The film opens with a battle on a beach between the Sand Ninja and unknown warriors wearing bulky armor. As the Sand Ninja are becoming overwhelmed by these mysterious warriors, reinforcements arrive; the reinforcements are led by Kankuro and Gaara. The tide of the battle turns. However, when the Sand Ninja shine a light on their retreating enemy, a large warship appears and begins firing. Gaara's sand armor barely protects the Sand Ninja.
Meanwhile, Naruto, Shikamaru, and Sakura are on a mission to deliver a lost pet ferret to its owner. However, they are intercepted by Temujin, who gets into a fight with Naruto. The two are knocked off a cliff at the peak of their battle; as they fall, a giant ship appears. In the ship is a traveling caravan, and it turns out they are the people who had lost the ferret. The caravan takes care of Naruto and Temujin. At first, Naruto and Temujin don't get along; however, as they are with the caravan, they learn to tolerate each other.
Sakura and Shikamaru search for Naruto. Shikamaru comes upon a fortress, where he finds a lab with children in capsules. He also sees two women who wear armor like Temujin's, and they talk about the Gelel Stone. As the movie progresses, the audience learns more about the Gelel Stone, and how Temujin has a connection with it. Also, the storylines of the Sand Ninja and of Naruto and his friends converge together during the film.
When watching the film, it was obvious a lot of effort went into rendering the backgrounds. However, the animation of the characters was not as strong as in the first film. Shikamaru and Kankuro both received consistently bad animation. The animation for Sakura would fluctuate between being rather good to being very poor. While Naruto tended to get good animation, there were sections where he would occasionally get some bad animation. Gaara and the new characters all seemed to get consistently good animation.
When Viz Media released Legend of the Stone of Gelel on DVD, it was released as a two-disc set. The first disc contained the film, while the second disc had all the special features. For set up, there is a section to choose audio and subtitle options. For audio, there is supposed to be English 5.1, English Stereo, Japanese 5.1, and Japanese Stereo; however, if you select Japanese Stereo, it plays the English Stereo audio instead. The only way to hear the Japanese audio on this release is to select Japanese 5.1. There is also a section where you can turn on the audio commentary and to turn on the Pop-Up Naruto Guides.
The second disc contains seven extras. The first is a 14-and-a-half minute long documentary called, "Creating the World of Naruto the Movie 2." Over the course of this documentary, various people involved with the production (the Production Supervisor, a Co-Producer, the ADR Producer, the ADR Director, and the Associate Producer), as well as the English voices for Sakura, Naruto, Haido, Gaara, Shikamaru, Kankuro, Temujin, Kahiko, Fugai, and Ranke are interviewed.
The second feature is a 22 minute documentary titled, "Write and Adapt like a Ninja." Everyone from the first documentary, as well as a few additional staff members, talk about the steps that take place to produce the English dub of the film. They talk about the direct translation script, script adaptation, and the voice acting stage. The bulk of the documentary focuses on the voice acting.
The third feature is "Words From Japan." This is an eight-minute interview with the Japanese Director and Character Designer. This feature is in Japanese with English subtitles, and has occasional scenes from the film in English edited into it. The fourth feature is a production art gallery, which is 18 pages of line art of the new characters introduced in the film.
The fifth feature is labeled as "Original Storyboards." This is done as a 31 minute slideshow, where each page of storyboard is only up for a couple of seconds before moving on to the next one. You really don't have time to make out what it is you're seeing before the slideshow moves on.
The sixth feature is "Original Japanese Movie Trailers." They are all in Japanese, but there are no subtitles. This feature, which is all one chapter, runs for about eight minutes and contains 18 trailers in all. Some of the trailers are so similar to each other, that you swear that someone made a mistake and put the same trailer in several times in a row. The final feature is the English trailer for the third Naruto film, Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom.
Even with its faults, this movie needs to be in the DVD collection of anyone who considers themselves a fan of Naruto.
In order to write this review, I checked out a copy of this DVD through the King County Library System.
Legend of the Stone of Gelel