We join the “fun” just as Gaara corners the warrior from Takumi, and given his murderous ability, a simple win for the ultra-strong sand man is expected, but the warrior turns to confidently exclaim, as diabolical villains often do, that in fact, Gaara is now “the one cornered! Muhaha…” Naruto arrives on cue just in time to save a crest-fallen Gaara, who gets trapped in a chakra sucking machine designed to feed on his monstrous energy and resurrect Takumi’s long dead legend Seimei; this turns out to be a white haired inbred looking chap with a big phallic sword and impossibly manly voice. Just as Gaara is overwhelmed by his latent Shukaku possession, the episode ends. Damn.
It’s hard to remember a time when I actually enjoyed watching Naruto. While not terrible, this episode (and the detested fillers arcs in general) commit the far worse crime of being mediocre to the point of boredom; the animation is flat and the characters are stuck in a nonsensical narrative loop, repeating the same old moves and phrases time and time again. I’m watching this for one reason – Naruto: ShippÃ…Â«den (Hurricane Chronicles) begins February 15, 2007. And the current OP is one of the best too; in place of the episodes it opens, this sequence so well illustrates the nostalgic and energetic value of Naruto.
For what it’s worth, I enjoyed seeing Gaara again – as ever, he proves an interesting character and his half- Shukaku transformation remains positively disgusting. Seeing this reminded me of the show at its jaw-dropping best; the epic sight of seeing him and Naruto fight it out atop two impossibly giant animals in Konoha forest, it seemed the world was at stake – Naruto eventually wins the day with a head-butt full of bravery, courage and friendship. I desperately hope Hurricane Chronicles can capture that same spirit.