Covering episodes 152-175 (season 8), The Two Saviors powers through Naruto’s ascension to sage status and the story of Pain. I’ve always liked the Akatsuki stories up until this point, and its time to find out what the deal with their origin is! Though I feel it will go deeper than one season. This is the first entry in to the Naruto Shipuden Binge!
That’s right, Cloudy is back on the Naruto train. Only got 300+ episodes to catch up on! Good thing a lot of fillers can be skipped, and I’m following a guide to make sure I know what’s what. It’s not that I put Naruto on hold because it wasn’t fun or interesting, it just isn’t fun or interesting to wait half a year for the story to come back – and if I catch up, I might cover new episodes. Binge watching, commence!
Season 8 begins with the news of Jiraiya’s death. Naruto takes it pretty hard, and shows off the emotional mess he tends to be in any such situation. Despite sitting in his room for a long while, he won’t take this sitting down! He’s gotta go take on the (six) ninja that killed his pervy-sage sensei! This was really the beginning of Naruto’s real rise to power. Sure, he had the nine-tails chilling inside him all this time, and it had come to the rescue in the past, but it’s not much of a trump card if it can just straight up kill you or take over. Sage mode is a real spike in ability, and apparently super easy for Naruto to learn! How convenient.
All of the action in this season was pretty cool. The different versions of Pain each had their unique ability, and most of the plot revolved around figuring them out. The Hidden Leaf ninjas did a pretty good job analyzing and relaying the details to the higher ups in an effort to counteract and expose weaknesses. Too bad the village got nuked though. That was pretty harsh – although it was somewhat evacuated, and the slug summon Katsuyu seemed to have a lot of people ‘protected’. Otherwise, a lot of people probably died (even if not permanently).
Naruto arrives on the scene after all the real mess has gone down, Goku style. And in good Dragon Ball Z fashion, he’s so super powerful and full of new techniques that he needed a new outfit to match. The whole fight was rather good, but it really came alive when the nine-tails came in to play. Can’t discount Hinata’s efforts on her part either, as that was one bad-ass confession. And in good Dragon Ball Z fashion, Naruto goes super saiyan with the apparent death of his friend. Considering the jinchuriki (tailed-beast hosts) and the nine-tails are the over-arching plot of all of Naruto, I’m glad it got a lot of focus. Even more important was the extremely obvious revelation that the Fourth Hokage is Naruto’s dad. I could have told you that from the first season of original Naruto. Just look at their hair! And the fact that it was the Fourth that sealed Kurama (kyubi/nine-tails) in the first place.
Pain’s backstory is definitely a motivator for his actions. Bringing about world peace though? That seems a little far off from what he’s been doing with Akatsuki. All of his ramblings about pain, hatred, and the ninja world seem more like a convenient veil of musings on sociology and the human condition than his actual feelings. He just wanted to get revenge for the pain he’s felt, and is really no better than anyone else in that category. He planned to start wars just to have Akatsuki there to stop them, and use the tailed beasts as super-weapons! He straight up nuked the Hidden Leaf Village. But can peace exist in the ninja world? That’s a question we can ask about our world too – and the answer is a pretty obvious no. I don’t want to be cynical here, but there will always be a few (or many) that want more than what they have, fear others or certain possibilities, want control, or are just unbalanced. There are a lot more motivations for war and conflict than that, and even in the greatest of utopias, there will be dissent.
Naruto’s answer to Nagato came straight from Nagato himself. Oh the irony. But it was also the best possible answer to give. If you believe that peace can be seized, don’t give up until you’ve found it. This of course discounts how you’re going to find it and what you’re willing to do to get there. Nagato’s aim never changed, so I’m not sure why he finds Naruto’s/Jiraiya’s/his own words so moving. They don’t convey the means, just the end. Perhaps it is better to just have the belief and work your best towards it, than to force it as he had been doing. That’s the best way that I can seem to interpret the meaning behind all of this.
And with that, the Hidden Leaf has been saved! Or… needs some sever repairs and at least might not get nuked again for a little while. The Sage of the Six Paths seemed to put the ninja world on a better direction than it had been going, but his reincarnation and the rinnegan seem to have re-directed the world back on the path to destruction – no matter Nagato’s fate. Tobi and the Akatsuki’s plans will continue, without any of the original members and their ideals for peace in the end. If Nagato was really the second savior, he did a pretty bad job. Here’s looking to Naruto to fill that role for real.
– Death doesn’t mean much in this world now does it?
– Naruto is finally appreciated by the village
– Poor Hinata, but looks like Naruto is finally getting with Sakura!
– On the path to Hokage, no contest.