The war against the myriad reanimated continues to ripple out from Kabuto Yakushi’s corpse curious dabbling, as the remaining loose ends from the Fourth Shinobi World War are tied up in preparation for the final battle. And so the exhausting march of previous collections goes on, with each character in turn meeting an old friend or ally, and exchanging a few wistful blows before dispatching the ghoul for mercy’s sake.
These face offs largely seem cut adrift from the overarching story in their separated nature, the shinobi scattered across the land assigned with their personal tasks, but certain meetings make meaningful connections within their floating bubbles. Bug master Shino against Torune, the boy with the poisoned touch, feels the fundamental grief over sabotaged friendship on a level only the outsiders can. And as Killer Bee thrashes tails on tails with the previous jinchuriki Fukai, the weight of duty is symbolised for the living ninja-kind.
But then there’s the triumphant charge of the cavalry, the battle turning in shinobi favour as Madara Uchiha enters the fray. This collection’s most elated clash holds a reunion in hope and confusion, the key suspect in the search for Tobi’s identity turning out to the fight unmasked. The whirl of second sorrow and catharsis in lost friends’ salvation is gifted a fitting balletic performance, and this gruesome exhibit of directorial grace makes it more of a shame that the animation and storytelling aren’t always up to the same standard.
The trough of the 12-episode collection falls in the introduction of Yota, a boy whose clan could control the weather with their emotions. Though a reanimation, this is his first appearance in the entire run of Naruto and Shippuden. But with the convenient infusion of a memory loss charm, it so happens that Naruto, Sakura, Shikamaru, Ino and Choji had all forgotten their childhood friendship with the infuriating little troll. Still, considering that Yota was (apparently) Naruto’s first friend, the link could be made that he is a representation of their innocence, grown over in their lives as ninjas. This time around, he wants to be remembered, so perhaps his fragile, jubilant spirit will remain as a guide for their youthful optimism, defiant in the face of the enemy, during the conflict yet to come.
For our review of Box 24, click here.