Naruto Shippuden
Episode 462

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 462 of
Naruto Shippūden ?

If you thought the conclusion to Itachi's Story was poorly structured and anticlimactic, you haven't seen anything yet. This week's Naruto Shippuden closes out another promising filler arc on a thoroughly baffling note. At this point, it's difficult not to notice the commitment issues this show has developed lately. In the past, when the producers wanted to take us out of the main story and throw us into a lengthy filler excursion, they at least stuck to their guns. Recently, though, Naruto Shippuden has become the anime equivalent of a five-year-old with an increasingly short attention span.

To be fair, things don't get truly bizarre until the second half, with the first half picking up from where last week's installment left off. Fully aware of her sons' betrayal, Kaguya places Hamura under mind control and sics him on Hagoromo, giving way to a fun, nicely choreographed, and regrettably brief battle. After being mortally wounded, magically healed, and un-brainwashed, Hamura joins his brother in combat against their mother. As Black Zetsu reveals, the ensuing battle raged on for months and culminated in Kaguya summoning the Ten Tails—which is also the Divine Tree—which is also her will incarnate. Unfortunately, we're only shown the pivotal moments of this fight, as the show quickly decides to speed up its pacing. After a hard-fought campaign, the twins succeed in sealing their mother and splitting the Ten Tails into nine different souls. While Hagoromo decides to remain on Earth, Hamura decides to join his mother on the moon but assures his brother that he'll always be close by. (So it's odd that we never see him again.)

Instead of taking the natural next step and showing us the story of Ashura and Indra, the show then engages in one of the biggest info-dumps I've ever seen. I won't go into the specifics (some of which I'm a little hazy on), but the long and short of it is that Black Zetsu, acting on his “mother's” behalf, has been manipulating the Uchiha for generations—and more recently, Kabuto and the Akatsuki. His ultimate goal was Kaguya's resurrection by way of the Infinite Tsukuyomi, which entailed collecting the nine Tailed Beasts and gaining access to the Rinnegan.

When reviewing the penultimate volume of the manga, I took issue with how ridiculously complex Black Zetsu's plan was—and somehow, the anime has made his machinations even more confusing. The audience is barely given time to process one game-changing revelation before B.Z. rolls out seven more. Naruto Shippuden's propensity for telling over showing continues to be one of its biggest weaknesses.

Despite kicking off with the best action sequence we've seen in weeks, this week's Naruto Shippūden completely destroyed its momentum in the second half. It would have been interesting to see Kaguya's backstory unfold at a more relaxed pace—to see more of Hamura and Hagoromo, to see any of Indra and Ashura. On the plus side, maybe this means the series will end sooner than anticipated.

Rating: C+

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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