Naruto Shippuuden is a continuation of the Naruto manga, and continues the same storyline after the passing of two and a half years in the Naruto universe. It is a very long series, one that we couldn’t possibly tackle on Japan Cinema. However, I do want to revisit one of the best fights, emotionally and physically involved, I have seen an a mainstream anime. For those unfamiliar, I will provide some backstory and general information on the character of Pein himself, and the events leading up to their confrontation. In the Naruto: Shippūden anime, it spanned from episode 152 to episode 175. The arc detailed Akatsuki’s attempts to capture the Eight-Tails and the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox.
Pein is the leader of Akatsuki, controlled by a single conscious mind, each of the six bodies are individually named after one of the six Buddhist paths of reincarnation. He adopted the name “Pein” to conquer Amegakure before killing Hanzo, becoming a “god” in the eyes of Amegakure’s citizens.
Want to know exactly how Pain goes into detail on why Naruto is in his plans? Well, the beasts would be used to create a deadly Kinjutsu technique that could wipe out one of the five great nations in an instant, so if countries go to war and do not have ninja villages to fight for them, they would turn to Akatsuki and their “weapon”. Whichever side has Pain use the technique first would wipe out the opposing country. After witnessing the mass destruction caused by the weapon, the other remaining countries would become too afraid to start wars for fear of being wiped out as well. Thus, through this mutual fear, war would cease to exist and the world would know peace, until the people forget that fear and use the weapon again. Thus the cycle would repeat, creating small periods of peace in an endless chain of hatred.
But most of all, this fight was the only fight Naruto had where the person he fought really made Naruto question his believe and show Naruto that the justice and dream, while right and noble, were being done completly wrong. This was a fight that change Naruto. and it was one hell of a fight. Because Konoha only expected one invader, the multiple points of attack made it difficult for Konoha react. The Fifth Hokage called for Naruto to return to the village to aid in its defence, but the messenger toad Kōsuke was killed by Danzō before he could leave. The anticipation of wanting Naruto to come save the village really embodies the ‘hero’ factor that we all wanted him to become. Having caught word of Pain’s attack, the toads at Mount Myōboku prepared for the counter-attack. Shima, who was at Konoha at the time, was told to prepare a reverse summoning to bring Naruto to Konoha, moments after the Shinra Tensei levelled the village.
For me, a good story arc would be one that starts with something simple, moves on to develop into a deeper plot that keeps you guessing all the time about what happened in the past to lead to these events and what’s going to happen in the future. The story should be balanced with glimpses of the past and its resultant effect on the present and the future. This is exactly what happened when we see the past episodes of Naruto’s frog training pay off when he shows up using his newly learned senjutsu techniques and a perfected Wind Release: Rasenshuriken. Naruto defeats the Asura, Human, Animal, and Naraka Paths, before the Deva Path regained enough strength to fight on its own again. Really it only goes to show just how much battlefield inexperience he has. He’s got power through the roof, we all know that for a fact. However, in terms of experience in battle and especially war, Nagato and Itachi both have him beat. However, add in the equation of Pervy Sarges’ death, and you have one of the most emotional outings ever revealed in Naruto. Like the ingredients above, this arc had everything. Character development between Jiraiya and his students. Who Pain really is, and the Great Sage’s prophecy comprises the plot twist. And the emotions after Naruto hears the news. The set up was perfect and I truly felt Naruto’s loss.
It was also the turning point that when Hinata interrupted the fight that Naruto realized she really was in love with him. Believing that he had killed her, Naruto lost control of his anger and slipped into his six-tailed transformation. Also, the progressing story should show deeper insights of the character’s past, background, the reason for specific behavior, their little secrets and how they are all related to the main plot. Though complex plots are more enjoyable to read, not-so-complex plots with simple characters that we can really connect with, are also good to watch. Eventually the Nine-Tails’ chakra suppressed, Naruto and Pain resumed their battle, with Naruto tricking Pain into using a Shinra Tensei on dozens of shadow clones, giving Naruto enough time to strike him with a Rasengan during the five second window. The last body of Pain was defeated, and Naruto used its chakra receivers to track down and confront Nagato himself. In the end, Naruto prevails but we get a surprising turn of events and that is Nagato/Pein coming to the realization that maybe he was wrong? After hearing Nagato’s story, Naruto reflected on everything he had heard. Naruto agreed that some of the things Nagato mentioned were true, but he also said that Jiraiya had believed in him, and that he would believe in what Jiraiya had believed in, and that was why he would not kill Pein. Nagato then stated that Naruto was like him when he was younger. He said that he would believe in Naruto. A great arc that all fans of Shippuuden will enjoy and a good example of a great moment in Anime history that does the manga justice and wrapping things up in a nice, ambitious manner.