I really loved these eight episodes. Shikamaru's been one of my favorite characters since the chunin exams, but he really cemented his place as my favorite character in these episodes.
It was heartbreaking to watch the episodes where everyone was reacting to Asuma's death, especially Shikamaru's reaction. The deer in the forest were a bit odd, but when that one went and got Asuma's lighter for Shikamaru I was in tears.
I also loved seeing Naruto's new jutsu. I love seeing him get better and better. At the beginning of the show I was just kind of indifferent to Naruto, but I've really come to love him as a character since the Sasuke retrieval arc.
I really don't have much to say about these episodes. I think a lot of it is because it was only eight episodes, but also, these episodes just made me really emotional. I'm not entirely sure why. There was Asuma's death of course, but I think I've just been oddly more emotional when it comes to books and TV lately. Whatever the reason, it's making it harder to pick out things in these episodes to mention/talk about. I really enjoyed them though, and I can't wait to keep watching!