What They Say:
It’s been three years since Naruto set out to train with Jiraiya, and he’s just returned to the Hidden Leaf Village. Konohamaru immediately begs Naruto to teach him a new jutsu and he starts to go over the basics…but his explanations are very vague. Soon after, Naruto sets out on a mission, leaving Konohamaru to figure it out alone!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Oh, Naruto, you poorly plotted and stretched out series designed to milk fans for all they’re worth. You’ve done it again. After getting us back on track with the main story after a lot of filler, we’ve gotten some incremental progress in the fight against Madara but also a lot of flashback material. While it worked in some decent material with Guy that showcased the how and why of him going into overdrive here, there’s that sense in my mind that it should have been seeded ages ago so that the storyline can just work through it in the present. But that’s just me coming from a different storytelling perspective and not one designed to maximize stretching it out. Here, we go back in time a bit to when Naruto had just returned to the Hidden Leaf village after spending all his time out with Jiraiya training.
With us going back to this point in time, it’s all about Naruto reacclimating to life in the village, which hasn’t changed much outside of Konohamaru keeping Naruto’s place cleaner than it ever has been. Kono’s definitely idolizing Naruto in a lot of ways and there’s the expected dynamic to be had here as Naruto encourages him in his own way, not acting like others were with him when he was Kono’s age. That serves to inspire Kono in some intense ways to train harder and excel, but we know the fruits of that for the most part with all the things that have happened since this time. Naruto doesn’t get to spend a lot of time here as he and the others of his team are sent off to deal with a new mission, as Gaara was kidnapped at this stage, so the focus is squarely on that of Kono and his attempts at training, especially as gets his friends to help try and push him to the next level along with a few of those on Naruto’s age level.
Naturally, a good chunk of this is just pure fluff. In fact, much of this two part storyline that carries into the second episode is a whole lot of nothing. For those that may have been younger watching the show when the characters were introduced may find some kinship with the characters, but they’re not even a poor man’s younger incarnation of the core cast. They’re your basic supporting characters that are nice to trot out once in a while but in the end add nothing of substance to the show itself in the big picture. That a decent chunk of the first of this two part episode focused not only on Kono’s attempts to master a Sexy Jutsu but also having the group of kids actually master it in awkward fashion is just more cringe inducing. The Sexy Jutsu has always been one of the more childish aspects of the series that I could do without and seeing that being passed down is just unfortunate.
Naruto: Shippuden essentially gives us a two part episode of nothingness here that reminds me why so many have fallen off from watching it. We’ve talked about it before so I won’t repeat it here again. What we get here is harmless fluff in terms of content, but harmful in terms of the overall brand when it comes to the anime viewing audience. There are cute moments to be sure, but mostly it’s a mildly soul sucking experience that doesn’t add anything to what’s going on in the present. It’s a time waster, and I’m increasingly finding episodes like this to be pretty distasteful and disrespectful towards the audience for the most part. It’s competently done but I can’t quite give a damn about them, especially when it focuses on Konohamaru.
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.