Tag Archives: Steven Blum

Naruto: The Realest

Cover of the first manga.

Naruto. What is there to say about Naruto? What is there to truly say about one of the most ballin’ animes currently running? Well there’s a lot more to say than that it’s just balling. This show fulfills every young boys’ dream of becoming a ninja. And not just any ordinary ninja, but a true Shinobi with Ninjutsu and Thaijustsu for days. You got the Kunai and Shuriken, and the classic substitution technique. These young children Shinobi put legitimate ninjas to shame. They are unstoppable. And this show is infectious.

But there’s just one debate we have to deal with before we move on to the plot of Naruto. And that is: Naruto Dubbed vs

Naruto and the power of his Nine-Tailed Fox.

Naruto Subbed? There are those younger kids who would argue dubbed, due to an ability to watch a show (not read, though not a valid argument) and a lot of younger kids watched this on Cartoon Network. There are a handful of good voice actors in the show that make it worth watching it. But there’s the flipside of the coin. The subbed version, when it comes down to it, is better done. There’s swearing, and Rock Lee’s secret technique isn’t called Loopy Fist. That was a bit of a disappointment. For a more serious tone for the older fans of Naruto should watch the subbed version. But it all comes down to a preference of English vs Japanese. It’s the same show, just a different feel. It’s all up to you.

The starring team: Sakura, Sasuke, and Naruto!

So, Naruto is a show about Naruto Uzumaki (Maile Flanagan). He is a ninja in training and hoping to become the leader of the village he lives in one day, known as The Village Hidden in the Leaves. The Third Hokage, leader of the village, sees much promise in Naruto and hopes that his sensei’s, Iruka Umino (Quinton Flynn) and Kakashi Hatake (Dave Wittenberg). With his teammates Sasuke Uchiha (Yuri Lowenthal), the cool calm-headed prodigy out to prove himself, and Sakura Haruno (Kate Higgins), the hot-headed and pretty much useless book smart girl,  Naruto can’t fail in his mission to become the best. Believe it!

So many great characters in the world of Naruto!

There’s a lot of arcs and sections in this show. There’s the introduction of all the characters, the Chunin exams (the test that sees if you’re ready to become the next level ninja), and the battles between Orochimaru (Steven Blum) and his henchmen. With each trial for Naruto comes more responsibility and more powers. The show culminates in a huge twist and leaves more than 60 episodes of fillers that have nothing to do with the main plot. That’s not to say that there aren’t fillers throughout that aren’t cool and entertaining, I personally found a lot of the fillers to be funny and not so much a detraction from the show as an enhancer of the lesser characters. And how many cool characters there are.

There’s the 12 Ganin, 3 of which I’ve already mentioned. There’s Kiba Inuzuka (Kyle Hebert), the dog master of Akamaru and a master of, well, I’ll let you check everyone’s powers out. Shino Aburame (Derek Stephen Prince) is the master of bugs, and one of my favorite Shinobi in the show. Filling out Team 8 is Hinata Hyuga (Stephanie Sheh), the master of soft palm. She has a huge crush on Naruto but never

Team 10, led by the great Shikamaru.

reveals it in the original Naruto, an unfortunate thing.

Team 10 is made up of some real destructive masters as well. Choji Akimichi (Robbie Rist), the expanding fat kid with a penchant for lots and lots of niblets and chips. Shikamaru Nara (Tom Gibis) one of my favorite characters in the show and one of the only truly gifted in the series. His ability with shadows will leave you… breathless. And then there’s Ino Yamanaka (Colleen O’Shaughnessey), the useless girl who is more useless than Professor X. (You’ll see why.)

Look at Shino back there, bein’ all wiznerd and whatnot.

And then there’s Team Guy, the most masterful of all the masters. Led by Might Guy (Skip Stellrecht), his mastering of the physical Thaijustsu is just too legit to quit. Under Guy’s tutelage is Rock Lee (Brian Donovan), the only kid who will never quit and always fights to the end with his Flying Leaf Hurricane. Tenten (Danielle Judovits) is a weapons master and is always twirling and releasing weapons on everyone’s asses. And the semi-leader of the team is Neji Hyuga (Steve Staley) master of his cousin’s soft fist and intelligent as Hell.

