‘Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Blood Prison‘ is a 2011 anime spin-off film directed by Masahiko Murata. Like other movies in the franchise, it was produced by Studio Pierrot, distributed by Toho Studios, and was later dubbed into English by Viz Media. This review is based on the dub.
Naruto (Maile Flanagan) is accused of trying to assassinate the Raikage (Beau Billingslea). As a result, Lady Hokage Tsunade (Debi Mae West) sentences him to Hozuki Castle, a prison in the Hidden Grass Village. It is led by the cold-hearted Lord Mui (Matthew Mercer), who laces a seal on Naruto that allows him to drain chakra energy from the prisoners. Naruto learns from fellow prisoner Ryūzetsu (Carrie Keranen) that Lord Mui and the Hidden Grass elders are siphoning energy from the prisoners to unlock a mystical box that grants wishes. The two decide to work together to stop them before it is too late.
This movie was shockingly darker than a lot of Naruto films. It featured sadistic prison guards, a father who willingly killed his own son, and criminals who have done some incredibly cruel things. The show and films do not shy from darker themes, but this one felt like it was a whole different level. I was not sure what to expect, but it ultimately worked.
The art design was impressive this time around. With a totally new environment, they did a good job of making the prison feel isolated to the point that escape seemed hopeless. I also liked the soundtrack, done by music composer Yasuharu Takanashi. He did a good job of keeping it matched with what was happening on the screen.
With Naruto placed in a totally different environment and unable to use his special abilities made it an interesting take on the character. Despite his disadvantages, he retains that optimism that you come to expect from him. He does not allow them to change him, but Naruto uses his “ninja way” to force change where he is. I found that it brought a lot of depth to the story that the film was trying to tell. This direction made the film unpredictable and ultimately made my viewing experience much more enjoyable.
Bottom line, Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Blood Prison is a unique entry to the Naruto films. It had a solid story that placed Naruto on a road less traveled and made it a great watch.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Disturbing images, Some bloody violence, Minor foul language
FAVORITE QUOTE: Save your tears for later.
Check out the teaser below:
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This article has been updated from a previous version.
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