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Naruto Shippuden – The Lost Tower Review: Time Traveling Ninja Action
Before we get started with this review, I’d like to say that I used to be a big fan of Naruto many years back before it was dubbed. Then I gradually lost interest in the series and forgot about it and the manga. I think the last chapter I read involved that Danzo character being a candidate to become the next Hokage or something on the lines of that. So yeah, it has been awhile. But when the opportunity came to review the latest Naruto movie I thought to myself: “Why not? Let’s check it out for old times’ sake”. That said, let’s begin.
The movie begins with Naruto and his team hunting down another ninja by the name of Mukade. They track him to the ruined city of Loran. Mukade breaks the seal on the a massive underground stream of chakra known as the Ley Line. He, Naruto, and Captain Yamato fall into the massive stream of chakra and are pulled back in time to when the city was not a bunch of ruins. While getting his bearings, Naruto runs into the shinobi who will eventually become the fourth Hokage. The fourth Hokage and his squad are on a mission in the city and entrust Naruto with the protection of Queen Sara.
Time travel is not exactly new in anime, but the story is interesting enough to keep viewers hooked to the end. However, The Lost Tower plays it safe by not doing anything particularly new or interesting with the story. In a way it reminds me a lot of all the filler story arcs that were done for the anime, only done much better and not the same story over and over again. Although Queen Sara does fall into the archetype of that character that only appears in the filler and is designed basically so that Naruto can relate to them in some way and then help them with whatever their problem is through action or words. As a result, Sara feels like a very forgettable character that the viewer can’t really feel attached to as she is essentially a carbon copy of many filler characters only much less emo.
Speaking of characters, let’s discuss the villain. Honestly I couldn’t take Mukade seriously for most of the movie. He is just another generic “take over the world” villain with a very unappealing character design. It isn’t until closer to the end of the movie that Mukade becomes an actual threat and does his own dirty work. Although his puppets are visually appealing, their design is too sci-fi and it feels out of place in Naruto.
Another character I wish to discuss is the fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze. Minato and his squad take the concept of Naruto being from the future surprisingly well, they literally just roll with it without questioning it. Given the cautious nature of the shinobi throughout the show, this seems like a bit of an oversight for the sake of the plot. Although I did like the concept of Naruto going back into the past and interacting with Minato, given the connection between the characters. This added a great deal of emotion near the end of the movie given that it is implied that this movie occurs shortly after Naruto learned the truth about the fourth Hokage (although it is pretty obvious what that connection is, so I don’t have to say anything).
Visually speaking, the art and backgrounds of The Lost Tower are gorgeous. The city itself is very impressive and is filled with all kinds of intricate detail. The visual effects of the attacks are impressive, and the characters look great. The visuals are combined with a wonderful score which sounds just as good and memorable as the music from the show itself.
The dub was well done for the most part save for Naruto’s voice. I remember watching some of the first episodes when they were dubbed and I instantly disliked Naruto’s voice. It is way too annoying and painful to listen to, and it hasn’t gotten any better. I’m glad that Viz Media has the original Japanese audio available for this movie.
Overall, I did enjoy watching The Lost Tower. It was a fun and entertaining movie filled with a lot of fast paced action and decent character interaction. Although if you have never watched the anime or read the manga, I would recommend doing that first before you watch the movie. Unlike other anime movies, The Lost Tower does not have a “story so far” bit of dialogue between characters or any kind of narration that would fill in the gaps for newcomers. On its own though, The Lost Tower can stand as a decent side story in the Naruto Universe. At the very least it is much better than most of the filler story arcs, and that is a relief. I will probably not go back to watching the anime or reading the manga, but it was nice to pay an old favorite a visit.