Naruto: Shippuden Episode #169 (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Thursday, July 22, 2010
Release Date: Thursday, July 22, 2010

With his internal journey finished after meeting his father, Naruto is back out in the real world and taking everything back to Pain.

What They Say
To break the cycle of hate, Naruto heads to where the real Pain is hiding.

The Review!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Naruto's time spent inside himself where he learned more about the Fourth Hokage and his relation to him as well s delving into the why of the Nine-Tails being sealed inside him was one of those great revelatory episodes. Much gets answered that had been hinted at and touched on before while explaining other things that had never been given any serious explanation. While those who survived the onslaught on the village watched on, Naruto spent his time getting to know what he needed in order to take down Pain. The return to the outside world has him launching a full on attack on the Pain in front of him, but it also causes him to try and understand the pain that Nagato talked to him about.

All of this has him now wanting to stop everything that has happened from continuing on and he intends to find the real Pain, Nagato, and deal with it. It's something that he again believes he has to do alone and heads off to do that, but he does have to answer some questions from others who are a bit more senior in the village. It turns to an interesting debate on how to move forward from an act like this, whether the real destruction of Pain and everything he has will atone for what's been done to the village or whether words and some kind of other confrontation will be the way to go. Naruto's at odds with the others about this, but his past with some of them has them giving him some leeway, such as how Shikaku remembers times from the past when someone like Shikamaru made it clear that Naruto will change everything someday.

The confrontation between Nagato and Naruto is one that you wonder whether it will be all about the fight, in whatever what that Nagato can control it. It has the chance for being all about the words, especially as there are key flashback scenes such as the one to Jiraiya who talks about there being too much hate in the Ninja World, but there is some element of anger and violence to all of it. The idea of revenge is strong in many after what Nagato has done, but Naruto truly, desperately wants to break this cycle because of the things that he's seen himself and what he's been taught by those he truly respects and loves. His goal turns to wanting to understand them, to know who they truly are before he can decide how to proceed. But with the group named "pain", it's pretty unlikely that it's going to be something told over tea and crumpets.

In Summary:
Naruto has had several really strong episodes in a row that alternated between heavy action and real looks at what makes these characters who they are. It reached a high with Hinata's episode and then managed to slowly climb just a little bit higher each time. Now it's taking a look at how to break these cycles of violence that occur and ways to truly understand someone else, something that Nagato talks about often and in his own particular perspective. Naruto's taking the leap of faith here himself based off of what he's been taught, but you have to wonder if Nagato will be the type to understand someone else's pain in the way Naruto wants him to. Though a quieter episode, it's a strong one that shows the continued growth of Naruto and how he's starting to truly lead rather than follow without realizing it.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Crunchyroll
Running time: 23
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Naruto