What They Say:
As Darui and his First Company engage an army of White Zetsu, the remaining forces must deal with reanimated shinobi.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Naruto: Shippuden has done some decent work at the start of this war here with the encounters we had, even with Naruto mostly absent from events at the moment. We’ve gotten a good look at the scale of events that are unfolding and seeing some of the first blush encounters between the forces. The previous episode spent a good bit of time focusing on some of the larger strategy items that are underway here with what’s going on, which slowed down events a bit and was just too bland in its description to really make it interesting or exciting to see how it’s all coming together. Still, the general idea is there and we got some good scale to the events with the forces that are out there aligned against the Allied Shinobi Forces, especially since the Akatsuki are mostly creating undead armies and lots of cannon fodder for the Allies to fight through that they may at times have an emotional bond with.
Thankfully, we do get some action here that helps to ease things as it goes on. The Allied forces have a lot to deal with and with there being such an expansive cast to the series, we can get an almost montage style series of sequences when you get down to it. Neji and Hinata in particular make me smile in seeing them standing firm against the reanimated shinobi and what they represent. But like some of the recent episodes, it’s more about the sense of what’s to come rather than the head on action. There are moments of it in the first half here, but it’s preparation, tension and stage setting more than anything else. A lot of it does come back to the size of the cast as so many supporting players from the past nearly five hundred episodes may find their place in this story, either as alive and fighting or reanimated corpses.
Unfortunately, while there are good bits here, it’s also filled with a whole lot of dialogue. Part of the point of it, hopefully, is that they’re saving the budget for the bigger scenes and to really drive home when its important the quality of the animation and action. The sad part is that by doing it this way, we get a lot of lead up material that can bore. There are some interesting moments, such as Shikimaru’s dialogue about what must be done and some with the leaders who are viewing the plan as a whole. But mostly it’s just a lot of stage setting that doesn’t really feel like it’s advancing anything, especially since it runs between so many different characters. The action is meager, decent when we have it, but not inspiring. I certainly don’t mind not having Naruto around for awhile because this is a story that will focus heavily on him soon enough, but it shifts between too many characters with so little really happening for much of it that you don’t really miss anything by missing this episode.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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