The story turns its focus more to the way the two young men are pushing hard against each other as rivals and comrades.What They Say:
Sasuke’s defeat to Gaara, and later Itachi, forces him to realize that he is not strong enough to get revenge against his older brotherThe Review:Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With it having been many, many years since I saw the original episodes of this series, and even then it was slapdash and I missed a large chunk of it because of my distaste for the early parts of the series, this segment of the newly animated recap of material is actually a little more interesting. Not that I expect it to make sense since it just kind of jumps into things, but to see some of the earlier key battles animated anew (a must as the original animation belongs to someone else) is a lot of fun since it's very well done with a slick feel that the usual filler episodes don't get, something that does help to separate this batch from what's usually the norm for something like this. It feels like a little more effort has gone into it, even if the whole idea of recapping so much material in such short form ultimately doesn't play well.
Kicking off with the fight against Gaara certainly just throws something out there but it's fun to see the more intense and out of control form for him as well as Naruto stepping in to save Sasuke. As one can expect, even though the show is called Naruto, this area is largely about Sasuke and the conflict within his family as Itachi has made his appearance in an attempt to deal with Naruto. The Akatsuki took their time to really show themselves in the series originally and while that did work overall, it made things harder to really feel like there was going to be a good overall storyline to encompass things. That's changed over the years, but it's been hurt by the sheer amount of filler along the way that dragged things out. But stories like this that goes back to the Uchiha family and their problems and connections, as well as members of the Akatsuki who have managed to survive this long and have made recent appearances.
Not surprisingly, a good chunk of this episode is devoted to the ongoing rivalry of sorts that exists between Naruto and Sasuke. With Sasuke being forced down a path by his brother, one made clear by the statement that Sasuke doesn't have enough hate in his heart, it's balanced by the brightness (blatant!) that is Naruto. Nrauto's desire to save him has long been one of his better points even if it's poorly executed at times. But it's an important part of Naruto's character to see someone suffering like he is, and embracing it as much as he does, and to try and do something about it. When we get the showdown that they had atop the hospital after a recovery, it brings all of that original material back to mind and just reinforces how well done it was the first time and how it really is one of the defining moments of the series and the relationship between the two characters.In Summary:
As understandably frustating as these newly animated recap episodes can be for fans, I am generally enjoying them for the most part. The previous one left a little to be desired but it was more in that the content in particular it was covering was less interesting to me. Here, we get things made clearer once again about the challenges the two young men of the series face with each other, being both comrades and rivals, and how it drives and motivates them differently. While it pushes Naruto to do better and to work to save his friend, it just serves to drive Sasuke further into wanting power and going off on his own and not being reliant on others or looking for their support. The two are entwined together in a big way and seeing more of these early threads, knowing where they've ended up years later in the series, definitely is a good reminder even if the die-hards know it by heart. I'll certainly take this kind of filler episode over the awful comedy or Little Naruto stories we got before. And no boats too.Grade: