Naruto Shippuden
Episode 482

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 482 of
Naruto Shippūden ?

Following a mostly-good episode and a high-end-of-decent episode, the Boyhood Arc delivers its weakest installment yet. With segments highlighting the respective childhoods of Gaara and Shikamaru, episode 482 is poorly paced, sparsely animated, and just plain boring. If this is a reflection of what we can expect moving forward, it's probably a good thing that this miniseries is slated to end after next week. Deeply flawed on every level, this week serves as a prime example of why so many fans dislike Naruto's anime-original content.

The first half of episode 482 just might be one of my least favorite pieces of Naruto storytelling. With no cohesive plot to speak of, the segment essentially revolves around a very young Gaara asking his late uncle/caretaker Yashamaru a series of childish questions—i.e. “Why do we get hungry?” and “Why is the sky blue?” Yashamaru's answers to these “cute” queries are equally saccharine. The biggest problem with this story is its punishingly slow pacing. It takes characters comically long stretches of time to deliver simple lines and perform routine actions. In a world this expansive, how are the show's producers having trouble crafting 11 solid minutes of material? In the end, we learn absolutely nothing new about Gaara, nor are we given any additional insights into his relationships with Yashamaru, his siblings, or his father. Since Gaara's childhood has already been examined at length, I'm assuming his inclusion in this miniseries stems from the character's enduring popularity.

Centered on Shikamaru, the second segment represents a slight improvement over the first—if for no other reason than it isn't quite as boring. (It's still pretty bad, though.) This short is really more a collection of loosely connected scenes than a comprehensive story. Elementary school-aged Shikamaru, Choji, and Naruto act up in class and are sent to the hall by Iruka-sensei. Later, Shikamaru and Choji get into an argument because the former insulted Naruto. Later still, the three boys hit the town, laugh at Ino being rejected by Sasuke, and interfere with Iruka-sensei's efforts at getting laid. Despite being entitled “Shikamaru,” the titular character is barely the central focus. In fact, I'm unclear on who—or what—the central focus actually is. Like the first segment, everything seems to operate in slow motion, characters respond in odd ways to seemingly mundane things, and character movement is choppy and minimal. Furthermore, the audience is shown nothing remotely new or interesting about Shikamaru or his two cohorts.

The frequent character pauses throughout the episode should be glaringly obvious to even the most inattentive viewer. The copious amounts of replayed animation and slow, repetitive movements serve to make this one of the most shamelessly padded episodes in this series. It's also sometimes difficult to ascertain where characters are in relation to one another, particularly in the latter segment.

While the first episode in this miniseries was pretty solid and the second was serviceable, Boyhood's third outing represents Naruto Shippūden at its worst. The episode meanders without purpose and takes an excruciatingly long time to get through what little “story” each segment has to tell. Even though the audience already knows everything there is to know about Gaara and Shikamaru, their featured segments could have been much better than what we got.

Rating: D

Naruto Shippūden is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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


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