Naruto Shippuden
Episode 382

by Amy McNulty,

You know that ninja anime you've been watching? The one where ninjas actually do ninja stuff, like fighting or moving or blinking? Naruto Shippūden 382 threw all of that out the window. There's no action whatsoever this episode, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Plenty of humorous and character-driven episodes of the franchise have succeeded in entertaining Naruto fans before, as long as something important or fun happened before the end credits rolled. Episode 382 isn't skippable per se, and it's not boring, but it reeks of being an unimportant episode from start to finish.

Shots linger on stills or looped animation as characters' thoughts are shared with each other and the audience. The telepathy even saves the animators the trouble of animating and timing mouth flaps. Everyone is getting pumped for the next wave of the fight—after a little bit of doubt and despair—but only Sasuke manages to get one hit in, and his opponent is the currently unmoving Divine Tree.

The most movement this episode treats us to initially occurs in Naruto's memories, which largely consist of shots from older episodes, and even those linger too long. (The shot of Jiraiya's grave especially.) By the episode's end, we're given a peek into Hashirama's memories, which include new animation, but even that's limited to the first five Kage of the world coming together for their initial political meeting. In other words, talking heads around a table.

Story-wise, though, the episode does manage a few effective jokes, even if some—Karin and her obsession with Sasuke in particular—are getting well-worn. Hashirama's memories are interesting to a point, but the scenes don't feel like they're in the right episode. True, he's getting ready to lead the Allied Shinobi Forces, and he prophesied that one day the Shinobi Nations would finally put aside their differences, but it still seems out of place at the moment. It does give us another good look at Hashirama's character though, as we've learned in the past year or so that he's a lot more fun-loving and bright-eyed than what you might expect from the stern-looking founder of Konoha.

The full effect of Obito's pessimism finally resonates here as well. Obito is determined to put everyone in the world under a massive illusion so they can live in a world without death. I rarely worry about any major or even secondary characters' fate in the Naruto Shippūden world. Some die for good, but not many. Yet when Obito addresses the conflict's "red shirts," it all makes sense. The useless background shinobi are terrified of dying and willing to give themselves to the Divine Tree's illusion—and they have a point. They are in danger. Death means something to them. Still, I don't think "worrying about the fate of background ninjas" meets the level of urgency the series is trying to give off.

If there's one thing Naruto Shippūden 382 excels at, though, it's the soundtrack. The music throughout Naruto Shippūden has always been good, albeit extremely repetitive. It mixes classic Japanese musical sounds and chanting with fast and furious action beats. It's great at getting the blood pumping, and when the shinobi are trying to pump themselves up for the next big phase of the fight here, it's really on-point. This episode will get you ready for the next one if nothing else, so sit back, enjoy and get pumped for the fight. I hope we don't have to wait long.

Rating: B-

Naruto Shippuden is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Amy is a YA fantasy author who has loved anime for nearly two decades.


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