Naruto Shippuden
Episode 484

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 484 of
Naruto Shippūden ?

After a month-long trip to the past, Naruto Shippūden returns to the current timeline in the first episode of Sasuke's Story: Sunrise. Set several years after the Fourth Shinobi World War, the latest arc showcases young adult versions of the Hidden Leaf heroes, most notably eternal wandering bad boy Sasuke Uchiha. Featuring above-average animation, crisp visuals, solid action, and an intriguing story, this story's freshman outing shows promise, but after being burned by the show's previous attempt at adapting a novel, I'll try to keep my expectations in check.

Naruto and company receive an unpleasant surprise when a group of missing Hidden Leaf shinobi return to the village infused with highly combustible chakra. To make matters worse, they're also difficult to subdue, as any wound that breaks the skin causes them to explode. Realizing that counteracting the effects of this chakra will require superhuman visual prowess, acting Hokage Kakashi sends for Sasuke, who's still on his journey of repentance/self-discovery. However, while en route to the Hidden Leaf, Sasuke stops in Bamboo Village and finds himself caught up in a skirmish involving the same type of exploding villagers his friends fought against earlier. Even after subduing his zombie-like opponents with the help of two traveling performers, the young Uchiha is unclear as to the cause of the attack. While gazing into the memories of one of the victims, Sasuke discovers that some hitherto-unknown members of the Uchiha clan may be behind the recent wave of exploding humans.

Although I'm intrigued by the idea of new Uchiha, I can't help wonder if they'll make suitable opponents for these embattled heroes. No enemy is going to come close to Kaguya in the strength department, but the ability to infuse victims with deadly chakra is unique, if nothing else. It also ensures that Naruto and friends have to be extra careful when fighting the bad guys' explosive pawns, because they'll be trying to save the innocent victims' lives. The final moments of the episode set the stage for an interesting mystery, and the post-credits preview suggests that this story might tie into Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring, so I'm excited to see what comes next—and it's been quite a while since I've genuinely looked forward to a Naruto episode.

After some experimental stylistic choices in the Boyhood Arc, Naruto Shippūden re-adopts its normal visual style and action-oriented storytelling this week. The visuals are near-perfect, and the animation takes fewer shortcuts than usual. I'm dubious as to whether the entire arc can maintain the same visual splendor and tight pacing, but episode 484 represents a solid return to form.

Beautifully animated, not overly convoluted, and character-driven, the first episode of Sasuke's Story: Sunrise is, so far, everything that further Naruto adventures should be. With any luck, it will avoid crashing and burning in the same manner as Itachi's Story and countless filler arcs before it. Even with the Fourth Shinobi World War in the can, Kishimoto's world is ripe for further exploration—I just hope the anime staff is up to taking the reins.

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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