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Boruto Naruto Next Generations Set 2 Blu-ray Anime Review

9 min read
A heavy focus on Sarada helps to keep our attention.

A heavy focus on Sarada helps to keep our attention.

What They Say:
What’s scarier than facing an army of ninja warriors? School exams! As everyone scrambles to prepare, Sarada goes on a quest to uncover the secret of her birth and find out more about her father, Sasuke. Will she find the answers she seeks in this shadowy legend? Then Boruto and classmates take a trip to a place haunted by a bloody past-the Village Hidden in the Mist. This is one trip they won’t forget!

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo along with the English language dub, both of which are encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The show has a pretty solid design to it for a stereo mix with some good placement where needed for the dialogue along with some good moments of depth but it still largely adheres to the standard stereo design that you’d expect. The action stands out nicely with the sound of swords and other weapons clashing coming across well and some decent impact to it all as well. There’s good movement during these scenes as well as a good feeling of warmth to it with the music, both the score in the series itself as well as the more polished opening and closing sequence songs. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally beginning its broadcast run in 2017, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The thirteen episodes for this set are spread evening in a seven/six format for this release, giving it plenty of room to work with. Animated by Pierrot, the show has a lot of the familiar designs and feelings that you’d expect as a successor to Narutp but it also boosts things up a bit in the color department. This one feels a bit more vibrant and colorful in general and that vividness is in a lot of scenes, especially with Boruto and his character/costume design. The encoding for this release captures the details well from the backgrounds, especially areas like the Hidden Leaf village where there’s so much going on, all while still feeling like an extension of what came before without being a completely new design.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds the two discs while also coming with an o-card slipcover. The o-card replicate the case artwork but with more color vibrancy as we get Boruto and Sarada in attack mode here. Set against a white background with a few colorful widgets, it stands out because of all the vibrant colors that it utilizes but it’s also nicely shaded and shadowed so that it’s not too vibrant or outgoing. The back cover brings in more of the cast across it against the same kind of background and we get a short but solid summary of the premise. The layout of how the disc is setup and the extras is together along the left in a bullet-style list that I don’t like for technical information but it does list things generally clearly. The bottom adds a pink hue to it as we get the production credits and an array of logos. The case itself replicates all of this while the reverse side is a nice two-panel spread showing the trio from the front cover in different action-ish positions. No show related inserts are included with this Blu-ray-only release.

Menu:
The menu design for this release goes for an extended clip montage format where there’s a slew of action pieces playing to it that covers a gamut of characters. You’d expect it to be mostly all about Boruto but it doesn’t use him nearly as much as you’d expect. The clips take up the bulk of the screen while the navigation design along the bottom gives us some colorful stripes at an angle using some of Boruto’s key colors with the selections along them. It’s quick to load and it works well in terms of moving about and setting it up – especially as Viz offers you a couple of different options. The menu works smoothly both as a main menu piece and as just the navigation itself as a pop-up menu during regular playback.

Extras:
The extras for this release are all kept to the second disc. The familiar and welcome pieces are here with the clean opening and closing sequences and Viz Media continues to deliver the art gallery material and storyboards, though I’m not sure how many look at that these days. They did them for all the Naruto releases so I’m not surprised they carry on with it here. We also get an English cast interview that runs about thirteen minutes with Amanda C. Miller, who plays Boruto, and how she’s handling the role as it grows more.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While I won’t say I struggled with Boruto like I did the end of the Naruto: Shippuden run with all of its being drawn out, I was reminded way too much of early Naruto original series and that just left me cool to it. The generational aspect does have its appeal and looking at the configurations of the cast was fun but more for seeing where those that we had spent years with had ended up and with who. Getting to see the old cast move into the positions of power was the allure for me since it’s an area we rarely get to see within anime or manga storytelling in the larger general sense. This set gives us more of that but it also kind of pushes Boruto himself to the side for a lot of it. In fact, the good stuff all happens when Boruto isn’t involved at all, which makes half the set pretty enjoyable.

There’s some fun in dealing with more of what happens with the failsafe that Danzo had put in place, though it does feel odd for it to have really taken so long for something like this to come up. It’s handled more by the elders than Boruto but he’s involved in it along with a few others and it wraps up the storyline from the first set fairly quickly with the first couple of episodes. The main focus for Boruto in this set beyond the goofy last couple of episodes involving the field trip comes early. Boruto’s power through the eye has been inactive for a while and that starts to get explored a bit, though he’s not going to deal with his parents on it much. We see this moving about in his mind as he goes through his routine things with training and school but it’s definitely welcome to see how he does have family to lean on for other things, a contrast from Naruto’s early days where he really just had Kakashi and he was a mixed bag in how he handled him as a kid.

But all of this and the school based elements feel like early series fluff in order to set up connections, just like before. It’s not bad but it’s not terribly engaging either to me. What I did like is two-fold in how it’s presented. The first is that we get a good run of episodes involving Sarada as Sasuke has come back to town and there’s a real anger there from her in regards to dealing with him with how he rarely visits her and treats her mother. Sasuke’s aloof to say the least but she’s working down a curious path where she doesn’t believe her mother is actually her mother. And when that brings in a few others from the old days while investigating something else, she gets the chance to ask someone else that doesn’t know to keep their mouth shut. Not that there’s truth to it but when she’s the spitting image of Karin with the glasses, well, it’s easy for someone like Sarada to make the leap, especially with how her father is handling everything. Sarada becomes well-rounded and realized throughout these episodes and storyline in a really good way.

The more interesting part of me is watching some of the undercurrents come up and become more focused toward the end of this storyline overall. Sasuke’s mission of trying to deal with threats like Kaguya or related to what they faced before to keep the village safe is an admirable one and he’s doing it to atone for his past as well. We even see a moment where he kind of darkly says to Naruto that this is the kind of dynamic Naruto always wanted, though it misinterprets Naruto’s intent a good bit I think. But the reality is that they do need to be very forward-thinking and planning to deal with threats like they faced before and Sasuke is ideal, along with others that are spread about secret bases. The thing that worries most of those from this generation is the same as the one before them in that they’re not sure the next is up to it. There is some reason to feel this is warranted because there were far different tensions between the villages back then and that led to some real competitiveness that pushed each other. That’s not as strong here and the current crop seems underpowered. We know they’ll be able to step up when necessary but I like seeing this bigger view of the world focused on and the concerns the adults have as they view it through the lens of people who survived the Great War and lost friends and allies in it.

In Summary:
While I doubt a second set of Boruto will do much to really convince someone to stay with it that’s not really interested in this world in general, I do think it offers more of a big picture look at what’s going on than the original series did at this stage. There are plenty of basic similarities between this and the original Naruto series but Boruto is staking out some bigger ground as it deals with the fallout from the Great War still and all the new things it wants to introduce as well. This set is solidly put together with some good stuff to it in the extras while also packing in some cute stickers to the set once again. It looks great, has a solid dub, and I’m digging more of the story concepts this time around than I was in the first set. I’m cautiously optimistic, which after over 700 episodes of the previous series I’m not sure is something I ever thought I’d say.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 DTS-HD MA Language, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA Language, English Subtitles, English Cast Interview, Storyboards, Art Gallery, Clean Opening, Clean Ending

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B+

Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: July 16th, 2019
MSRP: $44.98
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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