Review – Naruto Shippuden: The Lost Tower

Naruto Shippuden: The Lost Tower is available now on DVD and Blu-Ray in North America and Japan. It retails at the following prices: DVD MSRP of $19.98 U.S. / $24.98 CAN and a Blu-ray MSRP of $24.98 U.S. / $27.50 CAN.

The DVD and Blu-ray editions each contain a bevy of extra features including a hilarious anime short, NARUTO AND THE THREE WISHES, as well as the original Japanese theatrical trailers. The Blu-ray edition also features a bonus production art gallery.

Read the review after the break!

Naruto Shippuden: The Lost Tower starts with Naruto and the rest of Team 7 (Sakura, Sai, and Captain Yamato) hot on the trails of renegade ninja Mukade of the Hidden Sand Village. Their chase leads them to an old city that lies in ruins, Loran. Believing that Mukade is hiding amongst the ruins, Team 7 investigates, with Naruto leaving his team behind to rush right in.

WARNING: That’s only the basic intro to the movie. As we continue on with this review though a lot more of the plot will be explained, enough so that some may consider it spoiler-filled. So those of you who dislike spoilers may want to avoid reading further!

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Yamato heads in to the ruined city after Naruto and locates both him and Mukade. Unbeknownst to the two Team 7 members, Mukade is attempting to break the seal of a very powerful stream of chakra known as the Ley Line. He succeeds in removing the seal, and the chakra is released from its underground chamber. Mukade disappears in to the light of the stream, escaping from Naruto and Yamato. Both of whom get caught in to the chakra stream themselves, following Mukade in to its depths. When Naruto awakes, he finds himself alone in a Loran that is no longer in ruins.

It’s hard to find an Anime that hasn’t toyed with the idea of time travel, so it’s no surprise to see Naruto Shippuden have its own take on the subject. With all the possibilities involving some of the famed and legendary shinobi we hear about throughout the show but never get to witness, it’s certainly an exciting idea for fans. And let’s not forget about Naruto’s father, Minato, the legendary 4th Hokage who unfortunately lost his life when Naruto was just born. So the writers of the movie had a plethora of exciting events they could conjure up for the film.

Unfortunately though, we don’t see too many of these possibilities come to fruition. And the characters of the past that they do decide to have in the film barely get any screen time. You’ll see them for a few minutes near the beginning of the film, but after that they’re gone for the majority of it until the final battle at the end of the movie. It’s a shame because a lot more interaction could have been done between Naruto and these characters. A young version of Kakashi, his sensei and the former captain of Team 7. Minato, the 4th Hokage and the father he never got to properly meet. It would have even been nice to see a little interaction with Shibi, the father of the ninja who always has a few humorous scenes in the anime when he’s constantly forgotten. They could have played in to that a little with his father, but Naruto doesn’t really seem to acknowledge anyone other than a brief, but heartfelt, moment with Minato.

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While on the topic of characters, let’s talk about the Villain Mukade for a moment. When it comes to filler arcs in the anime, and even in a couple of past movies, Naruto seems to have the blandest of enemies. The main villains in the anime are all very well done and unique, but the artists and writers never seem to want to spend too much time doing the same for villains in filler arcs that span only a few episodes, or are featured in a one shot movie. And when a show has been going for as long as Naruto has, you definitely start to notice this. For the first half of the movie, Mukade falls in to the bland category. You can hardly call him the main villain, he looks and acts so much like a mere henchman. Fortunately, though, in the second half of the movie that changes. Without giving too much away, things start to get pretty creepy. And Mukade starts to seem like a real serious threat.

Now that we’ve talked a bit about the plot and characters of the film, let’s move on to the visuals. Like previous movies in the Shippuden series, the animation here is really topnotch. Visually speaking, the art and backgrounds shown in the film are simply gorgeous. The areas explored also really give a breath of fresh air in to the scenery. When watching the series of this anime, you’re used to seeing small villages, fields of green and flowers, and thick forests. In The Lost Tower though you’ll watch the characters fight their way forward in a vicious sandstorm in the desert, trek through the ancient ruins of a forgotten city, and also explore that same city years and years ago when it stood proud and tall, full of lights and celebration. All of the details in the scenery make for really impressive visuals, especially during fights with all the special attacks, that definitely make a blu-ray purchase for the movie worth it to see it all in stunning HD.

The scenes are accompanied by a wonderful score that sets the mood perfectly as well. It’s not easy to try something entirely new when it comes to music pieces for an anime, but for The Lost Tower it’s done well enough that fans of the series won’t miss the regular music from the show and instead will enjoy the film’s own score. The sound effects for various things throughout the movie are all done great as well. Overall the audio is really topnotch here.

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The English Dub has all of the original voice-actors from the series playing their parts in the movie, and the actress chosen for Sara, the female lead of the film, does a great job for her voice. She even has a nice singing voice, which is great for a few scenes involving the character. I know it’s an unpopular opinion, but I myself enjoy the English dub for the series. For those of you who dislike it though, you’ll be happy to know that Viz Media included the original Japanese on the DVD and Blu-Ray releases of the movie.

Also included is a fun-filled hilarious short called Naruto and The Three Wishes! It’s separate from the film itself, and is set 3 years before the setting of Naruto Shippuden. It takes place on a beach where Naruto and the rest of the younger Hidden Leaf shinobi, along with Kakashi, are having a bonding experience. While there, Naruto discovers a lamp with a magical genie that will grant three wishes. When two of the wishes are wasted though, they all fight among themselves for the right to have the last wish!

In conclusion, I enjoyed The Lost Tower. It has a nice story that keeps you entertained throughout the movie and is visually impressive. There’s a lot of fast-paced action so the story doesn’t move too slow, and once you get passed the first half of the movie Mukade becomes a threatening and unique villain. While the interaction was kept short, it’s still awesome to see Naruto and Minato talking to one another and even fighting side by side, along with a younger version of Kakashi and a couple other Hidden Leaf shinobi you’ll recognize. If you haven’t read the manga or watched the anime before, it’s hard to recommend The Lost Tower on its own because there’s no series recap or explanation like in previous movies. If you do have some knowledge in Naruto though, or don’t mind being a little lost, it’s definitely worth a watch. There’s a lot of action, a nice story with some heartwarming moments, and impressive visuals to keep you thoroughly entertained throughout the film.

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We here at KiwiFrag give Naruto Shippuden: The Lost Tower a B+ Grade.

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