Naruto: Shippuden

Naruto: Shippuden

Naruto: Shippuden anime cover art featuring Itachi Uchiha
Naruto: Shippuden Cover Art

Overview

Well it’s finally time to take a look at one of my favorite anime, Naruto: Shippuden, and this is going to be a long one. This is the second series in what I’ll call the Naruto Trilogy which includes Naruto, Naruto: Shippuden, and Boruto: Naruto Next Generations.

The way I see it, the 220 episodes of the original series was the just prequel and the 500 episodes which make up Shippuden is the real story. While the Naruto series as a whole gets a lot of hate, it does actually include some of the best fighting scenes in shounen anime. I won’t be going through some of the basics of the series so if you’re looking for that then check out my review of the original series here.

Shippuden takes place a couple of years after the end of the original series with Naruto and Jiraiya’s return to the Leaf Village. The rogue ninja organization known as the Akatsuki has begun to make their move on the various lands and their goal is to capture all of the tailed beasts and use them to rule the world so there will be no more war.

There are also two new members of Team 7 introduced who I won’t talk about too much, but these are Sai, Sasuke’s replacement, and Captain Yamato, Kakashi’s replacement.

From here on out I’ll do a summary style review in which I’ll talk about things in chronological(ish) order so that does mean there will be spoilers, but let’s face it, anyone who cares about watching through Shippuden either already has or already knows what happens.

**Spoilers Ahead**

Pain’s Akatsuki

The first portion of the series is about the Akatsuki, lead by Pain, capturing all of the tailed beasts. This starts with the capture of Gaara, jinchuriki of the One Tail. This arc is the start of my girl Sakura‘s redemption. We all know Sakura was the most useless member of Team 7, and she always will  be unfortunately, but she actually begins to have a purpose in Shippuden and she will be a key feature of this review.

Ok, so now that I mentioned the very beginning of the series, let’s fast forward to around episode 175. Pain attacks the hidden leave village in order to capture Naruto and the Nine Tails; and when I say Pain, I mean Pain and Konan. Technically only two members of the Akatsuki vs. the entire Leaf Village (other than Naruto) and the Leaf Village loses.

Then Naruto comes back and we get the infamous Naruto vs. Pain fight which has an extremely exaggerated art style, potentially as a way to show the sheer power of the fight between the two. Ignoring the art style and animation, the fight against pain is where many people believe the series should have ended, and generally I agree other than all of the amazing things we get scattered throughout the next 325 episodes.

Oh, also Pain kills Jiraiya (spoilers). Pain, along with Konan and Yahiko, were originally students of Jiraiya who he took in when they were orphaned by the second shinobi war. After the war, these three formed the Akatsuki as an organization to end war.

It’s also worth mentioning that Pain has eyes known as the Rinnegan, essentially the final form of visual jutsu which the Sage of Six Paths had. Because of this, Pain is able to use the Six Paths technique to control six proxy bodies each with their own specialized jutsu.

So Pain is defeated by Naruto, sort of. Really he just kills himself and brings back everyone in the leaf village who died during his assault. This leaves a strange void because we had learned that Pain is actually just a pseudonym for Nagato Uzumaki, that’s right, Naruto’s relative, but this apparently doesn’t matter and has no effect on the series whatsoever.

Jiraiya from the anime Naruto: Shippuden
Jiraiya during his fight against the Six Paths of Pain in the Hidden Rain Village

Madara’s Akatsuki

Now that Pain is out of the way, Tobi, a pseudo-member of the Akatsuki up until this point, reveals himself as Madara Uchiha, one of the founding members of the leaf village who fought against the first Hokage.

Not only does he reveal himself as Madara, but he also decides to declare war on the entire ninja world, which forces the five large nations to band together to form an alliance.

We also learn that Pain was just the pawn of Madara and the real reason for gathering all of the tailed beast was so that Madara could become the jinchuriki of the ten tails and use a jutsu to put everyone in the world into a dream-like state.

Back to Sakura for a second, she’s now a fully fledged medical ninja who is actually useful and the leader of the medical corp for the Allied Shinobi Forces.

Obito’s Akatsuki?

Plot twist, that Madara I was just talking about wasn’t actually Madara, it was Obito Uchiha. We learn this when the actual Madara is resurrected during the 4th Shinobi war which is goes on for about 200+ episodes.

But who’s Obito Uchiha?

