Being a Naruto fan just isn’t easy some days.
What They Say:
During the Chunin Exam, Sasuke witnesses Naruto’s growth as a shinobi.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Despite what I say sometimes, I really do feel for the long time Naruto fans that have to deal with the things like the season of filler that happens every now and then and the random nonsense episodes when all you want is the core storyline. It’s certainly not an easy thing to deal with, but the fact of the matter is that when you have a show that runs as long as this does, you have to find creative ways to give yourself a breather, especially if you’re closing in at the manga depending on production times and planning that needs to be done. With the show opting to do a newly animated compressed form story that deals with the original Naruto series, I was pretty ambivalent about the whole idea, but was at least glad it wasn’t Naruto on a Boat.
The storyline in here isn’t exactly varied since it’s still dealing with the eraly days as Naruto is growing in his training, sparring against Sasuke regularly because of the friction between them and getting smacked around by Sakura when appropriate. While there’s rivalries and tensions, the larger shadow has yet to fall on the group as they’re focused mostly on what they’ve been trying to achieve. All of that changes with the way Sasuke is looking for something more in order to achieve his goals and we can see how some of those hooks being put into him were done, since there were those within the village that were operating on a different plan. The main thrust that we see here is the slow but steady change in how Sasuke perceives Naruto. While they’ve grown up “together” in way, Naruto has been easy to dismiss. Watching him in the midst of a fight here shows him how much Naruto has grown and that’s what slowly begins to change their relationship.
While fans are their own worst enemy, the only thing I can really suggest at this point to those that are hating on this is to know that it’s going to go on for a little bit and that you do have a few options. You can watch it, you can choose not to watch it. You can also go and watch the Rock Lee series for a few weeks (which may be part of the intent here!) and treat that as the “true” filler that should be in this series right now and enjoy that for what it is. All the complaining in the world won’t do anything. While I’m not a huge fan of recap episodes, these are kind of enjoyable on a base level since it’s reanimating it and compressing it rather than just using the original animation and slicing and dicing to achieve the same result. This shows some care and effort and an attempt to make this very long running show a bit more accessible to people who may just tune in to see what the fuss is all about. While I find it hard to recommend the original series, if you want to give them an idea of the basics, this run of compressed storytelling may be the best thing to happen.