Naruto Shippuden Episode 257 – Meeting – Review / Thoughts

April 5, 2012

I might as well start by saying that Naruto Shippuden 257 is a filler episode, and we will be getting fillers for the next 3 weeks continuing on from this as well. With that in mind, was this another episode to add to the list of infamously bad episodes, or was it better than the usual fare?

Well it certainly wasn’t good, but it wasn’t terrible either. The mini filler arc here thankfully consists of the happenings of Part 1 of the series, which always seem to turn out much better than Shippuden-time filler. It looks like with this filler they are going to go through the whole story from the beginning of Part 1, and probably up until Sasuke’s defection from Konoha.

This episode covered all the events that happened back when Team 7 were still in their early pre-Genin days at the academy, and ended right at the start of the Land of Waves arc. Of course with cramming so much in, it was edited heavily to squeeze everything in and was very much a rush job. I won’t bother describing the events of the episode, as I am pretty sure anyone who is reading this will already know what happened well enough.

The art was pretty poor with this episode which is something I have to point out, I noticed several scenes where the characters looked pretty bad and stupid, and I was watching in full HD so that certainly wasn’t the problem. What I did like was the chance to hear the part 1 soundtrack again which I have always been a huge fan of. It has such a nice sound and charm to it, as well as being very nostalgic which is always a bonus.

Where everything was just being crammed in and rushed it obviously wasn’t that great compared to the original episodes, but I guess for someone who feels like refreshing their memory or for someone who wants the chance to see some events in widescreen and HD, this is going to be a nice little arc for being able to do just that.

One other thing this episode did was reinforce the idea and belief that Konoha is a village of assholes. Of course in this episode we had the chance to see Naruto being treated terribly again by the villagers, and also we get to see Sasuke shortly after the Uchiha massacre who was also left to fend for himself. Naruto is the son of the village hero and former Hokage, and Sasuke was an innocent boy who watched his family die right in front of him at the hands of his own brother, and yet Konoha barely lifted a finger to try and help either of them, which in all honestly does make them come across as heartless scoundrels.

I didn’t like one little filler scene in this episode either, as it made the 3rd Hokage look like a dick. He came in to Naruto’s house and gave him an envelope with a month’s worth of allowance in, and then was immediately about to leave. Naruto tells him to wait a minute, and asks him why he doesn’t have a mother or father. The 3rd then is about to explain about the Kyuubi attack, but Naruto stops him and tells him he already knows that story, but says he wants to know what type of people his mother and father were. All the 3rd does though is say it doesn’t matter as talking about them won’t bring back the dead, and then leaves.

All this did was make the 3rd Hokage come off as extremely cold and selfish, which we know from actual canon isn’t true considering he was always one of the few people who looked out for Naruto. It was really unnecessary and was making Sarutobi seem like someone he wasn’t, which in all truth was very annoying.

Overall I can’t badmouth the episode as it was kind of nice to revisit the old story before we go head on in to the war arc, but I certainly can’t really recommend this either unless you’re feeling nostalgic for the old days of Naruto and want to hear some of the old soundtracks again etc.


Naruto Chapter 581 – Everyone’s Leaf – Review / Thoughts

April 4, 2012

In the past few chapters we have seen a focus solely on Sasuke and Itachi vs Kabuto, and Naruto chapter 581 is no different in that regard.

This was a kind of interesting chapter in all honesty, the thought of an actual battle was thrown out the window in favour of more talking.

While this type of chapter isn’t to everyone’s taste, I have always been a fan of them, as they usually end up revealing something big or important. What was interesting about this is the way that Sasuke was acting / reacting to what Kabuto had to say, and it actually revealed more about Sasuke’s nature now than I expected. After the recent chapters, I commented on how Sasuke seemed to be back to his old ways where he wasn’t just full of hatred and wanting to destroy everything in the name of revenge, and admittedly I was thinking that maybe he would stay that way after meeting Itachi, but after this it has raised fresh doubts in my mind.

