by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 463 of
Naruto Shippūden ?
It seems I was a little too quick to judge last week. As it turns out, we will be seeing the hitherto-unexplored story of Ashura and Indra—starting next week. This week, however, Naruto Shippūden adapts a couple more chapters of its quickly-dwindling source material before it gets back to the filler arc it began a few weeks ago. With the way things have been going, it honestly feels like this show is becoming bored with itself. Fortunately, its latest attempt at expanding on the overarching plot represents the series in top form.
With the Black Zetsu-helmed account of the Otsutsuki clan's history complete, Naruto and Sasuke resume their battle against the nigh-invincible goddess. Putting her dimension-hopping powers to good use, Kaguya transports herself, Team 7, and Obito to a frigid arctic wasteland. Then, in an effort to separate Naruto and Sasuke, she transports the latter to a barren desert dimension. Fortunately, with the help of Sakura's Thousand Healings Chakra, Obito is confident that he can open a gate to the aforementioned dimension—even if it kills him.
Back in the real world, the undead-ish Kage discover the bottom half of Madara's body and resolve to resurrect him via the Reanimation Jutsu in order to get some answers. However, before they can carry out their plan, Hagoromo appears before them and introduces himself as the Sage of Six Paths. (Remember, these guys have yet to make his acquaintance.) Although the episode ends there, the post-credit preview reveals that he will be telling the story of his ill-fated sons next week—and in all likelihood, for the next few weeks.
While this week's episode advances the final battle, surprisingly few blows are exchanged. Still, the few action sequences that are peppered throughout the proceedings are easily on par with the show's best. Both the visuals and animation are at the top of their game this week, ensuring a smoothly-animated feast for the eyes from start to finish. Calling it feature-film caliber would be a bit of stretch, but episode 463 comes pretty close.
This latest offering also features the show's most effective comic interlude in ages. Shortly after being released from Black Zetsu's hold, Naruto decides to roll out a technique he's been working on for years: the Reverse Harem Jutsu. As the name suggests, this technique involves conjuring up a gaggle of buck-naked bishonen in an attempt to distract female opponents. Surprisingly, this manages to shock Kaguya long enough for Naruto to land a few blows. I always welcome callbacks to the series' lighthearted beginnings, and this was among the funniest ones in recent memory. The technique itself is funny enough—the fact that Naruto claims to have practiced it “as much as the Rasengan” is the icing on the cake. However, while I'm far from a manga purist, I think this sequence was slightly more amusing in the source material. In the anime, the hotties Naruto creates are random handsome faces; in the manga, a good portion of them seem to be sexy versions of the series' male characters. I also miss the visible blush on Kaguya's face featured in the manga, but its absence almost makes sense in this version, given how emotionless she was shown to be in her anime-original backstory.
While by no means action-heavy, episode 463 makes a colorful, adeptly-animated dent in the fight against Kaguya. On one hand, I'm eager to delve into the history of Ashura and Indra next week, since these characters are such an integral (and unexplored) part of the series' lore. On the other, I can't help but get frustrated with the show's relentless stop-and-go pacing, particularly as it pertains to this all-important battle.
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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