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NARUTO SHIPPUDEN #1 -- Special Retro Review

Naruto returns to the Village Hidden in the Leaves, but is it worth your time to return to this show?

Naruto Shippuden Poster
Naruto Shippuden Poster

We all know what became of shonen superstar Naruto Uzumaki: his big show NARUTO was condemned to filler purgatory while his mangaka caught up. The resulting filler episodes were so bad they tanked the reputation of the franchise, and viewer interest waned. Some even swore off the show for good. Was it any wonder, then, that when they finally got back to the original storyline retitled it as NARUTO SHIPPUDEN to try to shake the filler stigma?

As for myself, I never made it to the filler. I lost interest in the series due to various life commitments--mostly school, I think--around the time the Akatsuki showed up. I heard through osmosis about the horrors that came, so I didn't feel too inclined to return (though I was slightly amused by the ramen-powered ninjas). After being pleasantly surprised by the first episode of the original NARUTO earlier this week, I thought I would give SHIPPUDEN a try to see if it could pull me back in with the same nostalgic glow.

...But I was deceived. I don't think the filler actually ended.

Usually when you're dealing with a flashforward scenario like SHIPPUDEN begins with, it's to some tense and climactic point that makes you wonder how things got to that state. This is undermined, though, when everything moves so slowly that there's no tension. How long do you actually expect me to watch people play Hide and Go Seek? How much staring at each other is actually going to take place without any action? Just how drawn out are you trying to make this thing?

And then there's the super cheesy reintroduction of all the characters in Konohagakure. There's no conflict, no plot—Naruto and Jiraiya just walk around, saying hi to people. Sure you get to see how they've grown and changed since the time skip, but doing it in such a procedural way takes all the gravitas out of these reveals.

It all smacks of boring fan fiction. Instead of actually telling a story, the show seemed more content to show off new character designs that weren't all that different than the old ones. After the hope that was rekindled in me after watching the original show, this is a huge letdown. I don't think I'll be coming back to SHIPPUDEN anytime soon.

Matt Murphy is a freelance nerd who has contributed to many nerd websites. You can reach him by going to where the light meets the shadow, by sending out zeta-brainwaves or by following him on Twitter @Murphix.

Lurkeroon Dec. 26, 2013 at 7:03 p.m.

The worse thing about the beginning episodes of Shippuden is that viewers were told Naruto spent 2 years training and yet he was still immature and weak.

Also, a severe lack of Shino in Naruto Shippuden. I still have my hope the Shino has been planning something this whole time and that he will be the key in taking down Madara. Shino is always prepared.

FoxxFireArt moderator on Dec. 30, 2013 at 9:55 p.m.

The first episode of NARUTO SHIPPUDEN was incredibly absurd and confusing. The first 12 -- or so-- minutes are from the near end of the arc that follows the arc that actually starts after the credits. It even cuts out the Kakashi Gaiden Arc, which happens in the manga just before the time skip; and implants it further in the anime.

The two years of fillers was horrendous. A small handful of episodes were at least fun, but it just dragged on with no end in sight.

To make matters worse, this series goes back in time for a filler arc -- possibly two -- that happen between canon arcs. The way this series handles fillers is what makes it so hard to watch.

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