Naruto Shippuden Uncut Sets 24 and 25 (DVD) Review

How Much Filler is Too Much Filler in the Naruto Shippuden Anime Series?

Rock Lee from Naruto Shippuden
Naruto Shippuden DVD Set Twenty Five. © 2002 MASASHI KISHIMOTO / 2007 SHIPPUDEN All Rights Reserved

What They Say

As the Fourth Great Ninja War rages on, the endless waves of Reanimated Shinobi take their toll as the Allied Shinobi Forces are forced to keep fighting their own fallen friends and comrades. Meanwhile, Naruto deepens his understanding of warfare, learning to sense the disguised White Zetsu sowing confusion and distrust among the Allied Forces. But all the effort and pain aren't for nothing, as Gaara and Ohnoki draw closer than ever to discovering who is really behind this devastating conflict.

Naruto Shippuden Uncut Set 24 contains Episodes 297-309

Naruto Shippuden Uncut Set 25 contains Episodes 310-322

The Episodes

Since The Fourth Great Ninja War began several volumes ago, the Naruto Shippuden anime series has desperately tried to stretch the plot out as much as possible. Originally, the writers removed Naruto himself from the main storyline and gave the main character an unnecessary training montage subplot in an attempt to delay plot progression, yet even now after Naruto has finally joined up with his massive supporting cast of characters, the series appears to be treading water by incorporating multiple-episode flashbacks and special episodes that shift the attention to characters that are interesting when in supporting roles but have trouble carrying an entire episode by themselves.

While the repetitive nature of the filler episodes do make even the slightest plot progression more exciting that it would have been otherwise, it’s hard to defend the sheer number of episodes that seem to recycle the exact same story that is essentially; characters encountering a resurrected ninja, audience being shown a 20 minute flashback of the resurrected ninja, characters defeat resurrected ninja.

Some of the filler episodes are more enjoyable than others (the tragic love story between Hayate and Yugao in 307 and 308 makes an impact) but most become white noise as impatience begins to set in. When the action finally picks up and the series delivers its huge game-changing twist in the last few episodes of Naruto Shippuden Uncut Set 25 (which feature some great animation), the proceedings are still exciting, but it’s still a shame the viewer had to sit through so much filler to get to that point.

DVD and Special Features

In keeping with previous releases of Naruto Shippuden on DVD, Naruto Shippuden Uncut Sets 24 and 25 contain both the original Japanese and English language versions of the anime series in widescreen format. The widescreen image isn’t 1080p and the audio is only 2.0 stereo but the disks do get the job done and these limitation don’t necessarily detract from the presentation and are simply a disappointment to those fans who would like the popular anime series in the best format available.

Both sets feature a variety of art galleries and animation storyboards which provide some deeper insight into the production of the Naruto Shippuden anime. With an anime series that has been running for more than 300 episodes (not including the 200+ episodes in the original Naruto anime series), it can be difficult to create new content that doesn’t repeat itself, so including storyboards that directly relate to the episodes on the disk is a rather clever way to keep fans interested. It is a shame there aren’t any audio commentaries by the English voice actors. These are a joy to listen to on FUNimation’s Fairy Tail releases and it would be great to see VIZ Media invest in similar content for future volumes.

Who Should Watch?

Naruto Shippuden is an anime series that features a lot of physical humor but is also known for its violence, death themes, and drama. Teenagers should be perfectly fine with all of the content displayed on screen in these episodes however parents and guardians may want to preview a few episodes by themselves before showing them to younger Naruto fans.

Did You Know?

Out of the massive number of characters in the Naruto series, Rock Lee is Masashi Kishimoto’s (the creator of the Naruto franchise) most fun to draw. The character is heavily inspired by Bruce Lee and not only boasts a similar name and physical appearance to the film legend but also shares the same birthday, November 27th.

Rock Lee has proven so popular with Naruto fans that he was given his own mini-series manga spin-off called, Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth Full Power Ninja Chronicles which was adapted into anime as, Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals.

It ran for 51 episodes and is expected to get an official Western DVD release in 2016 or 2017.

Overall

Naruto Shippuden has noticeably become a victim of its own popularity, being forced to stretch out its storyline for as long as possible. The result is a collection of episodes that may occasionally appeal to fans of specific characters but overall removes a lot of the tension and excitement that should be felt while watching an event called, The Fourth Great Ninja War.

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Disclosure: A review copy was provided by VIZ Media. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy. The DVD featured in this review is the Region 1 DVD release by VIZ Media. Alternate releases are available in other regions.