Naruto's grappling with Sakura's revelation is but a small part of his very complicated life at the moment.
What They Say:
Naruto learns from Sai that Sakura intends to kill Sasuke with her own hands. The Sand arrives to brief the Leaf ninja about what happened at the Five Kage Summit.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Sometimes it's easy to forget the scale of events that have played out recently, where the Village of the Hidden Leaf has been utterly razed, Sasuke has been on the hunt and Naruto himself has faced some serious threats through it all. Adding Sakura's revelations onto everything else is just one more piece of the complications, and a difficult one as Naruto really has a difficult time in parsing through what people are really feeling. He has a knack for it at times, but when it comes to those he's closest to, and often blinded by because of it, it's not something that he can figure out easily unless someone spells it out, which is what Sai does here in explaining how the Village has come to view Sasuke as no longer a part of them.
Having all this revealed certainly does a number of Naruto internally, and it's well represented as we get the classic early image of the team under Kakashi together that shatters in his mind. Kakashi himself very aware of it and wonders just how much it's going to affect him, and what he and Yamato can do to ease it in the face of what must be done now. Sai really comes across well here as he reveals all of this to Naruto, making it clear why the feelings were as they were for so long and why he inadvertently provoked Sakura in a way he didn't expect, and making him understand that's why he's telling Naruto all of this now in order to make sure they all are aware of where things stand. So much has happened among these characters for so long that this really is a turning point in several ways.
The episode does feature some action as Danzo prepares himself for what's to come and the couple of ninjas with him give chase to the current big bad guy, but it's fairly basic stuff that just explains a few jutsus and shows off a creative little bit about venom bugs that's just a touch creepy. Most of the episode deals with the revelations made by Sai and the fallout from it rather than Madara's playing with Danzo's guards. Naruto and the others certainly have a lot to take in, but it's Kakashi that you feel the most for in a way as Naruto is stuck just processing things for the most part. Kakashi has the role of a father at this point in time and watching him see Naruto suffer and grapple with such a difficult situation pains him, which is really handled well through the silence and the few thoughts he does offer up on it.
Shippuden has a largely quiet episode here, but it's one punctuated by some solid character material that really has several of them laying their cards on the table. A conversation between Naruto and Sai reveals a lot, but so does the brief one that Gaara has when he talks about how Naruto changed the meaning of the word friend for him, something he never thought possible. Naruto already had a lot of pressure placed on him and all of these revelations just add more, but he's the type that does rise to challenges and survives them, which makes wondering what he'll be like after all of this to be really intriguing. The character has grown significantly since the very first episode and the ability to have lengthy exposition and conversational episodes shows that all the more. This is definitely an important episode in building the emotional context for what's to come and it's pretty well done.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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