Battles, Flashman Battles, Kakashi Battles

Flashman vs Kakashi

Suggested by Destroyer Flashman is very fast, but that’s simply not enough against Kakashi. Kakashi has the sharingan which gives him a considerable edge in combat. He has a ton of ninjutsu and is better equipped for a drawn out fight compared to the average combatant. Flashman is more of a 1 trick pony in comparison so it won’t take the ninja very long to copy and neutralize his abilities. Kakashi wins.

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Naruto: Kakashi’s Story Review

I finally got around to finishing the first Naruto novel! Reading the next two should definitely not take as long so you can expect reviews to be published for those much quicker. Unfortunately, I can’t say that the Kakashi story sets them off on a high note. Crude Humor, large amounts of plot hax, and sketchy writing hold this one back from being a hit. I honestly wouldn’t really want to see this one animated unless some significant creative liberties were taken. That being said, the anime writers could be up to the task since I’m sure that they’d be tempted to change things anyway.

A long time has passed since the end of the Naruto manga and people are pressuring Kakashi to take on the mantle of Hokage. He doesn’t want to do this though since being Hokage is a large responsibility and he’ll be held accountable for everything. Nonetheless, the choice isn’t his and the whole village continues to pester him about it. To take his mind off of this, Kakashi goes to guard a large boat. It will be the first ever flying boat (Blimp basically) in the world. The builders want to use it to revolutionize travel, but at the expense of a whole industry which will result in thousands of people being out of business in the long run. That’s a bit of a heavy price to pay, but at the same time, innovation always replaces the old way of doing things. If people resisted change because of how it would affect the job market, many inventions would simply not exist at the moment.

However, the main villains of the novel aren’t pleased. Kakashi notices that someone has sneaked into the blimp and gives chase, only to find out that it is Might Guy. He really wanted to go for a ride so he snuck in, but unfortunately, so did the villains since there weren’t any real guards around by this point. The Leaf Anbu Black Ops are taken down instantly so Kakashi and Might Guy will have to save the hostages in the Blimp and defeat the Rogue Shinobi. Time is not on their side either as these guys aim to free their master from Hozuki Castle and the other neighboring lands ar weighing in on the conflict. If the Blimp isn’t back on the ground before it crosses the border…then it will be destroyed. Moreover, Tsunade wants Kakashi to destroy the Blimp if it gets to close and murder every last one of the passengers. Kakashi’s not a cold blooded killer like Tsunade so he aims to find another way.

This should be easy right? Kakashi is one of the strongest fighters in the Leaf so he can crush some random rogue ninja. Not to mention that Naruto’s just a phone call away. With his final form abilities, he can move at hypersonic speeds and virtually fly. He can use his arm extensions to gently force the Blimp down or simply grab all of the villains and then escort them all away. Well..the first moment of plot hax happens here as Tsunade forbids anyone from telling Naruto about this. In her defense, everyone else goes along with this terrible plan including Kakashi. All right, back to the Kakashi plan right?

Wrong I’m afraid. Kakashi decides to go for a frontal assault and walks up to the villains. Guess he forgot about the hostages right? The main villain destroys a handful of them and then breaks Kakashi’s fingers so he can’t pull off any real ninjutsus. To add even more injuries, his right hand woman freezes Kakashi’s chakra so he can’t do anything with his ninjutsu or he’ll freeze over. Rahyo is the leader of the villains by the way and Kahyo is the ice ninja. Kahyo’s abilities are fairly impressive as she just needs to make contact with someone once to freeze their chakra whenever she pleases. Rahyo is more generic as he can punch people with super strength.

Kakashi is at a disadvantage from the start because Kahyo already made contact with him at the very beginning of the book when she pretended to fall and Kakashi helped her up. Unfortunately, Kakashi was already out of character as he fell for her instantly. So much for professionalism. As for Rahyo, he should be easy to defeat, but Might Guy looks incredibly bad here. Due to his injuries at the end of the series, he is still not at full fighting strength and I guess he’s back to being around Chunin level or something. Plus, his motion sickness has gotten even worse and it is at Natsu levels of terrible now. At least Natsu has a good reason for it though, Might Guy should be able to pull himself together.

His fight scene with Rahyo is actually very bad and even involves puking as a distraction. Might Guy’s also the reason why Kakashi’s first plan went so badly as well. If he hadn’t been around or if he could have just went to sleep for a while, the novel would have been very different. He’s comic relief, but not the good kind and he just holds the book down. Kakashi’s plan to throw up later on to trick the villains was also gross and definitely a large stretch of disbelief. These two scenes are the main reason why the book couldn’t get a positive rating in the end.

The fight scenes were good when Might Guy wasn’t around at least. Naruto’s fight in the intro was fun and I’m glad that only his Shadow Clone was hit since Naruto should be able to easily fend off these villains. In his current state, he should never lose to anyone ever again. Only aliens would be acceptable like in the movies, otherwise it is just too much of a stretch. Kakashi vs Kahyo was brief, but good as well. Hopefully we’ll get more action in the next novels.

