Recaps for Naruto Shippuden

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Naruto: Shippuden Episode #479 Anime Review

Naruto: Shippuden gets to the final chapter of the manga with its adaptation here and promptly does what it does best at the end; it punts. While we should get something resembling a finale next week that deals with the future side of things (i.e. Boruto) before delving into all sorts of other material to extend the run, a path I can totally understand and get behind in business terms, punting that last chapter adaptation to probably the spring based on how current arc layouts are being planned means fans looking for that bit of closure are being denied. And if there’s something that this series does, its ensure that the payoff is undermined at every goddamned step of the way. So, nobody should be surprised but eveyone should be quite disappointed once again. That’s not to say that this is a bad episode because it does have some good moments after the extended flashback material the last time around that ended with our armless Naruto and Sasuke. Having Kakashi and Sakura get there and offer some form of comfort and to bring them together works nicely, as does the whole dream thing that everyone else was stuck in finally coming undone, allowing the vast cast from this series to resurface after being given some awful, awful, treatment during those dream sequences that were horrendously done. The early part of this does some nice epilogue material, an area I typically like, as it copes with some deaths along the way and paying proper respects there, and some of the general cleanup aspects as well in terms of righting what had gone done before shifting into the larger events here. READ MORE...

Naruto: Shippuden Episode #478 Anime Review

After as many years as I’ve been watching this series as I have, I wasn’t surprised that the previous two-part story didn’t deliver the emotional resonance it needed. There have simply been too many problems with the anime adaptation that culled my interest and investment over the years that have left me honest about how it’s mostly inertia carrying it at this point. There were some fantastic things about the two-parter when it came to the visuals, choreography, and animation in general, so there was definitely payoff. But the production has been so problematic for so long that it was just very difficult to become truly engaged and invested in it. READ MORE...

Naruto: Shippuden Episode #476 – 477 Anime Review

With a two week break between episodes and going into this one as a doubleheader, I’ll easily admit that I was pretty apprehensive about it. The show has worn me down significantly over the last couple of years but I’m far too invested in with my time to just cut loose this late into it as I keep hoping that we’re closer and closer to the end. A lot of what we got recently felt hugely anticlimactic so it’s no surprise that the main focus at this stage is to try and get things settled between Naruto and Sasuke, something that has been here since the very beginning. Admittedly, with both of them having gone through as much as they have so far, they should really just suck it up and move on from it in some fashion rather than go through this silly final battle fight. Sasuke essentially lays out his plan plainly here about how he intends to reshape the world by taking all the wrong onto himself and putting everything right – as he views it. It’s a fairly standard god complex he unfurls for Naruto here that’s just too blunt even for this show because it’s hard to view him as anything but villainous by it, since even Naruto makes it clear that people won’t just accept that. But his view that he has all the power and that power makes him right says it all. Sasuke hasn’t walked a fine line over the years with what he’s done as he’s been quite villainous at times, making things even more difficult for those like Naruto and Sakura, but they both held out hope that they could sway him back. That’s one of the core things that keeps Naruto moving alongside all the other events in that he will do what he can to save his childhood friend. READ MORE...

Naruto: Shippuden Episode #475 Anime Review

I know, I know, the series couldn’t end with what was one of the better points in doing so the last time around. After a very anticlimactic episode that dealt with Kaguya and a few other things I’ll admit that I’m not sure what else the show can do at this point beyond working some of the closure points of what’s been going on. Those can naturally be drawn out a bit and I’m pretty wary of what the show can do because we know some additional novel material is going to be adapted in the near future. All of this kind of experience only serves to lengthen a show that really needs some sense of finality to it – and hope that it’s not being drawn out as a way to launch a Boruto series since there’s nowhere near enough material to even conceive of such a thing. At least any Boruto anime would look better than the awful manga. It is interesting to see what the Tailed-Beasts are intending to do as most are going back to their homes or secluding themselves away. It’s little surprise that Eight-Tails is going back with Bee as they had a good relationship, but I do like that Kurama gets tied to Naruto for some extended time since Naruto has a piece of all of them in himself and will need some guidance with that. There’s a lot that can be explored there to be sure but it’s also an area that will be pretty much skimmed over I suspect. Of course, before anything can really happen here we get that moment where Sasuke shows his power and what he’s capable of by putting the Tailed-Beasts in a genjutsu and this reinforces that potential that Sasuke and Naruto could end up like the brothers of the past. Sasuke does admit that his goal has changed and that he’s not looking for revenge like before but rather intends to bring about a proper shinobi revolution by rebuilding it in the way it needs to be. READ MORE...

