Naruto Shippuden is one of my favorite shows, but the various Naruto movies never seem to exceed the quality of a filler arc. The second Naruto Shippuden movie is no exception.
Based on the title of the movie ("kizuna" means bonds) and the various advertisements showing only Sasuke and Naruto, one might expect some sort of badass fight between the two main characters. This is sadly not the case. Sasuke actually plays a relatively minor role in the plot, showing up briefly in the beginning and for about twenty minutes in the end. He is somewhat friendly in this installment (by his standards, anyway).
The plot actually revolves around a group of evil ninja that attack the Leaf Village, from the "Land of Sky." It seems that the powers of the enemy ninja get stranger and stranger with each passing movie. This bunch has a couple of aircraft carriers, machine-kunai guns, and little kite things that let them fly like fighter planes. The grunts aren't impressive by any means, and their guns couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.
Of course, the Leaf ninja must deal with this new threat and a four-man team is sent out to pursue their aircraft carriers. This team, consisting of Kakashi, Shikamaru, Shino, and Sai, is essentially extraneous to the plot despite the few scenes they receive. Naruto, Sakura, and Hinata end up following a child named Amaru and her master, Doctor Shino, as they travel to an endangered village. Things move quickly from there and we are introduced to an odd creature called the "Zero Tails," that possesses dark chakra. The villain wishes to use this dark chakra to take over the world. Of course.
The plot is very clichéd and not up to par with the rest of the series. We end up with a giant floating fortress that is driven by weird, light-emitting magnets and a villain that looks like he went Super Saiyan. I couldn't help but nod when Sasuke said, "This is painful to watch." And when Naruto said "I know I'm going to sound a little cheesy here, but..." and proceeded to babble about the power of love, I had to agree with his first statement. The only real interaction between Naruto and Sasuke is some one-or-two line exchanges near the end of the film.
Since this a movie, the animation is naturally better than the normal series. The Land of Sky's battleships are a delightful mixture of metallic faces and odd projections. I found the character's faces to be much more expressive here, particularly Sakura's.
While the Land of Sky's grunts are quite generic, I liked the character designs of the Zero Tails, Amaru, and Doctor Shino. The Zero Tails reminded me a bit of No Face from Spirited Away, though less cool. The animators must have overlooked the fact that it does indeed have a tail. Amaru and Doctor Shino, meanwhile, looked rather exotic in appearance--and any differentiating feature is good in this sort of movie.
Though I normally watch Naruto Shippuden in Japanese, I was forced to view this film in English. It seems as though Naruto always sounds more idiotic in English. Much of what the characters said sounded cheesy, but I had to admire Doctor Shino's voice actor. His voice is satisfyingly deep and emotive.
The music consists of generic electric guitar with an Oriental feel, standard for the series. It failed to grab me.
One of the advantages of a shounen like Naruto is the vast number of episodes we get for character development. Fans of the series have probably already watched dozens of hours of Naruto's antics before reaching this movie. Unfortunately, this means that the new characters introduced here get a pittance for character development.
Everything about these new characters seems rushed. The villain--while I can't quite say he is one-sided--degenerates as the film goes on and ends up as an uninspired lump of evil. Amaru, the child, goes through a similarly rushed transformation.
Poor Hinata gets barely any screen time at all.
If you are looking for something to fill your time while waiting for a better series to arrive, go ahead and watch this movie. If you have more episodes of the regular Naruto Shippuden series to watch, though, I would say to skip this movie and view those instead.
Okay so I'm not a Naruto fanboy nor am I a Naruto hater so it was with that mindset that I approached this Naruto film in the same way that I approach all things Naruto with an open mind set. And I have to say that this was one of the more disappointing Naruto films I have ever seen.
