Monday, September 29, 2014

Naruto Shippuden Review: Episodes 196-200

I can't tell you how excited I am to finally be past that filler. I feel like I've said that a million times by now in various places, but it's just so true. I really enjoyed these five episodes, and it's just such a relief after such a long span of filler.

There's a lot more of Sasuke in these episodes than there had been recently. I'm always up for more Sasuke. He was by far my favorite character when I first started watching Naruto, and while he's definitely not anymore, I have a bit of a sentimental soft spot for him whenever he's in the story. Part of it is probably his past position as my favorite character, but I think a lot of it also has to do with the fact that the story just seems to be absolutely fantastic whenever he's around in some capacity. In other words, I'm more excited for the stories that include Sasuke than Sasuke himself these days.

I cried a lot in the last few of these episodes, and most of it had to do with Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura's friendships. Talking about that always gets to me. Naruto getting beaten up instead of revealing any information about Sasuke (especially considering what Sasuke did to him) was such a powerful scene. I also love Sai's developing friendships with Naruto and Sakura in comparison to all of that. I'm really enjoying watching Sai learn what it's like to be someone's friend and learning what exactly that means, and I like when it's done in comparison with Sasuke. I also really liked how he became aware of Naruto's feelings for Sakura. Naruto's crush on Sakura hadn't been mentioned in a while, and it actually kind of surprised me when it came up. I don't ship Naruto and Sakura, but I still enjoyed all of that more than I would have expected. (I'd probably consider myself a Naruto/Hinata shipper, but I'm not too attached to the idea of them.) I'd definitely have to say that the relationships between the different characters were my favorite parts of these episodes, which isn't surprising for me.

Honestly, there's very little I want to say about these episodes that isn't connected to the friendships in it. I really think that's one of the shows strong points most of the time, and I just loved it so much.

The only other thing I'll mention is a bit of cheering for Gaara, Temari, and Kankuro showing up again. Gaara (like Sai) was a character I hated at first and then came to love. I didn't hate Temari, but she's also managed to become one of my favorites, so I'm happy whenever they show up again.

Now that I'm out of that filler, I'm really excited to keep watching episodes and seeing what happens next!

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