Danzo has taken on the role of the Sixth Hokage and nothing good will come from that.
What They Say:
Team Samui of the Hidden Cloud arrive at the Leaf Village and are shocked to find it in ruins. Nonetheless, they carry out their orders to deliver the Raikage's official letter to the Hokage, when Danzo appears and announces that he is the new Hokage.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After far too lengthy of a break where we got lots and lots of back story filler episodes, some better than others (by a large margin, which isn't saying much), Naruto returns to its core storyline following the events of the destruction of much of the Hidden Leaf village. That destruction hits home with the start of the storyline here where visitors from Hidden Cloud have come to deliver a message to the Hokage and are pretty shocked at what they see there with the amount of destruction. With the reputation Hidden Leaf has had over the years, seeing it in ruins like this is pretty disturbing. What makes things even more shocking to the team is that Tsunade is no longer the Hokage as Danzo has taken over that role after what happened to her in the fight.
Danzo continues to come across as a complete and utter piece of scum with the way he acts and seems so high and mighty, even after all the damage he's taken in the destruction of the village. His matter of the fact handling of taking on the role and being dismissive of Tsunade doesn't help his sense of character either, nor does the fact that he's had such long range plans for seemingly ages now. Naruto himself has had quite a number of issues with him over time and that's only elevated even further now. Whereas Tsunade was willing to bend things a bit and try to work a solution to dealing with Sasuke, Danzo has declared that Sasuke is to be hunted down and exterminated, labeling him a criminal in the strongest sense. When Naruto finds that out, he's doubly incensed by what's happened.
There are some nice manipulations going on here and I'm impressed that we continue to see that overall, Naruto has grown some. While he does initially want to go off and smack some sense into Danzo, he does listen to reason and decides to go another path in his longstanding question to bring Sasuke back. There are layers that they have to deal with when it comes to Danzo taking on the role of Hokage and all of them need to be careful as he consolidates his power since they could find themselves in a really bad position. Naruto especially because of his being the Nine-Tails. As this plays out, we do get back to Sasuke's story as well as he's making his way along with the group he's assembled but there's some new things going on with someone he thought dead who has come back to give him a new mission. The Akatsuki continue to be a strange bunch and the seeming inability to really kill them sometimes is frustrating, but it does offer up some neat little moments like this where even Sasuke loses his composure.
The return of proper Naruto Shippuden episode sis quite welcome and even though this is just a setup episode to get things started again, it's a world of difference from what we've seen for the last couple of months. The comedy is largely excised and what we get instead is some mildly dark humor at times and character humor that's not based in acting like an ass. The seriousness level is upped considerably as the fallout from the destruction of the village and revelations about a friend gone wrong only get worse. Things shift between different sets of characters here across the whole of the episode and that keeps it quite engaging as you can see the various pieces and how they may all fit together. While it's not an exceptional episode like we had before the break, it is a return to very good form and reminds you of just what the show can do even when it avoids doing an episode full of fighting and just focuses on dialogue.
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.