The next team is up!
What They Say:
Kiba and his team are in pursuit of Hidden Grass Ninja who have stolen their scroll!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Having a lot of the previous episode focus on the match between Lee and Shira worked well overall for what it wanted to do as we had two people with solid skills going at it for the bulk of it. The downside had mostly factored in with some of the flashback time we got within it that dealt with Lee’s past and struggles, which we’ve had so many times before. While the character material as too familiar and largely uninteresting between the two, the real fun was the fight and the choreography of it all, especially with some solid animation thrown its way so that it didn’t feel completely weak and terrible in its execution.
With this installment, we move away from Lee and company for a bit as the focus is on Kiba and his team as they make their way through this part of the Chunin Exam. There’s some simple stuff early on with it as we get them wondering what Naruto is up to at this point and what his training is like, but it doesn’t take long for things to get “serious” as they get ambushed by a group from the Hidden Grass village who have been watching them and are ready to make their move. There’s some decent bits of action here as it gets underway in the first half, showing us the gang we know largely performing as you’d expect at this stage, while also introducing the wacky looking opponents that they have to deal with, from the very heavy set guy to the yanki type as well as the Wolverine type that props up his glasses with his claws poorly, but without gutting out his own eyes.
Things do get kind of silly along the way with the power scales used here, but the first half or so works the fight between the two sides decent enough until it gets to this whole digging underground angle that has the Hidden Leaf going now in pursuit mode. Having the Hidden Grass guys basically utilizing a giant mole certainly “fits” in its own way, but it’s the kind of goofy ass stuff that makes me hate a certain chunk of this series because it’s just bad comedy that looks bad and sounds bad. It naturally tries to go in an even bigger way as it throws our heroes to a massive quicksand pit that they get stuck in, but does anyone feel any sense of surprise at how it actually plays out? While we know they all live to the present, there’s no sense of what could really change who they are as shinobi at this point because of it. Mostly it’s just a bit of humiliation that gets tossed their way that will get them to do better. And, of course, Akamaru gets the wind knocked out of him pretty hard.
Another piece of the overall Chunin Exam original arc has arrived and while we’ve had some decent moments so far in the arc, we’ve had more mind numbing episodes like this instead. This one pretty much lets Kiba and his crew do what they can to show that they’re not quite ready for prime time and it’s all done with a silly and goofy aspect that just makes it hard to not roll your eyes at it. Fans of these characters will likely enjoy it more than I did, but for me the whole thing was just tiresome in general and plainly unamusing when we get things like the giant mole and everything associated with it.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Apple TV via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.