Naruto: Shippuden Episode #474 Anime Review

As I hit something close to or about three hundred episodes since I started watching and reviewing the simulcasts, having done just the DVD box sets prior to that, I’m really in that state where I’m just worn with the show. Which is unfortunate because many fans have such great experiences with the show over the course of its run and find themselves in this frustrated place now where you know it’s gone on too long and made too many bad choices to have a strong positive overall feeling about it, even as it works more of the material from the manga as it does here in the fight against Kaguya now that the core trio have gone big to go against her. The prologue itself is well animated and nicely done, but it’s just gone on for so long that it loses all its impact. With the tailed-beasts separated from Kaguya as the finishing blow puts her into the air where the ground is now wrapping around her to seal her in, it’s a nicely dramatic sequence that has some great visual appeal, especially as all the beasts hit the ground and are glad to be free while also noting how impress Naruto is. There’s some nice closure with Naruto heading off to deal with one of the background players in all of this and ensuring that he’s taken care of as well, but mostly a lot of this opening aspect just feels highly anticlimactic after all the effort that’s been gone through and the filler that dragged it out even more. It’s also a quick return back to the real world as those from the afterworld help to ensure that the group’s victory over Kaguya doesn’t have them lost to that other realm. Bringing a little more clarity into things with the Sage of Six Paths isn’t bad but it’s also just something that doesn’t really resonate much, and in some ways kind of makes you re-evaluate past encounters to wonder just how well that was handled. READ MORE...

Naruto: Shippuden Episode #473 Anime Review

With even more time spent in flashbacks the last time around, Naruto: Shippuden has proven to be an exceptional slog to get through. While I think the stories themselves are compelling, the placement in the larger narrative over the last several years is just atrocious and it feels like far too much of an info dump here at the end of things to justify certain actions and twists. The worst part is that while Obito could have been a strong player and emotional anchor for this series if his past was heavily explored long ago, doing so in the here and now just makes it feel tacked on and forced. The only saving grace is that Kakashi’s reactions feel honest and provide some sort of connection and accessibility. So what we get here is more seeming resolution between Obito and Rin in the first half as we get the sorta flashback/alternate space thing going on, but as I’ve talked about before, there’s very little compelling in all of this because of how absolutely long it’s been dragged out at this stage. The show has made it impossible to care about Rin with the number of times we’ve seen her death and Obito’s reactions to it and Obito himself has lost any chance of redemption through the eyes of many simply because of the scale of all that’s going on. So it’s more a going through the motions thing here with it from a new perspective that doesn’t truly add much for me while also showing off some action in the other alternate space where Sasuke, Naruto, and the others are fighting. All of this seems to serve mostly as inspiration for Kakashi to go to the next level with his abilities and to finally protect this group in the way he couldn’t Obito. So terribly predictable. READ MORE...