The story a group of ninja from Sky country come and attack Konoha. During which Naruto meets a Doctor and pupil Amaru. From there a small band of four ninja follow their attackers to where there ships are located so that they can destory their base. At this same time for Naruto, Sakura, and Hinata go with the doctor and Amaru to Amaru's village. From there things follow a pretty predictable set of events though I will say that I found the story to be rather weak as a whole. I mean I know that it's not part of the manga and they created the story from pretty much nothing, but still it seemed that the four man group didn't really have anything to do with the core plot. Once the base was destoryed it didn't really even seem like they mattered at all and all things considered the base they set out to destory didn't if seem all that important when everything else is taken into consideration. Furthermore it didn't seem like Sasuke actually had to be in the story. I mean sure he did play a part in bringing down the main bad guy, but still I'm sure that if they wanted to they could have easily left Sasuke out and only had to end up changing a few small things within the story. Then the ending personally it seemed that they were trying to make it more dramatic than it needed to be. Personally speaking I thought the story had a lot of problems with it and didn't really enjoy it.
As for the animation you get what you'd expect from a Naruto film. Slightly better quality than that of the tv series but still pretty average when compared to other films. So enjoy it for what it is but I wouldn't expect anything visually stunning.
The sound again you get what you'd expect from a Naruto film. The voice actors were all the same from the tv series and they do as good of a job as they do in the tv series. As for the soundtrack it blended well with the scenes. Which is to say that it was enough to add something to the scenes but rarely ever stood out and wasn't very impressionable.
The characters were mostly all the same from the tv series. So you know the ones you like and the ones you hate and the only new ones are the sky ninjas, the doctor, and Amaru. I would go into more detail here to go into to much would end up spoiling the story.
Overall I was quite disappointed with this film. Though probably the only real reason I was disappointed with the film was because of the story. If it had been done a bit better I probably would have enjoyed it more. In terms of Naruto films it would probably be the one that I least liked.
So having absolutely nothing to do with the main Naruto plot, like every other Naruto movie there is, this one follows the story of our main ramen loving hero, Naruto, and his band of merry men consisting of Hinata, Sakura and two new faces in the form of a young girl and an old man.
The movie begins with the Sky country waging war on Konoha and destroys the village. We are then introduced to Amaru, useless character #1, and old man pedo( pedo? Yep pedo!).
After a series of unfortuate events Amaru releases some dark chakra inside of her, which of course, allows Naruto to give his 'I know what it feels like speech' and ultimately they defeat the baddy and yay...happy ending.
Does this sound as largely uninteresting as Ive tried to make it? Well it is! This movie allowed me to find entertainment in staring at the wall and naming the various bits of rubber littered across my desk. The storyline isn't captivating and much of the movie is simply Amaru crying and Naruto telling her to 'let him take his burden'. Sound vaguely familiar to I don't know, every other Naruto movie and the main Naruto storyline.
The animation is good I guess, it's the usual Naruto style characters and you can't really fault the movie on this aspect. The only thing I didn't like about the visuals was Old man pedo's face, which looked distorted thrugh parts of the movie.
I loved the theme song No Rain No Rainbow- Home Made Kazoku (download!!) and yes I downloaded it straight after hearing it. The rest of the cast have their usual voices, which similar to the character styles is fine. Nothing wrong with these two aspects.
Aside from the usual arrogant Naruto, abrasive Sakura and borderlining psycopathically quiet Hinata the two new characters aren't really that 'new' and simply bring forth overdone Naruto movies girl and baddy combo.
Amaru is the new chick on the block and basically she is like every other female Naruto movie character. At first hates Naruto, then needs to rely on him then ends up loving him by the end of the movie. She is pretty much a useless soul who does nothing but cry, whinge and make everyone around her want to punch her straight in the face and tell her to STFU. Oh she also has some sort of 'dark chakra' inside her but i'll leave the gigantic worm in the movie to tell you more about that.
Old man pedo is as I said, a freakin pedo. he's new #1 creep on the block, forcing some below 16 child to love him. Hello, I smell lawsuit heading your way old man pedo. But he won't be needing one, cause as the cliche 'take over the world' baddy he get's brought down to size by Naruto.
Well aside from the storyline being more repetitive than an episode of the Tellytubbies, and the retarded introduced characters who provide nothing new or interesting, the movie is OK.
Whats that random gigantic worm, I should give it a 5/10? Well Ok
This is the fifth Naruto movie, made after the initial high spirited continuation was saturated and the show entered a state of slow pacing and full of fillers phase. Once again the excitement was over and the audience started to drop it for the second time. Even the directors seemed to have lost their will to make something exciting and just created this as basic as possible. The budget is still quite high but there was no work given on making interesting battle choreographies, while all the characters act rather bored and distant from the viewer.