He’s Kakashi’s old teammate who everyone thought died during the third shinobi war. It’s his sharingan that Kakashi has in his left eye. But why would Obito want to destroy the world and put everyone into a dream? Because the girl he had a crush on died, of course.

Potential best-girl Rin was implanted with the Three Tails and rather than taking it back to the Leaf Village where it could go on a rampage and destroy everything, she opted to take her own life by using Kakashi as the weapon. As Kakashi uses his Chidori to attack the ninja chasing them, Rin jumps in front of him and is pierced through the chest by Kakashi’s hand.

If Rin had only survived longer, she probably would have been my favorite character over Sakura, but instead she’s just runner-up best-girl.

Kakashi Hatake kills Rin Nohara from the anime Naruto: Shippuden
Kakashi Hatake kills Rin Nohara

Madara’s Akatsuki again?

What’s this? Another plot twist? It turns out that while Pain was Obito’s pawn, Obito was also Madara’s pawn. However, Madara’s goal is the same as Obito’s, but without his crush being killed by Kakashi.

Black Zetsu’s Akatsuki?

The plot twists yet again, Black Zetsu, a character nobody really cared about before actually kills Madara with ease after the Allied Shinobi Force failed to. Turns out that Madara wasn’t actually the creator of Black Zetsu like he thought, he was actually the pawn of Black Zetsu. The list of pawns keeps growing!

Kaguya’s Akatsuki, final answer

About a minute later we get the “final” plot twist which is that there’s an alien lady named Kaguya, who is the creator of all chakra, and everything that has happened since her sealing in the distant past was set up by Black Zetsu to bring her back. Kaguya has two Byakugan eyes and one Sharinnegan.

In the end, it takes the three main members of Team 7 (Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura) to take down Kaguya. Yes, Sakura helped because she’s a team player.

Kakashi Hatake vs. Obito Uchiha from the anime Naruto: Shippuden
Kakashi Hatake vs. Obito Uchiha

The Adventures of Sasuke

For most of Shippuden, Sasuke is off doing his own thing. He’s considered a rogue ninja with no village affiliation.

As we know from the original Naruto series, Sasuke’s driving force is his desire to kill his older brother, Itachi, who became a member of the Akatsuki after killing the rest of the Uchiha clan. Well, Sasuke finally succeeds in killing Itachi and in the end gains the Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan from it.

However, before he kills his brother he creates a squad of his own called Hebi. After the death of Itachi he changes the name of the squad to Taka. However, I’ll be referring to this squad as the Goon Squad.

The Goon Squad is led by Sasuke, but the other members are Suigetsu, one of the Seven Ninja Swordsmen of the Mist, Jugo, a member of the clan the curse mark originated from, and Karin, a member of the Uzumaki clan like Naruto and Nagato. Sasuke met all of these members while working with Orochimaru, who he killed by the way.

So after Sasuke kills Itachi, he learns from Obito that Itachi was actually faithful to the Hidden Leaf Village the whole time and he actually massacred the Uchiha clan in order to preserve peace in the village. Sasuke, now angry with the Leaf Village for treating his heroic brother as a criminal decides to join the Akatsuki and destroy the Leaf.

Sasuke attacks the Five-Kage Summit, injuring the Raikage, and Killing Danzou, the then sixth Hokage. The fact that Sasuke could defeat Orochimaru, Itachi, and Danzou shows just how powerful he’s become.

Eventually, during the fourth shinobi war, specifically after the real Madara is revived, Sasuke decides that he’s going to help stop the world from being destroyed because it’s what Itachi would have wanted. Also by this point Sasuke has revived Orochimaru, who then joined the Goon Squad, and forced him to reanimate the four dead Hokage.

The Final Battle

Now the reason I mentioned Sasuke’s adventures is because after the defeat of Kaguya by the original members of Team 7, Sasuke decides that he wants to become Hokage and so must fight Naruto to the death. I haven’t mentioned our titular character much so far, but all you need to know is that by this point Naruto is very strong as well.

Naruto is now a Toad Sage, the jinchuriki of not only the Nine Tails, but portions of all the other eight tailed beasts, and he gained half of the power of the Sage of Six Paths. Sasuke, on the other hand, has an Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan in one eye and a Sharinnegan in the other due to receiving the other half of the Sage of Six Paths’ power.

