December 01, 2010

Naruto Shippuden Season 2

After being fairly impressed with the first season of Naruto Shippuden, I decided that I would watch an episode or two of the second season. An episode or two turned out to be the entire second season after about 3 days of watching. My feelings about this season were a little mixed.

The story begins by picking up after the mission to rescue Gaara from the Akatsuki. With Kakashi in the hospital from using Mongekyo Sharingan, Captain Yamato has been assigned as the new Team Kakashi leader. Sai, a mysterious shinobi from an underground faction of the Hidden Leaf Village is also assigned to this team. The new Team Kakashi is again on a quest to rescue Sasuke from Orochimaru.

My mixed feelings come from the fact that we are back at square one watching Naruto and Sakura desperately try to "save" Sasuke. As the show develops, it becomes increasingly clear that Sasuke is staying with Orochimaru on his own accord. The whole season felt like a huge filler. Filler has become a common thing to find in series like Naruto that stretch on for so many episodes, but this particular season didn't really have much development at all.

I was impressed with the introduction of new key characters. The fact that these new characters were developed through the story was a nice touch. It made me as a viewer believe that they would be around in episodes to come. Naruto's character was also developed in more detail this season, drawing elusions to his relationship with the 9-Tales' chakra and how it is physically effecting Naruto's body.

I really wish I could say more about the story in this season. I really am a huge fan of the Naruto franchise, and having come off of a good first season, perhaps my hopes were a little too high walking into the second one. I don't want to deter fans from checking the second season out, in huge part because the franchise as a whole has great promise and you can't take the good without the bad. Also, this series pretty much requires you to watch all of the episodes or at least a large percentage of them in order to follow the story and the dynamics. The reality is that many themes from the original series are flooding into the Shippuden series which is taking place two and a half years after the fact.

I did find that the 20 episodes went by quickly which is an indication to me that the series wasn't awful. I do recommend adding this one to your list of anime to watch.

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