I thought it was pretty awesome how Kabuto was still trying to talk Sasuke in to siding with him, and basically trying to work on the psyche of Sasuke. Kabuto told Sasuke once again about what a liar Itachi is, but also told him in harsher and more realistic words that the Itachi Sasuke sees in front of him now is nothing more than a dead wooden doll, and that he has no reason to feel guilty if he wants to switch over to Kabuto’s side.

Then came my favourite part of the chapter in the form of a short flashback Sasuke has, that appears to have happened shortly after Itachi’s death. A hooded Sasuke is actually in Konoha at a bar, and listens to a conversation a group of Konoha ninja are having about the news of Itachi’s death. They are all glad Itachi was killed, with one of them saying it was fitting punishment that one of Itachi’s comrades was the one to kill him considering Itachi had massacred his own comrades. Another person then says how he wanted to be the one to kill Itachi, and stabs a picture of him with his kunai. A look of pure hatred comes across Sasuke’s face as he listens a bit more to the group, with one of them saying that the village and the country will probably want to give Sasuke a medal and a good wage for killing an S-Rank criminal like that.

Then, a Kunai quickly appears from under Sasuke’s robe and in to his hand. Just as he is about to turn and confront the men, a hand is placed on his shoulder, and it’s revealed to be Tobi. Tobi tells Sasuke That the people he is angry with don’t know the truth, and that the place was too crowded anyway. Sasuke tells Tobi that he will tell them the truth, but Tobi just tells Sasuke to stop it, saying that they would never believe him anyway, and that even if these villagers asked the higher-ups then they would deny everything. Tobi then tells Sasuke that this is what Itachi wanted, he wanted to be labelled a traitor to the village for the sake of everyone in it.

Back in the present, Sasuke tells Kabuto that he is not like him, and that his reasons for wanting to crush the Leaf Village are his own. Kabuto then goes on to say that he knows why Itachi did what he did, saying he is the same, and explains about his childhood and how ever since he was first adopted by a Konoha ninja, he has been working hard for the village and making sacrifices. But despite doing so, all that ended up happening was he became distrusted just because he wasn’t originally from Konoha, and that both he and Itachi ended up getting nothing but shame and dishonour brought upon them in exchange for all they did for the village. Kabuto asks what has the village ever done for either of them, and tells Sasuke about how he too was molded in to a different person because of the way he was treated, and says that since he can understand Sasuke better than anyone else can, he will become his new older brother and stay at his side if Sasuke will come with him.

Itachi responds by telling Sasuke not to listen to Kabuto, saying that all this means is that Kabuto is a better liar than he is. Itachi then admits that Konoha is flawed and does have a darker side to it, but says that ultimately he is still Itachi Uchiha of the Leaf Village. Itachi goes on to say that he can’t criticise Sasuke for what he has done or how he has turned out, but that there is still one thing he has to say to him, though it will have to wait until after they stop Kabuto.

Kabuto begins boasting about how they can’t win and how his Edo Tensei is invincible. Itachi says to Sasuke that while Kabuto is annoying, he does have a point with what he is saying. Itachi then says Kabuto doesn’t know the true strength of the Uchiha, and says that the Uchiha’s eye power can affect a person regardless of their 5 senses, but that in exchange they lose the light from their eyes. Sasuke asks if he means Izanagi which takes Itachi by surprise. Itachi asks Sasuke how he knows about it, and when Sasuke tells him he encountered it during his fight with Danzo, Itachi tells Sasuke that it was impressive that he could survive against it.

Sasuke kind of shrugs off the comment and just asks how to use Izanagi, but Itachi tells him it’s not Izanagi he had in mind, instead it was something else, something that forms a pair with Izanagi. Sasuke replies by saying “Another one?” obviously wondering what it could be, while Itachi explains it’s already been prepared and calls it the ultimate jutsu that shall hold his destiny, with Kabuto now charging straight for them. Itachi blocks Kabuto’s attack with his sword, and reveals the technique is named Izanami. Itachi tells Sasuke that if Izanagi is a jutsu that can change destiny, then Izanami is a technique that can decide it, with the chapter ending as Itachi tells Sasuke to just stay close behind him.

