The forces are being marshaled for the war that's about to get underway.What They Say:
The Tsuchikage and his team manage to safeguard the Jinchuriki, but at the cost of losing Yamato to the enemy.The Review:Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After a good bit of action in the previous episode that focused on the exterior of the island that was under attack and had the Tsuchikage come to help out, things are starting to turn a bit for Naruto inside. He's managed to put together his animal army specialty group and they've been tossed around a few times as they don't quite understand what's going on outside, or that there really is an outside in a way. Naruto for his part has reached his limits with this mission though which is a nice bit of a change of pace to how this arc (and filler) has gone overall. Seeing him getting frustrated with what he sees as busy work at this point is welcome since it gets him being at least a little aggressive about getting back to the village and waiting for Sasuke to appear.
The results of that initial fight are definitely a mixed bag when you get down to it, but the biggest loss to them was that Yamato was captured. With him being in on at least some of the plans and workings of the Shinobi Alliance, having him in the hands of the enemy is not a good thing and some of the shinobi forces are panicking over it. But the elders are at least smart enough to not panic and look at it calmly so they can figure out how to adjust to it. In their minds, they at least made the right save in keeping both of the Jinchuriki that they have in their possession since that was what the enemy was after. When the enemy isn't scheming among themselves for position and power in some admittedly small and subtle ways as we see here with Kabuto.
Watching as the Allied forces get themselves into gear is a very slow build up but it works quite well, such as the introduction of the new headbands that they wear to signify that they're of one unit at this phase. With so many different villages at work, it's definitely useful to try and take out some of the potential tensions this way. There's a lot of talk of strategy as it progresses at the lower level with the rank and file setting up their missions and plans. But the show takes a surreal turn later on when we see the entirety of the forces together and it gets to be a big cheering moment as thousands of shinobi are laid out in front of us in very big way that paints the scale of the forces. It's understandable what they're doing and the overall rallying of the troops, but it's also rather unsettling in its own way as the "militarization" of the various villages in this way shows just how far they're prepared to go to do what must be done.In Summary:
With Naruto: Shippuden taking a "break" of sorts for the next month as it celebrates its anniversary run with a look back at various parts of the show, this episode serves as the proper cliffhanger to what's to come after we get back on track with the manga. And it certainly does it well here by setting up a lot of material when it comes to both the enemy and the Allied Shinobi Forces. Kabuto and the group he's with are manipulating things in a dark and evil way, making you wince for Yamato quite a few times, but you also find moments at the shinobi side where you want to cringe a little as well, understandable as their positions may be. It's all building towards what should be a significant series of battles and actions that can change a lot of things. There's more than enough to like here, though I would have preferred a little more time with Naruto, and it's definitely plenty to keep me satisfied until things get back on track again after this upcoming look back.Grade: