On February 18, 2014 anime and manga publisher Viz Media will release “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Blood Prison”, the fifth movie in the “Naruto Shippuden” series, on DVD and Blu-ray and we had the opportunity to give this film a look.
The “Naruto” anime series is based on the manga by Masashi Kishimoto, available in North America from Viz Media through their Shonen Jump imprint. The series follows the adventures of Naruto Uzumaki, an often loudmouth ninja from the Hidden Leaf Village.
In “Blood Prison”, the film opens up as ninja from the Hidden Cloud Village discuss a mysterious box that is supposedly capable of granting any wish. During their discussion, the group comes under attack by another ninja, who looks exactly like Naruto.
Though “Naruto” is unsuccessful in his attempt to kill the Raikage, the Hidden Leaf learn of the attempted assassination and because Naruto was witnessed as the perpetrator, he is arrested. Despite his attempts to convince his allies of his innocence, Naruto is stripped of his headband and sent to Hozuki Castle, a prison run by the Hidden Grass, because of the warden, Mui’s unique jutsu, which is quickly placed on Naruto, preventing him from drawing out his chakra.
With no way to use his jutsu, Naruto refuses to give up and is determined to escape the prison and find the person responsible for framing him. He finds help in the form of Ryuzetsu, who mainly attempts to warn Naruto that the person he is after may be much closer than he thinks. Ryuzetsu also holds a grudge against the person Naruto is after, as well as the box that sits at the center of the controversy.
To avoid giving away too much of the story, I will try and avoid any more spoilers from this point on.
Although the film really has nothing to do with the main “Naruto Shippuden” story, it is still an entertaining break from the main series. Naruto remains the stubborn character he always is and Ryuzetsu and Mui make for a nice contrast to his usual loud and quick to rush in demeanor. Naruto also provides the bulk of the comedy (as usual), while the rest of the characters handle the serious story.
As with all “Naruto” anime there is plenty of action and the fight scenes, especially the final battles are impressive. It was a little strange though, somehow the movie managed to feel a little slow while at the same time moving at a quick pace. The story just seemed to move a little slow and then it would suddenly advance, and it felt like I missed something. Although the majority of the story is explained by the time the film ended.
Visually, “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Blood Prison” was a high quality release, the animation was clear and vivid and the action sequences were very smooth. This review is based on the DVD version of the film, it is likely that the Blu-ray version will have slightly better quality. The new character’s designs also go well with their personalities and they fit in perfectly with the setting.
As far as the voice casts go, much of the English cast fit with their characters well, but I’ve never been a fan of the English dub of “Naruto”. I’ve always felt that the Japanese cast was better in this series and I still believe so in “Blood Prison”. Should you watch the series with subtitles, they are clear and easy to read, with good flow and they remain on screen for a fair length of time.
The single DVD film comes in a standard DVD case, with a slipcase that features a nice looking image of Naruto holding a barbed wire fence. Included as on-disc features are Japanese trailers, trailers for other Viz Media releases as well as production art. Also included with the film is an animated short, “Chunin Exam on Fire! Naruto vs. Konohamaru”, which shows Naruto during his chunin exam as he squares off against Konohamaru, with an interesting finish.
“Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Blood Prison” may be more filler for “Naruto” fans, but this film definitely wasn’t disappointing. From the battles to the story it manages to stay entertaining, start to finish. All of the characters introduced are likeable in their own way and the story delivers a great experience for fans of the series.
3.5 out of 5
Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Blood Prison
Publisher: Viz Media
Number of Discs: 1 DVD
Languages: English, Japanese with English subtitles
Age Rating: TV-14
Release Date: February 18, 2014
(A review copy of “ Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Blood Prison” on DVD was provided by Viz Media.)