Naruto Shippuden
Episode 485

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 485 of
Naruto Shippūden ?

The mystery of the exploding humans continues to unfold in the second installment of Sasuke's Story: Sunrise. Like this arc's freshman outing, the latest chapter does a commendable job of providing the audience with just the right amount of information. At no point during the episode did I feel like I was being overloaded or under-informed. In works of fiction, mysteries tend to be overly simplistic or incredibly layered and convoluted. So far, Sunrise has managed to break this mold by presenting an intricate mystery that's also easy to follow.

With Chino and Nowaki in tow, Sasuke visits Orochimaru (who's now under the protection/supervision of the Hidden Leaf) to get some answers about the combustible chakra-infused human time-bombs and Fuushin, the leader of the Lightning Gang and alleged mastermind behind this latest caper. The snake-like semi-reformed villain agrees that a Kekkei Genkai user must be the culprit and proposes that he and Sasuke seek out En Oyashiro, an obscenely wealthy arms dealer and Fuushin's former employer. Hoping to lure Oyashiro out, Sasuke's crew sails to a secluded island where skilled shinobi engage in one-on-one matches to entertain the Naruto-verse's wealthiest individuals. In an effort to draw Oyashiro's attention, Orochimaru enters his former protégé in a match. However, the brawl is cut short when yet another exploding human stumbles onto the scene and combusts.

Though it only comprises a small portion of the episode, the Team Taka reunion serves as a fun little detour from the main story. Although several years have passed in-universe, it's plain to see that Karin, Suigetsu, and Jugo really haven't changed much. (In fact, unlike Sasuke and the other main characters, their designs are exactly the same.) Orochimaru's explanation of why he, Sasuke, and Kabuto haven't been punished for their respective roles in the war is a little contrived, but it's believable within the context of this universe. The Hidden Leaf wanting to keep an eye on these extraordinary individuals and possibly use them against future threats opens the door to a host of storytelling possibilities. Plus, since Sasuke and Orochimaru played an active role in ending the war, I can see why they'd receive some leniency.

It turns out that Chino, who I mistook for a young boy last week, is apparently a full-grown woman who delights in referring to her new friend as “Sasuke-chan/dear” in a joke that goes on far too long. Paired with the taciturn giant Nowaki and the even more grim Sasuke, Chino's loquaciousness is grating. Still, the various characters' reactions to Chino's age are genuinely amusing. Even Orochimaru, who's virtually impossible to shock, is given pause upon learning that she's older than Sasuke. Although Sasuke's new allies do nothing to further the plot this week, it's strongly suggested that they share a tragic past and will play a more important role in subsequent installments.

Featuring action, intrigue, and a healthy dose of comedy, the second entry in Sasuke's Story: Sunrise embodies Naruto's best qualities. While Naruto, Sakura, and the rest of the Hidden Leaf shinobi are notably absent, Sasuke makes a reliably strong lead character. I wouldn't have minded Sasuke's brawl at the Coliseum being a little longer, but the actual story has proven intriguing enough that I'm not particularly bothered by the big fight being cut short.

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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