I'm in love with this set of episodes. Wow. There was a lot of focus on the tailed beasts, which I found fascinating. I've always liked Kurama for his place in the story if not because he was a kind, wonderful being, but my love for him grew in these episodes.
The tailed beasts have been such an important part of the story, particularly since the start of the storyline about the Akatsuki going after each of them, but it isn't until these episodes that you get to meet each of them for the first time, and meeting them is something that I'm completely behind. I love the idea of these creatures that, in the beginning, are portrayed as little more than forces of pure evil gradually become more complex until you are introduced to them for the first time and see that they have personalities and aren't quite as black and white as you were led to believe.
Not only does it makes the beasts intriguing as they're now more complex, it also makes seeing how Madara is controlling them, even putting them in chains, seem much worse than if the audience still viewed them as the faceless forces of evil from the beginning of the story.
While I did appreciate meeting each of the tailed beasts, there was a definite focus on Kurama in these episodes for obvious reasons, and like I said, my love for him grew over the course of these episodes.
Can I just throw out there how adorable little Kurama was in that one flashback? It didn't help that the flashback included "you'll all be reunited" and was placed in the middle of the scene where they're being reunited. That was one of my favorite moments from these episodes, although it's tough to pick just one favorite moment since I'm in love with so much of it.
If I had to choose just two favorite moments though, my second choice would be Naruto and Kurama fighting together for the first time (as opposed to Naruto taking and using Kurama's chakra). That was an epic scene that got me sucked into the episode. That entire episode had such a "this is what I've been waiting for" feel to it that I loved.
Also, I can't end this review without mentioning the tailed beasts counting song, which I'd listen to over and over again. When it started, I was kind of like "what's this and why is it happening?" but by the end I was enjoying it. I get why they'd want to create a way to help people remember each of the tailed beasts and the jinchuriki, and I think the song was effective. It keeps replaying in my head since I watched that episode, and I imagine I'd be singing it to myself if I knew more Japanese, which means that it's probably a pretty effective way of remembering the tailed beasts for Japanese speakers.
Here's hoping the next five episodes are as excellent because those last five have gotten me pumped up for what's coming next. However, there's a part of me that feels like they can't be as good as the episodes I just watched because those episodes were that good. Either way, I'm thrilled with the story currently, and I'm excited to get to the next episode.