Overall this was a decent enough chapter, though I admit myself I would like to see some more actual fighting in the next chapter. The flashback with Sasuke was awesome and was my favourite part of the chapter as I said earlier, and it was good hearing a bit more about Kabuto as well. The main talking point however is inevitably going to be about the new technique Itachi spoke of, Izanami.

It’s going to be pretty controversial in any case, as the Sharingan and its’ powers get a lot of grief from some fans as it is for the stupid amount of powerups and hax it has, so with yet another new technique I am sure it will make a lot of people unhappy. While I for one am excited and looking forward to seeing just what this technique is and what it does, I will admit that the Sharingan gaining new powers seemingly every time an Uchiha is in trouble is over the top.

Moving away from that briefly, I think this chapter also showed that maybe Sasuke really hasn’t moved on in any way since he first became “crazy”.  The past few weeks it appeared as if there had been a change in him since meeting with Itachi, but it felt like Kabuto did a good job of peeling back this veil and underneath revealing that maybe, just maybe, Sasuke doesn’t trust Itachi that much afterall, and that there is a decent chance that once Itachi is out of the picture once more, Sasuke will go back to his goal of crushing Konoha.

So as I said, I am pretty curious about Izanami, especially after Itachi’s words. If whatever it is takes away a user’s light, it must be something pretty amazing like Izanagi. With Itachi saying that Izanami is a technique that can decide someone’s fate it is of course intentionally vague, but I would like to hear what your thoughts on it are and what it may be, so any ideas or theories just leave in the comments box below!

So overall a pretty good chapter in any case, but yet again one that has left me more anxious to see the follow up rather than loving what is already released.

Naruto SD: Rock Lee no Seishun Full-Power Ninden Episode 1 – Rock Lee is a Ninja Who Can’t Use Ninjutsu / Rock Lee’s Rival is Naruto – Review / Thoughts

April 3, 2012

I’ve had a few requests to review this new Rock Lee Anime,  and with the first episode out today I thought I might as well give it a try and at least see what it’s like. So, aside from very long episode titles, what else is there to expect from Rock Lee and His Ninja Pals?

Well as you probably guessed, it is very silly.  All the characters are in chibi form, and it is very light hearted from start to finish as expected. It lasts 23 minutes, but is split in to two different stories. The first one was about Rock Lee helping someone who was getting hassle from some loan sharks, while the second half was about Rock Lee and Naruto having a competition to try and get the last voucher for a special delicacy food for an old woman who requested it as part of a mission.

I definitely enjoyed the second story more, as adding a more recognisable figure like Naruto rather than some generic one-off character made it more fun, at least early on anyway. Now don’t get me wrong, I definitely don’t want the whole show focused around someone like Naruto or Sasuke, that’s what the main show is for, but if used every now and then it will probably work better.

It also didn’t help the first episode that most of the jokes / humour were based around Rock Lee either standing in (or just narrowly avoiding standing in) some golden poo. Yes, you read that right, golden poo. Maybe the first time you could have a little chuckle or raised a smile, but it was very overused to the point you’re just wondering why it keeps happening. There were a couple of funny moments, but it was far too repetitive.

The second half was a definite improvement as I said. The addition of Naruto really helped, as then Lee had someone else acting silly to bounce off of instead of just being silly and crazy by himself. The two standout moments being the way Rock Lee was supposedly training, while he was just literally wrapping his whole body round a stump and spinning around (I can’t explain it well, but think Orochimaru slivering and coiling about in his snake form and you get the picture). The other being the little skit with Rock Lee acting as the mother of Neji – who is a girl in it and his daughter – and TenTen, who is Rock Lee’s baby daughter (as you can see in the pic at the top).

