Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Naruto Shippuden (Seasons Nine, Ten, & Eleven)

Flashback Hell. That is a good way to describe season nine of Naruto Shippuden. The worst thing about the flashbacks of season nine is that they aren't even canon material. For the most part, anyway. It's agony to watch. I'm talking about 21 consecutive episodes of shit that is supposed to have happened during the original Naruto storyline or something like that. Basically, every episode starts out in the present, but someone decides to remember some memory and then next thing you know it's flashback time. 

Look, I don't mind flashbacks every now and then if they actually tell us new material that is important to the story. However, showing us shit we already know to kill time just gets on my nerves. 

Needless to say, I couldn't watch all of season nine. I watched a few episodes here and there, but I really didn't see the point of watching it all. I know what happened in Naruto. I watched all of the important episodes in the original series. I want to get on with the fucking story of Naruto Shippuden before I'm old and gray, thank you very much. 

I'm obviously not saying that you or your buddies won't like those episodes. I know plenty of hardcore fans online that swear by them. Some endure them all to prove their loyalty while others flatout like the fillers. 

I've just got too much shit to do, folks. I mean, at least the other filler arcs in Naruto Shippuden at least tried to tell an original story that kind of had something to do with the present situation. I could watch most of those without a problem. Season nine is bullshit, though. It's like buying a greatest hits album when you already have all the songs on the albums you already own. Maybe if you aren't familiar with anything then you might like season nine a bit because it does tell you some background and whatnot. 

But who the fuck starts watching an anime on season nine of the second series? 

Anyway, this concludes my review of season nine. I know it wasn't very informative, but neither was the season.

Now I'm going to go all Suzumiya Haruhi on your ass and save my thoughts of season ten for last. That's right I'm going straight into season eleven.

Except for episode 222, season eleven is filler. At this point it's become a very common occurrence in Naruto Shippuden that every other season is filler. However, these particular filler episodes aren't quite the Flashback Hell that season nine was. The stories in season eleven are mostly original filler stories taking place in the current timeline. Choose any of the 20 episodes you want to watch or skip them. This statement also applies for season nine's 21 episodes. Yeah, there's always a sparse amount of canon material somewhere that you will miss, but it's no more than a few minutes. The writers simply place it there to try and tie everything together or to give a taste of what's to come.

Skip whatever you want, though. You won't miss jack skipping episodes 176-196 and 223-242. Trust me. 

Season ten gives us that much needed canon material for which I've been yearning. However, there's still flashbacks galore. After all of the episodes I've seen I'm getting a bit tired of the "recap of the recap" schtick. In one episode they'll flashback to the first series for a little bit and that's okay every now and then, but in the beginning of the very next episode they'll recap the recap. As if we've forgotten something we've already seen at least five times at this point without even rewatching the series.

That being said, season ten does kick some ass. I don't know about you, but Naruto's fight against Pain and Sasuke's fight against Itachi seem like forever ago to me and I know I just saw it not too long ago. I'd been wanting to see some serious fighting going on for a while now, damnit!

Season ten doesn't exactly deliver on my hope for amazing fights, but it does feature two prominent fights. The first one to be mentioned is the fight between Sasuke and Danzo.

I don't know about you, but I've always thought Danzo was a worthless fuck. I hated his guts from the moment I saw him. 

However, Danzo's fight with Sasuke made me wonder who I hated more. I didn't used to hate Sasuke. I used to think he was kind of cool during the early Naruto episodes. I don't think so anymore, though. Seriously, fuck Sasuke and the horse he rode in on.

Sasuke is an evil douchebag and I dislike him so much that I really wish he'd just be killed already. Danzo on the other hand was never really an evil character. Yeah, Danzo was underhanded as hell and did some pretty screwed up things, but everything he did was for the Hidden Leaf.

When Sasuke and Danzo began dueling it out... I really didn't know who I wanted to win. 

Of course, that fight takes place after Sasuke's attack on the Five Kage Summit. 

In the world of Naruto there are five Kages and each of these Kages represent different lands. There's the Kazekage (Wind), Hokage (Fire), Mizukage (Water), Raikage (Lightning), and Tsuchikage (Earth). Before Naruto Shippuden we were only familiar with the Hokage and the concept of there being a Kazekage even if we weren't sure who that was exactly. I'm sure you all remember that Orochimaru was disguised as the Kazekage when the Kazekage visited the Hidden Leaf to watch the fight between Sasuke and Gaara. 

So we never really got formally introduced to any of the other leaders until the beginning of Naruto Shippuden when we were told that Gaara had actually made Kazekage.

