So this is more an entire event or group of events than a single moment, so don’t get confused.
Naruto has a way of testing my patience. If you have had any experience with Naruto, then you will know that I am referring to the never ending filler the series resorts to, to keep from catching up with the manga.
It can be excruciating, dealing with an entire season of god awful filler crap, just to get a few episodes of canon a few months at a time. This of course is a curse all long running anime face, but most like one piece manage to handle the long runs much better, without resorting to endless fillers.
Then again I can’t really use one piece as an example. Sure it has nearly a tenth of the filler that Naruto has. And that’s because one piece makes use of stretching mechanisms, where by it will drag out a 5 minute plot into one and a half episodes. Hell, while most Anime cover two to three chapters of there manga at a time, I would be surprised to see one piece covering just one, and with what I have experienced over the year and half that I have watched one piece, it can be as excruciating to watch as Naruto fillers.
But that aside, I have been tempted on many occasions to jump ship, not from Naruto as a whole of course; after all it is my favorite series; but to make the move from anime to manga.
Most times however, Naruto manages to make up for it, i.e, sure we might get several dozen wasteful filler material, but immediately after will come a story that will make the wait for canon material all worth it.
This is what happened with Naruto Shippuden episodes 245-249; we went from the fairly interesting five Kage summit to a season of filler that somehow managed to be worse that the god awful garbage that was aired after the pain invasion arc.
And just when I was at the end of my ropes (I couldn’t even bear to watch more than a few episodes), the announcement came; filler was over and what came after wasn’t merely worth the wait, but it left me so amazed and satisfied that I could have taken any amount of filler after, and I couldn’t have cared.
SO, before I get to explaining the epicness, first I shall explain the plot for anyone that might have no idea about what I am talking about.
Naruto arrives on the moving island, and attempts to talk Killer bee into helping him achieve mastery over the nine tails fox. Once Killer bee finally agrees, Naruto undergoes pre-training training where, before he can master the evil, hate and power of the nine tails, he must first master and defeat the darkness within his own soul.
After overcoming dark Naruto, the pair jinchuriki head to a sacred temple where Naruto uses the key that jiraiya received from the fourth and in turn gave to him to unleash the nine tails fox. According to Killer bee, he must contend with the kyubi and forcibly take its chakra in order to take full and unfettered control over it.
The battle commences the moment the seal falls, with the nine tails nearly destroying Naruto with a tailed beast ball, only for Killer bee to intervene for the first and last time.
Soon Naruto is going all out in an attempt to over come the kyubi’s over whelming power, with kunais, speed, strength, clones and rasengans all proving futile. Naruto eventually enters sage mode and takes the battle to the next level, though barely making much head way.
The one time he finally manages to force some kyubi chakra into his body, it overwhelms him; even though he defeated dark Naruto, he still has doubts and some darkness that makes it impossible for him to overcome the hate of the kyubi.
As the power overwhelms him, the kyubi nearly takes him out, but just then it’s movements are sealed as a red haired woman who turns out to be Kushina Uzumaki, Naruto’s mom, makes an appearance.
She tells him the story of his past, of the Uzumaki clan with their unique and powerful sealing jutsus and the land of the whirlpools, of their links to Konoha that thickened when the first hokage, Hashirama married Mito uzumaki, with whose help and teachings he was able to master and seal the tailed beasts; of the tragedy that befell the Uzumaki clan during the shinobi, how Kushina was brought to Konoha to become the second Jinchuriki of the nine tails after Mito and the hardships she suffered as a foreigner and Jinchurinki before meeting a Minato who saved her, literally and figuratively.
The tale brings Naruto the courage to over come his hate and defeat the Kyubi in an awe inspiring attack. Naruto takes the chakra and manifests his nine tails mode.
With that task done, Kushina fills Naruto in on the events that happened the day he was born, or how Madara attacked the sealed site of birth, kidnapped Kushina and extracted the nine tails before launching it into Konoha to execute that legendary attack, the battle between Minato and Madara and ensuing consequences.
This group of episodes ends with Naruto now wiser of who and what he is, his destined birth, the hopes that his parents held for him and the resolve he forms to bring peace.
I know that these were specifically five individual episodes, but as far as I am concerned, what I watched was a five part movie, because that is how I felt after watching all five episodes in one go, one after another.It was literally like nothing I had ever seen in naruto.
