Original Airdate: 6/11/2009
Toonami Airdate: 5/21/2016
We are here. After months of endless filler, we are finally back to the canon episodes of Naruto Shippuden. It’s been one hell of a ride/survival journey, so I’m glad that we are done with the filler for a while. HOWEVER, was the trip back from filler hell paved with gold? Was this one good at all? Let’s find out as we begin the first of many episodes that chronicles the adventures of everyone’s favorite/hated anime emo, Sasuke Uchiha.
We start in the forest, and we see a weasel, because it’s suppose to mean something. We go into Orochimaru’s hideout, and his body is failing on him. The FEB* is with him, and remembers everything that happened 3 years ago that lead to this point. (*Note: If you’re now turning into these recaps because you skipped the filler, “The FEB” is my nickname for Kabuto. Just a heads up.) We get a flashback to the Chunin Exams from so long ago. As it goes through what happened, Orochimaru talks of how he saw the pain in his emo boytoy, and how special he was. We then see another flashback involving Sasuke getting the Curse Mark. We then see more flashbacks of the Exams and how it happened, because it’s not like we all know what happened before. Why are getting so many flashbacks to the original Naruto series? Back to the recap, Orochimaru tells the FEB only he can train Sasuke, knows his pain, and have Sasuke be like him. The FEB will get his medicine ready that goes with the body transfer. We get more flashbacks to when Orochimaru was beaten by the 3rd Hokage, and this just has Orochimaru tell us the stage is nearly set for him to have Sasuke’s young body.
In the Leaf, Tsunade wants a report from the ninjas she sent to the lake from the filler episodes, but got nothing. She angrily sends out another squad. Back to Orochimaru, he talks about his one goal before we see a flashback to a past event that WASN’T in the first series. It’s when he was still with the Akatsuki, and he was with Itachi. It shows him attacking Itachi. We go back to present day where Orochimaru coughs up blood. The FEB wants to see if he’s okay, and the snake hisses at him. He says he “is wonderful”, but we all can tell he’s dying. The FEB will get the Level 10 meds, and as he walks off, we hear Orochimaru laughing manically, enduring the pain by will. The FEB will not leave his side, and, during another flashback (ugghhh, will they stop?!) he says Orochimaru has never been this full of ambition, and the world will soon find out once he has his new body.
We then see Sasuke, who while training is having flashbacks too, but this time of his brother training and little Sasuke watching. Itachi gets all the targets, and Sasuke using his Chidori Stream, hits all the targets as well. He then sees an image of Itachi and cuts him down. A butterfly that was passing by gets burned up by a candle. Back with Tsunade, she gets word of how the other ninjas she sent are gone, along with the Giant Turtle, AKA the 3-Tails (newcomers again). She guesses this was the Akatsuki’s doing. You know, this is her fault right? Here, let Josh explain.
Nice job, big-boobed blondey. Guess the hair color is not just for show. Meanwhile, we meet the weasels again. And AWWWWW, they have a family. But there’s a snake nearby. Oh no.
Orochimaru is still in pain, but he doesn’t care, for it’s nearly body switching time. Until he coughs up more blood. And then an attack come through the door, piercing his hands. He sees it’s a Change in Chakra Form attack, but doesn’t recognize it. Who is attacking him? Why, it’s none other than Sasuke. He came to kill Orochimaru, since he doesn’t have anything more to teach him. Another flashback to the fillers shows the way Sasuke is now heartless towards the snake. The emo starts to walk closer, having his attack pierce through his hands, and going into the wall behind Orochimaru.
Sasuke won’t hand his body over, and even though Orochimaru says he’s a “nurseling Uchiha”, Sasuke tells him through … more flashbacks. ENOUGH WITH THE FUCKING FLASHBACKS!!! JUST SHOW THE GODDAMN FIGHT ALREADY!!! But anyway, Sasuke is “an avenger”, Orochimaru couldn’t get Itachi, so he settled for his 2nd-best option, and Orochimaru is nothing but a mere ninja, below the Uchihas, and whatever. That’s what is told. We see Orochimaru doing experiments and killing people for said experiments, which makes Sasuke sick. He hates his style of doing things and everything he does. We then have a flashback to when Itachi killed the Uchihas, because Pierrot/Kishi are like “Fuck you! We HAVE to add this in here!” Orochimaru has had enough, and finally reveals his true form, a giant white snake.
Which, ummmm, yeah. Rob, if you would?
Giant Snake Orochimaru attacks Sasuke, sending multiple snakes at him, but Sasuke cuts them all down. More snakes come, but Sasuke is starting to get into his Curse Mark form, and as the snakes cover him, he opens his hand wings, and cuts them down. He is the hawk getting the snake or something, as the snake outside gets taken by an actual hawk, saving the weasels. It ends with Orochimaru lunging towards Sasuke.
Okay, let me get to the good first, before we get to the bad. The good stuff: This is now canon. The other good stuff? Steve Blum was excellent as the bad snake dude, and did a fine job here. And also, the weasels were cute.
The bad stuff? EVERYTHING ELSE!!! Why, just WHY, are there so many flashbacks?! We don’t need this much?! Why would you do this too us, Pierrot? Goddamn, this episode was 80% flashbacks, 5% action, and 15% needless talking. Look, it’s okay to do flashbacks. But to the extent that they do it, for that much of the episode, ESPECIALLY since we just returned to canon? I mean, it’s just maddening. There’s also Tsunade and her trying to justify her stupid decision to leave the Giant Turtle all alone, but getting mad at it when it all went wrong. And the last part was the fact the last 3 minutes was the most action we got in the show. Again, flashbacks are okay. But when you show it from the original series, and you take up all of the show, fuck you!! You know, I didn’t want to do this, but since Digi wasn’t here to watch it this week, I’m doing it myself because this episode and its annoying flashbacks deserve it. Bring on the Combine Harvester!!
Oh, and as for that “I’m an avenger!!” stuff Sasuke said?
Sorry dude, you will hear ALOT of that going forward. By the way, Robin on One Piece was better than the emo with the hand wings thing. You sucked this week, Shippuden. It’s a shame since we just got out of filler hell. It just feels like we never left. But hey, cute weasels, right? This gets a 0.5 Giant white snakes/5. Enjoy Memorial Day Weekend everyone. I’ll see ya again in 2 weeks.
Naruto Shippuden can be seen at 2 AM Saturday on Toonami