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Pirates of the Burley Griffin
A schedule bears the same relationship to reality as Astrology.
Twenty Days of Anime Movies - Day 2 - Naruto Shippuden The Movie 
13th-Mar-2011 05:55 pm
With the glaring exception of Kamui No Ken / The Dagger of Kamui, I've never really been that big a fan of the fighting anime. Flame of Recca blew an interesting plot in favour of the half opponent of the week, Bleach ditto, and I nearly gave up on Rurouni Kenshin during the Kyoto arc.

However as part of the Twenty Days of Anime Movies I decided to give the genre another try with Naruto Shippuden on seawasp's recommendation.

The Naruto Shippuden movie (2002) was an interesting experience. The plot of the movie is well constructed, and captured my interest well enough.

Granted that starting with the death of Naruto before the opening credits is a good way to get my attention.

In essence this is an end of the world scenario: a dark force is awoken and our heroic ninjas must carry the plot coupon  Priestess Shion to the appropriate  shrine to seal it again.

Mayhem, hilarity, attacks being called out before hand, and large scale property damage ensue. Oh, and the attack names are often ridiculously long, and combatants seem to spend half the fight chatting to each other how good they are. :) 

What makes it interesting however is the interaction between Shion and Naruto, as well as the precognition (and limited ability to rewrite time) possessed by Shion.

However in order to protect her for the task ahead this precognition manifests in ways that transfer her possible deaths to those nearby. Shion is aware of this and the resulting emotional damage by the time she meets Naruto is... severe.

In the midst of all the death, destruction and ninja action, it takes a while for Naruto to get through to Shion  and vice versa, but they do manage it in the end.

As for the action itself, it was OK. I did like the planning abilities of one of the secondary characters Neji which quite convincingly turned a losing fight around in a later round.

I suspect that fans of the series will be more impressed by the action scenes. For my part I didn't feel that I had a solid grip on the rules of the Naruto world to fully appreciate them.

However the movie does keep your attention, and I had certainly had no difficulty watching it through to the end.

The ending itself is quite satisfying. It is almost Arthurian in nature where the only way to end the cursed custom is to play it out to the end, and then act in the appropriately noble way to break it.

The best part is that although Naruto is essential to breaking the destiny, active effort and choices are also required on Shion's part.

Mind you she does manage to rewrite the vision from the start of the movie and, in a nice piece of symmetry, the real ending is after the end credits. :)

It isn't a film that I'll be rushing to rewatch but one that is enjoyable enough to be worth a look for those who haven't seen much of this genre.

Day 1 - New Kimagure Orange Road: Summer's Beginning
Day 2 - Naruto Shippuden The Movie
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13th-Mar-2011 01:40 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it! Yes, it would help to know the characters and abilities beforehand.

One thing you need to know about most anime-series movies, if you don't know already, is that they are generally in a separate continuity from the rest of the series. So -- alas -- Naruto's future with the princess is only in that alternate universe.

Still, that scene is wonderful, especially because you have no idea whether this is Naruto remaining utterly clueless (which given a few other things seems not entirely likely) or deliberately messing with his friends.
13th-Mar-2011 06:04 pm (UTC)
Continuity is always a challenge for movies based on a series.

Do you risk annoying existing fans by doing something independent and/or a reboot?

Or do you alienate new viewers by requiring familiarity with what has gone before?

I suspect that annoying new fans is a better bet in terms of box office which is why you often see that approach taken.

There are alternatives though - the Silent Möbius movies are essentially prequels to the manga that benefit from but don't require prior knowledge and end with the opening chapter of the manga.
13th-Mar-2011 06:06 pm (UTC)
One more thing: one of the alternatives that I wish we wouldn't see quite so often is to condense the 26 episodes or more down into a 2 hour movie.

This can work, but it can also be a dreadful train wreck.
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