The problem with these Naruto fillers is that while they are not particularly good, they are not particularly bad either – they are just by-the-books action adventure. Over this past year Studio Pierrot have become the masters of just filling 22 minutes with the most inoffensive, straight forward ninja action you are ever likely to see.
This week’s instalment again sees us repeat that same old formula; Tsunade makes her token office appearance and jokingly briefs Naruto and his random team of the month (Hinata and Chouji) on another mission to do with protecting a bunch of weak villagers who find themselves under the thumb of a group of classic cliche villains. Naturally Naruto gets to do his Shadow Clone thing. It’s like being stuck in a time warp, repeating the same mission again and again; may be I’m trapped inside someone’s sadistic Mangekyou Sharingan?
As ever, episode 187 was a fun way to spend 22 minutes and the action regained the series’ trademark of slick fluidity and cutting motion but still, the complete lack of story progression and character development is hurting me something chronic. I hope and pray that Naruto is too good to rely on this overly familiar, mind numbing formula for too much longer.