Last time I checked in with Naruto, he was on a toilet, wrestling with explosive diarrhea. The previous episode, he’d been dodging threats of kancho being… ahem… thrown at him by his instructor and his classmates. That was the sixth episode of ‘Regular’ NARUTO, and it might as well be a show entirely distinct from SHIPPUDEN.
Even if I had that special, time-dilating shield from MADOKA MAGICA, there’s really no way I could ever catch up on the hundreds of episodes between there and here. It’s more fun to do my own little ‘time skip’ and hop to this most recent episode. The differences are, at once, jarring and revealing.
Here we’ve got a grown-up Naruto, and an actual legion of comrades-at-arms and shinobi grunts, waging epic battles with giant beasts to prove a deep, thematic point about the nature of hope. The plot is as dour as the palette. Far, far away from the water colors and gentle, cartoonist strokes of those early episodes, we have muted Earth tones filling animation lines that are almost clinically-rigid. There may be occasional callbacks to Rock Lee’s goofy schtick, but that’s really more of a continuity reference than a joke. The show’s all business, now. Serious business.
I don’t have a problem with any of that. That’s how all these shows should work, really. I just never cease to be amused by how consistently… scientific the JUMP editorial model of aging a series up gets. I mean, in the broad view, it’s basically like they lure kids in with the fart jokes so they’ll eventually stick around for the philosophical treatises.
And while we’re speaking about the commonalities of super heroes - - on both sides of the Pacific - - I'm also amused how this show also fits in with “Adjective Rule” for ongoing universes. Basically, if there’s ever a character with an adjective in their name - - Green Lantern, for instance - - you can be rest assured that you’ll eventually see some lore established which introduces characters with every other adjective available. So, just like how you eventually meet Red Lanterns and Yellow Lanterns, if you have a demon god with Nine Tails, you can be sure you’ll eventually see Eight Tails and Ten Tails.
Give SHIPPUDEN another 100 episodes, and I’m sure we’ll meet Eleven Tails soon enough, too?
Watch "The Allied Shinobi Forces Jutsu Final Decision" and decide for yourself.