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.

Naruto Chapter 573 – The Path Toward Radiance Review / Thoughts

February 8, 2012

As you can guess by this review being up already, Naruto chapter 573 had an early release today.  How was the quality of this week’s affair however?

Well truth be told it was pretty average throughout 99% of the chapter. While Tobi notices what initially appears to be sweat because of him worrying about facing Naruto, he soon realises that it is in fact rain instead, and reassures himself that Naruto poses no threat and that he would never be sweating over something so trivial. Tobi also claims that Naruto is nothing to him, and that the only purpose of him remaining alive is as a plaything for Sasuke. Elsewhere, Shikkaku tells the other members of his group to relay the message via telepathy to all the other Allied Forces members about Naruto, Killer Bee, Kakashi and Guy’s hard work against the might of the masked man claiming to be Madara.

I admit it’s pretty awesome how the news encourages everyone and they all begin to push forward to reach their goals. Hinata vows to stop trying to catch up with Naruto, and also the next time they are together she will be holding his hand and they will walk along together. Sai soon understands what it means to have friends at long last,  Kiba thinks to himself about how he had Naruto picked out as his rival ages ago, and Shikamaru wishes for Naruto to hold out a bit longer against Tobi to give him the chance to arrive and help.

That was pretty much the entirety of the chapter, however, one welcome moment came right at the end – Sasuke returning to the manga once again! Kishimoto has had a habit of making him appear for a few panels and then disappearing again, but by all accounts I think the time of Sasuke’s emergence and role in the war is just about to begin. Sasuke is seen walking in the rain towards where the battles are taking place, and I can see him truly getting involved within the next few chapters. Whether this will be in the battle between Naruto and Tobi, Madara vs the five Kage, or even perhaps Kabuto vs Itachi remains to be seen. It will most likely be Naruto vs Tobi, but whatever the outcome is I expect to see some fireworks go off when his time finally arrives.

Overall the chapter was ok, pretty average bar the appearance of Sasuke which made me like it a fair bit. If you’re not a Sasuke fan I can see a few people being disappointed as not an awful lot happened, but for anyone waiting to see him return then you will probably be fairly satisfied by the chapter for now, but also eagerly awaiting next week to see if he will finally enter a battle for real.