Finally, my last complaint with the novel is just the fact that all of the characters are terribly unlikable to the point where I have to say that they are out of character. Not literally every character as Naruto is good, but everyone else is simply unreasonable. Everyone taunting Kakashi at the end of the novel is simply mean spirited. Shikamaru wanting to see if Ino has the same reaction while in another body is a really crazy scene that has no place in the novel and just makes him look terrible. Tsunade comes across as incredibly ruthless. Deciding to execute an entire group of civilians just to avoid an international incident is quite bad. It’s no wonder why Kakashi knows that he now has to accept the title of Hokage. He can’t let someone as unfit to lead as Tsunade take charge.

As for the two villains, they both want revenge on the cruel society. It’s easy to see why, but they really do lose themselves in the mission. They claim to not want to indiscriminately murder people, but that’s what they do the entire film. Both of them show remorse by the end and Kahyo always seemed to have more of a heart than Rahyo, but the latter’s big turn around I could not buy at all. He was way too evil and too unrelenting for me to believe that he simply lost sight of his original goal. At least for Kahyo there was a lot of foreshadowing and she did help the kid who really needed it while Gahyo was just going to let him die. I suppose that it’s still good to see Gahyo turn good, it just felt forced is all.

Overall, Kakashi’s Story was a weak first installment, but it shows signs of promise for future novels. There is still a lot more that can be done in these stories although I wish that Naruto or Sasuke would get one. Those two can easily hold their own stories. The next book is Shikamaru’s and since he isn’t much of a fighter, I’ll assume that the villains are even weaker than these two as I think that they probably would have crushed him. So long as the characters aren’t all super annoying and unlikable, the next novel should definitely knock this one out of the park. No more puking on the villains either since that was sad. If you’re a big fan of the Naruto franchise, then this is probably a good story to check out to make sure that you know all of the mythos. That being said, you may just want to skip this story. You won’t miss much and it tries to make Blood Prison canon which makes all of the characters look even worse so it’s best that the movie doesn’t become canon. Naruto’s chapter is definitely the best one in the book so at least you’ll start off on a high note.

Overall 5/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Boruto: Naruto the Movie Review

Naruto has had many films over the years. They’ve typically ranged from good to great. Through the years, Naruto’s only had one film that I could almost call bad (Road to Ninja) although it’s had a few that were only decent. (The first film) Naruto The Last rose to 1st place on my Naruto list, mainly due to the intense action scenes that were present. Naruto was completely out of character and the romance was iffy, but barring that…it was nearly a perfect film. Well, Boruto eliminates the romance aspect and focuses on the action so that helped it to even surpass The Last. The theater crowd was also a lot larger for this open and everyone was more hyped. Even I had to put my Pokemon Shuffle game down as the lights dimmed as I didn’t want to miss what was about to happen!

The film starts out with a bang as Sasuke faces off against Kinshiki. It was very impressive visually as Sasuke finally learned how to use his electricity to the point where he could move with it as light speeds. Kinshiki was able to keep up with Sasuke though and even outspeed him, which shows how dangerous this villain is. The film then cuts away to the main plot..boooooooo, but it was an epic way to start the movie. I’m a firm supporter of the belief that all films should start off with a bang. Look at Yugioh Bonds Beyond Time, it starts off with Jaden fighting against Paradox on top of a building during a pseudo apocalypse. It doesn’t get much more epic than that. The film was just starting, but I was already entertaining the notion that this film could be the best Naruto title yet.

We then see Boruto, who’s upset at his current situation. His father is always busy addressing the nation and performing his Hokage duties. Naruto even skips out on his daughter’s birthday. Boruto has enough of this and decides that he doesn’t want to be Hokage. His teammates, Sarada and Mitsuki, are not too thrilled because Boruto also decides not to enter the Chunin Exams. They goad him into doing so, but a scientist gives Boruto a device that allows him to use many different ninjutsu. It’s highly illegal of course so Boruto has to decide what to do. Does he really think that winning at any cost is the right thing to do? The true villains are also out there and are about to make their move!

As with The Last, you have the fight at the beginning and then there’s a long break before the fights near the end. That being said, I’d argue that the action is more prevalent than in the last movie. We still have the Chunin Exam fights which are nice. Nothing top tier about them, but the action scenes are still interesting and we don’t need to see planets being blown up every time. Although, it is a nice effect when it does happen. At the rate Naruto’s going, we could definitely get into DBZ levels soon enough. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for that.

The animation is also excellent. Whether it is a daytime scene or one at night, the battles look great. All of the character models are on point (Even if I don’t like a lot of the designs) and the flashy ninjutsu have never looked better. I’ve always considered Studio Pierrot to be one of the best animation companies and they brought their A game here. The only technical aspect of the film that doesn’t hit it out of the park would be the soundtrack. It was all right, a good soundtrack with some remixes and danger themes, but nothing stuck out for me in the same way as The Last. In The Last, we got some incredible fight themes that were amazing. None like that here, but it’s possible that it was just drowned out by the sound effects. The theater had the audio up quite high, which is always nice. You can definitely feel every blow.

Sasuke really steals the show in this film and the fans seemed to agree in the theater as they got hyped whenever he appeared. I’d also get ready for intensity since Sasuke being on screen typically means that a fight scene will be coming up. He actually shows himself to be a better father than Naruto and he goes off to save the hero when the going gets tough. That’s the Sasuke that I remember and it’s good to see him being a hero again. His new powers from the Rinnengan are certainly very helpful and make him almost unbeatable in a fight. While the film tries to show that he may still be slightly weaker than Naruto, I’d argue that he’s still got the edge if they were to ever have another fight.

