As you can probably guess from the title, there were two episodes of Shippuden this week. Truth be told this was not only very welcome, but also needed as this part of the story deserves to be told together. So then, Naruto Shippuden episodes 248 and 249 – how did they turn out?
Brilliantly. Absolutely brilliantly. Since this is two episodes and a fair bit happened, I am going to make this review a little different to the others in that I won’t bother going in to lengthy descriptions about what every little plot detail was, instead I am going to leave it to you – the reader – to find out for yourselves when you watch it. If you have the slightest interest in Naruto, then you MUST watch the two episodes this week anyway, and if not then you are clearly reading the wrong review.
The two episodes cover the remaining part of Kushina’s story to Naruto about the Kyuubi’s attack on Konoha 16 years ago, and that of course includes Minato’s brief battle and encounter with Tobi. In the first episode I was a little surprised by the art style used to show the Kyuubi’s rampage of destruction, but surprised in a good way. It looked wonderful and was definitely a style I would like to see used again at some point. The art and animation throughout both episodes was very well done, and this is something that pleases me no end. I remember when I read these parts in the Manga and fell in love with them, but at the time after the experience with the Pain arc I was terrified that when the time came for these parts to be animated, they would suffer the same fate, but thankfully my fears were allayed after today.
I personally feel that the Minato and Kushina backstory is perhaps the most emotional story in Naruto, and while there are plenty of other moments like that (Haku and Zabuza, Sandaime’s funeral etc), I think for me this may just edge them out. The thing that really makes you realise how special it is has to be the fact that despite already knowing both of Naruto’s parents died prior to the start of the series, when you see just how it happened it is as heartbreaking as if you had only just found out. Minato and Kushina are wonderful characters, and despite only being in the series for a short time have won themselves countless fans, and deservedly so.
Ultimately it is those two who really make the story what it is as far as this part of Naruto is concerned. It could easily have turned out overdramatic or even annoying depending on who the characters were and what they were like, so it’s a testament to Minato and Kushina that they can make you care so much for them in such a short space of time.
As you can clearly tell from my words above, I loved the double bill this week. They were / are perhaps my favourite parts of the Naruto manga, and now the story has cemented its place amongst my favourites in the Anime too. I will be honest and say that if every episode or every arc could be as good as this, Naruto would easily rank as my favourite Anime or Manga series. While Naruto has quite a few flaws as a series, it’s for moments like these why I have persevered with it, because when Naruto gets something right, it gets it really right. I believe in volume 53 of the Manga (the volume covering this) Kishimoto said at the start that before making a start on this part, he consulted his wife for her thoughts and ideas on it. After loving both the Manga and Anime versions, let me just say that I only wish Kishimoto would ask for his wife’s help / advice more often, because if it turned out anything like this then Naruto would be one amazing series.
There is more I want to say, but I would end up going on and on about this forever if given the chance, so unfortunately I will have to leave this review at that. All I can say is that when you decide to watch the episodes, sit back, enjoy, and make sure you have some tissues nearby, because this will make even the most emotionally hardened person choke up.