So first I will start off with the less important but none the less amazing factors that make these episodes so epic;
1. Animation: When I say that these episodes felt like one long movie, I am not exaggerating; that is literally how awesome this animation was. Words like brilliant, breath taking and pulchritudinous ( I learnt that word just for this description) don’t even begin to describe the kind of animation that was unleashed by Studio Periot in these five episodes. It was almost like they were using this chance to show off just what they could do if they ever took the gloves off, and I must say that I was impressed. These weren’t merely special animation and graphics that were saved for that one group of special naruto episodes, as is done with nearly every anime out there, where for one time or even twice, usually a first or last episodes (guilty crown’s opening episode was beautifully animated, even though the anime sucked), they will go the extra mile to animate a special story; in these five episodes Studio Periot was literally using movie level animation, as in if you were to look at some of the very best anime movies you have seen, Naruto’s graphics in these episodes, especially 248-249 would be right up with them, as good as or even better.
In fact I have seen movies that aren’t even animated half as good as this. Epic wise, I am thinking of that scene with the fourth and Kushina at the tip of a tree after he had saved her, the way every detail, from Minato’s jacket to her hair was beautifully animated; then there was that awesome tail beast ball at the start of the fight, the way it exploded forward while everything surrounding it was disintegrated; and of course Naruto’s kyubi mode took the cake. I have seen so many shows botch the whole 2D and CGI fusion, with the CGI elements usually looking so out of place. But that first look of the Naruto Kyubi mode, the golden flaming form, was simply…breath taking.
Most anime movies I have watched don’t get this kind of budget.
As far as ratings go, I would give the animation in these episodes an 8/5, and yes, that is beyond the scale. Someone said that if they took out all the filler in Naruto and kept this level of graphics, the Big three might shrink down by two, at least anime wise.
2. Art--- You would think that good animation would automatically mean good art. But that is not true. I have seen anime with acceptable animation, but with lousy art. I am thinking of the Jojo’s bizarre adventure series I saw last year. While the animation was fine, the characters were drawn in such a silly way. Thankfully these episodes avoided that pitfall because again, every thing was done perfectly. And not just the kyubi mode; in this case I am drawn immediately to the nine tails.
The scene, the story of what happened 16 years ago when the nine tails attacked has been such an iconic scene in Naruto and even with all the stories told by characters of what happened that night, fans have always wondered what happened and what it felt like.
We see that in these episodes, and personally I was afraid that they would mess things up, that after seeing so much of kyubi related flash backs and hearing what happened, there would be nothing new to see and all we would get would be some large red monster attacking in the background while they focused in on the events surrounding madara and the fourth.
This scene was more interesting than I anticipated. Firstly we got to see so many of our beloved characters at a much younger time in their lives and it was more nostalgic than informative. We got to see gai and kakashi being themselves. The long dead third hokage and his short yet awesome battle against the kyubi, then itachi and sasuke.
But the highlight of this event was the rather unique way in which they chose to display the attack, like the pages of a story book being opened; it made the entire scene all the more scary as it showed the kyubi as less of a magical creature and more of a monster. it just worked for me perfectly and it kept things new.
The art work here I would rate a perfect 5/5
And now for the more important aspects that made these moments so epic:
1. The action---AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, that was what my brain was doing the whole time I was watching the events of these episodes. The battles in these episodes were, and I will use a phrase that I vehemently dislike, off the chain. I was blown away several times over. First we had the battle with the nine tails and it was every bit the beast we expected it to be. Even with its chakra gone, it was more than ready and capable of annihilating Naruto. Once the battle was done, even if Naruto had triumphed, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that he hadn’t beaten the fox. But his efforts were truly a sight to behold, especially the way he finished things; with a tonne of clones each armed with a giant rasengan that, from the fox’s point of view below, looked like they were tiny blue moons descending upon it.
This was the naruto we had been waiting to see every since the series began, a competent Naruto, loud mouthed but with the power to back it up. I would really like to see an all out battle between these two, one in which only one walks away from, because that would make it all the more serious.
But of course it was the fourth that stole the show, the way he saved baby Naruto from the explosion, his short but unbelievable fight against the kyubi and of course the final show down with Madara. This fight was short, yet it was also the best fight in the entire Naruto series by far. We had heard of the great shinobi Minato, but now, with these episodes, we go to see it, the truth of his legend and why he might be the greatest shinobi to ever live, besides Hashirama at least.
Even the combined actions of Konoha to take the fox down were an impressive sight to watch.
I would rate the action in these episodes with a 10/5, again, breaking the scale.
Now while it was the individual and combined efforts of all these factors that made these five episodes so epic, one stood out among them all,
4. The story---Let me just say this, it might be misconstrued that I think these episodes are the best ever in Naruto. That would be a wrong assumption; I think these episodes are some of the best I have ever seen in all of anime, and I am speaking both as a Naruto fan, as well as a regular viewer of anime.