Now, a quick negative is the fact that this film’s plot revolves around things that could never happen. Remember how Naruto The Last only works because Naruto is completely out of character? Sorry to burst your bubble readers, but Naruto and Hinata were always just friends and that’s how it was supposed to go. The film’s pairing of the two didn’t make sense and still doesn’t. Well, Naruto’s out of character once again, but in a different way. He has basically abandoned his family as he virtually lives in the Hokage’s office now. He can’t be bothered to attend his daughter’s birthday party or cheer on Boruto in person. He only even congratulates him after being told to do so. It’s like Naruto just stopped caring and decided to be as cold and aloof as possible.

It’s really overdone to the point where it’s just not realistic. There’s no way that Naruto would simply stop hanging out with his family. Being Hokage is a tough job, but not to the extent that the film is trying to portray it as. We’ve seen the other Hokage still have time to be at home or take random trips. Not to mention that Naruto’s shadow clones would make it easy to finish paperwork a lot faster than any other Kage could. I just didn’t buy the film’s reasoning. Naturally, Naruto becomes a likable character by the end as he realizes that he failed as a parent and becomes a little more like the old Naruto. It’s a character arc that was not needed, but at least Naruto changed his ways in time.

Unfortunately, he is also underpowered quite a bit in this film, but that was to be expected considering that all new anime films tend to have a lot of plot hax lately. Resurrection of F, Naruto The Last, and Battle of Gods were all big offenders of this. It’s just how it goes. The first battle with Naruto is the worst since he resorts to just trying to block the villain’s large energy ball. Naturally, he can’t pull this off. He should have fired back with a blast of his own or had an epic punch moment. He just played way too much defense and Sasuke is guilty of this to a smaller extent as well. At least Sasuke proved himself in the very beginning of the film. The other Kage don’t do so well, but they shouldn’t at this point anyway. They’re completely out of their depth in a fight like this one as they don’t have the physical abilities needed to keep up with Naruto or Sasuke. We do get more space type feats as blasts keep on going past the planet and the speed feats were also very good.
The power levels will always be wonky so let’s go back to the characters. Boruto is a pretty likable lead. He did have a big problem with cheating, but he got past it. It’s an interesting character development plot as I don’t remember just about any character having to deal with that. Most of them are just noble by nature, but this works as well. I liked Boruto and he’s a very reasonable character, he was actually a lot nicer than I had expected. I thought that he would be very mischievious and cause vandalism like Naruto did back in the days, but he’s more mature than that and takes things in stride. It’s good to see and I also like his new attire. While Boruto is out of his league against any serious villain right now, his abilities aren’t bad for his age. He just needs to work on his speed. I do give him props for attempting to fight Momoshiki after the villain hit Naruto. He was outmatched, but the fact that he actually tried was impressive.

Sarada already got a whole manga spinoff to herself so her role here wasn’t that big. She’s still proving to be a good supporting character and is already more helpful than Sakura was at the time. Sakura got good during Shippuden, but Sarada doesn’t have to wait that long. She’s already close to Boruto and maybe even a little stronger than him at the moment. Her goal of being the next Hokage is a solid one. Mitsuki’s a very bland character though and I can already tell that I’m not a fan. He looks up to Orochimaru which makes sense since he’s his son (Film treats it like a twist, but it’s really not. You know this the whole time thanks to his eyes and his stretching abilities) but he should also know that Orochimaru is basically evil. Orochimaru not being in jail is still a huge plot hole in the Naruto franchise if you ask me or mini me.

Most of the other new kids don’t get to do anything so I’ll reserve judgment on them for now. Kakashi surprisingly doesn’t get to do anything in this film. The 5 Kage appear briefly and they all look decently helpful in the big fight. The problem is that they’re all super weak compared to Naruto. They can’t even defeat the main henchman. They can slow the villains down, but that’s about it. Aside from one of the Kages who was quick to bash Boruto, they were all fairly likable. Perhaps just a little generic and uninspiring. Gaara feels like the only Kage who actually earned his feat. Killer Bee makes a cameo, but he looks really bad and basically is just here to get humiliated. Most of the original characters have terrible designs nowadays. In particular, I don’t like Shikamaru’s design. The hair on his chin just makes no sense from a character perspective and the rest of his friends are no better. He has a cool scene where he helps out though and is still a likable ally.

Now, let’s talk about the villains. Kinshiki is actually really cool and I’d say that he was slightly more likable than the main villain. His cool lightsaber made for a great weapon and he was extremely fast considering his build. He didn’t have much in the way of personality, but he gave the heroes a good fight and he definitely wanted revenge on Sasuke so he has some pride on his side. (Saw what I did there? Momoshiki likes to laugh and take cheap shots at the heroes, but he actually felt a little weaker than Kinshiki if you ask me. His gimmick was similar to Android 19’s and Pain in the sense that he could absorb ninjutsu. I can definitely roll with that, but physically he wasn’t that impressive. Once he accessed his final form, then Kinshiki became a true threat. The 2 on 1 fight scene between him and Sasuke/Naruto was definitely great. This guy can take a hit and is really good at close quarters combat. What he makes up for in personality, he makes up for with raw attack power. He likes to brag about how much stronger he is than the mere mortals of Earth. That’s always a fun gimmick.

