With all that Naruto has accomplished, especially lately, it's little surprise that he's garnering even more special attention.
What They Say:
Madara, who has taken an interest in Naruto, makes a sudden appearance before Naruto and reveals the truth behind Itachi's actions. Meanwhile, the samurai learn of Sasuke and his team Taka's entry into the Land of Iron, and battle ensues between the two groups.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As events continue to unfold after what happened with Nagato, it's not a shock to see Madara taking a stronger interest in Naruto. He's accomplished quite a lot in his life since becoming an actual ninja and has established a reputation to be sure, especially within the Akatsuki compared to others of his kind that have been dealt with. With what he's done with Nagato at the end of the last major arc, it likely cemented him even more as a serious person of interest since there may be far more interesting ways to manipulate him. Madara's an interesting one to make the approach on him though and having him show up there simply to talk and check him out in person is rather amusing.
While a lot of the last couple of episodes has been focused on the plot foundation building and the political side as we've seen the Five Kage coming together and forming an alliance, though not without its tensions, the action has been fairly slim for the most part. That certainly isn't a complaint though because the story has been rather interesting to watch unfold. This episode ramps up the action quite a lot however and it definitely fits appropriately. With the people that are at that meeting, having Sasuke there is only going to lead to more trouble. It's amusing that he was insistent on being quiet and avoiding being caught but once they're known to be there, he goes all out with his rather souped up sword and the first half has some strong and intense action that lets the group he's with shine really well. Sasuke in particular stands out the best, as expected, but it's a needed piece to reinforce that he does have some skills and can be dangerous.
While Sasuke, Madara and so many others are truly dangerous, the one that feels the most menacing continues to be Danzo. His goals of uniting all the villages of the ninja world is certainly ambitious and hard to imagine being a reality within his lifetime, but he's had such long range plans for seemingly ever. Having him making these things a bit more known, even if it's just amongst the Five Kage and those who are with them, it speaks volumes about the shift in his dynamic now that he's taken on the role of Hokage from the comatose Tsunade. The interplay amongst the kage is definitely a great part of the show, especially since they're all playing such a solid game of verbal sparring with some honest emotions mixed in by Gaara, that it can all easily shift the flow of the overall storyline with what happens here. It'd all change through the efforts of the ninja and those that support them, but events tend to start more from these kinds of points than others. And like any meeting, there's dissent to be had, so seeing that being dealt with here is spot on in solidifying all the different groups and opening up new potentials.
While the show has focused heavily on emotions and intrigue with the past couple of episodes, it has had some minor action as well that kept things tied together well. With this one, it reverses that for awhile and lets the action take center stage for the bulk of it as Sasuke and others get at it. It's all pretty well done, stylishly animated and with a good sense of impact and choreography, but it's the political intrigue elements that draw me back the most. The Five Kage segments are very interesting to watch play out as is the brief but very intriguing scenes with Madara and Naruto where Kekashi and Yamato are making sure things don't go badly. There's a lot to like here as it starts to peel away at things to bring into focus where the series will go next.
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.