shion, the appeal of her story was only really in what the life of a priestess is like in a ninja world. There are very few examples of characters like her in the series, so it was worth it only in the end to experience what that life is like, along with the dangers that come with being born into that role. The team chosen for this mission hit right where it should have considering this is the first Shippuden movie, following the gap in time after losing Sasuke. Among these movies, I have to say this one delivered some of the best action scenes. When there are enemies in numbers and they pose a proper challenge, that is when you get the best out of everyone. As I say everyone, I mean everyone aside from Naruto who show that they can step up to the plate for the sake of the mission. Especially for me, Sakura and Lee who grab your attention through raw strength.
Naruto Shippūden the Movie: Bonds was one of the more creative, just because this one carried more depth to it through now known events of the past. Ninja from the long-forgotten Land of Sky resurfacing to menace the Hidden Leaf in Bonds was a good way of shaking things up from the normal end of the world scenario. Some of these movies do push the boundaries in what you expect to see from a ninja world. In the tv series it goes without saying that things are period for the most part. However, when you jump into the movies, that is when you see some things that challenge how far they have come in technological advancements. That’s not to say that some of these developments didn’t make sense for dealings with the Land of Sky. Bonds was fast-paced and moved through a short period of time. Action from start to finish which is appreciated from others that will try to find more of a balance between the fighting and the storytelling/character moments.
The doctor that we are introduced to here was a favorite of some of the new characters we come across in these four movies. Can’t say the same for Amaru who had to be that one annoying character there for some reason. It wasn’t that way for the entirety of the movie, but enough of it to have only been disappointed in that character being heard as much as the doctor, Shinnō. Especially when the guy turned out to be much more than what he seemed like on the surface. The writing for this movie was at its best when they constructed his story and role. They did give away what you should have expected from someone who taught Orochimaru the reincarnation jutsu with that said. Though nonetheless the more you learned about him overtime the more engaging he was compared to others. The best development in terms of familiar characters for this movie was the involvement of Sasuke. He is the only character who you rarely see from the movies compared to everyone else. He didn’t have a direct part to play, but nonetheless this was a time for hm when he was pretty badass.
The Will of Fire was the most emotional of the four movies for better or for worse. I enjoyed this one because it challenged what it means to be a ninja. Sacrifice plays a big role in that lifestyle, and it was about time that we saw when it can get raw. What someone will do for the sake of peace and to stop a tragedy before it can lead to this war between shinobi. Not only this, but we also got a different perspective on how fragile peace can be between those who call themselves allies. What goes on through the political side can create quite the tense atmosphere. Especially when the Konoha village is facing blame for something that someone else’s sinister plans put into motion. Now as for this foe, Hiruko wasn’t like your average villain. His actions and personality here almost made Orochimaru seem normal. The story for The Will of Fire also highlighted how far Naruto’s defiance can go. You knew he would go above and beyond to oppose Hiruko, but you weren’t prepared for the opposition he would show towards his own friends and superiors. The only problem here was Naruto believing his way of seeing things is the only way worth listening to.
Naruto thrown back in time in The Lost Tower made this one more creative in approach than the others. More than that, it was who Naruto runs into during this trip to the past that makes this worth watching. I will say that I am always weary of plots involving time travel, but the experience Naruto has from start to finish was satisfying. This one had a quick pace to it that keeps things lively rather than trapping us in forced emotional dialogue. Sāra again was one of those who followed that same trend of being irritating at first only to grow by the end, though had a few more redeeming qualities to her. This was a new character who was proactive and wasn’t heavily reliant on needing a hand held to get the job done. Something easily appreciated when our cast also expands to Minato, Shibi Aburame, Chōza Akimichi and a younger Kakashi Hatake. All capable ninja who each get their moment here and there to show why they are formidable at that point in time. The action centering around combating puppet jutsu was a big point of attraction for The Lost Tower. Enemy puppet users tend to get very creative in how they weaponize these things. You have to worry about the puppeteer, the puppet armed to the teeth, and the various ways to take down this combo both directly and indirectly. Now what you give them credit for most is how this mission compared to that of the other three movies was more by the book. Not to say things went perfectly, though it is refreshing to get that experience in working with those who go in with a plan and having discipline.
I will say that the only problem I had with a few of these movies was the lack of contrast in plot. Too many of these movies that could do so much more, rely on the same formula. Escort missions are the safest way to explore places outside of the Hidden Leaf Village, though at the same time troublesome because every escort is the same. Stuck up, butts heads with Naruto, and stirring up more trouble than necessary. Not to mention at the end of the movie you of course have that one special rasengan that you’ll never see again outside of the movies. None of this makes the movies bad, but it goes without saying that they could have tried a bit harder to show variety.
The Rasengan Collection is packed with special features and extras, including production art, original trailers and an animated short! This Set includes: 4 Movies on 4 DVD discs. Special Features: Trailers, Art Galleries, Opening and Ending Songs, and Animated Short. Whether you have seen these movies or not, The Rasengan Collection is worth having for the collector’s value. Watch it with japanese audio, english, and enjoy it for the stunning visual quality.