Anime Reviews

Naruto Shippuuden episode 82 is a masterpiece

After all these years, I still love watching Naruto. I’ll place it on hiatus every now and then, but it still is, and always will be, one of my biggest favourites. This past weekend marked the end of my latest break from Shippuuden, but already, here I am again; writing away. I couldn’t let this feeling pass without trying to convey it, this sense of being an anime fan and seeing something so great it can’t be contained by just me alone; I have to share it with you.

Naruto always does this to me. For every multi-episode, slow fight, there are these special moments for when they bring out the big guns. It’s usually only for one episode, but it’s obvious when it’s going to happen because the characters take on a more stylised look and the animation becomes fluid and expressive, more akin to watching a Studio Ghibli feature. It happens for episode 82, but for once, and delightfully so, it’s not about the action. This is probably the quietest episode of Naruto I’ve ever seen, but also, one of the best.

The plot is basic (and contains a big spoiler, for those worried about such things). Shikamaru is trying to cope with the death of his dear teacher, Asuma. All of the colour is drained from Konoha’s usually lively hustle and bustle, dialogue is sparse and strained. The death of a friend isn’t something that one takes lightly. Shikamaru just wants to be alone.

Most of what’s so great about this episode simply has to be seen. It’s beautifully animated, but it’s real impact is emotional. I have to mention this one scene in particular: seeing his son sitting alone, Shikamaru’s father challenges him to a game of shogi. For around five minutes, they just sit and play in a room surrounded by beautiful paintings, for a while barely even uttering a word to each other. The camera angle never changes, the room is lit only by moonlight, but their body language, every subtle movement, portrays so much; it ends with Shikamaru collapsing in tears.

I would suggest that more than just fans of Naruto should make an effort to see this episode. It can be, and should be, adored without context; rarely is a feeling so powerful captured in film, let alone in a series like Naruto.

It’s now 2020, nearly 11 years since this post was published, yet it has proven to be one of the most enduringly popular posts in the blog’s history. I guess a lot of Naruto fans are still feeling as gripped by this episode as I was! Given this, I thought it would be nice to look back at some of people involved with this episode and see if I couldn’t celebrate some of the people that put their hearts and souls into it!

  • Firstly, there’s who I suspect to be the key talent, episode director Toshiyuki Tsuru (also known as Yasuaki Kurotsu). I didn’t realise until now that Tsuru also directed the relatively obscure gangster anime Gungrave, but trust me when I say that you should really check it out. Just like this episode, Gungrave is a disarmingly thoughtful drama in an otherwise action-first genre, proof if any were needed that he’s a rare talent in anime, and a director that’s able to depict a quiet poignancy in the eye of the storm.
  • Hirofumi Suzuki, who is credited with the character design and animation direction for this episode, is a frequent collaborator with Tsuru, but has also worked on some of the most beloved anime of the past few decades, like Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Jin-Roh – The Wolf Brigade and Dororo to name but three! He is, quite simply, a genius animator, with an ability to conjure a sense of longing and nostalgia from the mere interplay of light and shadow.

The YouTube version of this post!!


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23 replies on “Naruto Shippuuden episode 82 is a masterpiece”

Was wondering when next you’d blog about Shippuuden. This is another of the rare episodes that surpass the manga and the reason I’d never stop watching even knowing what’s gonna happen next, filler eps and bad animation at times (123-124 being other great eps that make up for the badly animated post-three tails filler arc) .

Lemme ask you this…you can call me crazy if you want.
Does Shippuden’s animation reallllly remind you of Kyoani’s animation a la K-ON? Watch the episodes were Shikamaru fights those two akatsuki, the ritual death one and the one with a billion lives. I’m not an animation know-it-all, but there was a similarity for me. And yeah, Shikamaru is awesome.

I haven’t touched Shippuden since the end of the Shikamaru vs. The Invincibles arc. It’s been a long time, but I distinctly remembered this filler episode and how it failed to suck. Contrast with the episode where they’re tracking down The Invincibles, which consisted of a bunch of random ninja going to random places and finding nothing. Why does this show choose to suck so much? As ep 82 proves, it really doesn’t have to.

