Even at sixteen, Naruto will cry like a baby when he finally can let go of it all and talk to his father.
What They Say
Naruto meets Minato Namikaze, the Fourth Hokage, inside his inner world. Before his death, Minato planted a fail-safe where he would appear within Naruto's psyche should his son sprout eight tails.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Naruto's journey into himself has revealed some interesting things as he's confronting the Nine-Tails behind a barrier there. The creature is certainly disturbing in its violence that it wants to let loose, but the real fascination is how for the first nine minute of the episode, before the opening sequence, the show shifts to a very good conversation between the Fourth Hokage and Naruto. Revealing that Naruto is his son, the Hokage unleashes a wave of emotion inside Naruto as he lets loose with how he's really feeling about everything. It's a very good moment where you really realize the pressures that he's under from others andhimself about his abilities and how he's grown up.
Having his father in front of him, even for a few moments to unburden himself, is very welcome. But at the same time, his father places other burdens on him as he explains why he sealed the Nine Tails inside of him and how neither he nor Jiraiya could figure out how to truly deal with it, thereby leaving it to Naruto to accomplish what they couldn't. Naruto has an amusing impassioned response to it about how he's not smart and not a good ninja, but it's a moment of parental faith in how his father believes in him and that actually resonates with Naruto in a way that many other things haven't before. What's most interesting though is that the Fourth Hokage relates a bit of information from when the Nine-Tails attacked last some sixteen years ago in that there was something that was manipulating it into doing so, that there's a power out there that's large still that's manipulating events.
The second half of the episode shifts us out of the place that Pain put Naruto and into the field of battle again as the two face off. Naruto's a bit more on his game this time around though as he wants to know where the real Pain is after he pushes through a few of Pain's attacks. The time spent with his father has breathed a new life into Naruto and he's taking on Pain with a kind of calm confidence that wasn't quite there before, especially after Hinata was attacked and he became very emotional. The battle between both of them gets to be pretty intense and it's good to see Naruto continuing to come up with ways to surprise Pain, even some of them like the Shadow Clone angle has been used so many times before.
This installment of Naruto was really good throughout, but it lost me a bit during its final portion of the battle against Pain as they went with the classic instrumental music that feels really out of place during such crucial moment. The first half of the episode was a really good section of character dialogue that can change how Naruto deals with just about everything after feeling so terribly alone all his life. The second half with the action is good, but it comes across as lacking something that made the previous fights so intense. It lacks a certain resonance to it, though it does play out well, it's just a bit rushed and without the serious import it had before now that Naruto is standing tall in a way he wasn't. It definitely feels like the show lost a bit of its wind in the sails as it finished out and Pain proved to be not as much of a match as he started out to be.
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.