This is the final part of the Naruto Shippuden reviews! Hooray! And honestly, I don’t know what to do for next time, but it might end up being Fairy Tail, because that has some…issues!
So, onto the final Shippuden arcs!
Before I get into the individual stories, I have to once again highlight the lovely character designs shown in The Last, but some of them are showcased even better, such as Tenten and the Sand Siblings (especially Temari because she is waifu material).
Kara no Kokoro is the opening song of choice, with its more relaxed tone setting the more slice-of-life tone of the arcs, especially the last one. And the ending, Zetsu Zetsu, features clips of different characters per episode, with the last episode being a compilation of fan art. It’s perfect for the nostalgia factor.
Sasuke Shinden: Book of Sunrise
Canonically this takes place after Naruto and Hinata’s wedding, however in the anime it’s the first to be adapted.
Of course, it’s only five episodes long, but it just means that it goes by quicker. It follows Sasuke as he explores the mystery of the Exploding Human, and is joined by Chino and Nowaki, the former of which is just really annoying at first (and I always mistake her to be a boy for some reason).
Honestly, it’s not one of my favourite arcs, however it’s better than the best of the fillers. It reintroduces Orochimaru and Co, and has a new level of intrigue, as well as the Ketsuryugan, which is basically a huge body gore orgy, and you know how I feel about body gore by now.
By the end of the story, there are multiple layers of Chino, as well as Nowaki, later revealed as Fuushin (but also can be called Nowaki, you get the picture), which makes Chino much less annoying to deal with.
Overall, a pretty strong arc, but not one that I’d eagerly reach for.
Shikamaru Hiden: A Cloud Drifting in Silent Darkness
Here’s another five-parter featuring Shikamaru as the focal point. Between you and me, I love a good Shikamaru moment as much as the next person.
And it’s interesting to see that the cast are starting to feel old, considering I’m 28 to their 19, so it just makes me laugh. But we see two new characters that were added just for this arc – Soku and Ro, two ANBU that are chosen to work with Shikamaru to investigate the Land of Silence, where there is a cult. Oh boy.
Honestly, I feel that the cult trope is hella tired in any form of media, but at the same time these shinobi have enough character depth to be taken advantage of, given their past history.
The main things that these episodes address is the ships between Sai/Ino and Shikamaru/Temari, which end up becoming canon in the last episode of this arc. Although the latter ship gets more development in the next arc.
Konoha Hiden: The Perfect Day for a Wedding
This seven-part arc focuses on different stories based on the Konoha ninja in the run-up to Naruto and Hinata’s wedding day. The first is centered around Iruka, who is still a pretty unassuming ninja in terms of abilities, but he still shows growth by learning to really see his current students and his decision to take the exam to become a vice-principal of the Academy.
The second focuses on Rock Lee, with an animation style similar to his spin-off series. Not a lot of people liked this animation style as it was so different to the original, but considering the amount of flair and movement that is required, it flowed rather well.
The third focuses on Sakura and Ino’s rivalry as they fight over the same gift idea. But it’s pretty sweet how during their food pill cook-off, they end up making each other’s favourite flavours. Considering how awful Sakura’s earlier food pills were during Naruto’s Rasenshuriken training, it’s clear there’s some growth there. There is more development between Shikamaru and Temari, albeit some miscommunication. Whoops!
The fourth focuses on Gaara’s turmoil to find a wedding gift suitable for Naruto, as well as Rock Lee and Kankuro going a bit overboard with their grand ideas for a gift. It ends up in a pretty interesting competition against Killer Bee. We also get even more Shikamaru/Temari ship bait. Yes, you would all be Ino and Choji peeking in on their date. I will say it’s nice to see Gaara getting some attention, considering his novel didn’t get adapted to anime format.
The fifth focuses on Shino and Kiba looking for their own wedding present. Like I’m not fussed about Kiba, but he manages to flirt with Tamaki (the same one with Nekobaa, as well as Shino discovering himself properly and what he wants to focus on in life. I mean, I can usually skip this episode. So I did just that. Whoops!
The sixth focuses on the whole cast on the short period leading up to the wedding. It’s great to see a nicely rounded-off conclusion to the wedding gift dilemma, and it leads really nicely in to the last episode.
The seventh is the wedding day itself, as well as Naruto wanting Iruka at his wedding as his father. You know, the onion-cutting ninjas stopped by earlier because of my depressive spell at the time of watching, so they left me a care package of pre-cut onions. Just to save me yeeting them from my balcony.
And after all of that, we know from the manga and the Boruto anime that it was a better build-up to a wedding than season 9 of How I Met Your Mother. Period.
Overall though, I love the running theme of Iruka being hounded by Konohamaru to record a suitable message for Naruto and Hinata, as well as Orochimaru popping up here and there, while being watched from the sidelines by Yamato.
And with that, that is the end of the series. I may cover the Boruto anime later on, but I may leave that to run for quite a while longer before I tackle that.