All of the other leaders were still a mystery for the longest time. 

The Raikage got introduced when his young brother Killer Bee got attacked by Sasuke way back in episode 143. In case you don't remember, Killer Bee is the rapping-Jinchuriki of the Eight-Tails. Once you get used to his rapping he's pretty fun. 

Unfortunately, the Raikage is pissed about his brother being kidnapped by Sasuke and the Akatsuki so he decides to call a meeting of the five Kage to decide what to do about Sasuke and Akatsuki. 

In episode 199 we finally get to meet all of the Kage and it's about damn time! The Mizukage is pretty damn hot, if I say so myself. You'll think that statement is pretty funny if you've actually seen her abilities. 

Of course, "Madara" and his horde of cloud-wearing douchebags won't let anything happen without his say. So the Akatsuki and Sasuke's group decide to crash the Five Kage Summit. 

Sasuke does most of the grunt work and gets to fight pretty much all of the Kage at one point, but these are more or less mini-fights because the main attraction is the Sasuke Vs. Danzo fight. 

Now the reason Danzo is at the Five Kage Summit is because he is the Sixth Hokage. Lady Tsunade is still in a coma after her efforts to help the village during Pain's attack so she obviously couldn't make the Summit. When the old bastards in charge of the Leaf and the Land of Fire began the process of choosing a new Hokage the only two names thrown into the mix were Kakashi and Danzo. Unfortunately, the old bastards chose Danzo. I died a little inside when they did that.

The reason Sasuke has such a hard-on for Danzo is because Danzo is one of the few people responsible for making Itachi kill his own clan. Itachi holds some responsibility too, but Sasuke is forgetting this for the moment like he forgets pretty much everything when he wants. 

It's at this point during the series where I really do question Itachi and his motives. Yes, Itachi loved his little brother dearly. He's clearly the only Uchiha who was ever worth two shits. 

But why did Itachi place so much faith in Sasuke? Why the hell did he have to choose those exact methods push Sasuke?

Well, the answer to that question can be summed up by the very presence of the masked man calling himself "Madara." Madara has been built up to be a really big bad guy so far. I really hope the payoff is huge because the guy is almost being made out to be godlike at this point. You thought Pain was tough? Nah-ah. Here comes Madara and he wants to control the entire world and everyone in it. Of course, Pain wanted to do the same, but Pain himself was being manipulated by Madara. 

Still, I find myself siding with Danzo and what he said about Itachi being a traitor and telling Sasuke everything. That didn't exactly happen, though. Not exactly. Itachi never really said anything to Sasuke until the very end and Sasuke was far beyond comprehension at that point. Itachi was one of the greatest actors who ever lived and he owned that performance so no one saw through that.

Except for Madara. So naturally it was Madara who told Sasuke everything. 

So, no, Danzo, Itachi never really did betray the Leaf telling Sasuke the truth. But... Couldn't Itachi see that Sasuke was becoming a nihilistic asshole who would gladly destroy everything Itachi stood for if given the chance?

I know I'm getting sidetracked here, but it's these little points that actually make Naruto Shippuden a really good story. 

In the end, Danzo was shown to be a tragic hero. I didn't like him, but I did feel a little sad when Sasuke killed him. Danzo was fucked up, but he didn't deserve to die. Sasuke does deserve to die, though. I'm hoping he gets killed before the show ends. 

Anyway, back to the Five Kage Summit. When Madara makes his glorious appearance there it is to declare the Fourth Great Shinobi War to be official and he talks about his plan Project Tsuki No Me. 

It's a long and detailed plan but by making himself the Jinchuriki of the Ten-Tailed Beast, Madara wishes to turn the moon into a bigass sharingan that will control the world. That's the gist of it. 

To be fair, Madara says he only wants to create eternal peace, but the Five Kage that as being nothing more than mindless slavery and decide to join together to make the Allied Shinobi Nations (or whatever the hell its really called). Those damn Kage being so difficult. 

War = On. 

After Sasuke finishes up with Danzo someone else shows up to makes things complicated. It's Sakura, the Queen of All Things Useless!

Yeah, I'm being unfair, but I really wouldn't have minded if Sasuke had killed Sakura when he had the chance. Damn it, Kakashi, why did you save her?

The other prominent fight that occurs in season ten is the one between Killer Bee and Kisame (aka Shark Dude). Although that is really more like a Part 1. 

Anyway, I've had my say. I could say more, but I'm not going to. Just steer clear of the flashbacks and you will be good as gold. 

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