Naruto Shippuden Episode 429
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 429 of
Naruto Shippūden ?
As the Infinite Tsukuyomi continues to spin its dream world yarns, the focus shifts to everyone's favorite aspiring rapper/jinchūriki. The perpetually rhyming Killer Bee, who taught Naruto a thing or two about bonding with his tailed beast, is the third supporting player to have his personal utopia put on display and the second to get multiple episodes devoted to his dream. Unlike Tenten, Killer Bee doesn't notice anything wrong with this picture—at least, not for more than a second. Upon being thrown into his ideal world, Bee immediately sets to work finding his fellow jinchūriki and freeing them from imprisonment in their respective villages.
In Bee's world, the tailed beasts take on adorable miniature form and are often found perched on the shoulders of their jinchūriki. Their chibi-fied appearance and the way they work hand-in-hand with their human hosts has an almost Pokémon-esque feel to it. In stark contrast to Tenten's world, characters' personalities remain largely unchanged here. Naruto is as headstrong and foolhardy as ever, and his obsession with Ichiraku ramen carries over into Killer Bee's dream world. Gaara seems a tad friendlier and even more conniving than usual, but not to the point of making him unrecognizable. Interestingly, despite being this world's top hero, Bee is still prone to leering at Tsunade's massive chest. (Since this is Bee's world, I have to wonder why the Fifth doesn't respond more favorably to his wandering eyes.)
With the hidden villages treating jinchūriki like weapons and depriving them of their human rights, it'd be natural to assume the story might take on some grim overtones. Naruto seems to spend his life in a cell, awaiting deliveries of ramen. Still, this is a world dreamed up by a character who talk-sings all of his dialogue, so the general lightheartedness of this week's installment shouldn't come as much of a shock. (Even Naruto's imprisonment is primarily played for laughs.)
After breaking Naruto out of prison, Bee's group is pursued by Yamato and various members of the Anbu. Although these highly-skilled shinobi are usually a force to be reckoned with, they're about as effective as Team Rocket here. When Bee and company cross paths with three Akatsuki members who've been harvesting chakra from jinchūriki, the random selection of old faces (Itachi, Sasori and Deidara) helps give the encounter a distinctly dream-like feeling.
Like last week, there are some moments in this episode where the dreamer isn't present, which seems impossible in a world that literally revolves around one person. Killer Bee doesn't necessarily demonstrate that he's aware of what these characters are discussing either, if you were to argue that he becomes an invisible observer during those scenes. It's a minor quibble, but the sky's the limit with these dream episodes. Relying too much on convention by insisting the viewer see all sides to the story is an odd choice.
Episode 429 won't satisfy fans suffering from an acute case of filler fatigue, but it's entertaining enough for what it is. The mini-monster tailed beasts and the concept of jinchūriki as hidden weapons make for a fun reimagining of the Naruto world. Unfortunately, the proceedings often have more of a "really good fan fiction" than "surreal dream world" vibe.
Naruto Shippūden is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Amy is a YA fantasy author who has loved anime for two decades.
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