We’ve now had members of Kaguya’s clan show up in the last two movies as well as the spinoff (Sorta, they were actually Orochimaru clones) and the final boss of the real series. It seems like they are constantly popping up out of the woodworks now. It’s mentioned that they crossed time and space to get here so it would be easy to invent more and more of these guys for future films. I’m fine with that since they make for good enemies. They have some eye tricks like all good enemies, but also have a great amount of speed and power. Of course, it’s hard to see them really being able to take down Sasuke Uchiha. What could be fun would be if a large group of these guys showed up so Naruto had to train some of the ninja to reach new levels of power. After all, Naruto and Sasuke have become the only fighters left in the village, similar to Goku and Vegeta.

I’m a little skeptical of the new village design though. The Leaf looks really vulnerable to attack like this and it seems like the village isn’t even totally made up of shinobi anymore. The other clans would have a field day attacking them now. Of course, the villages are all unified at the moment, but how long will that last? Eventually, there shall be fights again and it’s Naruto’s job to make sure that they are ready. The new scientists for the film were essentially filler characters who didn’t need to be involved so I don’t want too many humans like them showing up. It was also a little odd how they could just walk up slowly towards Naruto with their gizmos. They should have been ejected from the stadium. Let’s also not forget how they dashed into the portal at the last second. It’s hard to see how they would be fast enough to do that.

The only other negative for the Boruto film would be the Panda missions. There is really no point to having it here and the only reason why I don’t dock 3-5 stars from the film is that it’s handled in comic relief fashion to the point where the Panda is not seriously hurt. He gets a little salty after the heroes hit him, but the scene still has no point to being in the film. It’s not as gruesome as the eye scene in Naruto The Last, but it’s still pretty intense. Boruto was a happy film with a fun tone the entire time, but this just went a little far.

Slightly off topic, but this is where DC and Marvel can learn a thing or two from anime. Both Boruto the movie and DBZ Resurrection F were great movies that were light toned yet still had great fight scenes. DC and Marvel are engaged in a battle for which company can sink lower with their dark products with Marvel currently in the lead, but anime shows that you can be light toned and still be awesome. Resurrection F doesn’t even take itself seriously and it’s still awesome. Boruto’s a thrillride, but it’s still a very happy and chipper film. If DC and Marvel were to ever go back to that full time, we’d be back in the next age of animation! Hopefully they can listen to this at some point.

Above all, Boruto is just a very fun film. It’s rather short so you’ll breeze through it, but it’s a very enjoyable film. It doesn’t try to be very deep or emotional like Road to Ninja and Blood Prison (Two films that died in my eyes) and it manages to give us more hype moments than any other Naruto film even though there are large gaps in the film where there are no real fight scenes. This is the kind of film that has a lot of replay value and certainly more than Naruto The Last, which helps its case. Is this film better than Resurrection F? Hmmmm….usually this wouldn’t be much of a question as DBZ is just that awesome, but it actually is fairly close. I can tell you that Boruto crushes Battle of Gods without any effort. Boruto’s animation is much better than DBZ’s, but DBZ certainly has the better soundtrack. For now…..I’m going to say that Boruto was the better film, but it is close. I just feel like it was more epic, had better fights, and the stakes were certainly real. I’m still salty that the film’s tricking people into thinking that Goku can’t beat Bills or Whis. Goku would clobber them if you ask me. At least Goku is finally back in character though. Oh yeah, stick around past the credits for a slight stinger. It could have been better if you ask me, but it’s still something I suppose.

Overall, Boruto was a great film. It’s a good sign of things to come for Part III of the Naruto franchise. Boruto and the rest of the new generation are actually pretty solid characters so far, which is good to see. They should be able to hold their own movie/TV series for a while as we see them grow stronger and stronger. I don’t expect the stakes to get too high for a while since Naruto or Sasuke should be able to defeat whatever enemies head their way, but as the Chunin Exams showed, we can still get some fun fights and stories. That being said, while Boruto and his friends are solid characters, this movie also proved that Naruto and Sasuke are still the main draw. Now that we can finally have team ups with them again, people don’t want to be stuck watching the Boruto adventures. They want to see what Sasuke and Naruto can really achieve with their combo attacks. I’m in that boat as well and a feature length film with Naruto being the main character again would be great. The writers just need to do a better job with his character. He’s been out of character for two films straight now and that’s unacceptable! Sasuke was portrayed very accurately though and that’s the most important thing here. Whether you’ve seen the Naruto franchise or not, this is a good movie to pick up. It’s a solid action adventure with high stakes and well written characters. It’s a blast through and through as the pacing doesn’t let up for a second.

Overall 9/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Naruto Shippuden Road to Ninja Review

I finally checked out one of the latest Naruto films. This one got the most hype out of any Naruto film. Even the new one that came out about a month ago didn’t get the same kind of publicity as this one. This was going to be the ultimate Naruto film with the best villain yet. I understand that a lot of people did like the villain, but I can’t say that he was for me. This film suffers from the fact that it seems to appeal to the general audience a lot like the last film, but it’s still a decently good movie. We’re just falling back to the pre Shippuden level for the films.

