Naruto and Nagato lay all their cards out on the table with their pasts, especially in connection with Jiraiya.
What They Say
Naruto remains silent after learning of Nagato's painful past. Nagato claims true peace cannot exist in this cursed world, dismissing Jiraiya's ideal as nothing more than wishful thinking.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Naruto gives us a rather dialogue heavy piece this week after the last two have been detailing Nagato's life and the challenges he faced both as a youth and as an adult trying to stave off the dangers facing his nation. Much of what's happened is that Naruto wanted to hear his tale, to understand him, so he can decide what he thinks is proper for dealing with him. In a rather pleasant twist, at least for a series heavily focused on action and quick response by Naruto, he claims to understand Nagato and knows why he's chosen the path he has. Not that he can accept it, but he understands the reality that Nagato has faced and why he's on the path that he is on, even if Naruto doesn't believe it's the right one.
To try and shift his view even a little, the story that Naruto has is the one from Jiraiya of the Tale of the Gutsy Ninja. It's an interesting experience as we see it related with Nagato to the younger days when he and his friends were under Jiraiya's tutelage and how Jiraiya truly felt about them and their potential. As much as Nagato knew, there was always more he could not understand as a child and the scope of what it was that Jiraiya was trying to impart on him. It's a properly emotional piece that plays out with flashbacks as well as a growing understanding with Nagato in the present, though it's hard to see if he'd really make the change in the path that he's on because of what's in that novel.
Paralleling what Nagato has gone through with the pain that Naruto has faced isn't a surprise, though each is most assuredly different yet still consumes them in different ways. What makes a difference is that Naruto did have people to turn to throughout, though he didn't realize it for the longest time, and has taken up closely with them, especially with Jiraiya. For Nagato, he had loss from almost the start and never made those connections actually work for him when he did have the opportunity. The two are very similar in a lot of ways but made different choices and circumstances played out differently as it progressed. Naruto's ability to believe in himself and others is what truly separates him from Nagato and those like him, a trait that few truly possess that can really change others.
With as much as has been going on within Nagato's lair at this point, it's hard to remember just how badly the Leaf Village has been ruined, which we get a nice glance at during the end here as we see a shift in the world. Much of the episode is given over to discussion and an honest laying out of emotions by these two young men who have been scarred by a lot of problems over the years. There's a lot to like when these episodes come up because they do change the narrative a bit and it allows Naruto to have a stronger voice than his usual reactive self. Though it's made a bit too self important at times, it's something that fits for the intended audience and the need to be dramatic to make it stand out all the more. That they opted for conversation for as long as they have sets this apart nicely from many other shows and is quite the welcome piece.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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