Naruto Shippuuden 176 Breakdown: Too many misfits make for a broken puzzle…
Hello everyone and welcome to another weekly Naruto anime breakdown. This week we have yet another filler episode coming into the fray right at the very end of the Konoha destruction arc, and after our last horrendous outing with a younger Naruto only a few episodes before, it stands to reason that not everyone would be too enthusiastic with another similar venture rearing its head again.
However, lightning doesn’t always strike twice in the same place, so it is only fair that we treat this episode with an open mind and a clear conscience. After all, you never know when you are going to find a gem in amongst the dirt…
Ah yes, Mondays. The day of the week where my mind is frazzled and my soul is devoid of life. That makes it the perfect time to write a breakdown, of course, otherwise I would never be able to come up with weird and crazy captions I have. But if you think that above caption was a bit out of character for me, then I think that you may be thinking a thought that is thoughtfully thoughtful.
Actually, it was just too funny to ignore, so we’ll just go for that. T__T
But enough of my mindless ramblings, you’re all here for a breakdown, aren’t you? So stop staring at the above screen (they are not going to move, I promise) and let’s move onwards.
*Grabs Supertrek’s collar and forcefully drags him away.*
To start off, we begin the episode with a brief look into our traveling group of Kumo shinobi as they venture out towards Konoha from their own village to report the news of Sasuke’s attack on the Raikage’s younger brother. Although this brief scene was more of a fleeting distraction than the real focus of this episode, it did help lighten the mood for what was to come and the subtle and somewhat humorous exchanges between Omoi and Karui made for a nice opening scene.
Of course, the real focus of this episode, however, was Naruto, or to be more accurate, his first meeting with the one person that would change his life forever, Umino Iruka.
Our flashback really starts while Iruka is out surveying the damage to Konoha, searching the now destroyed academy grounds for anything that can be used to hep aid his stranded students, who still need to continue learning despite the shattered state of their village.
Much to his surprise, the teacher finds a memento of great significance, the swinging tree that stood outside the front of the academy building, surprisingly still very much intact. It was a place he would often see Naruto inhabiting alone, sitting silently on the single swing that hung from the tree’s branches, his eyes saddened with a sense of longing and isolation.
From there, Iruka thinks back on the past, to the first time he had been asked by the Hokage to teach Naruto, or to be more specific, where he was tricked into doing so. With a great deal of reluctance, the young man eventually accepted the task, which soon began the relationship that would have profound effects on the future that even he could have never forseen.
One problem that immediately comes up from the start, is Iruka’s uncertainty regarding his new allotted task, an uncertainty that easily gives birth to outside influence, even if it is negative. When another teacher asks Iruka about his new misfortune, seemingly humored by the man’s inheritance of the village pariah, Iruka simply professes his doubts, but it is his company’s response that causes the first real problems.
“Just go about your way without making a fuss. If you don’t bother with them, kids tend to go away on their own,” is all he has to say.
What the man is really suggesting, however, is that Iruka simply ignores Naruto and pays him no heed, until he eventually becomes disheartened and ceases in his attempts to gain attention. Now, I am sure we all know the saying, ‘there are no bad students, only bad teachers’, and it is most certainly something that comes to mind when one regards this situation.
Up until this point, Naruto had been turned down by every other teacher in the academy due to his behavior, but instead of trying to help the boy learn how to act respectfully, or trying to understand why he was doing what he was, they simply turned him away while refusing to perform their duties as teachers. After all, how can a child learn how he is supposed to behave if no-one is willing to teach him? It is a kind of blatant neglect that will only end up doing more damage than good, but, of course, who cares when the one being hurt is just a monster anyway?
In the end, one can understand Iruka’s trepidations. After all, Naruto is, in a way, a physical manifestation of the very creature who killed Iruka’s parents, the same creature that still haunts his dreams to this day.
But his actions based on the advice of another, eventually leads to even more pain for his younger charge, as Iruka simply ignores Naruto’s attempts at garnering attention, even to the point of refusing to punish him for his pranks. Trying even harder to make others respect him, Naruto eventually resorts to fighting with his far more popular classmate, Sasuke, in an effort to prove his worth, but the debacle eventually ends in an embarrassing defeat for him that eventually leads to some hurtful insults directed his way.