Along with the fight between Kakashi and Obito, this final fight between Naruto and Sasuke is one of the best in the series. The fight ends in a draw with each of them losing an arm, but honestly I think Sasuke could have killed Naruto if he really wanted to.

Naruto Uzumaki vs. Sasuke Uchiha from the anime Naruto: Shippuden
Naruto Uzumaki vs. Sasuke Uchiha

Eyes, Eyes, Eyes

Something you may notice while watching Shippuden is that the show is no longer really about Naruto’s adventures like the original series was. Instead, the driving force behind much of the plot is the stealing of eyes. Sounds strange, huh? Well let’s break it down.

In the original series we’re introduced to two different eye jutsu, the Sharingan and the Byakugan. The Byakugan is technically considered to be stronger than the Sharingan, but it doesn’t matter much because the Hyuga clan places a seal on their members which seals their eyes after they die so they can’t be stolen. Although we do meet one non Hyuga clan member with a Byakugan in Shippuden, like how Kakashi has a Sharingan.

Anyway, the Sharingan is a visual jutsu which has many different levels to it. There is the regular Sharingan which has between one and three tomoe which signifies how complete it is. Once the Sharingan is in its complete form, it can then be upgraded to a Mangekyo Sharingan by witnessing an extremely traumatic event, which is also how it first materializes.

So for Sasuke, his Sharingan was triggered when Itachi massacred the Uchiha clan, and then he awakened the Mangekyo Sharingan when Itachi died. These Mangekyo Sharingan are the real prizes that people want to steal because each person’s Mangekyo Sharingan has a special ability and a unique pattern to match.

Itachi could use Amaterasu and Tsukuyomi, Sasuke can use Amaterasu and another ability which allows him to freely control the Amaterasu flames, Shisui’s eyes had a mind-control type ability, and Obito/Kakashi are able to use Kamui to open up other dimensions. So because of these powerful abilities, the Mangekyo Sharingan eyes are highly prized and many people want to steal them for themselves.

However, the Sharingan can “go even further beyond” in the words of Goku from the Dragon Ball series. The Mangekyo Sharingan wear out with use and eventually blind the user. By the time Itachi died he couldn’t even recognize Sasuke’s face, but there is a fix for this, the Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan. This ability is gained by implanting the Mangekyo from one person into another who is compatible. Sasuke gains this ability by implanting Itachi’s eyes.

But that’s not all! The Rinnegan is also technically an upgraded version of the Sharingan which is activated if someone who has the Eternal Mangekyo also has DNA from the Senju clan, of which the first Hokage was a member.

So as an Uzumaki, how did Nagato get the Rinnegan? Well those were actually Madara’s eyes and were implanted into Nagato by Obito for safe keeping. Madara was able to awaken his Rinnegan at the end of his natural life by implanting some of the first Hokage’s DNA into his body.

Sasuke awakens an upgraded version of the Rinnegan, known as the Sharinnegan, in one eye by gaining half of the Sage of Six Paths’ chakra.

Because of how powerful these visual jutsu are, we constantly see people stealing the eyes of others throughout the Shippuden series. Danzou has an entire arm of implanted Sharingan and after he stole one of Shisui’s eyes, Shisui gave the other to Itachi before killing himself. You may also recall from the original series that Orochimaru wanted Sasuke for his eyes.

Conclusion

So after all of this, what should you take away? Naruto Shippuden is a really good anime and you should watch it. Sure, there’s a lot of filler mixed in there too, but if you’re really against filler then you can always use a viewing guide to avoid it.

You may have also noticed some of DoubleSama’s patented unpopular anime opinions such as that I actually like Sakura and Sasuke unlike most of the anime community.

Sakura is the hopeless romantic who turns into a real character. She’s the primary medical ninja for the Leaf Village and she can fight too. She also has pink hair so that’s a plus.

Sasuke I like for different reasons. Give a character a katana and lightning abilities and I’m bound to think they’re awesome. I’ve said before that I love a good anime sword fight and it’s no surprise I like lightning abilities considering Sailor Jupiter from Sailor Moon was my first best-girl.

Overall I give Naruto: Shippuden an 8/10. It vastly improves on the original series and continues to grow the characters we already came to know and love.

Finally, since this was an extra long review, it only makes sense that I would put an extra long video at the end to compliment it. Instead of just one OP from Shippuden, here is a video with all of the Shippuden OPs. I won’t say they’re all good, but most of them are and it’s a nice way to kill 30 minutes of your time.

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