I remember this scene from the Naruto manga and it was one of the better things Kishimoto wrote. But then again I always thought Shikamaru was one of the best if not the best characters in Naruto. It seems the anime even expanded the scene from what I can remember which is nice.
As for the series itself I have to admit I dropped it (manga & anime) awhile ago. Naruto does have its moments but the 2nd half (what Shippuden covers) seriously went down hill for me. I never felt Kishimoto knew how to handle such a large cast of characters. Unlike Oda for example who balances his large cast wonderfully.

I was sure that you will write about it,I even said that in one of my old posts ,btw this episode could by considered a filler,a filler that surpasses the original
it was directed by Hirofumi Suzuki,remember the one who did ep.19 ,the one with zabuza, a genius director
he did two more episodes for shippuden,85 and 123
he is responsible nearly for all openings with the exception of one or two ,he is the original character designer of the series,whom kishi remodelled his manga after
yeah,an masterpiece episode indeed,from the art/animation,direction to the scenario

In other words, an anime like Naruto is worth all the suck and filler if it’s just for a single episode like this? Did I get that right?

Totally; it’s weird to think that such a mainstream anime is capable of such artistic beauty. I’d love to see how the Japanese public reacted to this ep when it aired. I looked at the MAL thread for this ep and it was mostly praise, but with the occasional person complaining about how it was ‘boring’ and looked ‘weird’.
Indeed, it’s about the fluditity of the movement and the use of ‘real’ animators; most anime is just panning over still-frames, but for a relatively big budget series like this and K-ON, the art is optimised for depth and movement.
Hence all that stupidity from fandom concerning the ‘blocky’ hands in K-ON; the whole point of which was to animate the characters actually playing their instruments and not look like crap. Oddly, I think a lot of otaku seem to prefer still-frames, because too much movement tends to distort their favourite characters picture-perfect beauty; their loss.
There’s an awesome tracking scene in ep 83; Ino ‘possesses’ an eagle and flies around until she spots ‘them’; that’s the way to do it!
That’s a shame; I could never drop Naruto, it’d be like dropping a part of myself! But I take long breaks from it every now and then, which helps in keeping it all fresh and exciting for me.
I’m really excited about ep 85, knowing it’s a Norio Matsumoto ep, etc; the action is going be to AWEsome, I just know it. Also, thanks for dropping in with Hirofumi Suzuki’s credit; after reading your comment, I did a bit research and found that he frequently collaborates on Naruto with another director, Toshiyuki Tsuru. Both are incredibly talented.
@Owen S
My point was more that I think an episode as great as this can be enjoyed outside of the context of Naruto, without any prior knowledge of the characters or plot. I’m sure you’d finish this ep feeling like you’d just seen something really special.
(And I’d really love for someone to try that and report back 🙂 )

the manga is hard enough to keep up with, the anime is pretty much over for me for the past year. no matter how many “good” episodes narooto may have, they are always overshadowed by the mass of filler diarrhea in between.

Man, this episode had me at “hello”. I remember those three shots of Kurenai slumping as she heard the news from the manga particularly well, and it animated beautifully; as did the rest of the episode. The lack of music as he wandered around the village, Shikamaru’s stiffness as the lady at the restaurant collapses and cries, the weight with which he plunked down the shogi pieces and the way he gradually slumped… the animation of this episode was on the same compositional level as that of Mushishi or Shigurui, particularly after his fit of crying: slow, calculated, prescisely placed elements, coming together effortlessly.
Shikamaru was always one of my favorite characters in Naruto: never a protagonist and aware of it, and never wanting to be, yet when thrust into a leadership role, unfaltering and calm. He comes across as cold and detached, and this can easily be read as a sign of his maturity, but this episode reveals otherwise. Let’s hope the rest of the arc (or at the very least, the final confrontation in the woods) is handled with anywhere near the delicacy this episode received.