I must admit though that this movie has a very different feel from the previous ones. There are no henchmen that need to be defeated fro example, just generic faceless mooks with fancy technology. And the main villain’s motives were left hidden for the most part, making the main objective of the film to be hidden from the audience. So in this regard the movie was much closer to a war drama or a mystery adventure than a bunch of teenagers kicking the crap out of each other. This made it feel more mature as an overall. The problem here is that Naruto was never mature and the target audience never expected it to be. They just wanted to see cool magical ninjas doing lots of exciting stuff and instead got a rather uneventful movie with some anti-war messages and a blurry sinister plan towards the end.
There was a major hook for the fans to see the movie though. The trailers mentioned that it will feature the return of Gaysuke, the real protagonist that is, who was absent since the first movie. They even tried to tie the events with the main series in a very subtle way by making Orochimaru to be in need of a scroll some doctor in this film has. It seemed like a good marketing trick and normally it should have worked. Yet to the most part it didn’t. Why?
EVERYONE IS SO WEAK AND STUPID! Seriously, all the elite super powerful ninjas you were watching for so many years doing all sorts of epic stuff, in this movie they feel like they are average people who can’t even move fast or fight properly.
- The invading ninjas are not using ninjutsu to the most part. They are using technology, which is so off with the rest of the setting. We are so used to see magic hand seals, gained after years of training or after a horrible experiment was done on them, that this is just stupid. They all look like mass-produced robots instead of specially trained stealth spies or assassins. Not that the evil underlings in the other movies were any better in terms of personality but at least they had a face and each one of them had a unique style of fighting. But these guys? They all look the same and fight the same and don’t even have a face. Hell, even the villains of the second film had faces and unique abilities, despite NOT being ninjas and STILL using technology. Thus they are completely generic and booooring from the first second.
- Konoha is invaded so easily by the aforementioned ninjas that is plain stupid. I mean you have this huge organization of spies, scattered throughout the world and NOBODY could see and inform the village that a dozen huge battleships are heading their way? In the previous movie for example a soldier informed the others with a messenger pigeon. They also have hounds, frogs, and a thousand other scouting animals that can even be summoned from afar. Hell, they have a magic barrier that senses the tiniest person entering and informs the rest of what has happened in seconds. So seeing Konoha being trashed so easily is not only lame but also contradicts what we have seen so far in terms of security.
- Seeing Konoha getting trashed stopped being dramatic after the tenth time they did it in a filler arc. It was dramatic when it was done in-story during the Chuunin exam or when Pain invaded but they used the same hook in so many fillers that it lost its dramatic tension. So what if thousands died from the attack? So did ten times so far and nobody seems to mind at all. Konoha must have a population of over one billion to excuse all the casualties going unnoticed.
- So our heroes go to the offense and go on a mission to find the enemy’s base and destroy it. Which is a reasonable thing to do… if they were doing it right. Instead of jumping from tree to tree, which is a trademark of the show and which allows them to cross huge distances in a matter of hours, they WALK towards the enemy or use riverboats. THIS IS COMPLETELY BS! Where are all the cool stuff they could do before?
- Another case of how weak and useless everybody is, is the scene where Naruto is poisoned by the bite of a fish. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? He has a mountain worth of chakra inside him that heals him in an instant and all of a sudden he can’t recover from a simple bite? Not only that but Hinata who can see and control chakra regulation, as well as Sakura who is a professional healer could do absolutely NOTHING to help him. THIS IS COMPLETE BS!
- And then a trap is triggered and someone gets killed with them standing right next to him. COMPLETE BS! We had seen them a hundred times having lightening-fast fast reflexes and saving people in a fraction of a second but now they can’t even run fast before it is too late.
What is even worse is when they really ARE using superpowers. It still looks completely crock.
- Although Sai’s fight with the flying ninjas was very cool, the way their ships were eventually defeated was completely anti-climactic. Somehow Shino’s bugs infiltrated them and destroyed them in a few seconds. LAAAAME!
