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 258 – Rivals – Review / Thoughts

April 12, 2012

Although the official name for Shippuden 258 is Rivals, instead it should be called butchered, because that’s exactly what it was.

I know I commented last week on how they edited the episode to try and cram a lot in, so don’t get me wrong, I knew this would be heavily edited too, but I didn’t expect such a bad episode from it. It seemed like every few seconds they were skipping forwards in massive chunks.

I mean, the previous episode ended at the start of the Land of Waves arc, but this one skipped that entire arc as soon as it started, so we never saw so much as 1 second of Haku or Zabuza. We got to see the middle of Sasuke vs Orochimaru in the Forest of Death pretty early, then shortly after (after skipping most of that fight too) it was on to the part in the forest where they were fighting clones. Then it skipped to Sasuke telling Naruto he was one of the ones he wanted to fight etc, and I can’t even be bothered talking about it because it was taking the piss to be perfectly honest.

I was expecting this to be heavily edited, so it’s not a case of me getting annoyed over that, I am simply annoyed by the massive amounts removed and also the way the episode was spliced together. The episode was focused on Sasuke and went up to just before his fight with Gaara, so that shows how much they tried to cram in this time.

The thing is, they didn’t even do a good job of it. As well as missing a crapload of stuff out, it was also edited together really poorly so that the episode never had any kind of flow or feeling to it, instead it felt like something a 10 year old using Windows Movie Maker put together. They also added in a couple of scenes with new stuff not in the originals that added nothing and were pointless, the only decent thing they did was fixing Sasuke’s hair when he first arrived at the arena with Kakashi.

Basically, there is absolutely nothing I can recommend for why you should watch this episode. It was a poorly put together mess that only succeeded in ruining some of the best parts of the original Naruto series. Unlike last week, I can’t even say it was a nice chance to revisit the series in HD or as a proper recap, as so much was missed out you might as well not bother anyway.

Seriously, just do yourself a favour and avoid this episode. It felt like the biggest waste of 24 minutes of my life, even moreso than the horrible filler they were churning out pre-Shippuden. If you really want to revisit the series, please just watch the old original episodes or read the Manga version, because all you will get here is 24 piss-poor minutes of something claiming to be Naruto.

Next week will be another recap filler too unfortunately, so I can only hope that they do a better job with that one than they did here.


New Naruto Shippuden: Road to Ninja Trailer Released

April 5, 2012

Earlier this year we heard the news that Masashi Kishimoto would be involved with the new Naruto Shippuden movie, titled  “Road to Ninja”. Well now I am happy to say that a new trailer for the movie has been released!

I unfortunately can’t embed the video on this site, but you can watch it by visiting TV Tokyo’s official website

http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/anime/naruto/movie12/index.html

It’s only 27 or 28 seconds long, but it looks fantastic so far. I don’t want to spoil what little we are shown, so I won’t comment about the details here.

What I will say though is I am really looking forward to it just from seeing the short trailer alone, so be sure to let me know your thoughts on it – including things like how can some of the stuff we see in the trailer be possible – in the comments section below!

EDIT:

Since originally posting this, someone has uploaded a subtitled version of the trailer on Youtube, which you can watch here


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 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 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*