Naruto Shippuden Episode 341: Orochimaru’s Return
I still remember Sasuke’s betrayal of Orochimaru – of how he turned the tables on him after Orochimaru tried to prematurely take over his body. I also remember Orochimaru’s appearance during his fight with Itachi – and the lengths Itachi went to in order to make sure Sasuke wasn’t plagued by the curse seal after his death. It took all this trouble to take him down (and even then they didn’t manage to kill him off entirely) so I very much understand Suigetsu’s apprehension over the whole thing. More than anything else, he’s a creepy bastard who’s still after Sasuke’s “young body” (why has no-one branded him a paedophile yet?) and because of that, his allegiance with Taka is shaky at best.
Given that Sasuke was the one who got rid of him in the first place, it was pretty weird to see Orochimaru being so amicable. Okay, that’s probably not the right description… it’s more like he’s now recognized Sasuke’s maturity. There’s been a shift in the balance of power between them – they’re no longer teacher and student, just acquaintances. And (dare I say it) perhaps Orochimaru even feels a little gratitude towards Sasuke for reviving him. Still, Orochimaru seems to have mellowed out somewhat. After having had him play the antagonist for so long (especially during Part I) it’s odd seeing this change in personality. While we don’t know if he has any sort of hidden agenda for now, it’s reassuring to know that he doesn’t want to get involved in the war – and is fully willing to cooperate with Sasuke in meeting with the ones who know everything. Even though Sasuke may still harbour a strong desire for vengeance, the fact that he’s after information (almost as if he wants to confirm his revenge) makes me think that redemption is still possible.
That’s probably the last we’re going to see of Sasuke for a while now – we’re moving back to the front lines and the battle against Tobi. He must really be feeling the pressure if he’s been pushed towards reviving an incomplete Juubi, even though he says he’s fine with it. The release of the Edo Tensei must have contributed to that; coupled with the defeat of all the Zetsu, it means that Tobi and his Juubi are the only adversaries left in the war (he doesn’t know about Madara yet). Because the Juubi’s busy waking itself up, Tobi’s actually gotta fight by himself – and with that, we’re sure to unravel some of the many mysteries surrounding him, including the secret behind his space-time ninjutsu as well as his identity.