A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Naruto Shippuden The Movie: Bonds is a 2008 Japanese movie featuring the titular hero who also is on a television program shown on Disney XD. There is frequent martial-arts and fantasy-style violence throughout the movie, as well as frequent demonic imagery. A beloved older character is killed by several arrows shot into his body in slow motion; his death is very emotional, and characters cry. Profanity includes "damn" and "bastard" as well as a character named "Pervy Sage." Given the content, the complexities in the story line, and the movie being in Japanese with English subtitles, this DVD is best enjoyed by older tweens and up, especially those who already are fans of anime.
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What's the story?
Ninjas from the Sky Country have flown in to bomb Leaf Village. Naruto (Junko Takeuchi) is sent along with a tomboy named Amaru, who is an aspiring doctor under the training of an elderly doctor named Shinno, who also accompanies them, along with Naruto's friends Sakura and Hinata. Their journey takes them through a treacherous jungle and to Amaru's village, which appears to be abandoned. Shinno is seemingly killed after Amaru sets off a tripwire shooting off several arrows. In their search for the missing villagers, they meet a monster called Zero Tails who thrives on the energy generated by all the evil in the world. It is here where Naruto and Amaru learn a terrible truth about Shinno and must find a way to prevent their own negative energy from making Zero Tails and Shinno stronger while also trying to find a way to rescue the imprisoned villagers and stop the destruction of the Land of Five Great Nations.
Is it any good?
This movie is best for fans of the Naruto Shippuden enterprise. While the animation is beautiful and the action is engaging, it's easy for those not well-versed in anime and especially the Naruto series to get lost in talk of "chakra" and the history of the Five Great Nations rivalry with the Sky Country, to say nothing of the fact that there's a character named "Pervy Sage."
For young or sensitive viewers, the demonic imagery in this one seems tailor-made to cause nightmares. For parents of anime-obsessed kids, you'll probably need them to explain what exactly is happening in each twist, turn, and knot in the complicated story. The quality is there, even if some of the ideas get lost in translation, but this really isn't something everyone in the family can enjoy unless you all are anime superfans.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in animated movies. Did the violence seem appropriate to the story line, or did it seem like it was forced in to try to make the story seem more interesting?
Movies centered on ninjas and martial arts are prevalent in film culture all around the world. What similarities and differences do you see between Naruto and other heroes in movies like these?
What similarities and differences do you see between this film and other anime movies?
What is the significance of the word "Bonds" in the title of the movie as it pertains to the story?
- On DVD or streaming: October 25, 2011
- Cast: Junko Takeuchi, Chie Nakamura, Noriaki Sugiyama
- Director: Hajime Kamegaki
- Studio: Viz Media
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Sports and Martial Arts, Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: September 11, 2020
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