Naruto Shippuden: Itachi Pursuit Mission (Episodes 113-118; 121-126)

This arc focuses on Sasuke more than it does Naruto and co., but it was a very important turning point for him as a character. With Naruto’s team searching for Sasuke, Sasuke was on his own mission.

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It starts off with Sasuke killing off Orochimaru, or more specifically, he took over Orochimaru’s body. Sasuke then proceeded to free Suigetsu, another prisoner of Orochimaru, and went after Karin and Jugo to form a new team called Hebi. This new team would search for Itachi, so Sasuke could finally perform his revenge. Meanwhile, in the Hidden Leaf Village, another team has been assembled in order to search for Sasuke.

Things I Liked:

Sasuke’s Rebellion Against Orochimaru

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This was a huge turning point in Sasuke. Until this point in the series, it was assumed that Sasuke would bend to Orochimaru’s will and become the next body for Orochimaru. It seemed unlikely that he would betray his teacher, but in this arc, we see him take over his teacher’s body. Sasuke rebells against Orochimaru, choosing a different path for himself and going on to execute his revenge on his brother Itachi.

Formation of Hebi

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After Sasuke was out of Orochimaru’s grasp, we see him form his own team called Hebi in order to find Itachi and kill him. I really liked seeing new the characters and how they interacted with Sasuke. I also liked how we see how Sasuke has developed from the boy we knew three years ago to who he was now. He’s colder and more hateful. His teammates were also very interesting to watch since they all had unique characteristics.

Sasuke vs. Deidara

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In his fight with Deidara, we finally got a chance to see how Sasuke had improved in these past three years. With Sasuke training rigorously under Orochimaru, he should have learned many things and improved as a ninja. And this fight showcased all of that. However, I did feel that Deidara went down too easily and I would have liked to see Deidara in future battles.

Things I Didn’t Like As Much:

Pursuit Team

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The Hidden Leaf Village sent out Naruto and co. to search for Itachi, so that they could lure in Sasuke and bring him back to the village. However, I didn’t feel like there was much of a point to this since they didn’t really do much in this arc. Most of the time, they were just running around and searching for Sasuke, without really meeting up with him. They did meet up with Tobi, the Akatsuki with the mask, but didn’t engage in battle that much.

I felt that this arc was solely for Sasuke’s development, and it would have been fine to leave out Naruto’s search for him. But I understand how they wanted to show how the Hidden Leaf Ninja were still looking for Sasuke after all this time.

I would have like, though, to see them at least engage in battle since many side characters such as Hinata and Shino were a part of this team. We don’t see these characters as much as the others, so it would have been great to interact with them more.

Rating

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4/5 stars! As the arc goes on, Sasuke’s character is being slowly developed and we see him getting closer and closer to his goal. I’m interested to see how this goes. This arc was a little bit more relaxed as Sasuke was preparing for his battle with Itachi, but it was an important arc nonetheless.

What are your thoughts on this arc? On Naruto in general?

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