Naruto and Sakura are having some drama with their parents/lack of parents. This results in some tense scenes in the beginning, which inevitably leads them to conclude that their lives would be better off if they could have swapped parental situations. That’s when the Masked Man appears and blasts them into an alternate world where that is the case. Naruto and Sakura realize that they’re going to really have to put some effort in if they want to escape this world and they’ll need to stop the Masked Man. The only problem is that the Masked Man looks a little different in this world. No matter, time to take him out!

Well, it’s a pretty fun plot, but the movie just messed up in several areas. I will admit that I was worried from the very start, but luckily the film fixed my problem with the intro. Let’s just say that it plays out like a bad fanfic. (Good concept, but terrible execution = bad fanfic) The Genin 11 (Mostly Chunins at this point) are slaughtering the Akatsuki when the film starts. It’s embarrassing for the big villains who used to be a threat. Even Itachi and Kisame are treated like random minions. I was definitely wincing a little during this fight since the disregard for power levels was at an all time high. I feel like power levels tend to be more inaccurate as you go through a series so that made me extra cautious here. Luckily, we get a big twist that makes the Akatsuki look better while making Naruto look worse.

I definitely did not like Naruto as he is treated like a plot device to get things rolling. He suddenly starts to feel bad about not having any parents and he takes it out on Iruka. It’s just not the Naruto that we remember. He got over that a long time ago and seeing his parents in his memories was enough to finally snap him out of that. He’s proud of what they did so he would never wish that they were back here. It seems like something that the writers felt was “realistic” for a kid who didn’t have any parents so they threw that in. This transitions into the general audience problem, but I’ll sidestep from that for a little longer.

Naruto gets to meet up with fake versions of his parents and he decides that he’ll act like a rude person so that they’ll stay away from him. He decides that he’s not going to play the Masked Man’s games, but he’s stuck in the world for now so breaking ties with them is not the best way to go about it. Not to mention that fake Minato is the reason why he will get to go on the mission in the first place. If Naruto really didn’t want to hang out with them, he should have just slept on the bench or in the woods like last time. As long as he is in the house, he should definitely act hospitable.

Even worse than Naruto’s actual personality though is definitely how weak he looks. Naruto has long since surpassed everyone in his village by now so he should have crushed the “Akatsuki” in the opening now that we know the twist. He looks worse than most of his allies there and it’s sad since he was the first one to rush in. Then, he finally gets to face off against Menma and he is thoroughly outclassed. His Sage Mode is unable to do anything so he is forced to summon a giant monster so that we can have a one hit KO attack when he finally gets close to Menma. Not exactly how I pictured the final battle.

Sakura doesn’t look very good either. Temporarily she doesn’t even care about going back to the real world. This also happens to Naruto in the second half, which is also pretty disappointing. She also has her arguments with her parents that is out of character, but still counts against her in this film. Her portrayal definitely wasn’t very good like with Naruto, but she could have been a lot worse. Just look at most of the supporting characters. Once again, it’s safe to say that the Leaf Village is pretty unlikable. Iruka deciding not to recommend Naruto to be a Jounin is just a really low blow. This is why nobody can trust this village, they’re always stabbing each other in the back.

Time to back it up a little. The film really feels like it’s trying to be a decent introductory movie to new viewers in a few ways. One way is that we get to see Naruto’s origin story once again (Luckily we skip all of the bullying this time) and Naruto hasn’t gotten over the death of his parents like I mentioned earlier. Sakura’s arguments with her parents are completely out of character for her and it’s just here so that she can be a part of the plot. It’s also a common plot to use for a film so the writers just couldn’t pass it up. (The Author was the main one who decided what the film would be like, but I say writers because the film guys likely helped along the way with their suggestions) Another way that it feels like a general audience film is that the climax is a giant monster battle instead of a nice hand to hand experience.

Let’s face it, “Bigger is better” is still a popular saying in films. So, instead of letting audiences see Naruto and Menma go at it in a DBZ style confrontation, we get to see the Nine Tailed Fox duel a giant monster. They are naturally implied to be far superior to Naruto and Menma is strength even though they look pretty unimpressive. They can spam their energy blasts, but the small range of the blasts (They strike more vertically than horizontally) means that we end up with two monsters who are effectively “camping.” They just keep firing blasts at the other and none of them actually connect. It’s more of a chase than an actual fight and then we get the one punch that ends it all.

That would have been the more disappointing final anime fight since Pokemon if not for the fact that we quickly get another fight after that. Unfortunately, the film was running out of time by then so Naruto’s fight against the Masked Man is very short. No worries, they decide to rip some scenes out of the manga as Naruto wins in a move that pays homage to Minato’s fight. The film’s homages didn’t begin there though as Naruto’s punch with Menma is almost identical to how Naruto defeated Gaara back in the day. I like homages….actually I don’t. Thinking about it now, they’re typically just not good and take away opportunities. Look at Avengers Assemble and how often it copies the film. It’s always best to do something unique and a homage should be more subtle than just copying a fight scene. That’s a lesson that this film really needs to learn.

