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
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
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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