Naruto Shippuden
Episode 470

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 470 of
Naruto Shippūden ?

After a six-week trip to Filler Land, Naruto Shippūden unceremoniously plunks us back into the main story and the ongoing fight against Otsutsuki Kaguya. While this latest round of filler represents a step up from the show's usual ploys for time, it's hard to remain invested in the manga-inspired material when we keep being taken out of it for weeks at a time. As has become the norm, not a lot of time is spent catching the audience up. If you're hazy on where we last left our heroes, head over to Crunchyroll and fire up episode 463—because, as usual, the show doesn't care that you don't remember.

With Sasuke trapped in a desolate desert dimension, Obito uses Sakura's Thousand Healing Chakra to transport himself, Sakura, and one of Naruto's shadow clones to Kaguya's Root-Time Space. From there, Obito locates Sasuke and opens a dimensional gateway to free him from his desert prison. Although Kaguya originally intended to absorb Naruto and Sasuke's chakra, Black Zetsu succeeds in convincing his mother that they pose enough of a threat to warrant eliminating them outright. This prompts her to return to the arctic dimension to duke it out with Naruto and hundreds of his shadow clones. However, in order for her to be defeated once and for all, the boys will have to come together and form the Six Paths Planetary Construction.

While I would have appreciated a slightly more detailed recap of episode 463, this latest installment does a decent enough job of moving the story along. Although this episode doesn't feature quite as much combat as its premise would suggest, the action sequences we get are visually stunning and well-animated. Seeing Naruto whip out an entire shadow clone army to take down a single opponent nicely illustrates just how powerful the Naruto-verse's master villain truly is. Furthermore, since the anime shed some additional light on Kaguya's history, she feels more like a fully-realized character than the generic all-powerful apocalyptic apparition that appeared in the manga. She also reveals herself to be the ultimate pragmatist this week. Reasoning that they aren't powerful enough to pose a substantial threat, she simply ignores Sakura, Kakashi, and Obito, instead focusing all her efforts on Naruto and Sasuke.

Unfortunately, as is often the case with this series, the action becomes bogged down by needlessly complex techniques, bizarre feints, and confusing strategies on both sides. Even though many of these elements are explained in meticulous detail, they still come off as confusing. However, I suppose if you've followed the series up until this point, you've come to accept that Naruto battles are drawn-out chess games instead of out-and-out brawls.

In keeping with the show's propensity for drawing out what remains of its dwindling source material, episode 470 features a fair amount of padding, particularly in the second half. For the umpteenth time, Obito is inspired to reflect on how much he has in common with Naruto, paving the way for some replayed footage. Sakura soon follows suit, opining about how she doesn't want to be a hindrance to her teammates. While Sakura's evolution from “token female” to “powerful shinobi” is among the series' best character arcs, I can't help but feel that it's completely run its course by this point. Whether it's canon manga material, anime-original filler, or feature film, almost every story involving Sakura makes a point of wedging in this theme.

While Naruto Shippūden may be back to the current storyline at last, it's hampered slightly by replayed scenes and flashbacks meant to eat up time. Going off the post-credits preview, it looks like next week's episode will continue from where this latest installment left off. Sure, this would be a given with any other series, but it's nothing short of a miracle for this show. Having read the manga, I'm aware of how this fight plays out, but I'm still eager to see the rest of it in animated form—and barring another unforeseen smattering of filler, we may be seeing it very soon.

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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