Naruto Shippuden
Episode 474

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 474 of
Naruto Shippūden ?

With Kaguya finally defeated, our heroes take an episode-long victory lap in this week's Naruto Shippūden. (For a show that's infamous for its glacial pacing, the decisive blow is struck very quickly.) Aptly titled “Congratulations,” this latest installment focuses on tying up various loose ends and laying certain plot threads to rest. Despite being a little slow at times, episode 474 features enough touching moments and light comedy to make up for the relative lack of action. I think we can all agree that it took way too long to get to this point, but witnessing the defeat of Team 7's most powerful adversary still feels satisfying.

With the Six Paths Planetary Construction decimating the Root-Time Space and sealing Kaguya inside a rocky prison, Naruto and company are transported back to their dimension via a summoning circle created by Hagoromo and the spirits of the original five Kage. However, now that the world's been saved, the time has come for all the reanimated heroes to return to the Hereafter, thus facilitating a series of heartfelt goodbyes. Kakashi has one final exchange with Obito before the two part ways as friends. Similarly, a dying Madara converses with Hashirama and briefly reflects on his actions before passing on. Lastly, Naruto bids farewell to his father, who wishes his son a happy 17th birthday as he fades away in a flash of ethereal light.

The handful of humorous asides in this episode work surprisingly well, with each one managing to elicit a chuckle. Naruto and Sakura freaking out in response to the Root Time-Space's impending destruction as Sasuke, Kakashi, and the various Tailed Beasts keep their cool is particularly amusing. The fact that this came hot on the heels of Naruto coolly—and semi-vindictively—tossing Black Zetsu into the Planetary Construction is further proof that the spiky-haired hero can't keep it together too long.

Although the bulk of the episode is relatively light on movement, the first few minutes contain some of the best animation we've seen in months. The sequence showcasing the Six Paths Planetary Construction expertly illustrates the world-shaking power of this technique. The Root Time-Space coming apart at the seams as Kaguya is forcefully sealed away conveys a genuine sense of peril, effectively making Naruto and Sakura's cartoonish reactions all the more believable. This is about as good as the show is capable of looking, so if you're in the mood for eye candy, prepare to eat your fill.

After a seemingly endless string of strangely placed filler episodes and obvious ploys for time, it's refreshing to see some honest-to-goodness progress made in the actual plot. Flashbacks are blessedly brief, the art is consistently superb throughout, and the Fourth Shinobi World War has officially come to an end. Since this conflict began over 200 episodes ago, episode 474 essentially marks the end of an era.

Rating: A-

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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