This third Box Set of the `Naruto Shippuden' anime sees the end of the Gaara arc and the beginning of a new storyline. In defeating the Akatsuki agents who kidnaped Gaara, Team Kakashi gains some important information that could lead them to Orochimaru the missing Sasuke. However, the battle against the Akatsuki doesn't go entirely to plan and with Kakashi hospitalized Sakura and Naruto are forced to take on two new team members for the mission ahead, Captain Yamato and the emotionless Sai.
While the thirteen episodes in this box set are not quite as good as the previous episodes, they are still entertaining and well worth watching. The first six episodes of this set finish off the Gaara arc and they are my favourite from this set with some nice emotional moments and some decent action. The rest of the episodes in this box set deal with the new members of Team Kakashi and how well they integrate with Naruto and Sakura. While I did still enjoy these episodes, I do feel that they aren't quite as good as those in the previous arc. This is most probably due to Sai though as he is a character that I am definitely not a fan of.
Overall I feel that this box set is worth around four and a half stars but, while I am not much of a fan of this new story arc, the show is still entertaining and I will certainly continue to watch.
on 11 October 2010
Season 3 of Shippuuden brings to an end the kidnap of Gaara arc that began with volume 1. Instead of the adrenaline-rush of the tumultuous battles, the pace now relaxes as fighting turns to thoughtfulness. It is one of the strengths of Naruto that it doesn't rely on endless battling (as seen with Dragonball Z) but allows depth and consideration and above all characterisation for all the characters. The ending of the fight with the Akatzuki leads to the consequences of their crime, of the sorrow for the Hidden Village of Sand and the return to the quest to rescue Sasuke from Orochimaru. A valuable clue leads to a colossal encounter at the Tenchi Bridge. Most importantly, we see the depths of feeling within Naruto, the incompetent and surely the worst ninja of the Leaf, were it not for the strength of his courage, love and determination that make him endearing and worthy to be the hero. A fool possessed with the chakra of a mighty demon fox - only now the chakra's beginning to leak out!
In this season we at last meet Sai, the mystery companion seen in Episode 1 of Shippuuden when Naruto finds Sasuke. Sadly the interpreters are wary of upsetting us sensitive and easily offended westerners by correctly translating for us. For those who never caught the original Japanese release, Sai calls Naruto a 'useless dickless pantywaist'! We also get to meet Captain Yamato, a master of the rare wood jutsu with perhaps the scariest eyes in all anime history.
The bad news is the dropping of the original Shippuuden theme song, replaced by some old tosh that's immediately forgettable. Just turn the sound off at the beginning and end, or go make a cup of tea.
All in all, Season 3 is a fantastic bridge between the end of the Akatzuki raid on the Sand arc to the astounding battle with Orochimaru that'll be covered in Season 4. The new characters breathe fresh life into the series and provide for some jaw dropping events and quite a few laughs to boot. Shippuuden remains a superb continuation from where the original Naruto series ended (mid way through, before the godawful fillers!).