Yeah, reading this week by week in the manga was pretty exciting, and it’s actually my second favorite arc right behind the Zabuza arc. Shikamaru’s probably one of my favorite Naruto characters for pretty much the same reasons Celeste stated, so having the story focus on him for a bit as opposed to Naruto or Sasuke was pretty refreshing.
I’ll definitely have to give this episode a watch some time then. I’ve actually heard a few comments on 4chan that this episode was outsourced to Gainax, though I don’t know how true that is.

It wasn’t a trick, this episode really is that good.
But you don’t have to watch the filler. After all, that’s the good thing about watching Naruto in batches; the moment the filler begins, you can just skip over it. I mean, this was an amazing episode, and to ignore it (as a Naruto fan) is just plain wrong.
The ‘down-town’ scenes were so lovely; I particularly liked the moment when Shikamaru passes a small boy carrying a baby on his back; just the elegance of their movement, the way they humbly turned to face each other as they crossed paths, felt so full of life, and the moment I saw that, I knew I had to write this post.
The Zabuza arc feels so long ago now, but you’re right, it was great, and was what really got me hooked on anime (as a medium) for the first time; its finale was so exhilarating. I wish Kishimoto would more often intersperse these really long story arcs with some tighter, more face-paced ones, like Zabuza.

I really can’t find the motivation to go through Shippuuden,i tried back when it started airing .Still,after reading this post you’ve convinced me to at least watch this episode sometime in the future,it looks superb,totally different from what I image Shippuuden to be like and that is why I will watch it.
since we are on Shippuude and so also on shounen I had to mention without spoiling much,but soon you will get to see one of the most memorable and most emotional moments in One Piece.I was actually surprised not to see a post dedicated to that moment but then I saw how far you are with One Piece.

Peer pressure aside, I haven’t personally had the urge to watch Naruto in a few years… but if people feel so strongly about it, I think I’ll grab this episode.

Yeah, my plan is to catch up with Naruto and then to do the same with One Piece. I hate not having episodes of One Piece lined up, it gets me so hooked, more than any other series, and now you’ve got me really intrigued too; Oda breaks my heart like no other.
You won’t regret it, even if it is just a one-off, it’s worth watching if just to take in some great anime.

I haven’t watched a single episode of shippuden since episode 10…
(Mainly because I read the manga and avoided fillers)
But I watched this… Gosh, it was beautiful~ The animation was better than usual, as you stated, and the gray color tone to the episode was really impacting.
For this, I should really reconsider watching the anime, as I’ve only been watching short series like “Higurashi” and “Umineko”. 😀

Hm. I wasn’t a fan of the first Naruto series. As it was kinda cliche to me. Shippuden, however, is alot more mature. I’ve watched it from Episode 01, and read the Manga, and am up to date with it. It gets lame at times – but moments like this really make up for it.

Hey. Was just browsing true internet and I found your wounderful blogg.
So ive been watching alot of anime you posted and what makes me watch them is because your emotions of each anime. You express your feelings and thoughts in such a great way it makes you want to see the anime even more.
Anyways enough flatter hehe. Thing is I wanted to wish for you to give your thoughts and stuff on the latest (what is it maybie?) 8 Naruto shipp eps. When he meets up with Itachi and everything that happendes after.
Just a wish from my side.
ANyways waiting for the next blogg update and keep the good work up. 🙂

I just watched this episode and had the EXACT same thoughts about this episode in every way that you’re describing it! I was just googling who the director of this episode was specifically and then first ranking on the search pages came this link, so I had to give it a read. This episode was simply insane. Loved the article!

I just watched this episode and literally every episode surrounding Asuma’s death, And I completely agree! This episode is emotion filled and I don’t know if its cause they are really trying to set a mood into this episode but I feel like they even made a slight change to the Animation! Just the scenery is amazing! With Asuma Dieing and everyone crying and Shikumaru kooping the way that he does I DEFINITELY Cries!😭


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