Naruto Shippuuden 167 Breakdown. An epic battle, or an epic failure? You decide… @__@
Hello everyone and welcome to another weekly Naruto anime breakdown. Firstly, even though we don’t celebrate it here, for many of the people on our blog who do celebrate it, I would like to wish you all a happy 4th of July.
*Throws a party for the free cheesecake.*
I hope you all had a great holiday. ^ ^
Anyway, moving along to the real topic at hand, all I can say to start off with is that last week I subjected you to a pretty deep breakdown, mostly because of the nature of the theme at hand, and it was pretty serious to say the least. I am not sure how everyone felt about it, but hopefully it was thought provoking and enjoyable in some way.
This week things will be a little bit more light-hearted and after seeing all the heated comments on the last breakdown concerning the new episode, a light load may be all our hearts can bear right now. After all, I don’t want anyone to jump off the second floor balcony of their homes on my account. <_<
So let’s all cheer up, put a smile on our faces and get on with the show. ^ ^
*Runs around in circles and eats Kisu for being an obsessive Pein fanboy.*
So, to start things off, I think the first thing that should be addressed was the animation in this episode, seeing as how it was the most talk about topic regarding it so far. For many readers, the animation felt cartoonish, or somewhat ridiculous, while others enjoyed the fluidity and unique artistry it brought to this battle and the episode as a whole.
For me personally, it was something that felt akin to the animation used in the battle between Naruto and Sasuke at the ‘Valley of the End’. It had its oddities, and some proportions were purposely obscured or enhanced for effect, but I suppose that was an effort by the animators to make the battle feel more expressive.
Considering the two otherworldly powers at conflict here, being the Kyuubi and a self-proclaimed god, it stands to reason that the battle might look and feel very surreal, almost as if it were an abstract representation of the chaotic power being unleashed so savagely. I myself rather enjoyed the fluidity of the battle and the awe-inspiring power and jutsu being displayed, but even then, there were a few niggling oddities that did mar the experience just a little for me.
The way Pein was almost comically hammered into the ground like a nail into a plank was one of these moments that I felt may have seemed disrespectful to his character.
Animation aside, there was a lot of extra content in this episode as well, which was yet another topic of discussion. Some liked the added scenes, while many others felt that a lot of it was unnecessary. There was also a lot of confusion at times as to what was actually happening at any given moment in the episode, and some events do come into question such as the appearance of roots breaking through the ground near the beginning of the battle, which appear to be created by the six-tailed Naruto, and Pein flooding the remnants of Konoha with water a bit further down the line.
Not all of it seems very logical, in fact, once could say that watching this episode was like watching an episode straight out of the Twilight Zone, but then, when you have two entities that seem to wield such otherworldly power, what can be considered logical in the end? I think the main concern that comes in, is where people feel that as a whole, Naruto as a manga and anime has always been very analytical in terms of the way it has presented its battles to its viewer in the past. Normally, in each engagement, you have a witness (some random character who has nothing better to do) sitting on the sidelines explaining everything that happens in detail, so when a character uses a water clone to escape imminent danger, for example, it is normally reiterated in quite a ‘matter of fact’ manner so that we don’t become confused.
It is this ‘spoon-fed’ presentation of battles in the past that I felt kept everyone in the loop as to what was going on at any given time, even in the most complex of battle scenes, but in the same vein, it may have also dampened our ability to think for ourselves when we don’t have any form of narration to tell us what is happening. If you watch this episode carefully, it isn’t that confusing really, but I guess it is easy to get lost in the action when everything is moving along so fast.
From laser blasts to mountain moving jutsu, the battle is nothing short of epic in scale, and whether you liked the animation or not, one cannot deny that it was definitely action packed.
In a way, I actually preferred this representation of the battle to that of the manga, where this entire scene was little more than a brief exchange where we watched Naruto repel Pein’s Shinra Tensei, followed by a huge chakra blast that resulted in Deva Path retreating from Konoha to use his strongest jutsu. Pein fans should be happy with the fact that this time around, their favorite self-proclaimed god actually looked like he could hold his own, even against the power of six tails, rather than appearing hopelessly outclassed as he was portrayed before.
Of course, even then, he was eventually forced to retreat, but even that was only a temporary measure taken to allow himself to use his most powerful jutsu, and what was probably the most impressive part of the battle as far as jutsu go.
I have to say, the animators really did a great job of making Shinra Tensei look and feel powerful. The way you see the golden rays of light begin to swathe the ground in its radiant glow, and the way the earth began to tear apart as it was lifted into the sky, really did feel awe-inspiring.
It helps us understand just how powerful Pein really is, and it also gives us an idea of how strong the Sage of the Six Paths must have been if Nagato considers even this display of power as a small feat in comparison to the legendary hero of times past.