The film’s animation is pretty good. It’s definitely not something to write home about, but the quality is definitely very good and it makes for a pleasurable viewing experience. I think it’s a little dicey that a show that’s a few years old like Fate/Zero looks better than this film, but that company’s animation budget is just through the roof so I suppose that it’s not fair to compare. What hurts this film a lot is the fact that we didn’t get any real fight scenes, or at least ones that would have a chance to shine. No character uses any fancy energy weapons or has a power up scene where the animators can have fun with the aura. The energy blasts from the Kaiju are the only chance for the film to show off its movie budget and the blasts look good, but they’re more like energy balls so you can’t really make them look quite as good as a Kamehameha no matter how much time you spend drawing it. The fight against the Akatsuki is pretty smooth, but not flashy in the slightest, which is why it actually doesn’t look impressive. You could compare it to the fights against Kakuzu and Hidan in the series and it would actually be pretty similar. The film is more streamlined, but just not as explosively colorful sometimes.

This film borrows just about all of its themes from previous films and the show. That’s pretty sad for it, but it’s a new trend for films based off of old franchises nowadays. It’s a pretty bad trend if you ask me since the music may be established and great, but you need to keep making new songs. Imagine a time where all films just use old tunes and remixes of old tunes. That’s not what we want to see, but the soundtrack is definitely 5 stars worthy. They’re old, but the themes are tried and true. They’re perfect for battle scenes and some of the villain themes really make you feel like the end is near. They’re fitting for such a world filled with despair as everyone fears Menma.

Speaking of which, one of the gimmicks for this film was that Naruto’s supporting cast would have warped personalities in the alternate world. It’s a decent sub plot in concept I suppose, but totally unnecessary. I always liked the idea of parrellel worlds, but just turning all of the heroes to villains and villains to heroes would suffice for me. Instead, the writers decided to make just about all of them unlikable. We have a few perverts, and more of the others are either really meek or too aggressive to the point where they are antagonistic. It’s hard to imagine how this village lasted for a year, much less up to now. There are no good fighters and the whole world lives in fear of Menma.

Time to finally talk about Menma. Saying Menma’s true identity is hardly a spoiler since it’s probably basic Naruto knowledge at this point considering how popular he became for a while, (Not to mention that the actual plot mixed in with the tie in episode makes it a logical conclusion) but I shall not mention it just in case. He has brought the entire Shinobi world to its knees and he is feared as the ultimate Naruto villain. He knows about the Masked Man and then he decides to destroy the Red Moon scroll. It is the one thing that can defeat him so he heads to the Leaf Village to destroy it and that’s when the climax begins. He can summon several monsters like Pain and his physical abilities are already pretty considerable. He is able to catch a Sage Mode Punch from Naruto, which is no easy feat. Unfortunately, the film was just toying with us there as he doesn’t actually fight. Instead, the monster battle begins. From that one moment, we can tell that he is a tough villain, but he just couldn’t end up showing it.

Menma is ultimately an unlikable character despite his powers. One of the main reasons is that he seems to just be a tool the whole time. He has no real motivations and he seems to just fight for the thrills. What really doesn’t help this is the fact that he has a terrible voice. It’s one of the worst voices that I’ve heard for a final boss in some time. It doesn’t strike fear into you or make you gain respect for his character. It just makes Menma seem like a villain who’s tough talk is all that he’s got. Menma’s true design is pretty good and the voice luckily shifts, but it’s hard to watch his masked form.

This review is definitely turning out longer than I had expected. Partially it’s due to how many ways the film went wrong, but also just because this is a Naruto film so there is a lot to discuss. Naruto’s fake parents look pretty good for the most part. One scene is there to quickly reinforce the point that Naruto’s parents were better so that he could leave with no regrets. It definitely shows how much fun it would have been if the parents had been here since the beginning. That would make for a pretty good AU spinoff series since the Leaf Village would definitely be overpowered with them in the ranks. In a way, that’s how it should have been.

I think I’ve addressed most of the points in this film by now. Time to quickly mention one of the negatives that certainly helped to drag the film down. The fanservice. This film has a lot more of it than usual, which is pretty disappointing. It’s not a huge amount, but for Naruto film standards it is considerable. We have the generic bath house scene, which is pretty cringe worthy. There is really no point to it at all. It’s probably just there to get in some more money, but this has always been a pretty cheap trick. You don’t need fanservice in a film and then having two of the characters be perverted for no reason is also in bad taste.

This film is pretty long, but it doesn’t know how to maximize the time that it is given. Too much time is spent on showing us how everything is a little different and not enough is spent on the actual fights or the villain. The film is already almost over by the time that the final fight happens so naturally it is given the shaft instead of the filler moments. Definitely not a good move for the film if you ask me. The film could have been the usual 70 or so minutes without a lot of the filler moments or 2 hours with more action. Either way, it would have been a huge improvement from what we did get.

Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for. Was this movie as disappointing as Battle of Gods? I’m going to say no although it’s very close. My hopes for this film were slightly tempered by Blood Prison while I had nothing to protect me from Battle of Gods before hand. This film still had a great soundtrack, which Battle of Gods lacked although the DBZ film had the much better fight. It just goes to show that the modern films for these two series are not as good as the classics, but that just means that the sequels have a higher chance of being better than these. I’m already hyped for the return of Frieza and I think that the final Naruto film should be pretty good as well. I don’t have high hopes for that one anyway, but the big battle should be good.