Of course it didn’t make any sense, but it was genuinely funny and stood out as the best moment in the 23 minute show. One other thing I want to mention is, despite this supposedly being about Rock Lee becoming the star, in actual fact I found both Neji and TenTen to be far better and more amusing. Neji especially was funny with his reactions to Rock Lee’s antics, and I am definitely hoping this continues as the series progresses.

Overall I have mixed views over the show so far. At times it falls flat, while later in the same episode you can get a laugh or two (usually from Neji or TenTen as I said). I don’t really know how it will turn out in the end, as this type of show doesn’t really lend itself to being stretched out over a lot of episodes or as full episodes for that matter, though fortunately they did have the sense to split the 23 minutes in to two seperate episodes (if you will).

I will definitely be giving the show another chance next week before I can make a fair and honest judgement of it, but I do hope it steps up its’ game a bit. If you’re unsure whether to watch this or not, I say you might as well give it a try as it’s not offensively bad or anything, and it does seem like a fun way to spend 23 minutes even if only for Neji and TenTen.

Naruto Shippuden Episode 256 – Assemble! Allied Shinobi Forces! Review / Thoughts

April 1, 2012

Yes yes I know, this review of Shippuden episode 256 is extremely late. Unfortunately I have been unable to come online much the past few days, but better late than never I guess!

It has been a few days since I actually watched this, so I won’t go in to giving any sort of recap as I just don’t remember all the details that happened. Instead, I shall just give my own thoughts on it as a whole.

Content wise this fit quite a lot in, we got to see the Shinobi alliance recieve their new headbands as well as seeing who the squads are and who they will be led by. We also got to see the impressive arsenal of Edo Tensei warriors Kabuto has gathered for the war, plus seeing how the kidnapped Yamato is being used.

So yes, all of that was fit in to one 23 minute episode which surprised me. It did seem a bit more epic in the Manga in my opinion, but the Anime did a decent enough job too. It was amazing seeing just who Kabuto had been able to gather, and with people like the 5 Kage of old, The 7 Jinchuriki, and the former Akatsuki members (to name just some), the side of Kabuto and Tobi is looking extremely strong about now, especially considering they also have an army of about 100,000 powered up Zetsus to use.

The one(s) I am perhaps happiest to see are Haku and Zabuza. I can imagine the happiness a lot of people must have felt when they were revealed to have been revived, as I remember well reading this in the Manga and how brilliant it seemed, and also just how many people were happy to see them return. Obviously like we saw with Deidara previously, they will all be under the control of Kabuto, but the mere fact we are getting to see some of these characters for the first time in who knows how long (or for the first time in general in some cases), means the war is going to be very exciting.

Even though it still wasn’t my favourite episode,  just because of the awesome reveal of the Edo Tensei and the Shinobi Alliance members I have to say it was a pretty good episode overall. A lot was revealed, and as I said, I am sure some of the Edo Tensei summons have people very happy and excited to see what is to come next.

One last little minor niggle I have is the way Tobi/Madara’s mask  keeps being drawn. It just looks so unnatural and rubbish, especially compared to the Manga. I remember someone commenting that it looked like in the Anime the mask had just been drawn on by someone using Paint, and I find it pretty hard to argue with that to be honest.

*Here’s a picture of how it should be, taken from the Manga*

Naruto Chapter 580 – Brotherly Time Review / Thoughts

March 28, 2012

I am going to be honest, the only way to describe Naruto chapter 580 is sweet. Sweet is exactly what it is as we get to see not only Sasuke and Itachi working together, but also glimpses of them doing so in their younger days too.

This was yet another awesome chapter, and I think it would be impossible not to love it for anyone who likes the Uchiha bros. I have always liked the relationship between the two of them, and it’s really nice seeing how after all these years and all the crap that’s happened to them, they are still in sync with each other when it comes to thoughts and working together.

