Naruto Shippuden
Episode 465

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 465 of
Naruto Shippūden ?

The seeds of discontent are planted in this week's Naruto Shippuden, as Black Zetsu works his magic on Indra and sets his centuries-long master plan into motion. In most areas, episode 465 represents a notable improvement over last week's installment. There's very little meandering, the story unfolds organically, and the artwork and animation are on the high end of average.

Now pre-teens, Ashura and Indra have devoted themselves to studying chakra and the Ninshu Code. When the decidedly more talented Indra learns how to weave signs, the enterprising youth inadvertently invents jutsu, effectively changing the way his father's disciples study and utilize chakra. After being approached by Black Zetsu and having his Sharingan awakened, Indra becomes even more obsessed with his training, quickly outshining his brother and their fellow pupils. Despite being impressed with his skills, many of Hagoromo's disciples aren't crazy about the idea of the cold, emotionless Indra becoming his father's successor and their new master. When Indra callously ignores his brother's suggestion to tone things down a bit, the stage is set for the coming battle between Kaguya's grandsons.

It feels like Indra doesn't put up much of a fight when it comes time for him to cross over to the dark side. I'm still unclear on whether his personality shift is purely the result of Black Zetsu's influence or if he was naturally inclined to seek out power. (Maybe both? Did the dearly departed Shiro have a hand in this?) Still, this episode has quite a bit of ground to cover, and devoting the full runtime to Indra's emotional journey might not have been the wisest course of action. Not surprisingly, the stronger Indra gets, the more Sasuke-esque he becomes. Ashura also shares a lot in common with his eventual reincarnate, although he isn't quite as brash, headstrong, or perverse as Naruto. (Of course, he also had a proper parental figure.) Additionally, unlike Naruto, who's intent on proving himself to his peers, Ashura doesn't appear to have such lofty aspirations. In fact, until his brother goes off the deep end, he's perfectly content to hang back and enjoy life.

Although I'm eager to see how this story plays out, I'm trying to keep my expectations in check. Like the smattering of Infinite Tsukuyomi-based fillers and Itachi's Story, Kaguya's backstory ended abruptly and anticlimactically—and I'd hate to see this arc suffer the same fate. Obviously, I'll withhold judgment until we have a proper conclusion, but I sincerely hope this will be the story that breaks the show's recent pattern of introducing promising filler arcs and failing to fully realize them.

Even though we've known about them for quite a while, episode 465 marks our first extended look at Ashura and Indra. They're enough like their reincarnates to make them familiar, but they're also different enough from Naruto and Sasuke's other stand-ins to make them unique. Although the audience already knows their ultimate fate, I'm looking to forward to seeing the rest of Ashura and Indra's journey.

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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