Synopsis
After Spending three years training with Master Jiraiya, Naruto has returned to the village in order to bring Sasuke back from the clutches of Orochimaru and to protect himself from the group Akatsuki. Can Naruto bring Sasuke back? Can he defeat the Akatsuki?

Story
Naruto Shippuuden is leaps and bounds above the original Naruto, being naturally darker and more mature. The story is very well told, it no longer really followed the idea that Naruto was an outcast from the village anymore, in fact the very opposite. The story actually shows Naruto being accepted by the village but now he has even more problems to worry about. At first it seems Naruto hasn’t really changed, he is still the same person who is obsessed with getting Sasuke back but in saying that he has also learnt whats more important. Naruto Shippuuden does heavily focus on the Jinchuriki and the tailed beasts. It also focuses on how Jinchuriki’s are treated by villages who have them. In turn the Akatsuki are also a major part of the anime and what really take precedence. No matter how well the story is told and I mean its well told, I’m not afraid to say I have cried a lot during the process of watching Naruto Shippuuden. One of the main problems with Shippuuden is the syndrome I call unneeded filler syndrome. Sure unlike the original the majority of it is back story that is interesting but its the fact that it is episode upon episode of back story and where they place said back story. You will be watching and it gets to an awesome fight scene and right before the fight scene they go into back story for up to ten episodes sure its more relevant than what the filler in Naruto was but it still is off putting because of the timing. The pacing I feel went a bit fast, there are 390+ episodes but there are some things that they resolved too quickly sometimes, overall the pacing is generally right. Something that is annoying is the fact that most events are solved because Naruto has suddenly appeared with a new jutsu or fighting style and just wins the fight, it feels like there isn’t any clever tactics to overcome a powerful enemy just Naruto and his new techniques. Overall I give the Story a 7/10

Characters
Having the same cast of characters as the original Naruto aside from the Jinchuriki, Akatsuki and the different kage the characters haven’t really changed all to much. Characters are still fairly original, no characters really look alike besides the parents and their children but the personalities have gotten more unique in a way. It feels that in Shippuuden Naruto doesn’t really have the character development he once had in Naruto. In saying that he did just appear at the start after three years of being gone. In general not a lot of character development is made throughout Shippuuden. On the other hand Sai who is a new member of Team Kakashi gets a lot of character development. Starting off Sai was the emotionless character who would fire shots all the time. As time moves on he becomes friends with the rest of team Kakashi and actually has the most character development in the entire anime. As previously stated there’s a lot of back story that regards the different characters such as Kakashi, Sai and Captain Yamato. Even though the back story is not exactly the greatest thing to experience right before a major fight it’s nice to see as it gives you more of an idea of how the characters came to the point that they are currently at. These bonds that the characters share are one of the best parts of the anime, you can really feel the close bonds that characters share such as Jiraiya and Naruto. Overall I give the Characters a 7/10

Art and Animation
The art in Naruto Shippuuden is really nice, the art style was changed from the original but I enjoyed it. The art style was suited to fast paste action and fighting which Shippuuden does all so well, a perfect example of this is the fight between Naruto and Pain. It was at this fight and countless others where you notice that the scenery is ignored and the art style is changed even further but you are drawn into it to the point that you fall in love and want to see the next major fight occur, it was what was drawing me back for more. The fight scenes themselves where beautifully choreographed and each move was shown well. The only complaint would be the lack of originality in the fights. Naruto would show up last minute in the most important timing use his brand new jutsu or technique and win the fight. That was the formula for all of the major fights which is disheartening since it makes the fights so much more predictable. The animation most of the time was good, nothing spectacular and nothing terrible yet once again the 3D animation was bad, they used this a couple of times and it never really looked good. Fortunately though it was a big improvement than the original Naruto’s 3D animation. That said I am never a fan of 3D animation used in regular anime animation. The scenery was nothing special and I feel like they ignored it, the scenery was kept basic throughout the entire anime so then when the major battles occur it would not stand out too much that the scenery had been ignored. Overall I give the Art and Animation 8/10.

Music and Sound
The music in Naruto Shippuuden like always is good, it fills the mood nicely and the songs used are memorable. As I like to say a memorable sound track is a good sound track as listening to it allows you to go back into the moment and enjoy it once again. I never felt that the music was out of place yet the some of the sound effects are off putting. Sometimes when they used a justsu a gun shot type sound effect would be used and I would always think “how is this a relevant sound effect?” Since there are countless opening songs for Shippuuden it is easier just to say that the majority of the songs used are really good and are enjoyable to listen to. There are a few exceptions but apart from that the opening songs are good. The voice acting is good as well, there were never times I thought that the voice acting was believable but for a few characters the opposite. They were too good such as Hidan. Overall I give the Sound and music an 8/10

Final Thoughts
Naruto Shippuuden has some faults that weren’t fixed from it predecessor but as an anime has been able to follow the rules to basic story telling, introduce the setting, characters and the different climaxes throughout. Even though it still is recommended that you watch the original Naruto so then you understand what is going on, it can also be watched as a stand alone anime if you really wanted as most of the events that happen in the original are filled in throughout the anime. Overall I give Naruto Shippuuden a 7.5/10. If you enjoy a good action packed anime filled with back story than Naruto Shippuuden is a good choice for you.

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