Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds was released in 2008 and is the second in the Naruto Shippuden films. The movie slots in as a follow up between episodes 54 to 71 of the TV series. The Screenplay is by Junk Takigani; Director of Cinematography is Mitsuo Mitsumoto; Music is by Yasumaru Takawashi; and Director is Hajime Kamegaki.
The movie opens with the Hidden Leaf village being under attack by flying ninja’s from the Land of the Sky, an enemy nation thought to have been defeated. During this battle Naruto comes across a wandering doctor named Shinnou and his apprentice Amaru helping the injured. You find out Amuru’s village is under fire, so Naruto and company (this time Sakura and Hinata) are given orders to escort Amaru back to the village. In the meantime Jounin such as Kakashi, Sai & Shikamaru are set to lead the counter attack against the Sky Ninja.
The simple escort of Shinnou and Amaru proves to be a trickier mission than originally intended – not only is there more to Amaru than meets the eye, but Shinnou has a few surprises up his sleeve. Orochimaru also has his eye on Dr Shinnou – due to having the notion that he has access to a forbidden regeneration jutsu and despatches Sasuke to capture him. This sets the scene for some huge battles, friendships that form and bonds that are broken. The biggest highlight is an opportunity to see Naruto and Sasuke fighting along side each other again.
When I remember seeing the trailer for Bonds – I was excited, we finally get a movie with Sasuke making an appearance! It gave the illusion that we will finally have some progression with Naruto and Sasuke’s relationship. However this wasn’t really the case – The bonds theme is shown through the relationship between Amaru and Shinnou and how it’s torn apart, so for me this was quite disappointing – but good marketing none the less to get people hyped up.
As with most of the Naruto movies I’ve seen – they all have the same issue, they are all side stories and they don’t have any impact to the overarching story line. It’s great to see our favourite characters with slick animation and awesome fight scenes, but you just want something more brought to the table – maybe more character development on main characters, a new special jutsu learned? – just something to make it a must see movie, not just another filler side quest.
Even so, being a fan I enjoyed Naruto Shippuden: Bonds just as much as any other Naruto film I’ve seen in recent times, you’ll get a kick out of it – some fantastic flashy fight scenes, a slice of comedy and a charming adventure with heart.
A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.