In Naruto Shippuden, more progress is being made with the Fourth Great Ninja War. Where we last left Gaara our sand loving friend faces off against a few new foes, which have been revived by the Impure World Reincarnation Jutsu. This includes Rasa (The Fourth Kazekage/Gaara’s father), Second Mizukage (Hōzuki Gengetsu), the Third Raikage (Sandaime) & the Second Tsuchikage (Mū).
From here we have focus on The Fourth Kazakage ‘Rasa’ and Gaara’s – father and son relationship. As you’d remember from previous episodes of Naruto – Gaara has hatred towards his father – as his father tried to kill him multiple times – due to him thinking that Gaara didn’t have the power to control the Jinchurki sealed inside him. So Rasa thinks he is to much of a liability to the Village of the Sand.
Gaara explains to his father that he is now the new Kazakage and has now rid the Junchuriki from his body, due to extraction against his will from the Akatsuki and while being on the brink of death his friends & Granny Chiyo revive him to give him a second chance at life.
This episode delves back into some history surrounding Gara’s childhood and the hardships he stood, the hatred and lies he was fed (especially about his mother hating him) and why his father went to such lengths. Before long we bounce back to current time and the battle begins between father and son.
Throughout the battle Rasa shows regret for what he has done to his son’s life and becomes proud of what he has become. It gets revealed that his mother has always loved him and her spirit is within the sand he uses (she is the female figure you see in his sand attacks from time to time). Gaara ends up victorious and seals his father to the netherworld while forgiving him.
The next episodes pulls focus on Naruto & Killer Bee who bump into (for me, some of the coolest villains in the series) Itachi and Nagato (also know as Pain). Both Nagato and Itachi seem impressed with Naruto and how much he’s grown – they almost seem like old friends. Before the niceties get out of the way Kabuto pulls full control on the Reincarnation Jutsu and even though Nagato and Itachi can talk – they have no control of their bodies. There is a lot of awesome fight scenes here and banter – mostly between Itachi and Naruto stating that during their previous fight Itachi entrusted power (Mangekyou Sharingan Genjutsu – which was an embedded eye into a crow that flew into naruto) to Naruto in case he needed to use it to set things right with Sasuke. But he now sees that Naruto has grown powerful enough to overcome any adversary – so Itachi destroys the crow (so it can’t be used for sinister acts) and also is able to break the control jutsu of Kabuto. They then part ways stating that he will put a stop to the Reincarnation Jutsu, but he will leave Madara to Naruto and Bee.
The collection then progresses through to some epic fights between The Second Mizukage (Hōzuki Gengetsu) and his Giant Clam & Mirage technique – which can be very humorous in parts. Then second place is the Third Raikage (Sandaime) & Second Tsuchikage (Mū). All these scenes have flashy fight scenes with Naruto making some special appearances, Gaara and our favourite old man Onoki. All of which they get pulverised at first but slowly work out their opponents weaknesses to take them down and seal them.
From then the series goes into another mini arc of some old villains that get resurrected – you may remember them? The Sound Ninja Four! If not they were a group of enemies that Neiji, Choji, Kiba, Shikamaru took on back in the original Naruto series (the moment when they had to retrieve Sasuke back when he was kidnapped by Orochimaru). In the previous fight they were much younger, inexperienced and barely came out of the battle alive. This time the gang are experienced and take them down with ease. That’s at least what you think – until The Sound Four are just about to get sealed – they then use The Underworld Transfer Justu. This is where Shikamaru and the gangs bodies remain in the real world but their souls get transported into another dimension. The only way the Justu will release is if their souls or physical bodies die. However with the aid of Shikamaru (the crazy strategist), the gang still have a card up their sleeves. With the help of Narutos sensory powers they end up escaping and reigning victorious.
This volume of Naruto ends with some unfortunate fillers, which aren’t in anyway bad, but they don’t really progress the story much. We have an episode between Hinata and Neiji where it goes into the past of him training her and how they gain a bond as powerful Hyūga clan members. The past of Hayate Gekko and how he is used as one of Kabuto’s pawns when reincarnated. This also explains the past corruption between Kabuto and the Hidden Sand Village. Finally it ends with a happy flash back filler – where Naruto, Choji, Shikamaru & Ino get sent to kidnap Shū, the son of the daimyō. To do this they have Chōji has to enter an eating contest and get Naruto to use transformation Jutsu in order to kidnap lord Shū. Will they be able to kidnap him or will Chokji fail the eating competition?
I enjoyed this collection of Naruto Shippudden, however I thought it started really strong but finished weak with too many filler episodes that didn’t progress the story much. I know that the Great Ninja War is going to stretch on for quite some time, but there’s too many unnecessary fillers which don’t impact on the overarching story. Naruto also seems that he’s too powerful now – I know he’s obtained powers of the nine tails and sage mode, but I think we have to see more of that humane version of Naruto that we all love – him getting knocked down and getting back up – the battler in him. I’ve been a fan of Naruto for a long time – so just like most of you – I’ll endure the fillers and see where this adventure takes us. Until next time!
A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.