Naruto Shippuden
Episode 472

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 472 of
Naruto Shippūden ?

Naruto Shippūden is bound and determined to make the audience feel something for Uchiha Obito. As far as Naruto's many foes-turned-allies go, the recently reformed Obito is certainly among the more interesting, but he's definitely overstayed his welcome at this point. Although I'd like to feel something akin to sadness in response to the character's demise, the umpteenth trip to his past elicits more frustration than genuine ennui.

After being hit with a double dose of Kaguya's All-Killing Bone Ash technique, Obito finds himself mortally wounded. Not even Naruto's newly acquired godlike healing powers can bring him back from the brink. As his body gradually turns to ash and withers away, we're treated to an extended montage of all the terrible acts Obito committed under Madara. (Great way to make us feel empathy for the guy, by the way.) Next, we're shown a “what-if” scenario where Obito never crossed over to the dark side in the wake of Rin's death and instead went on to become the Hidden Leaf's Hokage. This sequence features a few genuinely touching moments, which would have been even more emotionally resonant if I weren't sick to death of this character. (Sad, since he was a lot of fun as Tobi eons ago.) When Obito finally crosses over into the Great Beyond, he assumes his 12-year-old appearance to be greeted by Rin, his eternal doormat/“childhood love interest.” The proceedings became so meandering and repetitive that I was actively hoping for Obito to just shut up and die already. But he's not even gone yet! Judging by the preview, another needless rehash of Obito's past awaits us next week.

It's interesting that an episode with the sole intent of making the audience mourn a character's passing actually has the opposite effect. Despite not being properly introduced until the final story arc, Obito has received far more attention than his character warrants. Even though this episode is technically set mere hours after Obito's initial defeat, Naruto has already moved past the thousands of deaths this villain caused (including Naruto's own parents) and became all-too-willing to regard him as a comrade, going so far as to proclaim that Obito was “awesome” seconds after his passing. I understand that forgiveness and redemption are among the show's core themes, but come on—this guy just gruesomely decimated scores of Allied Forces shinobi. I'm not saying Team 7 shouldn't accept his help, but please stop treating him like some sort of tragic hero.

If you've been following this show for the past few years, chances are you're well aware of its comical pacing problems. The creative forces behind Naruto Shippūden have padded the source material in the past, but I'm baffled as to why they think Obito's history is such an endless well of entertainment. I can't even recommend outright skipping this one, since there's a minute or two of actual plot advancement scattered throughout. I thought the unspoken agreement between the viewers and the anime was that we'd periodically get a few fast-paced canon episodes in exchange for copious amounts of filler, but there must have been a crossed wire lately.

Rating: D

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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