Naruto Shippuden
Episode 487

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 487 of
Naruto Shippūden ?

It seems I was hasty in proclaiming that this week's Naruto Shippūden would mark the end of Sasuke's Story: Sunrise. As it happens, there's still one more chapter to go before we close the book on what has been an above-average filler arc. I'm actually glad they chose to draw things out for one more episode, as this provides the show with plenty of time to delve into the backstory of Chino and Nowaki/Fuushin.

After defeating Fuushin with relative ease, Sasuke makes his way to Hell Valley, where he encounters a façade-less Chino who relays her sad tale in detail. Taken by En Oyashiro as a child, the ageless young woman is the sole surviving member of the Chinoike clan. Desperate for answers about her past, Chino soon escapes from Oyashiro's estate with Fuushin and several other former Coliseum combatants. However, while en route to Hell Valley, the group inadvertently becomes a bandit-busting service known as the Lightning Gang and begins protecting a number of villages in the vicinity of the valley. Even though the villagers appear to hold them in high esteem, they're quick to abandon their saviors when the group comes under fire from the Land of Mist. Before long, Fuushin and Chino are the only members of the group left, and while fending off an ambush from Mist Shinobi when they finally arrive at Hell Valley, Chino unleashes the Exploding Human chakra, which is the Chinoike clan's secret.

Though brief, the fight between Sasuke and Fuushin at the beginning of the episode is both exciting and fluidly animated. However, in light of how strong Sasuke has become, it makes perfect sense that this showdown would play out quickly. Fuushin may be a force to be reckoned with, but now that Sasuke has gone up against a literal goddess, it's hard to see him having any significant trouble besting his latest opponent in combat. Chino being the mastermind behind the spate of combustible humans is another compelling twist that doesn't come completely out of left field.

True to its name, the visuals in Hell Valley are genuinely desolate and depressing. Surrounded by rocky cliffs, devoid of plant life, and capped off by a lake of boiling red water (lava?), this truly seems a terrible place. The skeletons moldering beneath the water are especially striking. It's no wonder that simply being in this area turns the normally good-natured Chino into a cold, revenge-driven shell of a person. Whether we'll actually get to see the missing pieces of her past remains to be seen, but the valley's despondent atmosphere does an effective job of helping us tap into Chino's mindset.

Outside of the first few minutes, there isn't a whole lot of action this week, and this installment is largely more tell than show, but episode 487 fills in many of the blanks relating to this arc's most prominent guest characters. Their backstory isn't terribly unique or compelling, but their motivations are believable and the bond between Chino and Fuushin is evident even in this short tale. Now that we know the “how and why” of the duo's scheme, the final fight between Sasuke and Chino—both Kekkei Genkai with eye-based powers—should prove all the more interesting.

Rating: B

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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