Will the fight that's been fairly subdued so far finally kick into high gear with the action to match the destruction?
What They Say
In one area of the village, Kakashi enters battle against Tendo Pain, but he can't keep up with Tendo's mysterious attacks. Shurado joins the fight, and Kakashi struggles with the two-on-one disadvantage.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The village of the Hidden Leaf has been under quite a lot of destruction from the attack by the Akatsuki who have arrived, something we see through the numerous scenes of devastation that the village is suffering. It's one of the more impressive moments in the series to see the village so thoroughly destroyed in areas, but the show has not matched that in action as a lot of it has been happening off-camera or with just a little nod here and there. So much of the rubble has been created without seeing how it happened, which sadly lessens its impact some.
The opening half of the episode focuses on the battle between Pain and Kakashi. Kakashi has long been my favorite character of the series because of his laid back attitude, which makes his more serious moments all the more fun as it he takes it up a few notches. When he has to get series, it means that there's a lot at stake. With his fight against Pain, he does employ some of his standard techniques in how he work to isolate what Pain's abilities are and devise ways to stop him, along with getting a little help from Choji and his father, Choza. Kakashi is the type who will definitely sacrifice himself to gain information that can lead to a victory, something that many of the older village ninja will do. The fight is really quite good as it's done with a very serious feel and generally low but dramatic music when appropriate, opting to go for no music during some of the better moments.
The second half focuses on the ramifications of the fight and shows some of the tricks that Kakashi employed here. Choji has some good moments as well as he's entrusted with some key information that's needed for the future, but most of it focuses on Kakashi and his journey. The bit of his past that are brought up again is really nice to see, and having watched this around the same time that I'm watching the earlier episodes with Chiyo from the Village of Sand, it does a nice job of bringing Kakashi's father back into play. That resonates well considering how his father was viewed by that village during years past while providing a very humanizing moment for both him and Kakashi himself. Naruto: Shippuden hits a really somber and sober moment during this second half that really helps the episode stand out as thoroughly engaging and dramatic.
This episode gives me a lot of what I like when it comes to a show like this. My favorite character gets an episode in which he gets to shine brightly. Tsunade continues to take on the mantle of leadership in a strong yet hurt way as she takes in all the destruction around her. Choji has time to shine as well and we get some nice background reminders when it comes to Kakashi's past. But we also get a really solid fight sequence that's finished in one episode through which the power of those involved is stated quite plainly. While Naruto and others of the younger generation are absent from here, the show doesn't suffer in the slightest and instead makes out for the better as it's not filled with too many people, keeping it to a very small and personal piece. Definitely a solid episode.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.