Blu-ray Review: Naruto Shippuden – The Will of Fire

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What exactly is the hidden leaf’s ‘Will of Fire’ and what does it mean for this film? Well find out in our Blu-ray Review of Naruto Shippuden – The Will of Fire, the third ‘Shippuden’ movie in the Naruto franchise.

Synopsis:

The 4th great war threatens the very existence of the Ninja. With stealth on their side, no man ever assumed a ninja could be taken against their will, but when Ninja begin to vanish, the suspicion leads to the Leaf village; the only village unaffected by the disappearances. With tempers frayed and accusations leading to heated disputes, Naruto’s sensei Kakashi begins to act strangely and leaves the village. Naruto, concerned for his teacher, makes a conscious decision to defy the village leaders and follow Kakashi as he travels deeper into the mystery that brought them to this point.

Our View:

This particular film sees an ex-hidden leaf ninja Huriko attemping to become invincible by obtaining all of the kekkei genkai abilities, with Kakashi’s Sharingan being the last ability on the list. When Kakashi becomes aware of Huriko’s unavoidable plan he insists that Tsunade should perform a sealing jutsu on him so that, when he is captured, it will seal both himself and Huriko into another dimension. When Naruto learns of these facts he rushes off in desperation in hopes of defeating Huriko himself before Kakashi can activate the Jutsu. Outraged by Naruto’s actions Tsunade sends out Shikamaru (along with a selection of Jonin) in hopes of retrieving Naruto before he can reach Kakashi, however during the process Shikamaru and the rest of the gang come to understand Naruto’s reasoning (feelings) and end up helping him in his upcoming battle against Huriko and his minions. To add more twists to the film, Tsunade is left to defend the borders of the Hidden Leaf village due to an imminent attack from the Hidden Sand village, who assume that the Hidden Leaf Ninja’s ambushed their kazekage, Gaara, while he was travelling to meet Tsunade, when infact it was a sneak attack from one of Huriko’s minions.

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What makes this film more entertaining (and uniquely different) to previous Naruto films is that it actually feels like it’s part of the Shippuden TV Series rather than a standalone film. Previous films featured a standalone story with a new cast of characters and could be watched without having any prior knowledge of the series, but for this film you need to know about the series in order to fully enjoy it, otherwise you may find yourself slightly confused. For instance Asumas death, the origins of Kakashi’s Sharingan and Kakashi’s first training session are all portrayed within the film via the use of fashbacks, all of which will act as spoilers to those who have yet to see the series. These flashbacks, along with Naruto’s ‘will’ are used to reinforce the message that is being portrayed in the film, that is; the will of fire is in all of us and it is the desire to protect the things you care about, such as friends and family.

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Another thing the Will of Fire gets right is the amount of ‘impressive’ battles that take place within the film, with my personal favourite being the relatively short fight between Gaara and Naruto, but even this fight is topped off by the explosive finale that sees Kakashi and Naruto teaming up to defeat Huriko. These fight scenes are mostly ‘continuous’ from the first minion encounter, as each time a new minion arrives the team splits up, with some left to fight while the rest continue forward. This gives the supporting characters (Hinata, Kiba, Akamaru,Shino, Choji, Ino, Neji,Rock Lee and Teten) a chance to show off their team work and ultimate Jutsu’s, with each character getting a reasonable amount of screen time, including dead characters, considering it’s only a 95 minute film. Put short the will of fire is more entertaining to watch than the two previous films, as the story ties in with the series and the fight scenes feature a variety to them, in both jutsu and in characters.

Extras:

Naruto Shippuden – The Will of Fire actually contains a small, but nice, variety of extra content with most notable additions being the original Japanese Movie Trailers and Production art.

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The production art is a selection of still images which can be viewed by using the ‘skip forward/skip backward’ buttons on the Blu-ray remote. The art itself includes final and concept drawings of characters and backgrounds featured in the film, all of which are presented in crisp high definition quality.  The disc also contains trailers for other anime releases, all of which are licensed by Manga Entertainment UK, these trails include Madoka Magica, Eden of the East 2, Bleach Movie 3 and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood OVA.

While the Disc does contain a ‘reasonable’ portion of extra content there are some flaws, most notably on the Japanese movie trailers and the text less ending. First of all None of the Japanese movie trailers include any English Subtitles  making them a rather pointless addition (unless you understand Japanese) and the text less ending video is exactly the same size as it is in the film, meaning you only get a quarter of the screen filled with animation with the rest remaining blank. It would have made more sense to increase the picture to full screen, like FUNimation did with the Dragon Ball Z Movie endings.

Specs:

Media: BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 1:35:42
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: Yellow
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

The third movie instalment into the Naruto Shippuden franchise can be considered many things, even a filler move, but I found it to be a uniquely enjoyable film with plenty of ‘best of’ styled moments, which is appropriate seeing as this film celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the Naruto franchise. In order to enjoy this film however you will need to have knowledge of the entire series, as the film features plenty of flashbacks to previous story elements of the franchise, such as Kakashi’s childhood friends, Gaara’s bond with Naruto and most importantly the meaning behind the training bells that Team 7 were tasked with obtaining in their first training mission.

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While the film features plenty of ‘highlights’ the focus of this movie is cantered around the phrase “those who break the rules are scum, but those who abandon their friends are worse than scum”, a phrase that Kakashi taught Team 7 during their first training session and a phrase that Naruto took to heart, as it is his sole reasoning for his actions in the film, most of which make the hidden leaf long bad to outsiders.

In terms of this Blu-ray release we find ourselves with a highly detailed and visually attractive film that remains constantly sharp throughout the film, combine this with a strong audio track, both of which are presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, and you are offered a truly cinematic Naruto experience.  Visuals are presented clearly in the form of full 1080p high definition with no grain or pixilation and the early ‘rain’ scene provides some stunningly crisp visuals.

The films sharp visuals and clear audio are backed up with ‘some’ interesting special features, most notable the original Japanese trailers for the film and several minutes (chapters) worth of production art. To round out the extra features there is the inclusion of the textless closing song (Dareka Ga by PUFFY) as well as a variety of anime trailers.

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Overall Naruto Shippuden – The Will Of Fire is a more enjoyable, and visually improved, film compared to previous outings and while fans of the franchise will enjoy its rather fast, direct approach, to the story newcomers will struggle to keep up with the films series based roots.

Score: review-stars-4

Naruto Shippuden – The Will of Fire will be available on DVD & Blu-ray from the 12th August 2013.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

2 Responses to Blu-ray Review: Naruto Shippuden – The Will of Fire

  1. Pingback: Manga UK Twitter Account to Host #WillOfFire Community Tweet-along Event | AnimeBlurayUK

  2. Damien says:

    Will of Fire is my favourite Naruto movie so far – I especially enjoyed the battle scenes, and I preferred the plot to the previous movie. I haven’t seen The Lost Tower yet, but I’m really looking forward to it – and will come back to read your review once I have!

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