Naruto Shippuden Episode 447
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 447 of
Naruto Shippūden ?
Since Jiraiya's Ninja Scrolls knocked out the Sasuke Retrieval Arc in three episodes, covering three quarters of the Pain's Assault Arc in one episode isn't particularly surprising. Sure, it's boring, groan-inducing, and choppily edited—but not surprising. These fillers only exist to prolong a series that's well past its prime.
After returning to the Hidden Leaf, the Sasuke retrieval squad discovers that the entire village has been engulfed in a floating stone sphere, courtesy of Pain. As we learned last week, Nagato and Konan emphatically believed Sasori's half-assed lie about the Leaf being behind Yahiko's death, prompting Nagato to become Pain and amass an army of corpse puppets. How building this army factored into imprisoning the Leaf in a giant rock remains to be seen, but I'm long past the point of trying to apply logic to this show. Sakura, who was conveniently out on a mission when Pain's plan went into effect, is able to heal Naruto's wounds from his battle with Sasuke in preparation for the conflict ahead. Meanwhile, Minato and his fellow prisoners discover that the sphere is gradually closing in on itself, so if something isn't done, the village—and its inhabitants—will be crushed in a matter of hours. To save the Leaf from certain doom, Minato, Kushina, Sarutobi, and Tsunade set the Four Crimson Rays technique into motion.
While making his way to the sphere, Naruto is intercepted by Yahiko (or rather the puppet created from his corpse, who also refers to himself as Pain), whose immense strength prompts Naruto to enter Sage Mode. However, after discovering that his opponent can only maintain Sage Mode for five minutes, Pain immobilizes Naruto and prepares to administer the finishing blow. Fortunately, Hinata (who had also been on a mission?) arrives just in time to save her longtime crush. Although she's able to provide a temporary distraction, Hinata is quickly taken down by Pain, just like in the actual canon. (She actually goes down much faster in this version.) Enraged, Naruto goes into the six-tailed variation of Tailed Beast Mode as Pain summons another enormous sphere.
The scene in which Hinata confronts Pain bears such a strong resemblance to the scene it's re-imagining that the animation may as well have been recycled. Given the staff's propensity for cutting corners, I'm kind of surprised this wasn't the case. Like other iconic scenes to receive the Ninja Scrolls treatment, this one unfolds at a ridiculously fast pace and is completely devoid of emotion. (I honestly never thought I'd be chiding this series for unfolding too quickly, but here we are.) When Pain sends Hinata flying, it's almost comical, thanks to the subpar animation and weird editing. Also, since she doesn't appear to be in mortal danger in this version, the stakes don't feel nearly as high.
I know basic logic has been thrown out the window at this point, but how did Jiraiya even write this story? The Pervy Sage died shortly before the Pain's Assault Arc unfolded, so how could he have sloppily plagiarized—er, “re-imagined”—these events? Did the man see into the future, and if so, couldn't he have warned everyone?
Although episode 447 features a fair amount of action, the usual animation shortcuts are pretty evident. Scenes frequently jump from characters preparing attacks to the aftermath of the blows without any movement in between. Also, remember how Shikamaru, Neji, Lee, and Tenten were locked in combat with Foundation Anbu members last week? Turns out we'll never get to see those battles unfold. As Shikamaru reveals at the beginning of the episode, Danzo's cronies retreated off-screen. That's convenient. Animation-wise, there have been worse episodes, but that's more a knock at the series overall than a compliment to the latest installment.
In a way, it's a good thing the latest Ninja Scrolls arc is proceeding so quickly, since I'm more than ready to move on. Still, from a technical, aesthetic, and emotional standpoint, this re-imagining is only a fraction as compelling as the original Pain's Assault Arc. In the original story, Pain shows that he means business by immediately killing most of the Leaf's inhabitants. However, in this version, he takes the classic supervillain “wait and see” approach to dispatching his victims. While his ultimate goal may be the Leaf's destruction, he's certainly giving the village's brightest minds ample time to find a way out of his trap. Yet another entertaining story arc and iconic villain have fallen victim to the whims of a terrible (and apparently clairvoyant) author.
Amy is a YA fantasy author who has loved anime for two decades.
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