This set, the second half of the third season, is where a lot of Naruto fans jumped ship and rightly so from the perspective of having watched it now. The dreaded filler episode are here through the remaining sets of the series, before the new series kicked in with material adapted from the manga. Whether it's by knowledge or the actual visual presentation, there's something that definitely does feel different with these episodes in comparison to what came before. Naruto is in an unusual position where they were intending to make more based off the manga considering how massive the show has become, but they couldn't just let it idle until then. Hence the filler episodes, which have the unenviable task of filling time for about eighty episodes.
Admittedly, the series is at the right point to do something like this and the manga author hopefully had a little bit of input with the editorial side in how to best portray this filler period. With Sasuke now out of the picture essentially for nearly three years before Orochimaru can do his nasty deed with him, Naruto and company have plenty of options in front of them. There's a whole lot of training to be done, there's attempts to find and defeat Orochimaru and then there's simply dealing with the pressing day to day issues of life as a shinobi of the Hidden Leaf Village. With the image of Sasuke in his mind as a background problem, it gives him motivation while allowing the show to find stories to tell that complement it.
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