Naruto Hippo-Den Movie: The Lost Tower
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.
Movie Details: Naruto Shippuden: The Lost Tower is the fourth movie in the series, appearing on movie screens in Japan in July, 2010 and available for sale on DVD in April, 2011. The movie is set in the very long running manga and anime series Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto, a shonen (young boys) action/adventure series known for its fight scenes. The movie is a side-story where Naruto is sent on a mission to capture a missing nin, but ends up traveling twenty years into the past where he meets his father.
Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:
ep. tl;dr review: Time travel, followed by fighting, more fighting, some more fighting, and some more fighting, ugh.
Spoiler-free Movie Set-up: Naruto and his buddies are sent to the ruins of Rouran, an abandoned city in the desert, chasing a rogue ninja named Mukade. But they arrive just a little bit too late, and Mukade unleashes a powerful seal sending him back to the past where he plans to take over the world. Naruto gets caught up in the blast, and awakens to find himself in the middle of a fabulous city of a thousand towers where he meets a mysterious girl who flees from him. Soon he learns the girl is the young Princess Sara, who is the leader of the shining city of Rouran, twenty years in the past. When Sara is pushed from a balcony, he saves her from certain death and meets up with three other ninjas sent from the Uzumaki Clan on another mission, and soon learns that not all is well in the city of Rouran — especially the mysterious with the mysterious adviser Anrokuzan, who seems to be the real person “pulling the strings” of power.
My Impressions: So. Want to read a review of Naruto from someone who has never seen a full episode of Naruto, or really knows what it is about?
Neither do I. And I don’t particularly feel like writing one, either. I’m sorta-kinda familiar with the bare-bones basic concept of the show, and I’ve seen bits and pieces of individual episodes on television before (after all, it’s hard to avoid one of the most popular kiddie anime shows of the past decade). And I know enough to know that I don’t care for the show one little bit, mostly because of the ultra-annoying main character who has a voice like nails-on-chalkboard and his insufferable attitude.
Let’s just say that this movie did not improve my opinion of Naruto. I didn’t really understand what they were doing, or why they were fighting, so I just sort of rolled with it. Okay, so it seems that Naruto has some sort of ultra-super-human powers that allow him to jump around with superpowers, take enough damage that would kill a hundred ordinary men, clone himself at will (well, actually, I already knew about that before), and create these balls of concentrated power called rasengan. Yet despite having inhuman powers that would put the average Marvel spandex freak to shame, he’s also about as smart as your average hamper of dirty clothes. And the only person who appears to be dumber than him is the female lead in the film, Princess Sara, who is too idiotic to notice her kingdom turning into puppets over the years. A match made in heaven.
I don’t want to go into details about the plot, because it really isn’t worth the effort. But it sort of reminds me in some ways of one of the worst TV-series remakes of the nineties, Lost in Space, with the part of “Spider Smith” played by an equally stupidcreepy Spider Mukade. I will admit the first twenty minutes or so were sort of interesting as it got into the world building of Rouran…but pretty soon it just turned into an endless string of ever-escalating battles with Naruto getting repeatedly thrown around like a rag doll as the evil Mukade keeps growing larger and more powerful. And throughout the movie, Naruto keeps running across/getting saved by his twenty-years-in-the-past father and buddies (neither really realizing who each other are at the time, Naruto too weak-minded to figure it out), who keeps telling him to butt out. Yet Naruto perseveres, keeps fighting until the end.
If there was one particular fatal flaw to the movie, though, it would have to be at a point about halfway through when the villain has Naruto and Sara at his mercy, could kill them just like that, end of movie. But NOPE! instead he spends several minutes gloating over them, explaining his mwa-ha-ha evilness, allowing them time to escape. This tired movie cliche is one of my pet peeves, and any movie that employs it deserves to be trashed.
FINAL GRADE: D (Note: All completed series and feature-length movies receive a final letter grade) Frankly, I could only imagine this movie is of interest to diehard Naruto fans to begin with, anyone who is unfamiliar with the franchise will just start out all confused, like me. Yet, even to the diehard Naruto fan, I imagine this could only be somewhat of a turd (then again, Naruto fans are not exactly known for their discerning tastes, and are generally considered the bottom of the barrel of anime fans in the first place). When I was watching this, I would watch about five minutes, get annoyed/bored and go off to browse the internet for a little bit, come back to watch five more minutes, lather rinse repeat, so it probably took me about three hours to slog through. This was really a chore to finish. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
- Official movie trailer on Youtube.
- Info resources: My Anime List, Anime News Network, AniDB, Wikipedia, and Internet Movie Database.
- If you like this, you might also like: Bleach: The Hell Verse Movie.
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “While I didn’t have high expectations for Naruto Shippuden: The Lost Tower in the first place, what could potentially have been a pretty decent animated file remains mediocre due to its missed opportunities. Grade: 6.0/10.” – Animenauts
- “Definitely not a movie that I would want to go buy or even watch again. For that entire 1 hour and 25 minutes, I was waiting for something epic to happen, but nothing did. Grade: 6/10.” – My Anime List top review
- “Ok the story is not great …then expect a good fight? sorry to let your hopes down..but even the fights were nothing worth talking about, its just Naruto running around using his RASENGAN and SHADOW CLONES and the Fourth Hokage appearing & disappearing every now and then.” – Anime Tomodachi
- “Three words…the movie sucked. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hater–I like Naruto. Ever since I started watching the series, I have grown fond of its characters and its world. It’s just…this movie honestly did not live up to my expectations, and also what the trailer had promised to bring.” – Somewhere Nowhere in my Kingdom
- “Okay so it wasn’t the greatest Naruto movie, but if you are a Naruto fan (like me), you’ll love it! If not, then i’m not really sure actually. Hell even if your not a naruto fan you might like it! Grade: 3.5/5.” – IGN.com
- “As much as it hurts to say it, there’s no way I could consciously recommend this movie to anyone, much less a fan of the series. While the music and visuals are certainly up to par, everything else falls apart at the seams. There’s just so many bad decisions and missed opportunities storywise that its almost frustrating.” – The Otaku Gamer Spot
Miscellaneous Odds and Ends from before 2011 left to review: Naruto to Machin to Mitsu no Onegai Dattebayo Special, Major OVA: Message, You are Umasou Movie, Armored Trooper Votoms: Case;Irvine, Heartcatch Precure Movie, Senkou no Night Raid Special: Devil in the Opium Den, Pokemon: Best Wishes Episode 1, Dragonball Super Saiyan-jin Zetsumetsu Kaikaku, Armored Trooper Votoms: Finder