Naruto Shippuden Episode 259 – Rift – Review / Thoughts

April 19, 2012

Starting a bit off topic, this is the 100th post on this blog, and I want to thank all the readers and fans who have supported it so far, and hope they will continue to do so in the future. Back on topic, I was hoping for something good to take the 100th post, but instead have been left with reviewing Naruto Shippuden 259, which did nothing other than make me angry.

This episode started with Gaara vs Sasuke in the forest just as Gaara was in his partial transformation form, and it ended shortly after the Sound Ninja 4 invited Sasuke to join Orochimaru to gain power. Something I did like in this episode was the music choices, with even the unreleased version of Sasuke’s Destiny (last heard during the flashback to Sasuke showing his father the fireball jutsu) getting a run out. It’s really nice and nostalgic hearing the themes again, and it certainly does bring back some good memories of the series for me.

I also have to say that this episode was put together far better than the last one was. Although there were obviously big parts skipped over and certain scenes edited, it was at least coherent and made sense this week, where with the last episode it was like they just threw random parts together for a laugh.

However, I ask that you forgive me in advance, as I feel a bit of a rant coming here. Now I don’t like filler, 99% of the time it’s god awful and just painful to watch, but I still except it for what it is and don’t really have much of a problem with it. We also know that in these filler episodes, they will often add a few new scenes or certain lines by characters, which again, I mostly don’t have a problem with.

What I DO have a problem with however is what they did here, that being adding words / thoughts to characters that contradict canon and who they are. If you haven’t seen it, I am referring to a scene from the Sasuke vs Naruto rooftop incident. For those that watched the original Anime or read the Manga, we know that after all the recent events Sasuke had become extremely angry and jealous of Naruto to the point where he just wanted to fight and beat Naruto to prove to himself that he was stronger, but in this filler, they decided to add some thoughts coming from both Naruto and Sasuke that weren’t included in the originals.

While in the Anime and Manga Sasuke and Naruto were both on the roof basically trash talking and winding each other up, it was always pretty clear (for Sasuke at least) that this fight was something he wanted to do and had no regrets about either. In this episode though, even while they are talking to each other (like in the above pic), the Anime team decided to add thoughts coming from both Naruto and Sasuke which were along the lines of “I don’t want to do this” or “I have to stop this”, which quite honestly annoyed me an awful lot (and probably more than it should have).

I know when both Naruto and Sasuke were aiming their attacks at each other during their fight, they both had an “oh damn” moment when they realised they couldn’t stop the Chidori or Rasengan, and that was fine. I just hate the way that they basically added doubts to the minds of both Naruto and Sasuke before a single punch was even thrown in this episode, as it just made it look stupid. I mean, they showed the scene shortly before with Sasuke smacking the plate out of Sakura’s hands, activating Sharingan, and then demanding that Naruto fight him, so for about 2 minutes later to suddenly have doubts is just ridiculous. It was really unnecessary and really cheapened Sasuke’s feelings and actions at the time.

Though even moving on from that, this episode I felt did a very poor job of showcasing how Sasuke became so bitter and angry. While it did show his meeting with Itachi, where it was always skipping parts it just didn’t give the same impression or make the same impact. In the originals, we were given time to digest what had been happening, and Sasuke’s descent in to the darkness was played more slowly and with more emotion. I know it’s hardly the Anime team’s fault since they have to rush things, but if you were watching this for the first time without any prior knowledge of what happened with Naruto and Sasuke etc, then it would make Sasuke come across as pretty pathetic or at best make them wonder why he got so pushed over the edge so easily.

As much as I hate to admit it, this episode was a lot better than the last one even though I hated the filler between Naruto and Sasuke and the way it made Sasuke come across. At least the music choices were good and nostalgic, plus the editing was mostly fine.

I apologise for the rant too and I know it probably makes me come across as a Sasuke fanboy, but I can honestly say that I am not ranting because it is Sasuke I feel is being mistreated, I would be equally pissed off if they did it to someone I am fairly neutral about such as Gaara or Kabuto for example. If you can forgive those moments though, it isn’t a terrible episode by Naruto filler standards, but it’s still not something I could actually recommend watching anyway.

My advice – rewatch or re-read the Manga parts of the story if you’re really looking for some nostalgia or want to relive classic moments, as either will do a far more satisfying job than this mini filler arc has.

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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.