Naruto-Volume 1: Enter the Ninja (2002)
|Year Of Production||2002|
|Running Time||119:53 (Case: 125)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (60:28)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Steven Jay Blum
Kou Hei Mushi
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, Previews of the following episode|
Twelve years ago, a giant demon-fox with nine tails attacked the village of Konoha. Each of that fox's tails was powerful enough to create a tidal wave or destroy a mountain. The fox was vanquished by the Fourth Hokage in a battle that would cost his life, which was trapped in the navel of a baby, whose umbilical cord had only just been cut. That child was Naruto Uzumaki. How the ordeal has affected Naruto in the long run is anybody's guess, but most are still afraid of this orphan.
Naruto is the story of Naruto, who has recently finished training at the ninja academy, and the two other Genin that make up his squad of ninjas in training, as they train to become fully-fledged ninjas. Naruto's squad-mates are Sasuke Uchiha (a rather paranoid girl, whom Naruto has a crush on) and Sakura Haruno (a mysterious loner, who finished top of his class at the academy and is the apple of every girl's eye).
Naruto is an institution in Japan. It has run for more than 200 episodes, still going strong, and has spawned two feature films to date. These first five episodes start a little slowly, particularly the first two, but the series is very good once it gets going.
Both the English dub and subtitles are quite good. There are a handful of discrepancies in interpretation between the two, although these are fairly minor and none really alter the story.
The episodes featured in this set are:
After failing to graduate from the ninja academy for the second year running, Naruto undertakes a mission to retrieve a sacred scroll in order to prove himself.
After posing for his ninja identity card, Naruto spends a day looking after the grandson of the grandson of the great Hokage.
The Genin training squads are announced and Naruto is teamed up with his crush, Sakura, and his worst enemy, Sasuke.
The newly formed squad are introduced to their new trainer Kakashi, who sets them their first training mission; to each retrieve one of two bells he is holding. Any student that fails the test will be sent back to the academy.
The team fail Kakashi's initial test, but are given a final chance to be the first squad to pass his strict opening test.
The video quality is excellent.
The video is presented in it's original 1.33:1 aspect ratio.
The image is incredibly crisp throughout. There is no noticeable grain or low level noise at any point. The colours are vivid.
There are no noticeable MPEG compression artefacts or film artefacts.
The English subtitles are yellow with a black border. They are both easy to read and well timed.
This disc is RSDL formatted, with the layer change occurring discretely between scenes, midway through the third episode at 60:28.
English and Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kbps) audio tracks are available.
Both the Japanese and English dialogue appear to be in good sync for a cartoon. Both tracks are perfectly clear and easy to understand.
There is modest usage of the surround channels throughout the episodes, mainly by the music. The subwoofer picks up a small amount of bottom end, particularly around the combat scenes. All in all it is good for a 2.0 soundtrack, but certainly does not compete with most 5.1 tracks.
Music is used in quite a bold fashion in the show, particularly traditional Japanese pipes and chants. Although this is very fitting for the show, it is not something you would want to listen to out of context (save for the catchy end-credits theme).
|Surround Channel Use|
Trailers for other Madman anime titles are presented, along with the grating piracy trailer that many have grown to despise (luckily, that trailer doesn't precede the feature). The trailers provided are for: Gundam Seed Destiny: Volume 1, Eureka Seven: Volume 1, Dragon Ball Z Movie 12 - Fusion Reborn and Full Metal Alchemist: Volume 3.
There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Naruto is available in two formats in Region 1, although neither are quite the same as the Region 4 release.
The "cut" episodes (up to the 28th episode, at the time of writing) are available on individual bare bones discs, four episodes each per disc and no special features. The dub on these episodes is reportedly quite soul-less. These are undeniably the least preferable way to buy Naruto.
There are also two "uncut" packages available in Region 1 that feature both the cut and uncut versions of each episode. Each package contains 13 episodes (1-13 and 14-26) spread over 3 discs. This edition is presented in a reasonably stylish, embossed, shiny foil package, with a booklet featuring storyboards from the episodes. Content-wise this edition is quite comparable to the Region 4 version (and is priced around the same mark as three discs of the Region 4 release), only with nicer packaging and addition of the "cut" episodes for the curious. These Region 1 "uncut" boxes are the version of choice for anyone happy to import, although the main difference is cosmetic.
This disc presents a slightly slow start to what promises to be a very entertaining anime for both kids and adults.
The technical presentation is excellent, although the lack of extras is disappointing.
|DVD||LG V8824W, using S-Video output|
|Display||LG 80cm 4x3 CRT. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Pioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub|