Sifting through the remains reveals a mystery to be solved as Naruto returns from the holidays.
What They Say:
On his way home Naruto comes across a rock pasted with a peculiar talisman, which he tears off without thinking. That night, Naruto is surprised to find an amnesic ghost standing near his bed.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Naruto: Shippuden gets back on track after a holiday break, but not with the main present day storyline that rocked many fans back in the fall of 2010. While there's a little nod to events in that time period at the start as Naruto sees some salvaged photos and grabs one before running off to do something, That little run through the woods in the dark takes his mind back to the past when he did something similar in the rain and ended up stumbling onto a large rock that had a tag on it that he accidentally removes. The tag, with the name Kisuke written on it, looks to have let loose a spirit that was contained there.
Amusingly, the spirit is an amnesiac ghost who hasn't a clue about anything. Naruto being Naruto, he decides to help him out by trying to figure out who he is and what his deal is. It's a fairly standard journey through the village for the most part as he attempts to ask people if they knew someone by the name of Kisuke which has him generally coming up empty. Of course, nobody but Naruto can see Kisuke so Naruto does look a little more crazy than normal overall, but he's still pretty determined to help out the spirit. What's interesting about it is that they do find out what happened to him early on as his body is still alive, but in bad shape in the hospital. Memories start seeping back in and the news that his wife died with what happened makes it all the more curious.
The story starts to deal with the Anbu Black Ops a bit as it turns towards deceit and deception within it as someone that Kisuke knew at the time is undermining things with village security while coming across as a very smart young man who is trying to make things better and safer. Kisuke's knowledge led to some bad events and we see it play out in both the past and present. While Kisuke's story isn't all that engaging, there are some decent moments for the action in this episode and Naruto makes out by not being a complete idiot most of the time. Much of what bothers me about the filler and L'il Naruto is that he's such an unlikable character. He fares a bit better this time around because it's a more serious story and he isn't up to his usual shenanigans. That such an important security issue with the village is relegated to filler status in the past though just doesn't work well itself.
If there's one things the filler stories tell us, it's that the Village of the Hidden Leaf is constantly under attack in one way or another with some very disastrous results that almost play out. The downside to stories like this is that it makes so much of what goes on feel like it's such a constant battle that it's too much to really deal with since someone like Naruto would essentially be going through an adventure like this every single day. The story here certainly isn't bad, and they have an amusing little tie to Orochimaru in it as well as avoiding anything really comical, but it's just another one that's sort of there. It's decent filler but at this stage, the series really doesn't need any more. Naruto: Shippuden has certainly shown what it's capable of and episodes like these remind us where it would be under much weaker hands and without focus.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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