Naruto: Shippuden Episode #472 Anime Review

Naruto: Shippuden continues to mine material that should have been explored previously instead of inserting a metric tonne of flashback material into the supposed climax of the series and its main storyline that has dominated for just a few hundred episodes or so. We got more of Obito’s backstory the last time around and the continued attempts to force him into being a sympathetic character simply aren’t working since the investment just doesn’t come across as worth it after so long and so many slow twists and turns. The only redeeming aspects of it for me has been to see more of Kakashi’s past but even there what we end up getting is a cool and aloof character that in turn doesn’t have much new revealed about him of note. It’s essentially a carrying forward of what we already knew. So what dominates this episode? More flashback time with Obito as we see him being drawn into things with the Akatsuki and how it times up to when Ten-Tails went nuts and all the other events of the day from years past. It’s yet another sequence of seeing so many familiar things, sometimes with minor little variations of presentation, but essentially more repetition wrapped up in a new package. The first half has plenty of things we’ve seen before and while there are some great dramatic moments here, they’re left hollow because we’ve seen it all before and it’s done in such a montage style that you realize it’s all just padding things out because even in this episode they don’t have enough material to draw the whole thing out with easily enough. READ MORE...

Naruto: Shippuden Episode #471 Anime Review

With the show getting back on track the last time around by taking place in the present and actually involving characters that have been here since the beginning, Naruto: Shippuden essentially threw them to the wind with an alternate time-space location for them to be involved with. It’s not an unfamiliar plot point to be sure, both in anime/manga and western comics, but it’s the kind of piece that even if it is a part of the original manga just feels like one more way to draw things out. And by separating up the characters it just reinforces the slog that the show has become by having them work through things in this form rather than as a group, which would at least be a bit more interesting since the dynamic would be different. So what does the episode want to focus on? With Obito being instrumental in helping everyone get back to the proper time-space, he’s going to have to get himself at the right level of power in order to do that. And that means, of course, grappling with his past and his problems with Kakashi during that period. So we get plenty of time spent looking back at when these two were younger and with Rin as well, since that’s always been one of the big driving forces behind how he grew and changed over the years with Rin’s death. As we saw before, even prior to Rin’s death, Obito was just filled with a lot of anger and rage and while they play it with some somber music, the simple truth is that nobody intervened to help. Rin did what she could – as a child – but the lack of adults and guidance simply allows all of this to fester and become what we saw for so many years in other forms. READ MORE...

Naruto: Shippuden Episode #470 Anime Review

After an episode that took us back to some childhood time for the core of Team 7 the last time around, which followed a couple months of uninteresting episodes focusing on events from the past with Hagoromo and Kaguya and all that came from that, Naruto: Shippuden returns to the present day storyline. But even that has fans wondering just how soon we might see some resolution here since we got the news that a number of the epilogue novels are going to be adapted into anime form. The plan for the series feels very up in the air and it’s hard to get all that enthused about it after feeling like we’ve been trolled with subpar productions for months, or years in some cases, with this property. The hope for something that feels final continues to seem slim. With the next few episodes featuring titles that seem to tie into the manga chapter titles a bit, there’s definitely some hope that’s mixed into things but we’re certainly wary. Part of this is just what happens relatively early on here in the fight against Kaguya as we end up with her throwing Sasuke into another time-space location as you can imagine there being plenty of filler to mess with this. What this situation presents is an opportunity for Obito to continue to try and redeem himself by helping retrieve Sasuke, which is something that Sakura joins in on since Naruto and Kakashi have to hold the fort, so to speak, against Kaguya while this happens. Sasuke’s critical to Kaguya’s defeat and they need every piece of the puzzle in order to bring her to an end. The problem, as always with shows like this, is that there’s so much dialogue and moments of calm when there shouldn’t be that you can practically hear the director saying, "pad it out more here, even if they just stand around doing nothing." READ MORE...

Naruto: Shippuden Episode #469 Anime Review

With the lengthy storyline in the past having concluded in such a way that it made absolutely no impact on me and only further served to reduce my interest in the show, Naruto: Shippuden challenges me to lose even more interest. One of the more frustrating aspects of the show when it works with anime original episodes is that they have a go-to well of stories they tell from when the gang was younger, the early days that either predate the series proper or take place after the teams get formed. If you mapped all of this out it’d probably occupy so much time that most of the cast would be old and gray by now as these time periods are just overstuffed at this point. Add in that this was the segment of the series originally that kept me from being interested in it and it’s a recipe for boredom. READ MORE...