Man, it's been a long time since I've talked about Naruto, hasn't it? It's also been a long time since I actually watched these episodes, and I don't have time to re-watch them before I write this, so... I'm going to try my best because I've been doing this for so long that I feel like I just have to talk about all of the episodes (eventually).
Episode 396 is in the midst of a flashback arc about the chunin exams that were conducted while Naruto was gone from Konoha (during the first series and Shippuden).
As an ardent ShikaTema shipper, I'm always up for Shikamaru and Temari interacting, so I loved getting to see them work together for the chunin exams. It didn't disappoint, even if it was a minor point of the episode.
This should be somewhat of a throwaway storyline. While many of the characters becoming chunin could be considered important, actually seeing them do it (when we already know they do) isn't necessarily stuff to keep you on the edge of your seat. Still, I was pleasantly surprised by how interesting I found Shikamaru's task. I love the idea of needing to know your teammates well enough to know how you should answer the questions on the test. It's a really cool mix of logic and teamwork, and I think it was executed in an interesting way within the episode.
While I've found the other tasks entertaining so far as well, the test was probably my favorite. It's stuck with me the most since I watched the episodes as well, but I remember finding some of the scenes in the desert with Lee quite emotional and enjoying them as well.
Hopefully, it won't take me too long to get another post about about the next several episodes. I haven't actually watched any episodes past this, and it's been nearly a year. (Believe it or not, it's harder to watch Naruto in Japan than America when you don't want to do it illegally.) I'll get on that soon.