For now, I’m going to skip the filler episodes in last part of Naruto since I want to focus on the main story line, but I will definitely be going back once I’m done with the whole series, since I don’t think I can get enough of these characters.
So in this article, I will be talking about the first arc of Naruto Shippuden. Many things happened in this arc, and I have to say, it is my favourite arc so far. With the characters like Naruto, Gaara, and Lee coming back and their characters so much more developed and amazing, I loved watching all of them in action.
In this arc, Naruto finally returns to the Hidden Village of Leaves after 3 years of training with Jiraiya. As he reunits with his old friends and catches up with things going on in the village, we find out that Gaara is the Kazekage of his own village and is being attacked by the Akatsuki organization. The Akatsuki want the beast that is inside him and succeed in capturing him. When Naruto hears about Gaara’s capture, he immediately goes with Team 7 to rescue him. They eventually join forces with Team 9 and manage to rescue Gaara.
What I liked:
Episode 1 Reunion
It was so much fun seeing the characters reunite after 3 years in the anime. You could see how much they changed, with Naruto becoming older and Sakura becoming more mature. It was such a satisfying episode to watch and it made me excited to see what they had learned in the past 3 years they were gone. Although it is sad that Sasuke couldn’t have been there, I enjoyed seeing the other characters come to join together.
Naruto and Sakura vs. Kakashi
A few days after Naruto comes back, Tsunade requires Naruto and Sakura to fight against Kakashi to retrieve the bells attached to him. This was the same test they had failed years back after their graduation from the academy.
I loved seeing this part since we could see how much they both changed from 3 years ago. The scene also kept comparing the scenes from back then and the scenes now, and showed how much they had learned since that time. Sakura also revealed that she had been training with Tsunade and I was so glad to see her in action, fighting against Kakashi as an equal.
In Naruto Shippuden, we find out that Gaara has become the Kazekage in the Village of Sand. This came as such a surprise to me, but I was glad nonetheless. This position only shows how much he had changed since we last left him in Naruto and I loved that. In Naruto, he was blood thirsty and wanted to kill anyone who was powerful, but soon realized his ways were wrong in the later episodes. And now, Gaara’s position means that he would protect everyone, which is completely different to what he had been before. It was really admirable as we watched him fight against Deidara and protecting his village. This easily made Gaara my favourite in this arc.
But when he was captured and killed, it was so heartbreaking. However, it was great seeing Naruto come in again and relating to Gaara’s pain as he had been through the same pain of loneliness. And when Gaara was revived again, I was so happy when they shared that bone of friendship. Naruto’s speech about jinchuuriki was also very touching and a much needed part of the arc. This was why it easily became my favourite arc.
Sakura’s Fight with Sasori
We finally got to see Sakura in action in this fight and I was so happy. She didn’t cower in the back like she did so many times before, but actually stood up and fought. This was a huge turning point in her character and I loved how we could see how much stronger she was. I can definitely see myself liking this version of Sakura more and I can’t wait to see what she will do in the future.
Team 7 and Team 9 Join Forces
When Team 9 came into the picture, I was overly ecstatic since Lee and Neji are some of my favourite characters. It was so much fun seeing them older and having Lee’s cheerful personality back was great. I also loved seeing them in action and having to see more of their skills put into play as we didn’t see much of them in Naruto.
What I Disliked:
Not much, really. I thought the fights dragged on a little bit too long and that there were some parts that got boring. But other than that, I definitely felt like Naruto Shippuden started off great!
I give the first arc a four out of five stars! Naruto is really growing on me and I cannot wait until things begin to pick up again! It was a great introductory arc. Not too much filler, but not too much action or intensity. I will definitely be going forward with Shippuden.
What are your thoughts on the first arc?