Big Adventure! Massive Filler! Fun for some but not most as Naruto kills some time.
What They Say
The story goes back to right before the start of the final rounds of the Chunin Exam. As Naruto trains in preparation for his upcoming match, he hears Jiraiya speak of "the Fourth Hokage's legacy."
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Naruto offers up a double episode special this week that takes us back to the days of old, back before Naruto was partaking in the Chunin exam. Going back to this period of time is amusing in some ways but frustrating in others. While watching an earlier segment of the series via the DVD release, they had some flashbacks to when Naruto and Sasuke were first meeting and fighting across the period of their relationship pre-Shippuden. Watching the characters from them, their designs and the overall feel of the show reminded me why I had a hard time with a lot of the first Naruto series when it wasn't dealing with a key arc.
Of course, I know my issues with it revolve around the fact that it was a show and manga aimed at young boys. The franchise has certainly grown up over time and having Naruto and the others age a few years at the start of Shippuden was a big plus in getting me more interested in it since it offers up new story potentials. What happens though is that when you do go bak to the younger story material, like here, it all feels incredibly childish and you question why you might have liked it the first time around. There are plenty of silly moments and childish things that Naruto is already doing in Shippuden, both in the early episodes I'm seeing on DVD for the first time and the recent weeks when I've picked up the streaming episodes as well, but they don't come across as badly as material from this time period does.
It is interesting however to go back to a story where Naruto is trying to learn more of what the Fourth Hokage's legacy is after hearing some whispers about it from various people. While much of his time is seemingly spent either eating, messing with other people or developing his sexy jutsu, he is intensely curious about the Hokage's in general and the Fourth in particular. It makes a different kind of sense in retrospect after learning that the Fourth was his father in the previous arc and you want to get an understanding of what it is he may have learned in the past that could potentially influence how he handles the information in the present. His attempts to learn the information he wants proves difficult though as nobody seems to know anything or they're hiding it well enough so that they don't have to tell him anything. Considering most people are still fairly adversarial towards Naruto at this point for a number of reasons, it's easy to see most of them just not wanting to help him in the slightest considering his nature.
The first part of this flashback adventure that takes us to the time before the Chunin exams reminded me why I dropped the manga during this period. At this stage of his life and with the stories they wanted to tell, I simply do not like Naruto. He's the kind of kid who deserves all the pain and suffering he brings on himself and he even gives a performance on a regular basis that would have me wanting to join the ranks of people who would be slapping him silly. He practically begs for a beating based on how he acts and the only people that work with him are those that are essentially forced to. Not that any of the other kids come across much better here since they are all just that, but they're kids that make you weep for the future while hoping that things somehow turn out alright.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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.