Archive for November, 2008

Naruto 82 & Bleach 192 Impressions

Posted in anime, impressions with tags , , on November 3, 2008 by daeyeth

Quick warning: spoilers for both Bleach and Naruto. So if you haven’t watched these episodes, don’t read this post.

I’m gonna come right out and say it: episode 82 of Shippuuden was beautiful, both in terms of emotion and quality. Man, this is the reason why it seems I’m so harsh on Naruto. It’s because I know they’re capable of much better, it’s because I’ve already seen the good stuff, that I cringe at their budget saving techniques. But oh well, if that’s what they gotta do to dish out these OAV/movie quality episodes, then fine, so be it, because it’s totally worth it.

It’s ironic that the post-mortem episode of the Hokage’s son was far more powerful than the Hokage’s. Perhaps this just shows how mature the series can become (I won’t say has because Shippuuden’s maturity teeteers back-and-forth, especially during the fillers). The beginning of the episode is powerful with excellent direction. You know instantly that they’re trying and that this episode will be a stand-out. We follow Shikamaru’s turmoil as he tries to come to terms with Asuma’s passing and you really get a sense of this series’ ability to completely flesh out character archetypes, turning them into real people. And not just him, but everyone around him as well. When one of the commoners casually spoke of Asuma, not knowing he was gone, and Shikamaru revealed it to her, that was absolutely brilliant and an excellent moment. Things like that flesh out the world and make it seem real.

I’m very very happy that they’ve decided to focus on Shikamaru for the time being as he’s easily among one of the most interesting characters in Naruto. Also, Kakashi’s revelation at the end was awesome. I was like, “Oh yeah!”

So to go from that OAV quality episode to Bleach was, well…let’s just say I was disappointed. Bleach is still on the level of “shonen”, meaning like action hero approach catering to the 10-13 age group, that the original Naruto was, only more campy. The animation was poor, the fight sequence was horrible, the direction was lacking, and using the same high-pitched voice actor for the adult Nel was jarring. The child Nel was really adorable, but I can’t say I have the same connection to this new Nel. We’ll see how she plays out. I really really hope they step up the animation quality for her fight but I’m not holding my breath. It always sucks to see how much cool potential Bleach has yet fail for me for a majority of the time. Bleach has the potential to be Naruto but it never lives up to the same level of quality.