- Gaysuke’s plan to defeat the main villain was also anti-climactic. All he did was throwing a few tiny sparks to cut his chakra circulation. LAAAAME!
- Then Naruto falls from a very high altitude and is saved by Jiraya who placed a frog to work as a trampoline that would stop him from crashing. Which would be cool if he was present in the film from the beginning and had foreseen and planned it to be as such. HE JUST CAME OUT OF NOWHERE!
What is even worse than even that is how all other characters besides Naruto (who is needed to provide his shallow idealism and final Rasengan on the enemy EVERY SINGLE TIME) are completely useless to the plot. They were useless before of course but now they CAN’T EVEN DO THE BASICS! They don’t even fight. They don’t even have a place in this whole mess.
- What is Sakura and Hinata doing in this film? They did absolutely nothing! They didn’t fight, they didn’t heal, they didn’t even offer some sort of service other than the tired jokes of Sakura hitting Naruto and Hinata blushing.
- What is Gaysuke doing in this film? Yes, he is looking for a scroll but was he important to the story? Hell no, he was there as fan service. Naruto did all the work as usual and Sasuke only managed to ruin the final battle with his cheap tricks.
- The main villain was a completely boring idiot and his plans made no sense at all.
- Zero-tails? Seriously? ZERO-TAILS? Not only it looks goddamn lame but it was so easy to defeat as well.
- That tomboy chick was also useless. Not to the story but because she felt like a sexualized and boring imitation of all the other emo kids Naruto was aiding in previous movies.
So in a few words the whole movie is anti-climactic and makes everybody to feel useless and stupid. It is completely unlikable and one of the worst additions to the franchise.
I said in the past how I’ve always seen movies from big shōnen franchises as filler arcs with a budget. The Naruto movies are no exception, but I always found them entertaining and effective in what they do, when you just want to sit back, relax, and unplug your brain. There are times, however, when even with that mindset the formula gets so stale that even the writers themselves seem to have stopped giving a crap, resulting in something that could have been subtitled The Contractually Obligatory Movie. And this second Shippūden movie and fifth Naruto movie overall, the one I had the highest hopes for, is one of them.
Man, I don’t know where to even begin here. Well, let’s begin with the tile, Bonds: the theme of “bonds” is barely touched upon, it’s given nothing more than a passing reference here and there and in Naruto’s usual cheesy “the power of love” speech; there’s no exploration of Naruto’s bond with Jiraiya (who’s not even present!), there’s no exploration of Naruto’s bond with Sasuke or anyone else, there’s no real test for Amaru’s bond with Shinnō (it’s just shattered), and there’s no James Bond either; even Sasuke’s presence, one of the movie’s big advertising points, is basically limited to a deus ex machina in the final battle, he is not played on to work on the “bonds” or to craft any emotional moment, he’s just there as a poster boy. God, Sasuke, what did they do to you?, you were such a believable and interesting character before the time skip…
The plot itself is also kind of weak even in comparison to the other movies: the attack on Konoha has been done too many times by now and the scene is not even well done enough to get much of an emotional response (you’re too busy going “What the fu… flying ninjas with machine guns and bomber planes? O_o”), the Land of Sky is just a plot device to get Amaru and Shinnō moving as it all but disappears from the plot after the first sequence and after an incredibly anti-climatic counterattack, the main storyline is the power-hungry villain du jour trying to obtain the ancient super-weapon du jour to, you guessed it, take over the world, and they even managed to ass-pull a freakin’ Zero-tails that feeds on dark chakra I’m not kidding. I felt my IQ drop 10 points there. The writing feels really rushed, you can’t tell if they tried something new but failed hard or just didn’t care, most twists are either underdeveloped (how the hell did a Miyazaki-esque super-weapon thingy fit in there?) or plain cheesy (especially the finale). “But”, you might say, “at least I get to see some awesome ninja action!”. Well, no. True, the final battle with Naruto and Sasuke is awesome here and there, but the action scenes, too, are a huge letdown; first of all, there’s so few of them: the opening sequence, Konoha’s counterattack, and the final battle. Secondly, they’re poorly executed: Naruto just keeps pulling new one-use Rasengan techniques out of God knows where, the counterattack is interrupted so many times that the tension it builds up is constantly nullified, the final battle has some moments but its first part is really repetitive and unintentionally funny. I’ll admit that Naruto’s actions and his separation from Sasuke in the finale aren’t bad at all, and so is some of the comedy, but it’s not enough to make this movie entertaining as a Naruto movie should be.
