Naruto: Friendship Is MagicWhat They Say:
No episode summary provided.The Review:Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When even the narrator notes that the episode is starting off pretty serious, you have to laugh. In a way, the show sometimes reminds me of the George of the Jungle live action movie and there's some real appeal in that, which makes me wish the narrator got even more involved at times. This episode brings us a few more characters to the mix as Shikamaru,Choji and Ino are part of things now and that means potential for learning. Rock's attempts to grow his craft is his whole reason for being and one of the basic ideas of his life is that friends can help you train. And it's a basic truth that's told regularly in my own kids karate classes where everyone is encouraged to help each other train in all ways. So seeing that here is definitely appropriate and cute.
The first half is a good bit of fun as everyone gets their training going with Shikamaru as Rock tries to rally his group to learn something with them. Neji's not exactly keen on this, especially when he's told to go all Juggernaut on them, but it's fun to see them going at each other, especially since Shikamaru and Choji are kind of blase about the whole thing. Where it really makes me laugh though is when Rock's "limiters" come off of his eyebrows and they go wild in a huge way. Literally huge as they extend out as tentacle-like weapons. It's a great piece of humor that works exceptionally well and it just left me laughing harder than I had in the series so far. Bushy brows takes on a whole new meaning now. But even Choji has a great reveal here when he shows how he can manipulate just the size of his eyes...
With the second half, the show takes a different turn while still using the same group of characters, but it instead presents us wit ha "locked room mystery" as they all come across an unconscious Guy in what they think is an IQ test exam. The truth of the matter is that it's Orochimaru and Kobato causing trouble themselves, but that doesn't matter much what the real intent of it is. What it does is let Orochimaru really have fun here, showing him to be a complete maroon when you get down to it, and one that misses out on some basic ideas of life. Giving him a comical approach here is just very amusing and seeing how Shikamaru manipulates him along the way is priceless. It's the kind of thing that you're glad never really happens in the main show, but you can't help but to laugh at the absurdity of it here.In Summary:
Rock Lee and His Ninja Pals has another very episode here that hits so many good bits along the way, even if the whole isn't strong, that you can't help but to laugh. The two stories here obviously work their focus with the "new" trio that's brought into play and it works to good effect as they all bring something different to the table, though Ino feels pretty shortchanged overall. The gags come pretty quick but not at supersonic speed and they play with the characters in a way that just makes me grin if not outright laugh. Rock really steals the show in the first half and the second half left me loving Orochimaru all the more. The show isn't subversive but damn does it have fun with the franchise overall and just runs with it.Grade: