What They Say:
Tsunade continues to read Jiraiya’s novel. Chunin- and jonin-level ninja have gone missing, and the Fourth Hokage, Minato, orders a search mission with teams of genin led by Guy and Kurenai. Kakashi’s Team 7 is also dispatched, but the hero Naruto Uzumaki, despite being the Hokage’s son, has the misfortune of being labeled a loser.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While I had hoped that Tsunade’s story within a story within a dream would conclude with just two episodes, the character is simply too high profile to get away with that. So we get a third installment of her reading about Naruto in a different timeline where Minato is alive and Naruto grows up with parents. The idea is certainly not a bad one, it’s just that its placement as a time-waster filler is really problematic. Even more so because of the form taken here where it’s Tsunade stuck in the Tsukiyomi dream event so she’s dreaming it herself but providing an additional layer of framing. There’s really no good reason that can be seen at this point for doing so other than to have her involved as the bookend character since she has no real role within the book story itself. There just weren’t any other characters to choose from that could be central to the story to place into this dream mode?
The episode at least provides for a good bit of action through the first half as we get our familiar Team 7 and more dealing with the Hidden Rain folks and others that pop up out of the woodwork. What’s nice about it, and I use that word lightly, is that if you’re a fan of the main characters from this age bracket and time of experience is that we get some pretty fun sequences. There’s a different energy about it because they’re not a bit older, not as worn down from the experiences they have, and have that kind of optimism about them. Even as Naruto deals with being labeled as he is. A lot of the time when we do get these Young Naruto arcs they tend to be more about personality and interactions than action, so getting a decent bit of it is fairly fun and decently executed. It doesn’t get me to like the story in the slightest, but I can appreciate why it works for a segment of fans.
When the show shifts to the quieter second part it falls apart pretty quick in terms of being interesting. There’s a nice moment or two with Lee and his group connecting up with Naruto and his as they talk about Guy going missing, but there’s also just a lot of dead spots going on here. Including an attempt to humanize the Akatsuki members in this dream story as their plan to get the residents of the village to flee hasn’t gone as well as expected, making them have bad feelings about what they’re doing. Yes, these aren’t the most evil of evils as we’ve seen in the mainline story, but it’s just an utterly awkward sequence of events in general and it just provides more pointless slowdown here because it reveals nothing new –being a story in a book in a dream – and it’s not like it’s going to change anything anywhere unless there’s some truly grand plan to all of this.
It’s still not over. It’s still awful. This sub-arc in particular. Stay away if you value your mind.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Apple TV via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.