Naruto Shippuuden - Season 4 - Episode 168 - Review: "The Fourth Hokage"

Naruto's journey into himself has revealed some interesting things as he's confronting the Nine-Tails behind a barrier there. The creature is certainly disturbing in its violence that it wants to let loose, but the real fascination is how for the first nine minute of the episode, before the opening sequence, the show shifts to a very good conversation between the Fourth Hokage and Naruto. Revealing that Naruto is his son, the Hokage unleashes a wave of emotion inside Naruto as he lets loose with how he's really feeling about everything. It's a very good moment where you really realize the pressures that he's under from others andhimself about his abilities and how he's grown up.

Having his father in front of him, even for a few moments to unburden himself, is very welcome. But at the same time, his father places other burdens on him as he explains why he sealed the Nine Tails inside of him and how neither he nor Jiraiya could figure out how to truly deal with it, thereby leaving it to Naruto to accomplish what they couldn't. Naruto has an amusing impassioned response to it about how he's not smart and not a good ninja, but it's a moment of parental faith in how his father believes in him and that actually resonates with Naruto in a way that many other things haven't before. What's most interesting though is that the Fourth Hokage relates a bit of information from when the Nine-Tails attacked last some sixteen years ago in that there was something that was manipulating it into doing so, that there's a power out there that's large still that's manipulating events.

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