The recap is over and it's on to war. War! War!What They Say:
The Allied Shinobi Forces are on standby, ready to confront Madara’s army of reanimated shinobi and 100,000 White Zetsu. But distrust still exists among the Allied Shinobi Forces, who were once sworn enemies until recently.The Review:Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the four part flashback segment that run through the previous month, Naruto: Shippuden gets back on track with the present this time around by getting our war on. Or at least giving us a lot more lead-up to it as well with a wholly out of place opening sequence that's far too bouncy and fun for the subject matter. We get a good bit of prologue material here that shows us the various companies of ninja that are being grouped together and who is leading them, noting that Gaara is the overall commander but also in charge of a particular company as well. Add in Kakashi as another commander and a few others and you've got a good, solid leadership level though not without its quirks as well. It sets the tone well, though I can't see seeing a horde of cheering ninja ready for war clicks that well for me.
Not that everything is full of harmony there though, as we've had years of bad blood between the various villages and all sorts of instances that have rankled others. With people having had their losses because of it and grudges that run long and deep, it isn't a surprise that there words said, fights breaking out and a sense of anger bubbling just below the surface that could break through in a big way. Especially when you consider the problems between Leaf and Sand over the years, notably with what the Sand village has been involved in and caused. What helps to salvage some of it though is the foundation laid down between Naruto and Gaara because of their encounters, emotion and understanding of each other. It's a pretty good moment that sets Gaara on a strong path when he speaks about it and cements him as a good leader that has an understanding and connection to the people below him that many lose over time.
Mixed in with all of this is a little field work as well as some of the shinobi are out on the scouting side and finding out tidbits of what's happening. They're not hugely important at the moment, more just a portent of what's to come, but it helps to show that even as the allied forces are getting together, things are moving out in the rest of the world and won't slow down to wait. We also get to see a bit with the bad guys here as there are some plans being put into motion there as well, which is pretty mild when you get down to it and doesn't really excite, though I liked the seemingly vast army of subjects that they have on hand to utilize. But it also reminded me of other shows that just serve up a big group of fodder for the actual event, which can work in the short term until you get to the big moments with the name characters.In Summary:
Naruto has only a little time here in this episode but that's not a bad thing after the flashback arc since we need a little distance after revisiting that material again. The prologue to the war is what this is about as the forces are marshaled, serious faces are used and a dark intensity of purpose is paramount. There are some good bits to be had and it does start to show its scale well as it goes on, though it does feel a little forced with the CG hordes of shinobi that are arrayed out before us, both in the beginning and in the final moments. It's not badly done, but it just feels out of place, especially at the beginning. The show is shaping up for a large event here and is giving us a good taste of what's to come, but there needs to be some real payoff here and soon.Grade: