With the village in nearly complete ruin, it's come down to Naruto and Pain going head to head in an all out match.
What They Say
Naruto hits Pain with his Sage Jutsu-perfected Wind Style Rasen Shuriken. Although he succeeds in defeating Ningendo, the remaining Pain quickly confronts him.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Naruto: Shippuden really surprised me with this arc as they've done the rare thing for a show of this type and length by really making a significant change to some aspect of the foundations of the series. Having such an incredible amount of destruction thrown at the Village of the Hidden Leaf, I'll admit my mind has moved somewhat past the battle that Naruto has with Pain to wonder how the rebuilding will go, considering there's now such a massive pit in the middle of what was once the village. The fight will go on of course, but the rebuilding angle is of a bit more interest to my geeky side since I always wanted to be an architect. Having such a change made to the series really speaks well of this arc, though I just hope they don't magically fix everything back to normal in a few days.
The fight between the two was intense right from the start and it's no exception here. Naruto's training and understanding of the Sage Jutsu seems a bit incomplete based off of what we've seen before, but it appears that he's taken well to most of it and has moved into a class completely different from so many of the Leaf ninjas. The use of the Sage Jutsu is a difficult one though and there's only so much power he can potentially use before he burns out, something that Pain thinks is happening already as his power level is decreasing. With the other sages around him fighting the creatures that Pain has brought, it's a fairly intense battle from the start with a lot at stake but the sages seeming like they're doing the best they can to just hold things where they are so Naruto can do what must be done.
What's impressed me about the show at this point are a few different things. The first is that Naruto really does seem to have settled down some, especially compared to where I am in the DVD releases where he's still easy to anger. The second is that he's actually making some decent plans in how to deal with Pain by being forward thinking and creative about it, to the point where the sages are pretty impressed as well. Of course, the plan kind of puts him in a position of having too much power overall, but that's a natural in a shonen fighting series in general. The third thing that really impresses me is that the show is really playing it careful with the tone and atmosphere of these fights by having very somber and distinct pieces of music playing during it. It's not ratcheting up the intensity but rather slowly building it up. It's not like you'd expect where it's all big and outgoing but rather subtle and spot on for what it needs.
The transformation of Naruto from the start of the first series to this is really impressive. I started off that show - and the manga - really not liking the orange suited ninja in the slightest and dropped both incarnations of it. With him as he is now, and with the direction of the show when it comes to the animation, choreography and the music, Naruto: Shippuden is a very different show. At least within this arc since I'm about a hundred and twenty episodes behind. It does give me a view of where the show will go and I'm interested in watching that progression, but right now I'm loving this arc as it has the potential to really shake up things in the Naruto world with the destruction of the village and Naruto climbing to a new level. The fight in this episode obviously doesn't end just yet, but it's building up to something impressive with Naruto's new found strength and the over the top abilities that Pain himself has. Definitely a good episode, though not quite as intense as the last couple.
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.