Naruto Shippuden Episode 380
by Amy McNulty,
"In this world, it's over when you die." Someone needs to point out to Obito that he's saying this to a crowd consisting of reanimations and a number of people Pain brought back from the dead for real a while ago. Yet no one brings this up as Obito continues his stereotypical villain speech before unleashing a series of Tailed Beast Bombs. It's hard to take Obito's pessimism and threats seriously when we've had to say goodbye to very few characters for good.
Naruto Shippūden 380 features Obito's retaliation for Naruto and Tobirama's successful, if not overly effective, attack at the end of the previous episode. Obito's not in the mood for displaying any weakness, so he traps everyone in a barrier and prepares to unleash Tailed Beast Bombs. Again, the crowd proves nothing more than a liability. Naruto comes up with a plan to rescue everyone, and for a moment, as his chakra surges back through the crowd, you might think they're getting the power to lend a hand. Instead, the chakra is necessary solely for saving their hides.
This episode is low on the laughs—I counted one—but it does feature some touching moments between Naruto and Minato. Unfortunately, Naruto Shippūden often relies on showing the same scenes over and over. The flashbacks to Minato's and Kushina's final moments and their well wishes for their son have less impact since we've seen them before. It also seems like the animators are playing for time when Minato thinks to his wife's spirit how their son has grown up well more than once in the episode.
Still, this episode is notable for the Yin-Kurama sealed in Minato joining forces with Naruto's Yang-Kurama to give Naruto an extra boost of power. I'm unclear, though, how the Yin-Kurama continued to be sealed within Minato after he died, but Naruto Shippūden isn't a show that invites overthinking. Naruto needs more power to take on Obito, especially since Hashirama's occupied with Madara. (We're given a brief glance at their battle in this episode. Hashirama pleads with Madara for a "time out" because Obito is about to blow everyone to smithereens, but Madara is entirely zeroed in on the fight between the two of them and gives no quarter.) It's satisfying to see Naruto obtaining this power by teaming up with his father. He's spent so much of the series ostracized and alone, and he's come so far in earning everyone's acceptance despite his uphill climb.
It's crucial to Naruto's character development that he feel the loving support of his parents, even if his methods of meeting them are unconventional to say the least. This episode gives a peek at what Naruto's life may have been like had he grown up training with and fighting alongside his father. It may have made less interesting material for a series, as they wouldn't have had to struggle much, but it was poignant nonetheless. There may have been fewer jokes and too much reliance on flashbacks in this episode, but the pacing made it fly by fast enough, and we walk away from the episode feeling that something very important has been accomplished.
Naruto Shippuden is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Amy is a YA fantasy author who has loved anime for nearly two decades.
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