The gathering of the five Kage's is almost here and the journey they all take begins.
What They Say:
Kage from each nation set out to attend the Five Kage Summit.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While at times the world of Naruto hasn't seem all too clearly defined as there are always new villages and mysterious things introduced, some of the core things are still pretty strong and one of those is the whole Kage concept. With the five main known ones, having them gather for a summit seems like an ideal kind of thing where they're able get together and meet face to face rather than through the various intermediaries they often use. With the issues that the Hidden Leaf village is having, it certainly puts them in an awkward position but also simply because Danzo has taken over the reins of the village and is heading to the meeting. With news potentially still slim in getting out there, the surprise his presence may cause is significant.
Danzo at least is acting in a way that's smart to accomplish his goals. Taking things on with Tsunade down is not earning him friends, but there is some grudging admittance that they need someone to temporarily take hold. Danzo's intent to go to the meeting and cement his position with them will only help in cementing it with the Jonin Council itself when he returns and that can't hurt him in the slightest. It's a straightforward approach to take to get him where he needs to be. Danzo's not a favorite and he certainly come across as a dangerous and unfriendly person, but he knows what he's after and his methods are in line with the way he lives. You may not like what he does, but he goes through all the right steps to do it in this kind of situation.
The use of the other Kage here is rather enjoyable as well as we get to see the different ones coming together for the summit. The opening goes through a few of them and it is amusing that a couple of the villages are saddled with such older Kage's who can make leading through difficult times even more difficult. Those they travel with add a little levity in some cases or more malice in others, but it's all a decent amount of setup to showcase the Kage of some of the other villages that will be coming together for the summit. With Danzo being involved, there's going to be a lot of very strong personalities there that will conflict with each other rather easily, especially because of the way Danzo deals with people. And amid all this, we see the start of Naruto's journey to try and get Raikage to forgive Sasuke, who himself is operating his own mission at this point. The threads of it all are being pulled together and we're getting more familiar with each of those threads now.
This episode essentially amounts to a whole lot of setup for the summit itself but it does it in a way that's fairly compelling. Getting a reminder of who is who and putting all the pieces in motion for it while making Danzo's plans clear and understandable works well since he represents the immediate danger at this point in the minds of many from the Hidden Leaf village. Naruto's time here is minimal overall, about on par with what Sasuke gets, but it's all good stuff that paints them in a proper way. There's a really good sense of atmosphere throughout the episode that's heightened towards the end when it shifts to the snowy scenes and wintry landscape. After so many episodes of romping and silliness, getting back to something serious takes some adjustment but it's a very big reminder of just how engaging the show can be. I'm curious as to where it will all go and what the next threats will be, though I do want to see more of the village being rebuilt as well and all that entails.
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.