And most of that is as a result of the story told in these episodes, which was both beautiful and heart wrenching. First we got a glimpse into Naruto’s world. We and he realized that he hadn’t always been alone, that there had been others out there, numbering in the thousands, with his blood, his heritage, and his name; basically his own people; and this knowledge came with the fact that they were gone, all of them and that, besides Nagato, he would never meet another Uzumaki.
I liked how the knowledge gave Naruto a sense of belonging, and I actually hope to one day see another uzumaki. The Uzumaki clan has such a nice ring to it.
The bigger revelation was Naruto’s mother. It was hilarious that the first time he saw her, he accused her of being the nine tails in disguise, allowing Kushina to show that brush side of her that Naruto is so well known for. It was a touching scene, as I don’t think he had ever given her much thought; it was always about his father, the legendary fourth hokage, that he idolized so much. Neither us the fans nor Uzumaki ever really gave much thought to Naruto’s parents in the first part of the series, and even when it came to light, Kushina didn’t really receive much attention.
It was a really touching moment, that instance when he realized who she was. It was touching later on when he knew she had to go on now that she had fulfilled her mission; poor Naruto, after only having met her.
Minato is the coolest character in Naruto, but it as a surprise to see that Kushina was every bit as prominent and interesting to watch as he was, with the tortures she faced as a child from a foreign land and the fact that she had a monster inside of her. Personally was impressed and tickled by the very distinct way she dealt with those that bullied her, in contrast to how her son Naruto dealt with the same thing.
With Naruto, it was all about playing pranks, being funny and taking the insults with a stride. Kushina didn’t give a crap, she would beat the hell out of anyone that would dare try to look down upon and bully her.I was especially tickled by the scene in the forest where Kushina wallops an irritating classmate, he ran’s off and calls his bigger genin of a brother and she beats the hell out of him as well.
I laughed at that for ages. But it was also touching to watch that scene with Minato, when she confronted him about how he had always coldly looked down at her, choosing to ignore her every time she looked at him for help during the moments that her classmates would bully her, and he replied that the reason he never made a move to help her was because he knew she was strong and that she didn’t need his help…Minato oozing coolness here.
The story is tragic of course. Minato has to sacrifice his wife to save Naruto. And then after he saves the village, he and Kushina make the ultimate sacrifice to save naruto when the kyubi makes a go for him.
It was truly heartening to watch how far these two great shinobi went to protect their son, and it would be an odd fan that didn’t hate madara/tobi in that instance for what he had done to what was a truly great shinobi family.
Outstanding moments: That scene when Kushina tells Minato that she was pregnant was hilarious (MInato: I am going to be a dad. Kushina: I am going to be a mom, don’t you know, MInato: I am going to be a dad. Kushina: I am going to be a mom, don’t you know…)
-That moment when the kyubi impales both Kushina and Minato, those last words they gave to Naruto before they both finally died…difficult to watch up to this day. From what I have read, Kishimoto chose to write this flash back because he had just become a father and he felt it necessary to tell this story about Naruto’s origins.
I wondered where Jiraiya was and why he made no attempt to help during this crisis. Then I remembered that during his own flash back, he was off writing his novel while all this happened. But how about Orochimaru and Tsunade?
I rate this story with a 15/5, again beyond anything I could have hoped for. This was an origin story to end all origin stories; it was quintessential Naruto.
If you are a naruto fan and haven’t watched these episodes, you need to do so. If you are a Naruto fan that gave up on the anime, you need to watch these episodes. If you are not a Naruto fan, watch these episodes a simply great anime.
If you read the manga, you might wonder why you should bother since you read the story. I have heard from Naruto manga fans that watched these episodes and said that the animated version took the event to a whole new level that the manga didn’t reach. SO, don’t worry about being bored just because you read it, watch these episodes.
WATCH THESE EPISODES….
Today is the Japanese release date for two of the big Shonen Three volumes from Shueisha. Though, by this time it was yesterday for them. Ah, the thirteen hour time difference.
Included in the release is ONE PIECE Vol. 66, which contains Chapter 647-656. This concludes the Fish-Man Island Arc, the first arc of the post-time skip era; and begins the latest Punk Hazard Island Arc. It's been great having Smoker and Tashigi back in the story. NARUTO Vol. 60 was also released, which contains Chapter 566-575. This continues to Shinobi World Arc arc, but Naruto has made a groundbreaking change in his relationship with the Nine-Tailed Fox and learns his true name. BLEACH Vol. 55 won't be released in Japan until June 4, 2012.
With VIZ Media's initiative of increasing the publication of these two series, buying these translated in the U.S. shouldn't be that far off. With all the issues I have with some of their publishing and editting practices, I have to applaud them for this.
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