Naruto Shippuden Episode 425
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 425 of
Naruto Shippūden ?
In stark contrast to last week's installment, flashbacks are once again subtly shoehorned into the proceedings. Although Kakashi's mental comparison between the current Team 7 and the one from three years ago makes thematic sense, it involves showing us a scene we've been shown countless times. Plus, praising Sakura for continuing to love the man who tried to kill her because she's "kind" and has decided to "save him from darkness" is questionable. In light of the strides she's made to become a better-rounded character with an identity outside of her crush, this seems inappropriate. Additionally, Madara's taunting of Obito, revealing the "shocking" twist that he was responsible for Rin's death, goes on for far too long. His plan to draw out the darkness in Obito's heart via Rin's sacrifice is so convoluted, you have to wonder how he was able to pull it off. Granted, everything worked out as he planned, but much of his success was contingent on dumb luck.
There's some interesting angle work featured throughout Madara's revelation. Since this portion of the episode involves a lot of talking, it was nice to have some unique imagery to hold our attention. As Madara's upper body holds the weakened Obito at arm's length, we're shown detailed close-ups of their faces. The images onscreen begin to wildly spin, and it's almost as if the viewers are spinning around with them. It's strange (and a bit dizzying), but it helps convey the sense of helplessness and betrayal Obito is feeling at that moment.
Naruto's as-yet-unexplained ability to regenerate a new eye for Kakashi is another example of his deus-ex-machina powers at work. Just as he healed Guy last week, it seems like the powered-up protagonist can now do anything. While it may make for a happier ending after all is said and done, it also diminishes the stakes of this battle. If almost none of the characters have to worry about dying or incurring debilitating injuries, the viewers are never going to genuinely feel that our heroes are at risk.
Sakura, Sasuke and Naruto briefly show off some cool moves in the final few minutes, but the episode's most important moment comes at the end, when Madara finally begins unleashing the Infinite Tsukuyomi technique. As usual for recent episodes, the episode is weighed down by slow pacing, and there's too much talk and not enough action. Nevertheless, it feels like the story is moving forward, even if a genuine sense of danger isn't being conveyed.
Naruto Shippūden is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Amy is a YA fantasy author who has loved anime for two decades.
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