I think this was the one moment in the episode that really made my heart jump. Just as Naruto was forced into a corner, with everyone else in his class hurling insults towards him and making him feel even more worthless, Iruka suddenly jumps in and tells everyone to leave him alone. It was a startling moment and for Naruto, it was a complete surprise that someone was now standing up for him. The way his face brightened and lifted easily betrayed a sudden sense of hope that must have gripped his heart, but the hardened words that followed, falling from Iruka’s very own lips, were far from supportive or comforting…
“Don’t bother… with this kid.”
It was the same words that Iruka had been advised just before taking Naruto on as his charge and it was now the same lesson he was inadvertently teaching to the rest of his class by speaking them loud and clear while Naruto himself could hear them.
Don’t bother with Naruto and he will eventually disappear, the message was easily understood.
Watching Naruto’s face fall as Iruka then turned his back and walked away, made my heart sink into my chest. Even Sakura and Chouji seemed shocked by these turn of events, if their facial expressions are anything to go by. Knowing how much is must have hurt to feel so desperately alone, only to have your hopes of attaining some form of attention, no matter how small, scattered with a few simple and yet profoundly hurtful words, really had a deep emotional impact.
I think we all feel a sense of loneliness sometimes, where we just feel like the world doesn’t understand us. We all just want to be understood and respected, but most of the time, we never get what we are searching so desperately for.
In the end, it is up to us to remain strong, to keep moving forward and to never give up hope. To keep on living until the day finally comes where we are able to truly smile again, with someone else smiling just as brightly at our side.
And that is exactly what Naruto does, he keeps on trying.
No matter how badly he has been hurt, no matter how much life brings him down, he just keeps on trying his best to get right back up again. He tries harder to succeed, even if it means failing time and time again. To him, his dream is something that is worth fighting for and no matter how hard it gets, he will never allow himself to give up. If he gives up, then he truly does become invisible. If he gives up, he is as good as dead…
I felt that the theme of this episode, although a somewhat recurring theme in the anime, as well as Naruto’s character development as a whole, were both portrayed very well. It exhumed a sort of nostalgia that touches back nicely to the old Naruto we knew and loved so much and yet, at the same time, it shows a new side to our hero that we haven’t really seen before.
A side that existed before Iruka. A Naruto who was completely lost and alone, who didn’t belong anywhere aside from that hopeful place in the scape of his own dreams. The episode never felt out of place or ridiculous, as many other similar fillers have in the past, and it served as a great emotional backdrop to Naruto’s character as a whole. It was most certainly a welcome addition to our anime archives that will definitely fit in quite nicely in the series as a whole.
My only real gripe with the episode, and it is one I am sure that many of us share, was that horrid sound that we all know and hate…
… the fangirl squeal. X__X
Ah yes, the fangirl squeal.
I swear if I have to hear another unholy cry of “Sasuke-kun”, wailed in a manner that only a banshee with a piglet caught in its throat could achieve, I am going to either implode, or go on a psychotic killing spree that would see the end of all Sakura and Ino figurines that exist in this world.
Other than that insufferable form of torture, I felt this was a good episode that deserves some attention, even from those who normally stay clear away from fillers.
Well, that’s it from me for this episode. Next week the mini saga continues, so hopefully we’ll soon get to see that turning point where Iruka finally accepts and understands Naruto. All I have left to say, is that I liked the new outfit Naruto had in the later part of this episode with the hoodey.
I wish they used it instead of the one he currently has, because it looks really cool. @__@
Anyway, here is last week’s caption contest winner.
Thanks Kakashi for letting me be seme for once.
Kakashi: Don’t say it…
Naruto: You know I have to
Naruto: REVERSE OROCHIMARU NO JUTSU >.<
Ok now stop smiling for that is a sign that your getting too comfortable.
Ah yes, the two kage battle it out in a contest of strength, power and wit. Sorry Kanton, but it looks like you are second once again. X__X
Kishi stilll doesn’t love you, but you did well though and we all still love you even though you like to maim people a lot. *Eats Kantonkage.*
Here is this week’s screen.
Ah yes, it is only right that the fangirls that haunt my nightmares were punished this week for their intolerable whining and screeching, so please, by all means, have fun. @__@
I hope you all enjoyed the breakdown!
Cheers! ^ ^