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NARUTO SHIPPUDEN #281 - - Special Review

Fear the fat men! Fear them!

Somewhere amid the stand-off between the ninja clan PTA’s stand-off with an army of evil sumo wrestlers, the infinitely-applicable visual metaphor of a urine stream disrupting a line of ants and then the deadly jutsu of soccer ball hadokens, I came to realize that NARUTO proper maybe isn’t that far removed from ROCK LEE & HIS NINJA PALS.

I figured that super-deformed spoof was supposed to be far more ridiculous than the show it was spinning off of, but I now realize that SHIPPUDEN is actually just as wacky. Actually, it’s maybe even stranger for how all the wackiness I’ve just described is played rather matter-of-fact and deadpan.

Anyway, as you might’ve guessed, I couldn’t sit on my hands, so I went ahead and took a look at the latest SHIPPUDEN episode just like I did for ONE PIECE last week. Contrasting the two, I’d say that jumping into long-running series at episode numbers this high gives you a better… sense to spot characters who probably have a back-story behind them. There are a number of crowd shots of the local meeting in this episode where I’m pretty sure that certain, unspeaking villagers in attendance weren't just thrown in to randomly fill the space.

There’s a level of detail and specificity to their design which gives off some visual aroma which tells me they’ve probably been key players in at least an previous episode or two. When they bring up the “Forth Ninja War,” I also get the sense that Ninja Wars 1-3 have actually played out on-screen somewhere back in this show’s voluminous back catalog.

(It also says a lot about a show’s level of comfort and security when you can grab a random episode and find the title character is only just alluded to a couple times throughout the whole running time).

I don’t know if there’s anything profound for me to observe here, since I’m coming in so late and more-than-likely missing plenty of slight allusions that carry a lot of significance. I just think it’s so strange that this rather quaint and charming Saturday Morning Toon-style plot about kids mistaking a traveling circus for monsters has an STAND BY ME-style interlude where one of those kids actually stabs another.

Perhaps childhood’s somehow just as Picaresque, but still deadlier, in the world of NARUTO?

Watch this episode, "The Allied Mom Force!” here and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

sickVisionz moderator on Oct. 8, 2012 at 5:11 p.m.
I came to realize that NARUTO proper maybe isn’t that far removed from ROCK LEE & HIS NINJA PALS.

Nah, you came in on a filler episode that was especially goofy. It's like stumbling across one of the dream sequence episodes of the Sopranos and thinking the entire series is as trippy and out there as that one episode.

Lurkeroon Oct. 8, 2012 at 6:22 p.m.

It doesn't help that you stumbled in on a filler episode. That is not the right way to approach this situation

FoxxFireArt moderator on Oct. 9, 2012 at 3:51 a.m.

Wow, that sucks. On ONE PIECE you randomly drop in on a great episode, but for NARUTO SHIPPUDEN you stop in here on a filler.

This world war arc has been pretty cool, but everything about it makes me pretty sure that the arc after this will be the end of the series. They are wrapping up every little loose end and answering so many questions within a single arc. There are going to be no more mysteries left in this series.

For clarity sake, the events of the 3rd Shinobi World War were summed up about the time before Naruto was born.

No_name_here staff on Oct. 9, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.

@sickVisionz said:

Nah, you came in on a filler episode that was especially goofy. It's like stumbling across one of the dream sequence episodes of the Sopranos and thinking the entire series is as trippy and out there as that one episode.

Well, when you put it that way...

@Lurkero said:

It doesn't help that you stumbled in on a filler episode. That is not the right way to approach this situation

@FoxxFireArt said:

Wow, that sucks. On ONE PIECE you randomly drop in on a great episode, but for NARUTO SHIPPUDEN you stop in here on a filler.

I'm noticing a theme here....

sickVisionz moderator on Oct. 9, 2012 at 6:01 p.m.

@No_name_here: To be honest, I wouldn't even know where to tell you to come in on in Naruto. Everything ties into everything and the whole series is very much one long story unlike other series where the arcs are less connected so when a new one starts that's actually an ok-ish point.

If you wanted to watch a random episode, I'd suggest a Shippuden filler (http://www.crunchyroll.com/naruto-shippuden/episode-194-the-worst-three-legged-race-567106) that goes back to the original series. It's got some comedic beats in it, shows Sasuke and Naruto as rivals and friends, people are doing jutsu left and right, and then it ends in a cool fight.

Dig Deeper into Naruto Shippuden

Naruto Shippuuden is the continuation of the series Naruto, taking place 3 years after the end of the original series.

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