We obviously saw them taking on Kabuto last week, and the fight continues in this chapter. Two whole chapters in a row dedicated to the Uchiha vs Kabuto fight pleases me personally, though I am sure there will be some who are annoyed at this. Kabuto continues to impress, he performed one amazing technique which left both Itachi and Sasuke unable to move or see, and even made Sasuke start losing the ability to keep his Susanoo going. It was a blinding flash of light and hypersonic sound that practically rendered everyone but Kabuto blind and paralysed, with Kabuto himself admitting it’s only because of his Sage Mode,  his Snake abilities and the power to liquify his body that he can still do so.

Kabuto initially thinks about taking Itachi first, as then he could rewrite the tag placed inside of him and regain full control, but then decides to go after Sasuke instead. Itachi however blocks Kabuto’s effort to get Sasuke, with him then remembering about how Itachi can probably sense his Chakra. This part was a bit confusing due to translations, where the person doing so bemoaned the difficulty of accurate Japanese translations. So I will leave you to read that yourself, though the part where Kabuto referred to Itachi as a “Liar Ninja” was pretty awesome, with him saying about how he lied his entire life, even dying while still lying to Sasuke, and that he was excellent at doing so.

Since the whole chapter was fighting, I will just leave it at saying that the fight was awesome and that you should read it yourself to find out the rest. Nothing major happened yet, as by the end of the chapter things were back to stage 1 in terms of a winner / outcome.

I loved this chapter though, all the flashback parallels were amazing and showed why I like the relationship between Itachi and Sasuke so much. We got to see them in the past hunting a wild boar, with Itachi and Sasuke working together back then. After everything was done, Sasuke apologised to Itachi for not being much use, while Itachi said he still had a lot to learn. Then it moved back to the present, with Itachi smirking and commenting on how these days Sasuke would have no problem doing it.

It was a really nice and touching moment to be honest, after all this time it appears Itachi and Sasuke are somewhat reconciling and Itachi is being quick to praise Sasuke. I also like it because it has changed Sasuke back to the way he was in his younger days before he went crazy, this Sasuke is the best Sasuke, and it’s all down to Itachi that we are getting to see him again after so long. It’s clear that the bond between Itachi and Sasuke is extremely strong and will never be broken, and in the recent chapters it has me convinced at long last that Sasuke can still change his ways and gain what some people would call “redemption”.  Obviously there could be some twists and turns yet to come, but for now that appears to be the way things are headed.

In any case, this was another fantastic chapter with Kishimoto doing himself proud. If you’re an Uchiha fan then this is unmissable, but even if you’re not, the battle between them and Kabuto by itself is definitely good enough to warrant your time and attention anyway.

Naruto Shippuden Episode 255 – The Artist Returns Review / Thoughts

March 22, 2012

Fans of Deidara can be happy, as episode 255 shows a lot more of him than the last episode did. I also have to give a special mention to the pic above, as it was probably the most epic scene of the entire episode.

As we saw last week, the episode ended with Deidara having attempted to blow up the Tsuchikage with one of his clay bombs. Unsurprisingly, in this episode we see that the Tsuchikage is ok and that it was a clone of his that was blown up.

The Tsuchikage tells Deidara he has a cheek coming back amongst the living after he got himself killed by some kid from Konoha. Deidara angrily responds that he wasn’t defeated and that he killed Sasuke Uchiha. In saying this, it was enough to let the Tsuchikage know that Deidara has no idea of anything that has happened since his death. Deidara tries to move, but finds his body is frozen and can’t be moved of his own accord. Of course this is because as the one who cast the Edo Tensei, Kabuto has control over him.

Kabuto makes Deidara fly down towards the turtle island, and as soon as the Tsuchikage realises he chases after them. Deidara and Kabuto reach the turtle first, and Deidara tells Kabuto to go and look for Bee and Naruto while he takes on the Tsuchikage, which Kabuto agrees with. Onoki then catches up and prepares to use one of his Jinton techniques to blow Deidara to dust, and Deidara is clearly worried that he would go all out like that so fast. Just before he can launch his attack however, one of his guards – Akatsuchi – grabs him from behind and stops him, explaining that if he uses the Jinton technique in that place then he would end up killing the turtle as well.

