Warning: If you haven't seen the previous boxset ( Set 11), then don't read this review as I'll reference past events.
The previous boxset ended on a major cliffhanger as Madara Uchiha was about to reveal the truth behind Itachi and the motives behind his actions before cruely the DVD ended. Fans had to wait 3 long months for the next box set to find out what happens in the episode titled " Truth", which finally explains what really happened that fateful night, whilst also answering some other of thoses questions long term viewers had about Itachi.
Unfortunately, for those who have been waiting for this boxset, then there is some bad news - 8 of the 13 episodes in this set are filler. Depending on your opinion on Naruto filler, this may not be a bad thing. But when the canon episodes are of such majestic quailty, and the story in such a irresistible moment, then I can't help but feel they weren't needed.
Well, onto my review of the episodes. The five episodes that aren't filler are just pure brilliance: Filled with clever plot twists, back references, noble sacrifices, and crucial development for Sasuke, plus the inclusion of two awesome new characters, ( who will play huge roles in Naruto in the future), I couldn't help but be impressed. Of course, those who saw the last boxset will sadly recall the death of a legend in the Naruto universe, and how Naruto, up to this point is completely unaware. The episodes titled " Somber News" and "Surpassing the Master" are a special two parter that in its poignant delivery play out like a tender tribute to the legendary sannin. These episodes are immaculately executed; There is a heavy feeling of sadness, no question. But there is also a strong feeling of Nostalgia for fans,that have watched these characters bounce of each other since they met in episode 52 of Naruto, as we have watched their relationship become like a father and son.
Another highlight of those episodes is the introduction of a certain rapping ninja ( trust me, it's better than it sounds!) vs the Akatsuki... The animation for this fight is so fluid - it's top, top work by the animators.
As for the filler... well I won't lie, I generally dislike filler, but I understand that it's necessary. These episodes aren't exactly terrible, but they are the usual lazy, uninspired, general time plug, that once you've watched once, won't watch again.
Centering around the story of the six tales Jinchuriki - the Rokubi, who's a member of ( the never heard of before), Bubble clan.
I suppose it's nice to see another tailed beast that didn't get any screen time get some. But it's the general timing of this arc that may bother some people. If you like filler though, then you'll have no problem with this.
By the way, the next boxset, which has yet to be announced, is really something to look forward to. The next arc is in my opinion, the best Naruto arc yet, so look forward to it!
Thanks for reading this review.