It's Naruto time again here at UK Anime Towers, although unfortunately for us this latest installment is almost as full of filler as the last. Then again, on the back of the recent news that the manga is set to come to an end in Japan, we should perhaps make the most of these moments to enjoy the remaining doses of our favourite spiky haired, orange jumpsuited ninja. Luckily for Naruto fans we're a long way off any possible end to the anime here in the UK.
The good news is that towards the end of this set we finally, thankfully, see an end to the filler and a return to the story proper. However, as we begin Naruto is still on his “top secret S-rank mission” involving the "urgent" journey to the Land of Lightning; alas this means we're still being inflicted with the long past funny references to Guy's seasickness. The focus soon turns away from Naruto and onto his comrades back in the Leaf Village. This is much to the benefit of these filler episodes, as it allows them to explore things away from Naruto and all the restrictions he brings.
There are episodes focussing on TenTen, Konohamaru, Shino, Sai and many of the other secondary characters. While some of these episodes are better than others, on the whole the shift away from Naruto and onto the secondary characters allows the writers much greater freedom and consequently this set shows a massive improvement in storytelling over the last. That said, the inane ramblings of a toddler would be an improvement in storytelling over box set eighteen. These episodes manage to be consistently more entertaining than any of the filler episodes in the last set - however, perhaps unsurprisingly, the best episodes on show here are the last few; in which we return to the story proper. Naruto finally meets Killer Bee and is able to begin his long promised training to attempt to tame his tailed beast, Kurama the Nine-Tails.
After the disappointment of the last box set some much improved filler episodes and the eventual return to the story proper make this set one worth picking up for Naruto fans everywhere.