A touch of closure and plenty of implied threats populates an episode focusing on the curious and mysterious Madara.What They Say:
Madara appears in the Hidden Rain Village seeking the corpse of Nagato and his Rinnegan.The Review:Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the previous episode feeling a little off as it focused on just Kisame and his origins, which had its points but felt like it was coming to late into events and rather forced, Naruto: Shippuden is starting to move events in general a bit further up now in a way to get our attention. With that episode having some good focus on Madara and his early encounters in the storyline, especially with the flashback episode we had prior to that involving Naruto's parents and how he was complicit in what happened to them, the scale of his story becomes much more interesting. While it's hard to say it completely at this point, it's almost to the point where you'd want a short run series to show events from Madara's point of view for awhile to see how everything came together there.
While material set in the past has been the order of the day recently, this episode keeps us largely in the present, which is definitely a plus as there's more than enough going on there. And it focuses on Madara who really does set the mood well which is a big plus. His arrival in the Hidden Rain Village is definitely intriguing since he and his group definitely fit the atmosphere well there as it's just plain moody, dark and disturbing with its structures and weather. With the story here going back to events that feel so long ago, but are recent in-story, it has Madara coming to find what happened with Nagato and the truth behind that loss when things were moving so close. We do get some minor flashback material to the discussion between Nrauto and Nagato, but it feels appropriate since it has been awhile and it fits into what's being discussed in the present. Even if it goes on just a bit too long.
What Madara has to do here though is to make a few things clear about what he did with Nagato and that he wants things back from it, namely the Rinnean that he gave him, which certainly surprises Nagato's partner who survived that event with Naruto. While Konan may not be the most fleshed out character, she is one that is just fascinating to watch with her paper jutsu as she uses it to great effect, at least in its visual design. It's hard to say it has much effect against Madara as we know that he's not going to be taken down by her, but it's good to see how much she's doing here just because of her closeness to Nagato and her desire to bring things to closure due to it.In Summary:
While Naruto in the "present" sense is absent here, I certainly don't mind. The sign of a good, healthy series is one that can focus on other characters, especially the villains, and make a compelling story with it. Dealing with Madara coming to Konan in the Hidden Rain Village for some answers is definitely a good bit of closure and it does help to add a little more to events in the recent past. The time spent here adds a little more back story overall to Madara and to Konan which makes for the mood and atmosphere to step up a notch in a very positive way. I've been a fan of the Akatsuki in general, though more so with certain upper members rather than some of the more colorful rank and file, so an episode like this that helps to cement and elevate Konan a bit while giving Madara more "face" time is definitely a plus.Grade: