What They Say:
An ancient ruin in Demon Desert comes crumbling down during the battle for the scrolls.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With a lot of action elements in the desert the last time around, we got plenty of things going on mixed with flashbacks as its overall focus was on Tenten. The present storyline is working through the second Chunin Exam phase and specifically on the scroll hunt that the teams are on now in the Sand territory as run by Gaara, and there have certainly been decent moments. Tenten is like a lot of characters in that while we get her personality and past in different spots throughout the overall series run, there’s not a lot to her to really make her a strong contender or fan favorite in a lot of ways. She’s a solid enough character, but still more of an archetype with a hair type that stands out in comparison to others than anything else. This arc isn’t changing that much, but it is adding a little more meat to the bone.
This episode focuses a bit more on Tenten as she ended up in that set of ruins within the Demon Desert where the exam is taking place and come across the other woman that’s part of the Hidden Rain village, which has had a whole lot of influence from the Akatsuki members there. There’s some decent moments in the first half as they make their way through the underground and deal with some of the creatures, mostly because we do get Tenten being confident but not cocky and handling things well. The two aren’t exactly sparkling conversationalists, but Tenten keeps things moving along well as they go about things. Of course, things get a bit more difficult outside the ruins as the teams out there end up in conflict, with more village oriented aspects coming into play as old rivalries are hard to dismiss overall.
Thankfully, the action itself is decent overall as it progresses, and you can enjoy it on that very basic level right there. But beyond that, there’s not much to really get enthused about when it comes to the characters themselves. Since they’re at their slightly younger ages than they are now, their power levels are a touch different, but it’s nothing that really gets examined or worked with here simply because this is just an exam, even if there are some more difficult moments within the ruins themselves with the insect creatures. It gives them a challenge, but it doesn’t demand that they go all out in a way that makes you change your appraisal of them. Again, there are decent moments of action here, but as a whole it’s just another round of spinning the wheel while getting nowhere.
Naruto: Shippuden has a few more episodes to go it seems in this current part of the exam and that should leave most fans with a sense of dread as we wait even longer to get to the main story again. While these episodes aren’t driving me nuts in the way that the anime original episodes did at the end of the first Naruto series, what we get here is largely a lot of time wasting material that few will remember overall. The opportunity to really expand on characters is here, but the writing team isn’t willing to do the hard work and after years of being burned by awful original stories, the fans wouldn’t believe it anyway as they’re solely invested at this point with the main story.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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