Episodes 193-205 of the 'Naruto' anime spin-off series. A trio of young ninjas, Naruto (voice of Junko Takeuchi), Sasuke (Noriaki Sugiyama) and Sakura (Chie Nakamura), are schooled together in the village hidden in the leaves. Each desires to become a ninja for different reasons and will face his or her own personal battles along the way. The episodes are: 'The Man Who Died Twice', 'The Worst Three-Legged Race', 'Team Ten's Teamwork', 'Drive Towards Darkness', 'The Sixth Hokage Danzo', 'Five Kage Summit's Eve', 'Enter the Five Kage!', 'Naruto's Plea', 'Painful Decision', 'Racing Lightning', 'Sasuke's Ninja Way', Power of the Five Kage' and 'Declaration of War'.
This sixteenth volume of the 'Naruto Shippuden' anime includes another thirteen episodes of this entertaining series across two discs. The set beings with four more flashback filler episodes, that are reasonably entertaining, before moving on to the very entertaining Five Kage Summit arc.
The filler episodes begin with the episode 193, 'The Man Who Died Twice', a ghost story that is quite humorous with a good ending. Next is episode 194, 'The Worst Three-Legged Race' that sees Team 7 attempt to catch some thieves only for Naruto and Sasuke to be forced to work unfortunately close together after a mistake. This is a reasonably good episode that has some entertaining battles. Episode 195, 'Team 10's Teamwork', is probably my favourite of the four filler episodes and sees Teams 7 and 10 working together to take down some bandits, giving Shikamaru some very good moments. The final filler episode is 196, 'Drive Towards Darkness', that sees Naruto and Sakura forced to look after a little girl obsessed with Sasuke but I feel it wasn't that great an episode.
The final nine episodes in this volume (197 to 205) begin the Five Kage Summit arc. With his brother, the eight-tail's Jinchuriki, missing the Fourth Raikage, leader of the Hidden Cloud Village calls for a meeting of the 5 Kage to discuss what is to be done about Sasuke and the Akatsuki. Meanwhile Naruto will do anything to protect the renegade Sasuke and Danzo's political manoeuvring finally bear fruit as he is named Sixth Hokage. Madera Uchiha is also on the move however and he plans to plunge the entire ninja world into war.
The Five Kage Summit arc is a very entertaining storyline, especially in this first half. The arc sees all the current Kage (Danzo, the Sixth Hokage; Gaara, the Fifth Kazekage; A, the Fourth Raikage; Mei Terumî, the Fifth Mizukage; and Ônoki, the Third Tsuchikage) convene and they are all very interesting and well-designed characters (even if I don't like Danzo much). The episodes here also sees all the Kage show just how powerful they can be with a wide verity of jutsu on display that is animated very well. Sasuke also gets some action in these episodes and it allows us to see just how powerful he has become.
As I already mentioned, the animation of the episodes in this volume is generally very good and the English vocal cast is also as good as it usually is. The excellent Mary Elizabeth McGlynn does a particularly great job as the Mizukage while Steve Blum also does a good job as the Tsuchikage.
This was another very good box set of 'Naruto Shippuden' episodes and I feel it is easily worth a full five stars despite the filler at the start.
So now there's not a single filler episode! Hooray! But now the god-awful flashbacks take up nearly half of the screen time in this box set. such a lazy tactic to try and buy time for the manga authors to move the story further away from where the anime is. Damn, I hate overrated shonen... Why can't they take a page from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood? Now that's a shonen worth watching!