The war is underway but there's more to it than just straight out action for now.What They Say:
The Allied Shinobi Forces’ commando unit engages with the Akatsuki in the first wave of battle.The Review:Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While the main forces for the war were just starting to move out at the end of the previous episode, there are those already out there on the front lines that are engaging the Akatsuki. It's been interesting to watch so far sinc ethere are so many connections that some of these characters have from past battles that come to the surface which throws off the plans just a little bit, or at least ramps up the emotional side of it. With the number of times some of the characters have gone up against each other since the Akatsuki were formally introduced, it's no surprise that there are grudges and issues that come up that certainly spans quite a lot of time.
And because of this, what we'll likely get at various stages of this war are episodes like thi sone that does a heavy dose of back story expansion. As we see the fight getting ready to shift into the next gear between the two sides that are meeting, we get a look back in time to Shin and Sai when Shin was doing things to help out Sai and make sure that he was on the right path. With the two having spent so much time together in the Foundation, they bonded very well with each other and became closer than they might have thought possible. But that closeness is something that Danzo doesn't like to see in his members and he set the two on the path to kill each other in a match where only one could survive. It goes with the obvious angle of one willing to do it and the other not, which is where the rift really became something more between them.
This does help in the end because it makes their encounter later in life in the present more powerful, but it's the kind of piece that does slow down the story overall when you wanted something to really just get into the action and intensity. That said, what we do get something suitably emotional here that helps to bring some closure to part of Sai's life and it's very well done. This dominates the episode, but there are other aspects as well as the puppet masters are working their jutsu against each other, though it's more psychological because of what's gone on with the changes that have been made to become less human. It has a decent and thankfully short flashback to when Sasori went up against Sakura and Granny way back in this series, newly animated, which helps to bring all of this full circle as well. They make it clear that this is going to be a big part of this arc as events go on and as the bodies fall, but it's hard to complain about it because it does bring more closure.In Summary:
With the war essentially underway, the first couple of fights that go on certainly don't play out like you'd expect, especially when it comes to how Shin deals with his fight against Sai. That's more dealing with the past that one would expect so quickly as you'd figure we'd have a lot of action for a bit first, but what it does is to show that there are definite emotional issues to be had here with the way so many of these characters have long and deep connections with each other. There's a lot to like with this episode across the board, but it's one where once again it feels like we're not getting what we were expecting or really wanting. We get good stories out of it, but with all the buildup towards the war, well, we want that war.Grade: