Naruto Shippuden - Season 4 - Episode 166 - Review: "Ep 166"

Relationships in the Naruto-verse aren't exactly things that are treated all that well. More often than not it's all very grade school in a way with basic emotions and a lot of hitting in order to express things. The most we get in general is the long standing childhood love that Sakura has for Sasuke and her kind of quasi-feelings for Naruto that, at least from where I am back earlier in this series, is relatively undefined. There are a few other crushes along the way and we've seen some of the other characters involved to different levels, but generally speaking it's the adults who have real relationships (which are kept to a minimum on screen) while the kids just engaging in life, adventures and missions.

The exception to it has been with Hinata, and that's made all the more apparent in this episode. While Naruto and Pain go on about things, Hinata is watching and coping from a distance while remembering the past. Her days growing up, trying to be strong and kind like her parents, were conflicted by the way they wanted her to stay away from Naruto with no real explanation. She could see the prejudice against him by many but couldn't understand it, or the nine-tails derogatory term used for him. And the further away she was kept, the more interested in him she became and the more she worked to get into the Academy so she could be closer to him. With her having grown up over time like Naruto has, her now older self is speaking clearly and plainly in a way that makes her one of the most engaging characters in this arc as she puts it all out there.

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