Naruto Shippuden Binge: Assembly of the Five Kage

Consisting of episodes 197-222 (Season 10), The Assembly of the Five Kage sets the stage for an alliance between the five great shinobi nations – but there is still much hate in the ninja world after the fall of Pain.

Danzo, the Sixth Hokage – This wasn’t much of a surprise. Of course he would be the one to take over from the shadows in Tsunade’s ‘absence’.  He has been plotting that for a long time. The flashback to his younger days working alongside the Second Hokage and the Third before he was Hokage were quite welcome. It gave him a bit of a sympathetic arc, as you finally understand that although he wanted to be in power, he also valued the Hidden Leaf quite a lot. It was a strong parallel between his story with Hiruzen Sarutobi and the Sasuske/Naruto pairing this series has focused on. Sarutobi was always one step ahead of him. It would have been nice if Danzo had actually done something important for the Leaf before his parting, but his story seems set to follow the tragic misunderstood villain path.

The Five Kage Summit – So all of them get together, and rag on each other for a while. They came to discuss the problems with the Akatsuki and Sasuke, but can only seem to fight on who is most qualified among them. Good thing Tobi (or Madara, or whoever) and Team Sasuke show up to get the party going. Seeing Gaara fighting again was exciting! It’s interesting how the power levels are being handled in this series – and so far it’s slightly better than Dragon Ball‘s attempts. We’ve got a pretty clear idea that the tailed beasts are super powerful, and pretty much nobody can straight up defeat them if all of their power is used. However, some characters are being built up in power alongside the jinchuriki, which is a good way to manage it. As the jinchuriki are becoming more accustomed to their abilities, it’s essentially training their rivals. As for Sasuke and his ability to just release hidden power after hidden power, it’s always felt a bit forced. The curse mark made sense as augmenting his strengths, but every time he pulls something new from within I kind of roll my eyes. Oh yeah, the Kage summit. Nothing really got accomplished there other than the concept for an allied shinobi force.

Sakura’s Feelings – Oh this is a troubling topic. In the good old days, which we got numerous flashbacks to in this season, Sakura ‘loved’ Sasuke for the reasons you love the star athlete or cool kid in school. That’s who he was, and she was a schoolgirl. A lot of things have changed since that time. What would you do if your childhood crush grew up to be a murderer, terrorist, and all-around traitor who had no interest in you? Sounds like a stupid question. Sakura continues on though. I’m not sure what would have happened if Naruto had fallen for her incredibly mean plan – a trick confession. She knows that Naruto likes her, and she uses that against him while she still loves evil Sasuke?! There are just so many rational reasons for her to give up on him it has become absurd. He even tries to murder her, several times. And you know who comes to the rescue? The spikey-haired guy she toyed with to satisfy her issues on her own.

Naruto Shippuden 206 - Coolest Way to Travel
The coolest way to travel.

Naruto & Sasuke – Now this relationship makes a lot more sense (no, not that way). All of the flashbacks perfectly show the rivalry and friendship that the two shared – a real bond. They came from drastically different backgrounds, but each had their hardships to overcome. Better yet, there were commonalities that they could come to understand each other on, and those have only increased to this point in time. One step in the wrong direction, and Naruto could have been in Sasuke’s position. I found the input from pretty much every other character quite interesting – especially the key points from Gaara, Kakashi, and the Raikage. If he’s really your friend, you should do what is right. It’s an odd idea, killing your friend because they’ve gone so far off the rails, but at a certain point it might be what’s best. By killing Sasuke, it would prevent him from going even further down the path of evil. I still hold some kind of belief that the show will attempt to redeem him at some point in the future, however that could even be possible. I doubt his self-sacrifice would be enough to make up for all of his wrong-doings, but I expect that will be what we get.

The Next Hokage – Kakashi definitely felt responsible for the problems in team 7. More importantly though, he did an amazing job with the insane circumstances he was handed. The last surviving member of the Uchiha, a jinchuriki and son of the Fourth, plus some pink haired indecisive dumby – that’s a tough group. He would of course be the most logical person to succeed as Hokage. Someone that is serious, skilled, reliable, and hilarious all at the same time. The village is also going to need quite an overhaul, but it looks like it’s moving along super fast. The race through the newly constructed areas showed off some of the staple architecture of the Leaf returning in full. Too bad Tsunade had to go and wake up! Another time, Kakasih. Maybe another time…

The Tailed Beasts – Killer Bee is a pretty strange character. Aside from his affinity for rapping or whatever that actually is, he can also control the eight-tails to an extreme degree. They work together even to defeat their opponents. It doesn’t seem itching to take over like the nine-tails is. Speaking of the nine-tails, Naruto is given the key to his (way too-many descriptors) tetragram seal. Seems like a pretty bad idea, and he spends most of an episode detailing exactly why. But he’s Naruto, so of course he’ll be able to overcome Kuruma’s hateful will. He’s a gutsy ninja, after all.

Definitely looking forward to Naruto training his power to control the nine-tails finally. His meeting with the ‘octopus’ is definitely Killer-Bee. That’ll be quite the sparring partner match-up, I’m sure. We’ve spent hundreds of episodes fearing the consequences of the tailed beasts’ powers – it’s time to take charge and show them who’s boss!

Extra thoughts:
– The village was collectively a giant dick to Naruto.
– Very happy to see him where he is now.
– Have you given up on Sasuke now, Sakura? How about now? Maybe now? No, Ok…
– So. Many. Flashbacks.
– The Chidori-Rasengan switch was a cool concept.
Karin is the best girl going after Sasuke abandoned her.

The tailed beasts gallery:

See ya next time!

Naruto Shippuden - Tune in Again.jpg
Tune in again, next time.

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