In the missed opportunities section, there are definitely a few things that come to mind. One of them is Sasuke since his appearance literally has no point here. He just gets 2-4 lines and that’s about it. He’s relegated to the background like most of the characters here. That’s pretty sad for his fans when the trailers made it seem like he would actually get to do something. The Masked Man’s plan at the end is decent, but plot hax get in the way of this and he also looks rather weak since Sakura is able to hold her own against him for so long. Sakura is a tough fighter, but she’s not Naruto level so he should have been able to crush the Masked Man considering how Sakura’s fight turned out.

Now, I should probably summarize what the positives of the film are since we have so many negatives. How does it actually deserve a 6? Well, we still get a decent fight with the Akatsuki at the beginning and watching them fight random monsters at the end may not be extremely amusing, but it’ll do as an action scene. You just need to ignore the power levels for this film and then you’ll enjoy the fights a lot more. The actual concept is interesting, but it just isn’t used very well. The soundtrack and animation are pretty good as well of course. The film is also pretty interesting while you’re watching it and it’s a fun film. It’s a popcorn fun, action block buster so you’ll leave it feeling satisfied. Amidst all of the negatives, you have to remember that this is still a Shonen Jump film. The designs are unique and the fights are fun. We have good amounts of those two positives here and mixed in with the music, you’ve got the makings of a pretty good film. That’s about it for positives I’m afraid, but they’ll do.

Overall, Road To Ninja is definitely one of the worst Shippuden films and probably ranks pretty low on the all time Naruto list. It loses to films 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8. I’m going to say for now that it does beat films 1 and 5 though. 5 was probably the ultimate disappointing Naruto film since Sasuke was in it, but he couldn’t save it. This is a good film to introduce you to the world of Naruto and Naruto fans should still enjoy the fights. Just be prepared for all of Naruto’s friends to look pretty awful and for the unnecessary fanservice included. Also, brace yourself for the final battle because you are sure to be disappointed unless you were waiting for a giant monster fight. The soundtrack and animation are pretty solid and it’s still a good film despite all of the flaws. This review was certainly on the negative side, but that just seems to be the fate of the modern anime films that get a lot of hype. Obscure titles like Bleach 4 and Yugioh 3D seem to get all of the fun. You’re still guaranteed a fun experience here.

Overall 6/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Naruto Shippuden Legends Akatsuki Rising Review

This is a game that I’ve owned for quite a while at this point. It’s had to sit in my backlog for years, which tells you just how many games I’m juggling at the moment. After all, why else would an anime game ever stay on the shelf? This game is part of the Uzumaki Chronicles series so the gameplay is in that style. Unfortunately, the gameplay has significantly regressed, but it’s still a pretty fun game to check out, it just keeps it from getting a good ole 8. (Most 3D fighting anime video games do end up with 8s, which is why that is pretty notable)

The game covers the first arc of Naruto Shippuden. Naruto has returned to the village after a long time training abroad. He discovers that the Kazekage has been kidnapped by an evil organization known as the Akatsuki! Naruto won’t stand for this so he heads out with a few of his comrades to pursue the villains. Another squad is also dispatched to assist Naruto. They will need to hurry since the villains intend to destroy the Kazekage after their operation is a success.

The gameplay is the biggest factor here so let’s talk about that first. You’re placed in a 3D environment and you typically have to reach the end of an area that is filled with minions. The other type of area is a “defeat the enemies to advance” section which is self explanatory. On the normal areas, you don’t have to actually fight anyone as you run to the goal. I wouldn’t recommend that due to how tricky the leveling up system is. You can teleport with the O button and attacking uses the square button. You can use your ninjutsu like a Rasengan or a Shadow Clone to try and defeat the enemies a little quicker.

The gameplay sounds pretty solid right? It actually sounds great like that since a 3D fighting game is what we all want. Unfortunately, it’s not as clear cut as it sounds. The teleporting option is really what wrecked the gameplay because it doesn’t take up any meter. You can teleport forever and ever if you want too. Your opponent can go one step further as they can teleport through your attacks infinitely. This gets old very quickly as you can try to hit them for minutes without much success. It’s the biggest flaw imaginable since it makes fighting with hand to hand skills virtually impossible. The enemies will just keep on punishing you if you dare to use such a tactic.

The best way to counter this is to just focus on Naruto’s Shadow Clone Jutsu and get it to at least level 5 so you can use the whirlwind combo. After that, just spam it for every single boss along with regular shadow clones. It’s the best way to win, but it’s not a very fun way. Once in a while, you can try to get up close and personal to take on a boss, but then you’ll just watch as they teleport away and hit you with a powerful jutsu that takes away 70% of your health. A single combo was enough to beat me several times so you have to keep your distance. I’m thinking that the developers just didn’t realize that the A.I. would exploit the teleporting so well. I’m hoping that this is fixed for Kizuna Drive since that would make the gameplay so much more enjoyable. Technically, the actual gameplay style is still great, but you really can’t get past the teleporting angle. Who wants to use the same jutsu over and over again for the entire game right?

