Last time I talked about my thoughts on Naruto’s first half of the series, now it is time to talk about the second and much longer half of the series. While I did enjoy it, I am really glad I did not watch this weekly since I got to skip out on a lot of filler that plagued the final battle, more on that in a bit. Like last time I will be talking about each arc one at a time, although with the Fourth Shinobi War I will be talking about it for various stages, so let’s get right into it.
So, the first arc of Shippuden features Sakura’s only real fight she has ever done, I am still really upset by that. It was the highlight of the Rescue the Kazekage arc. Sure, we got to see Gaara again, it honestly feels like it was the first mentioning that there were more than just Naruto’s tailed beast, and how Gaara was one too. Seriously, the change from the first series to this one is a lot, Jinchuriki become the main focus, and while some first make an appearance through filler to give a basic intro, I really wish I went back and watched at least the later ones on them. Still, the important ones to the series stay as a regular. Also, the first half of the series had Orochimaru as a big bad, but, even then there was no real conclusion with him, and the new main villain group took the forefront in this arc. I did like it a bit more, since it allowed for several different enemies to appear constantly rather than the same one reappearing over and over. This arc help show that for these villains they can die, and it does feel like there is progress in taking them down.
Alright the second arc, the deadline to save Sasuke from Orochimaru is closing in and well, everyone but Naruto and Sakura on Team Seven are replaced. Captain Yamato I did enjoy, he did not come off as someone trying to replace Kakashi, and I did like his dynamic with him, he was just filling in for his senpai. Then there was Sai, who really just came off as a Sasuke knock off. I am glad that later in the series he stepped away from feeling like that and honestly had some of the most character development compared to any other character. Either way this arc was one of the few points in this series were I did not have much interest in it, mostly since there were like 5 episodes were they were just getting to know one another and slowly walking.
There was a filler arc I skipped a bit towards the end, I did like the training moment at the start, seeing as it was canon. Aside from that this arc was fairly skippable. The arc that followed however, that was certainly an arc to remember, since it was the arc that made me really like Shikamaru. Plus, I did like the fact Naruto was really into using different elements. Only for them to explain how Yamato’s wood style worked. I do think it was funny how Naruto asked how ninjutsu like Shikamaru’s and others worked but were just said that they will be discussed at some other time, only for it never to be brought up again.
Then there was a massive amount of filler to the point where I thought when Sasuke left Orochimaru was filler and skipped it. But that isn’t really a big deal. What was a big deal was the arc that followed that focused on Jiraiya. His death did not hit me hard, mostly since I had it in my mind that he would come back. It wasn’t until a friend told me that he was dead for good, when it really hit me hard. I might have had issues with his perviness, but, taking that out of his character he is probably one of the best characters of this series. He had an everlasting impact on Naruto and who he became. He was a strong ninja and stopped at nothing to protect those he cared about. So, this arc certainly hit hard after it was all said and done.
Anyway, onto my favorite arc, Pain’s Assault. That was easily my favorite one, it helps do a few things that made it really enjoyable. First being Naruto finally met his dad, so, there was that major moment. Then there was his training with Sage jitsu, which turns to be important later on. There is also the fact Hinata said she loved Naruto and well, it isn’t really ever brought up again until the Last Movie, which I find a little sad that something like that was shoved off until the very end. But, there was also plenty of action, and everything else, sure it gave the ending where everyone who died did not really die, it felt like a copout, still, this was the hardest fight yet and it ended with a talk rather than a fight and it help show how much Naruto has changed as a character and how much Jiraiya had an impact on him. Plus, there were a lot of cool fights leading up to it too.
Alright, this was just the first two hundred episodes. As for the remaining three hundred it is basically just the same arc, and I am so glad I did not watch this as it aired, or I would have gotten bored during those years of filler. Because there was a lot of filler, and the fact I had to skip fifty episodes to just resume one fight, or speed through ten episodes of repeated backstory, the fourth shinobi war, while being amazing, was also at times where I got annoyed the most in this series, more towards the end than anything, since I just wanted to see the fight continue only to have unnecessary backstory. This arc also featured some of the biggest power spikes, since it all takes place within twenty-four hours, and towards the end where even more BS power spikes appear only a few hours, if that, happen.
But I am getting a bit to ahead of myself. The final arc, despite being long and split up into five parts, I am couniting the final fight with Sasuke and Naruto as part of it. There is a lot that happens, like how Yamato is seen being captured and then never seen again until the very end. I do like the main villain being Madra, and being the root of it all, only to have a twist saying how he was being manipulated as well, to the point where basically every villain in this series, except Orochimaru was being manipulated just to get the revival of the Shinobi god, basically. This was in the last two hundred episodes. I skipped the filler that broke this arc up, but even then, there was a lot of fighting, in fact I forget the first hundred episodes of the war because of it, except the fact that Octo-Pops was literally peeing for twenty episodes and Naruto had to ask where he was, since he was trying to get to the front lines, and a bunch of remotely okay filler fights that happened. Some of it blended in seamlessly while others seemed rather forced. I did like that first half of the war, but it was also really pointless once Naruto started to fight and the Kages were fighting, since those were the only ones that really mattered in the end.
As for the other main villain, of this arc, Obi, well, I really liked him. He was just Naruto, if Naruto lost everyone he cared for. The two were very similar in every aspect. So much so, that whenever I see adult Naruto his looks remind me a lot like Obi. It feels like that just further cements that those two are very similar but went down two very different paths. He is easily my favorite villain in this series in terms of backstory and personality.
As for just fights in general that must go to Kaguya. I mean, the fight was certainly on the shorter side compared to the one before it, but, there were no holding back and the power scaling in the previous 24 hours went off the rails for how strong Naruto, Sasuke, and even Sakura were, although Sakura only really did one punch and that was it in the fight. At the same time it really felt like all logic was just thrown out the window at this point, seeing she could go to different dimensions at the same time it made the locations for the fighting very interesting and really mixed it up.
Overall the last arc, despite being absurdly long and dragged out at times, the fights towards the end were some of the best in the series.
There are two more things I wish to talk about before wrapping this post up. The first being The Last: Naruto the Movie, and the other being the final few episodes of the series, kind of, that lead to Naruto and Hinata’s wedding.
The Last was the only movie in the series I saw, seeing that I was near the end of the anime when I realized Crunchyroll happens to have all the films subbed and dubbed on their website. I wish I knew about that sooner as I did want to see some of them. Oh well, the Last is the only one considered cannon by the creator so more of a reason to watch it, plus, if I continued Boruto more, it is clear that this movie effects that series. This movie really was nice way to finally answer and connect the fact that Naruto and Hinata ended up either one another. It took a long time to actually show how the two finally ended up with one another, seeing that Hinata confessed her love over 300 episodes prior to the end of the series. Still, it made for a good ending and really made Naruto realize something he should have a long time ago.
Now, I don’t have much to say on the wedding arc, it was cute, and really nice to see all the characters several years older. It was nice to see their reaction and each wanting to do something special for Naruto since he means a lot to them. It was a nice way to end the series. Granted there was no fighting and honestly Naruto was not existent until the last few minutes, but it still showed how much respect he has and how much the view of all the characters changed about him.
This post took me a lot longer than expected. I really enjoyed this series, and while I did not continue Boruto, I think I will sooner or later. Either way, maybe someday I will tackle the filler arcs and talk about those. This series is certainly up there for my favorites.