However, what really topped off this episode for me, was the moments leading up to the end of it.
As the battle turns for the worse, we are taken into a shroud of darkness, where we see Naruto lying there next to the Kyuubi’s cell with his eyes submerged in water. His words offer us a glimpse of his emotions and his pain. We can tell just by his expression that he feels confused and lost and he doesn’t know the answers he needs. He just wants someone to help him, he just wants someone to save him, and in that brief moment of despair, we are reminded about just who and what he is.
He is just a kid.
I think sometimes we all forget that when we see what Naruto can actually do and how much strength he has. We all forget that he is still only sixteen years old, hardly growing into a young adult, and still subject to his own feelings and emotions. Everyone wants him to be their hero, their savior, and they all expect him to find the answers and to lead them to a better future, but in the end, all he really is, is a kid who is lost and confused, drowning in an ocean of his own overwhelming emotions.
He is overcome with anger, grief, fear and desperation all at the same time and in the end, it is a burden he should have never had to bear alone. I think too many people in Konoha have relied on him for too long. Instead of solving their own problems, they place all their burden’s on Naruto’s shoulders. Even Jiraiya entrusted him with his mission for peace, while his own teammates have pushed him into a difficult corner with no visible way out.
Those who didn’t use him, simply hated him due to his status as a Jinchuuriki and it is that sense of isolation that I think has really done the most damage. In the end, Naruto just wants the pain to stop and in that moment of weakness it is the Kyuubi, in all his malice and cunning, that offers him the relief he yearns so desperately for.
“Give your soul to me. I will end your suffering.”
It was in this moment, that I really felt that Naruto’s plight truly came to light. We are shown just how far he has been pushed, how much pain he is enduring and how hopeless he actually feels. The way the music began to pick up with such a dramatic symphony and eerie vocals at this point really drove the emotion home and made it, for me, the best scene in this episode.
Once again, I must praise the anime for its outstanding soundtrack.
From here, we see the darkness of the Kyuubi’s will begin to take a hold of Naruto’s heart, feeding off of his grief and despair. We see his seal begin to come undone, while darkness pours out into the water around him, a reflection of his very being as he is overcome by the shadows of his own doubts.
His eyes grow wide and become lost in an empty stare, but even then, you can still see all the fear, all the anguish and all the emotions reflecting through them from the depths his soul.
For that moment, it all just seems so hopeless. It makes you feel like this is the end. The music, the imagery and even the way fire begins to rain down from the sky as the Kyuubi began to free itself, all gave it such an apocalyptic sense of finality. It literally felt like the end of the world was at hand and that hell itself was about to be unleashed.
Then, suddenly out of nowhere we are finally given a glimpse of hope…
When Minato arrived, it felt like a sense of relief had suddenly washed over you. You could almost feel the tension begin to slowly melt away, only to be replaced with a sense of curiosity one could expect from such an estranged meeting.
The look in Naruto’s wide eyes as he regards the figure that has just stopped him from harming himself in more was than he can imagine, was almost heartbreakingly frail and although it feels like he has been saved, you still can’t help but feel that he is still hurting and confused.
I am not sure who actually made it this far in the episode, but I think this was the one redeeming moment for those who felt the episode was otherwise under par. The episode definitely ended on a high note and left me with a kaleidoscope of emotions running through my body and it almost felt like my heart was aching with a sense of anxiety and excitement all rolled up together. (Yes, I am just weird like that. <_<)
I can’t wait until next week to see how the anime addresses that all important meeting between father and son. Hopefully, it won’t feel as rushed as it did in the manga.
Well that’s it for this episode. I hope you all (or at least, a few of you) enjoyed it and the breakdown. It started off light-hearted but once again it ended up sinking to the deep end of the emotional spectrum. Funny how I always manage to slip like that. Maybe I am becoming emo. T__T
Well, either way, here are last weeks caption contest winners.
4th) CaptainPickles: Bullies: “Haha! His Slakoth has malaria!”
3rd) Prawlkage: And now to defeat you with “Cheap-Cartoon-Network-animation-no-jutsu”
2nd) Kiridorean: This is what happens after “A thousand years of pain”
I must admit, there were fewer entries for this screen than I had hoped for although the ones that were there were great. Maybe people just forgot about the caption contest after the new episode came out. Then again, I doubt anyone could see past their own blood haze at that point, and the extent of any humor offered might have involved impaling me on a pike, so maybe its a good thing. T__T
But seriously, if the caption contests are not something that many people are interested in, then I will remove them from the breakdown and save myself a lot of time. Let’s take a vote and see if people still want it up or not.
Here is this weeks screen in the meantime. Whether there is a screen next week though, is up to all of you.
Let’s see how we do with this one.
Last, but not least, here’s the preview for the next episode. See you all next time!
Cheers. ^ ^