One thing that could also have made the experience better would be to rehaul the leveling up system. Most games just give you EXP for defeating opponents, but this game added a new spin to it by giving you EXP for good combos as well. This means that defeating normal enemies gives you almost no EXP at all so you need to either keep facing bosses or racking up those combos. Getting a good combo is tough considering how often the opponents teleport so replaying levels to face the bosses is your best bet. Even then, leveling up isn’t very quick and the power upgrade is very slight so you need quite a few level ups to really feel it. I ended the game at level 44, which actually isn’t that bad. I only had to grind for level ups once, but that was before I learned that the Shadow Clone jutsu was the best in the game so it’s hard to tell just how necessary it was. I barely squeaked by one of the final boss fights though so it’s safe to say that it may have ultimately saved me. I think that it should be easier to see how much EXP you need to level up instead of going into the menu that leaves you vurlnable.

Speaking of which…you should be able to pause the game. There is no way to do that in the game, which is pretty sad. You just have to find a quiet spot and camp out t here while you open the menu to look at items and your status. Why the game doesn’t stop while you do that is beyond me. It provides a bit of a challenge in terms of health I suppose, but you should still be able to pause when you’re not in the middle of battle at the very least. (Pausing during battle should still be okay) Nobody wants to keep putting their PSP to sleep when they need to quickly go somewhere. It’s a smaller gripe than the others, but it’s definitely worth mentioning.

The graphics look pretty good. They’re not downright amazing and they certainly get outshined by other PSP games like Birth By Sleep, but it’s good enough. The gameplay graphics are pretty bright and sharp, which allow you to take in everything easily. The cutscenes can definitely be a little blocky, but everything is still clear. I definitely give the game a thumbs up in this area. The soundtrack is decent, but I’m a little more critical of it. There are only a few themes in the game. I’d say that at least half of them are pretty good and there are one or two really good ones. I think they should have had more themes though since just about every boss shares the same one. So, it’s a pretty fun game to listen too, but you should be prepared to hear the same tunes a lot. It’s not as bad as it could have been if the themes were not good of course.

The actual story mode is 10 levels long. Each level is pretty short in terms of gameplay..or at least technically. As mentioned earlier, the boss fights can be quite long and difficult at times so that actually helps to stretch the game out along with the cutscenes. 10 levels is my minimum for a game and my play time was a little over 7 hours so I’m pretty satisfied with the length. There is certainly a lot of replay value to be found here as well. You can try leveling everyone up to level 99 for starters. Then you’ve got Survival Mode and Mission Mode, which have a lot of challenges to complete. You’ve even got an Akatsuki Mode where you effectively play story mode again from the villain’s point of view. A pretty nice touch wouldn’t you say? If you’re really grasping, you can also try to complete each mission with a star, but I’m not sure what you unlock for doing that.

Overall, Naruto Shippuden Legends Akatsuki Rising is a good game, but it’s one that could have been much better. The leveling up system needs a little work since the bosses are typically a little too strong without some extra level ups. The teleporting trick also gets old pretty quickly since the bosses can abuse it while you just watch in awe. The actual story mode is very engaging so it’ll keep you glued to the screen and I still love the concept of a 3D Naruto adventure game. I definitely recommend it to Naruto fans and especially to gamers who want a challenge. Whether intentional or not, this is certainly one of the toughest Naruto games out there! I plan on starting Kizuna Drive soon after I get back to a few other video games so then I should have a review for it up soon. It has more levels than this game and it’s the sequel so we’ll see if they fixed the teleporting issue. I sure hope they did!

Overall 7/10

Battles, Itachi Battles, Kakashi Battles

Kakashi vs Itachi

Kakashi is a pretty skilled ninja and he definitely deserves some credit for mastering many of the Sharingan’s secrets. That being said, an Uchiha can only be defeated by an Uchiha. This isn’t an absolute, but it’s typically the case thanks to the limitless powers of the Sharingan. Itachi is more proficient at using it and Kakashi would not be able to win in an eye battle. Kakashi’s Lightning Blade would be very dangerous, but Itachi’s Susanoo should be more than enough to protect him. Itachi wins.

Battles, Kakashi Battles, Might Guy Battles

Kakashi vs Might Guy

Kakashi vs Might Guy
Might Guy finally makes his blog debut with this round. It’s definitely been a long time since the blog’s conception so it’s surprising that it’s taken this long. Luckily for Might Guy fans, he will be starting off on a high note. Kakashi may have the sharingan and an incredible array of jutsu, but it will not be enough. I used to pick him when it came down to a fight, but Might Guy’s taijutsu is just far too impressive at this point. Kakashi would not be able to keep up with him. Might Guy wins.

Battles, Jiraiya Battles, Kakashi Battles

Kakashi vs Jiraiya

This is definitely a challenging match because you can make a solid case for both characters. Jiraiya had the imperfect Sage Mode, which did increase his raw power, but I can’t say that it did wonders for his speed. Kakashi definitely keeps the edge in that category. Kakashi has more jutsu in his array and that’s what will be the deciding factor. Jiraiya’s Rasengan would be deadly, but I believe that Kakashi would be able to dodge it and land the Lightning blade, which would end the fight. Kakashi wins.

Battles, Kakashi Battles, Master Roshi Battles

Master Roshi vs Kakashi

Master Roshi may have the legendary Kamehameha wave, but he won’t be winning this round. His speed and power are good, but in the end it won’t be enough to stop Kakashi and his lightning blade! Kakashi’s speed advantage has saved him in this round. Master Roshi may be back one of these days. Kakashi wins.