There’s not much to say about the regular cast: Shikamaru is a genius, Kakashi is badass, Hinata is adorable and useless, Sakura is on board for some slapstick and some healing and NOTHING ELSE, and with the little screentime they have and how quickly they’re discarded from the plot let’s just pretend they’re not there at all. Today’s case for Dr. Naruto’s Psychotherapy Division-ttebayo is Amaru; now, if Shion from the previous movie showed how even the typical filler character could still be effective if well executed, Amaru shows how the typical filler character can be useless if executed lazily. It’s the usual stuff, a past of loneliness, annoying and arrogant but fragile inside, looks up to a mentor, is let down at some point, and goes through the usual development with Naruto going “I’ll carry your burden” and “You’re like me!” (I think he has a collection of pre-written “I know what it feels like to be alone” speeches he rehearses in front of the mirror, by now), kicking some ass and saving the world. Been there, done that. Note that, due to a certain plot twist, Amaru has a lot of potential for exploring the theme of master-apprentice bonding in an interesting scenario, but it simply goes to waste. And about the villain… well, I won’t spoil the twist, but let me just say that… it’s really far-fetched, to say the least. Not to mention the total absence of any motivation or backstory, the kind of cardboard cut-out villain that even most filler arcs managed to avoid. And I swear at one point he just turns Super Saiyan…
As with any Naruto movie, the art and animation is consistently good, and with some impressive expressions and details on Amaru. I’ll also give it points for the pretty inspiring design of the Sky Ninjas’ battleships and of the big MacGuffin the villain is after (if it just wasn’t in that cheap CGI it’d be even better…). I have some complaints about the direction, especially the fact that they kept interrupting a fight sequence with scenes of people talking, but it handled well Naruto and Sasuke’s big fight and final moment, as well as Amaru’s crisis.
The soundtrack is handled by the same Takahashi Yasunaru who produces the soundtrack for “Naruto: Shippūden”; it’s pretty varied, with some tracks in the same “Japanese-music-meets-rock” which characterised Masuda’s work in the first series, and works well throughout these 90 minutes. If you pay attention to it, it easily stands out. Although I have to say that I found the ending song (performed by the same HOME MADE Kazoku who performed one Shippūden ED) really out of place and generic, but it may just be my aversion to rap here. I should give them credit for at least not using the Obligatory Sappy Ballad™…
Takeuchi Junko as Naruto keeps doing her thing, I think we should just stop taking her into consideration when it comes to reviews and consider the default setting to be Takeuchi=Awesome. The rest of the regular cast do their usual job, but they have so little space that they could be discarded. So, it all comes down to the two original characters: both Kumai Motoko as Amaru and Ishizuka Unshō (who already went down in Naruto history as Zabuza) as Shinnō are trying their best, but neither of them manages to make their characters believable and interesting. Ishizuka carries his character well most times, but at others he’s just plain cheesy; and despite Kumai’s good job in the most emotional moments the character’s dialogue is simply too plain, seen-before and cheesy for even her to make it work.
So, in the end, I know I always say it’s pointless to watch a shōnen franchise movie expecting to see a masterpiece, and that one should just do so when in the mood for some mindlessly action-packed entertainment, but even with that mindset this movie came out as a big disappointment to me. The plot is ridiculous, the action is really lazy, and, most importantly, it’s boring. I hate to use this argument, because it's highly subjective, but, really... to put it bluntly, it wasn’t the right moment of Shippūden canon to make a movie, because there were no elements to bring something new to a formula well past its expiration date that even from the fridge is starting to smell funny. If you’re a huge Naruto fan who wants to see everything in the franchise, feel free to go ahead, but otherwise there’s no reason to watch it: the previous movies are much better, and even some filler arcs from the series are more entertaining than this.