I think I actually prefer smaller breaks rather than huge-ass filler arcs, which is the message Studio Pierrot finally seemed to get. For those who weren’t aware, the last three episodes (Team 8 vs. Zetsu, Deidara breaking free and the one with Konohamaru) were all fillers, and not canon material. I thought we were falling down the one-way cliff again, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a return to the main story! Good on you, SP.
First things first – I love the new OP. It reflects on the wartime situation going on the the show right now, and isn’t a weird chanting thing like before that was slightly creepy. There are highlights you should make sure to look forward to (all canon), including Minato vs the Raikage, Itachi and Nagato vs. Naruto, the group of Jinchuuriki who are the new Six Paths of Pain through Tobi (as seen in the preview too) as well as Sasuke’s Eternal Mangekyou Sharingan being revealed. A great season of Naruto is in store for us xD
Today there was more debate on whether Naruto himself should go out and fight – and really, it’s a mixed argument. It’s true that the whole war would have been for nothing should him and Bee get caught (and that’s actually possible, since your opponent is Tobi, Kabuto and half the dead people in the series reanimated) and then the world would end from the Eye of the Moon Plan, and the show would end in a game over. On the other hand, Naruto and Bee might just be what the war effort needs – Naruto seems to be able to sense conflict in other areas, and his massively hax Kyuubi powers as well as Bee himself will definitely be useful in stalling some of the advancing Edo Tensei shinobi, especially on fronts like the Kage one Gaara’s group is facing off against. There’s the possibility of everyone sacrificing themselves in a very shounen-like way and Naruto being left alive (thus is the start point for many time travel/dark Naruto fanfictions) though, realistically, what are the chances of that happening?
We also had some backstory on the Raikage and his non-actual brother, Bee. I found it weird how a kid was supposed to match a Jounin’s strength by using Double Lariat, but it was nice to see how A and B first met, and became the tag team combo that they are today. Of course with the Jinchuuriki process being carried out on Bee, the “something” Bee needs to look for is companionship, or bonds with other people – and he found that in A. I don’t think we’ve ever found out how he managed to tame the Hachibi into being good friends with him, but he must have started at the Falls of Truth just like Naruto did.
Finally we had some Raikage vs Minato action, which I think actually took up more time than Raikage vs Naruto, which was more of a blocking game. The Kyuubi cloak continues to show its powers in matching up with the Raikage and his famed speed, which may have something to do with his lightning chakra cloak providing him extra mobility. Versus Minato though, the Yellow Flash proves to be undoubtedly faster especially with his Hiraishin. It was very noble of him to let both A and Bee live (though admittedly Bee had him cornered too) because he thought they were good shinobi and nice people, rather than the opposite – which would be to kill them now because they’re a potential threat. It’s nice to know that despite wartime and clashes, people like Minato don’t truly hate the enemy, which was quite hard to see when he carried out that holocaust of Iwa ninja all by himself.