This week, we’re going battle-heavy! And because these two particular arcs are so short, we’re combining the two. I think the opening pretty much combines the two arcs really well, so we’ll go with that.
The first half comprises of Tale of Jiraiya the Gallant, which spans from episode 127 – 133. The second half features the Fated Battle Between Brothers, and that runs from episode 134 – 143.
First of all, can we talk about the absolute bop of an opener that is Sign? It’s a fan favourite for a reason, and it really gets you in the feels, especially when you re-watch it like I’m doing now!
The first two episodes of the arc follows Jiraiya’s back-story, from his time as a Genin, through training at Mount Myōboku, his prophecy (which is shown in subsequent flashbacks so many goddamn times), his involvement in the Second Shinobi World War (incorrectly described as the third in these episodes, mind), taking on three orphans from Amegakure and training them, and then everything else, right up to the big, unsurprising reveal of Naruto’s parents. I mean seriously, you had to be blind not to look at Minato Namikaze and notice that he is Naruto’s father.
To be fair, in this arc we do see Jiraiya battling at his fullest for the first time. You may recall the last time in the Tsunade arc that he was still suffering the effects of the drug that Tsunade slipped him the night prior. But it was impressive to see the Sage Mode active, and why Jiraiya is known as the Toad Sage. As well as Ero-sennin, of course! But holy cow, this is some true action we expect from some powerhouses – even a female like Konan is actually good (considering Kishimoto has admitted he is shit at writing women, so we have to give kudos for a great female character!).
Y’know, there never was enough female representation in Akatsuki…
It was intriguing trying to figure out the secret behind Pain, and Jiraiya holding out as much as possible, but it was futile. And then watching his life flash before his eyes montage was timed just right with the ninja appearing in my living room and cutting onions in front of me.
After that heart-wrenching episode, we come straight into the inevitable fight between Sasuke and Itachi, during which Tobi is an annoying little shit and interrupting the Eight Man Squad. I mean, you do you, bud.
Meanwhile, we have the same flashbacks as we did before Naruto fought Sasuke, and lemme ask you this: what was the point in the flashbacks in the earlier fight when we also get them here? I mean, we remember what went down by now, surely? I mean, this time we got Itachi’s perspective as well, but it would have been easier to have all of the flashbacks here rather than when they weren’t exactly necessary.
This arc also reminds me of why I loathe eyeballs. I can’t go further than that.
Honestly the first part of the battle is all about who can out-Genjutsu the other, eyeballs included. Then we get to the meat of the action, with fire, fire and more fire, on top of black fire, and then some lightning.
And then Orochimaru makes a very brief appearance, because of course he gets about. Like dude, you effectively died. Piss off.
And then Itachi died because he’s clearly ill, but you know that everyone’s gonna say that Sasuke killed him, because that’s going to be a running theme.
Of course, we get more back-story and exposition in the form of Tobi, who becomes hella serious and dons the name ‘Madara Uchiha’, and of course you believe him because who else would say they are Madara Uchiha?
I mean, apart from those trying to gain clout I suppose.
And of course, Sasuke hops on the revenge train by claiming that he’s going to destroy Konoha. I mean, good luck with that bud, Orochimaru tried that schtick before and it didn’t work out well. Wouldn’t it be damn awful if someone else destroyed Konoha before you did…?
Right at the end, we meet the next target, Killer B, as well as Hachibi, which is actually a strange cross between an ox and an octopus – so an ox-topus, if you will. And what do you know, after Sasuke almost dying multiple times, Karin becoming a reverse vampire, Juugo reverse-aging and Suigetsu turning to literal mush, they actually manage to take down Killer B. Obviously with a lot of difficulty, yeah!
I mean yeah, he’s annoying as hell in the beginning, but he has fighting style at least! It’s just…do you have to rap constantly?
Next time, we’ll skip over the filler arc as usual, and we’ll head straight on to the Pain’s Assault arc, which I feel is where this…starts to…get a bit bad. You’ll see!