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DVD Review: Naruto Vol. 14 The Uncut Box Set Special Edition

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The adventures (and misadventures) of ninja-in-training Naruto continue with Naruto Volume 14: The Uncut Box Set Special Edition. While this series tends to follow most of the typical shonen (for boys) archetypes and plot lines, it's a fun series that chronicles the many perils and struggles of becoming the best ninja in the world.

The episodes included in this set are primarily episodic with a decent amount of infamous "filler" that detracts from the overall plot arc. This tends to be the case in parts of Naruto because the anime is waiting for the manga to catch up with it.

In these episodes, Naruto teams up with Tenten and Neji to protect the special treasure of the Star Village. Back at the Hidden Leaf Village, Naruto becomes the unsuspecting surrogate mother to a legendary creature known as an "Unba." After dealing with the creature, Naruto teams up with Shino to take the place of the chief mourner in his father's funeral. The final episodes follow Naruto's mission to help a feudal lord's daughter from the Land of Greens regain her lands after they were taken over by rogue ninjas.

Despite the "filler" nature of these episodes, they are incredibly funny and entertaining episodes filled with amazing action, top-notch character development and gut-splitting laughter that'll make young boys want to run off and become ninjas. While this series seems to have trouble appealing to older audiences, the uncut version does a better job of this while still staying true to the anime's intended audience. Naruto does a particularly good job of balancing action and character emotions with well-timed and amply utilized humor.

This three-disc special edition boxed set includes a mini-pack of Naruto cards and one of six limited edition collectible "mininja" figurines. The episodes included in this set are 178-191. Viewers also have the option of watching the English dub or the original Japanese version with English subtitles.

Anime purists will fall all over the Japanese version with English subs, while younger, more casual fans will enjoy the English dub. The English voice cast does a decent job with the material, even though Naruto manages to sound like a smoker. The Japanese version is better, but may be a shock to fans who just aren't familiar with the original Japanese or are uncomfortable with reading subtitles.

This version of the anime is much closer to what the original creators intended and tends to have stronger emotion and greater character depth. The set is definitely a must-have for fans of the series.

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