All of these awesome characters flesh out a show about honor and friendship, being the best and doing everything in your power to prove your self worth. There’s self discipline, training montages, and

And Team Guy, they pack a whallup of a punch.

everything you wanna see in a shounen of this magnitude that needs to be seen by all young men out there that need a great role model in their lives, or just a great action cartoon/anime. Oh, and don’t forget the villains! I already mentioned Orochimaru, but there’s the best character and best voice actor that needs to be mentioned, nay, worshipped. Gaara (Liam O’Brien) is a disciple of the Village Hidden in the Sand, and a true beast of a fighter. With a gourd full of sand that does his every bidding, there’s more than meets the eye to this character. And he will completely slaughter you. Two words: SAND COFFIN.

And don’t ever forget Gaara. SAND COFFIN.

So watch this show for sure. The production value gets better as the show goes along, and for those that like dubbed anime, it’s not the worst in the world. And that brings up an issue. Maile Flanagan ruins this show. She may have a similar voice that can mirror the tone that Naruto Japanese version can do, but that’s just a bit of a stretch. Maile Flanagan’s whiney voice and childish lines leave a lot to be desired from a leading role. Oh, and, well, it’s just gross. Sorry there, Flannie old pal, but it’s probably for the best the dubbed version was cut off in the middle of Naruto Shippuden. But, for overall story and deliverance, Naruto as a whole, for all it’s worth, deserves a 8.8 out of 10. Definitely top 10 anime of all time to watch before you die. (You can skip the fillers.)

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Wolf’s Rain (Strayyy)

So, I’ve been getting behind on my posts, and I’ve been watching a lot of anime. So now I think it’s time for another.  Wolf’s Rain, produced by Bones and licensed by Bandai, is a story of wolves. Who look like humans. But are wolves. Who look like they can act like humans. But are detectable by some as being wolfish. A little elaborate, I know, but when you see it, which you will after reading this, you’ll understand. But these wolves live in the human world. And they’re after only one thing. Paradise. And they’re the only ones who can find it.

The story starts off rather intensely. No introduction of characters, just train robbery. Gigantic explosions. And then we meet Tsume (Crispin Freeman). He’s a complete badass (come on, his voice actor is Crispin Freeman, my hero) and he’s not even the MAIN CHARACTER. But Tsume robs and plunders until one day he and his gang come across a gigantic “dog” hidden in a tree. This dog? Wolf. Kiba (Johnny Yong Bosch A.K.A. Green Ranger). He’s pretty badass, and as the story develops, we find him to be the leader of the pack. Along with these two, we have Hige, (Joshua Seth) the hungry rambunctious sniffer, and Toboe (Mona Marshall) the whiner with the best of intentions.

The story gets heavy as these two encounter Cheza (Sherry Lynn) and who becomes their arch-nemesis, Lord Darcia III (Steven Blum). The search all over the decaying human world for Paradise using Cheza, the biologically successful human flower, to achieve their dream of paradise. The ending is sad, confusing, and uplifting, all at the same time. You won’t regret a watching of this show.

Now down to the nitty gritty likes and dislikes. The show length was great. It was a fast-paced, character driven, subplot induced thrill ride. Loved it. Didn’t love that there was a disc that Bandai decided to release called Recollections. This disc, these 4 episodes. Recap. In full, up to that point. It helped my girlfriend catch up, I almost fell asleep. If you do watch this anime, skip episodes 15-18. Those episodes went unaired. You can guess why. Other than that, the anime was fantastic.

The animation was really great on this anime. It was quite cinematic, and to me, felt like I was riding the crest of a video game, playing as Kiba, destroying with Tsume, that kinda thing. It was fantastic. Cheza, okay, Cheza was kind of annoying. “This one is hurt,” “This one is happy,” “This one feels your sadness.” How about… “This one will either stop using third person or shut up?” That would’ve been nice. There’s just that one incompetent character in every anime, and she’s it. Nobody in that wolf pack is annoyed by her. They like being petted by her. Probably because all she is is a flower.

Lord Darcia was fantastic, the fight scenes were epic, the Nobles, were mysterious, it was great. If I had to compare it to another anime that it’s like, I’d have to say none. It’s the classic adventure epic (Comparable to Lord of the Rings) that really takes itself out of the anime genre and becomes something far more. And best part? It’s all capped with a great opening theme. “Stray” by Steve Conte. This song will annoy you to the point that you’ll fall in love with it. It’s so 80’s, it’s ridiculously awesome. Download it, listen, love it. In fact here it is.

Great anime, definitely a 9 out of 10. Happy watching and thanks for visiting the abyss.