Gaara’s going up against a strong opponent that will test his skills, at least for an episode.
What They Say:
Gaara and Ohnoki manage to overcome the Second Mizukage’s mirage attack. Having taken an interest in Gaara, the Second Mizukage decides to further test the young Kage’s skills.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While we had some decent material showcasing Naruto the previous time around with his fight against the Raikage and all that it entailed with the other supporting ninjas, this episode is more focused on what Gaara is dealing with. Along with Ohnoki, the pair are going against the Second Mizukage who has no intention of being taken down and now pretense about wanting to do the right thing. In his mind, he’s fully under the sway and control here and intends to do what he can to win. With plenty of old grudges in the mix as well, he uses his abilities well, though there’s still a sense that he’s playing and toying with the two rather than truly understanding the power that they do have, with or without the support troops that are there.
Not surprisingly, the bulk of the episode is just a whole lot of back and forth fighting between the two sides. Gaara and Ohnoki certainly have the power to back up what they need to do and the Second Mizukage is giving them a run for their money, pushing back hard against what they do while being calm and collected about it all. Bringing in another one of his side, a clone at that, we get to see a match that lets him play general in a sense while the creepy clone gets to shift in size and ability as it goes back and forth against Gaara. What makes it fun to watch is seeing how Gaara continues to use his sand abilities to deflect and attack, escape and press forward against such diverse opponents.
The match between the two sides does have some vey good moments to it as it unfolds, with solid animation that the series can manage when it wants to shine as opposed to just working through filler material. Recent “Power” storyline excepted. The material we get for this works well overall and having long liked Gaara, getting an episode with him at the forefront definitely works nicely. It takes up most of it but we also start to get a bit more of a top level of what’s going on later in the episode as we see Kakashi reflecting on the overall strength of things as Naruto is making his way deeper into enemy territory. With Kabuto as the background villain to all of this with what he’s up to, it has a good, ominous tone that really does work well.
The fight between Gaara and the Second Mizukage with Ohnoki getting involved from time to time hits some very good notes. It’s smooth, mostly filled with the action that works well for Naruto fans and it wraps up pieces of it decently enough so that it can move on. The show has spent so much time on weird side stories up until this point that finally getting to things like this makes it a show worth watching again, especially since the bigger bad guys are starting to get dealt with on some level. The show also starts to pivot in a different direction towards the end here, giving us a view from above to some degree and showing just how ticked Naruto is getting about all of this, which should make for some good action in episodes to come. While the arc doesn’t have me as enthused as I was when Pain attacked the Hidden Leaf village, it’s starting to show some signs of potential at long last.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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