Deidara senses an opportunity to attack while everyone is distracted, and launches one of his clay bird bombs at the three Iwa ninja. Deidara’s attack however is blocked by Akatsuchi’s Golem technique much to his annoyance. Onoki then gets Deidara to fly up in to the air to try and get a good enough distance away to be able to use his Jinton without hurting the turtle. Back on the ground, Kabuto is trying to figure out how to get inside the turtle so that he can get to Bee and Naruto, as his new creation, dubbed “Manda 2” coils around the turtle and binds it tight. Kurotsuchi comes down after Kabuto however, and tries to get Kabuto stuck with her jutsu which was super sticky and was like cement. Kabuto easily dodges her attacks, but then Yamato, Motoi and Aoba all show up since they had to see where the tremors they felt were coming from.

Kurotsuchi tells them that she will attack and they can use her distraction to actually catch Kabuto, though by using a water style technique on her previous sticky sludge, it starts expanding and catches Kabuto without even needing the Konoha ninja. With Kabuto completely stuck, using Yamato’s Mokuton as a bridge over the sludge Aoba goes over to interrogate Kabuto. Just as he was about to read his mind and get the info, Kabuto shed his skin and a white snake came flying out much like Orochimaru’s old technique. It takes everyone by surprise, and as Kabuto is coming towards Yamato and Motoi, Yamato uses his Mokuton to push Motoi to safety, but is then himself swallowed by Kabuto in his snake form.

The snake version of Kabuto is then seen slipping and sliding past all of Kurotsuchi’s attempts to stop him and free Yamato, and then Kabuto slides up in to Manda 2’s nostril, and vanishes along with him. Elsewhere, we see Deidara and Onoki in a face off. Just as the big attacks were about to happen however, a coffin suddenly appeared behind Deidara and closed shut on him, and then disappeared. Back on the turtle, Onoki enquires about what happened. Motoi explains and things clearly aren’t good as Onoki wonders whether Yamato was the target right from the beginning, or if he was taken just for hostage purposes.

We then see Kabuto again in a cave with Madara, who when presented with Yamato, asks if this was all Kabuto had meant by getting him a present. Although Madara is clearly annoyed / disappointed by only getting Yamato, Kabuto tells him that he will actually come in very useful, as he can use him to make the Zetsu army much stronger than previously possible. Then right at the end, we see the epic scene (the one I mentioned earlier) with a close up on Madara’s face and him proclaiming that he wants the war to start as his left eye is itching for battle.

This was a decent episode, it was ruined a bit for me because the Crunchyroll stream seemed to be getting stuck quite often for no apparent reason, but the episode itself was ok. We got to see more of Deidara which I am sure will please a lot of fans, and also getting to see Kabuto in snake form was creepy and at the same time shows just how much like Orochimaru he is. Manda 2 was pretty awesome as well, the idea of a stronger and all round better version of the original is cool and leaves you wondering how much we will see of him again in the future. It’s a shame Deidara and Onoki couldn’t have had a proper fight, but with all the battles coming up soon then there will be plenty to like for fans of action in this Anime. Overall a pretty good episode, and the scene with Madara at the end is worth seeing if nothing else.

Masashi Kishimoto to Take Charge of Scenario and Designs for Next Naruto Movie

March 21, 2012

That’s right, Masashi Kishimoto himself will be involved with the next Naruto Shippuden movie. So far, this is what is known about his involvement:

The latest Japanese issue of Shonen Jump featured the announcement that Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto will be providing the story and character designs for this summer’s Naruto movie, Road to Ninja. The feature, which celebrates 10 years of Naruto anime, is scheduled to hit Japanese theaters on July 28th.”

Judging from the picture used, it appears as if Tobi will be involved in some form, as will Minato and Kushina. This is all my own speculation as I have heard nothing official about it, but if it does prove to be the case, anything that does have Minato and Kushina in is fine in my book.

*Credit to Crunchyroll and Shonen Jump for the info*