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Naruto Shippuden: Final Arc (Anime Review)

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(This is an updated repost)

After watching Naruto Shippuden up to episode 393, where canon episodes stopped, my review stands the same. I’m not sure when the filler episodes will stop, but the series currently sits at episode 410 with no sign of resuming back to cannon episodes anytime soon. When it does resume to cannon, I imagine it wouldn’t be that long before the end, and I can’t imagine them changing their repetitious format.

Naruto is one of the most popular series of this generation and when the manga ended a few months ago I decided to catch up with the anime. Hit the jump for my review.

When Naruto first came out, its popularity exploded almost instantaneously. It was a hit worldwide. I mean, who doesn't like ninjas?! It was a fresh idea about ninjas with hyperbolic powers.

I got into watching anime at a very young age before I got into reading manga. Naruto was introduced to me by my older brother. I saw the first few episodes and I have to be honest, back then I wasn't that impressed. It wasn't until the show got so popular and passed 100 episodes that got me to revisit the show. As soon as I finished watching the first season, I couldn't stop watching it. I was hooked! The show was fantastic, or at least the first 100 episodes.

Then the fillers started. Gradually increasing in episodes, it was starting to drag the show down. So I stopped watching and opted to read the manga instead since it's always up to date. I read all the way to the Pain Arc until I had the itch to see it in anime format again. It's just too good not to see what I'm reading come to life. The good thing about waiting a long time to watch the show is that the episodes accumulate enabling you to skip any filler episodes. But then, even the canon episodes starts to get bogged down with the uber use of flashbacks! Naruto takes it's obsession with flashbacks into a whole new level of insanity. It's like Inception but instead of a dream, it's a flashback within a flashback. It annoyed me so much that even finishing the Pain Arc was a challenge.

Couple more years passed and the series is entering its final arc and by this time I've already forgotten my gripes with the shows constant fillers and flashbacks. Personally, I thought the final arc was a superfluous entry and I would've been satisfied without it but the series was still generating profits so I understand their business mindset. When the manga ended, I wanted to give the anime one last try. Granted, the manga was full of flashbacks as well but it's a lot faster reading the manga than watching the anime.

So since last week I've been catching up with the show's final arc and almost immediately my annoyance surfaced once again after watching only a few episodes. I'm so infuriated with how they choose to drag the damn show and I know for a fact I'm not the only one feeling this way. I would say that 60% of each episode is composed of flashbacks, 30% characters face shots, 5% saying Naruto's name, and 5% actual real time sequences (or at least it feels that way). The fillers aren't that great either even if you compare it to other titles like, Bleach. The flashbacks are the same flashbacks used over and over again. I understand that it is needed to answer certain questions and to enlighten characters' developments, but you can attain the same outcome with a shorter back-story like how other series (e.g. Toriko) does it. The audience isn't stupid enough not to recall the last episode, so showing it again as a flashback in the next episode is just plain lazy.

Sadly, as much as I want to like the final arc and continue watching it, I just can't get passed all the time wasting tactics of the show. Add to that the fact that Sasuke can stand toe to toe against an obviously more powerful Naruto is simply a joke. Make any excuses you want but Sasuke is a weak, whiny, emo character that only caters to the female fans with his brooding good looks. I know he is the other half of the main story but still. And let's not forget about Sakura, who is arguably the most useless character ever created - a delusional and masochistic broad who has the hots for Sasuke no matter how many times he tried to kill her. She’s another character that the creator feels the need to force into relevance just so that Team 7 is reunited once again. To think she's equal to Naruto and Sasuke...she must be stuck in an eternal genjutsu or I wish she was. What about the big name characters downgraded into mere fodders and gets tossed to the side and forgotten?

For those who never followed the manga, not knowing which are fillers and canons, probably won't get bothered as much as I did, so they can enjoy the show without remorse. For those who finished the manga, save yourself the trouble and time by skipping the anime...or not. It's up to you.

Final Arc Rating: D

BY: Jovanni Febrero
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