ANIME & MANGA - Review
14:15 - 20th March 2013, by Tom Smith

Naruto Shippuden

Back in our university days, when we were training to be the talented and beautiful writers that us now iz, our lecturers would drive home one of the most powerful things to remember when creating a work of fiction: to show and not tell. In other words, the following would be a major no-no; 'someone ate all the ramen. This made Naruto sad'. Instead, a good story teller should be able to show the audience that Naruto is sad through his reaction to the ramen predicament, without explicitly stating it.

This little nugget of wisdom rattled around our skulls with extra clout during this session of Shippuden shenanigans. It begins by launching the viewer directly into the thick of the previous outing's cliff-hanger; Orochimaru and Naruto, face-to-face, with all hell about the break loose. Thumbs up so far.

It may sound cool on paper, but what's not cool is for this same scene to go on for several episodes, with very little changing, or indeed happening. And to link it in with what we said at the start, during this whole hog of a sequence the viewer is being told what's going on, instead of being shown. Meanwhile Naruto spends his sweet time growling at his opponent - this isn't Pokémon, and even then growl was a fairly useless move (it's all about the psybeam!).

With this lasting for several episodes you'll see why we're not too pleased. The plot is almost entirely spoon-fed to the viewer - and worst yet, it leaves a strong aftertaste of padding.

Conveniently, Manga Entertainment releases Naruto as half-series boxsets consisting of 13 or so episodes (here, episodes 40-52 are included). The initial four of this set - which would have otherwise been compiled into a single volume release - could be successfully captured in a single episode, probably less. If we shelled out around £15 for that, we wouldn't be writing this review now, we'd be half way to the Leaf Village to demand our money back from the blue-eyed ninja-boy himself.

Once the dragging of plot is over - and Naruto has stopped his growling - the pace picks up and our grumpiness subsides. Though, we have to admit that there will no doubt be Naru-heads who lap up every line of dialogue from the aforementioned section. We did not.

Much like this month's snow; a bit of a nuisance to start with, but tremendous entertainment when it gets going.
SCORE: 3/5
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