Naruto-Volume 2: Dangerous Mission! (2002)
Trailer-Howl's Moving Castle, Elemental Gelade, Dragon Ball Z
|Year Of Production||2002|
|Running Time||95:46 (Case: 100)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (47:56)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Steven Jay Blum
Kou Hei Mushi
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English 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|
The saga of Naruto continues as Naruto and his squad tackle their first deadly mission. Check out our review of Naruto: Uncut, Volume 1, here, for a bit more back-story.
Now that the initial story setup is out of the way, Naruto proves to be a first rate action cartoon. It is easy to see why this particular series has more or less picked up the torch from Dragon Ball Z as the leader in action cartoons.
As was the case with the previous volume in this series, 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.
These four episodes form a single story arc that progresses as follows:
After complaining that the missions they have been assigned graduating from the Ninja Academy are too easy, Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura are assigned a more difficult mission - to guard a bridge builder as he makes his way to his home island in order to build a bridge. Sounds simple enough, but it proves otherwise when ninja assassins from a rival realm attack. Luckily, the squad trainer Kakashi is around to help!
After the assassination attempt on the bridge builder is thwarted the squad vote to continue their mission, despite the fact that ninja guidelines decree it should be assigned to more experienced ninja. No sooner have they agreed to this than they are ambushed by the rogue assassin Zabuza Momochi, from the ninja village hidden in the mist. His water jutsu proves too much of a challenge for even Kakashi.
Naruto hatches a battle plan to distract Zabuza Momochi long enough for Kakashi to re-enter the battle.
Kakashi shows his true power and bests Zabuza, only to find another mysterious ninja has arrived to watch.
The video quality is very good.
The video is presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio.
The image is crisp throughout. There is no noticeable grain or low level noise at any point. The colours are bold.
There are no noticeable MPEG compression artefacts or film artefacts. The image is interlaced, but only to a small degree and it is not noticeable during playback.
The English subtitles are yellow with a black border and provide a direct translation from the original Japanese dialogue. They are both easy to read and timed well to the Japanese audio.
This is a RSDL disc. The layer change occurs between episodes, at 47:56.
English and Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kbps) audio tracks are available.
The both the Japanese and English dialogue appear 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. The audio 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. Though this is very fitting in the show, it is not likely something you would want to listen to out of context (save for the catchy credits themes).
|Surround Channel Use|
The opening and closing credits sequences can be viewed without any of the actual credits, rather like a music video.
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: Howl's Moving Castle, Elemental Gelade, Volume 1 and Dragon Ball Z Movie 13.
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.
Naruto is available in two formats in Region 1, though neither are quite the same as the Region 4 release.
The "cut" episodes (up to the 28th episode, at the time of writing) are individually available on bare bones discs in Region 1, four episodes per disc and no special features. These are undeniably the least preferable way to buy Naruto.
There is 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 and 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 3 discs of the Region 4 release), only with nicer packaging and addition of the "cut" episodes for the curious. The Madman trailers are not present on the Region 1 release. These Region 1 "uncut" boxes are the version of choice for anyone happy to import, although the biggest difference is cosmetic.
Naruto is in full swing as of these episodes. It is easily one of the most enjoyable cartoons to have made its way to our screens in a long while. This is a great replacement for Dragon Ball Z and will particularly appeal to upper primary boys.
The technical presentation is very good, although the lack substantial of extras is a little 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|