Naruto Shippuden Box Set 33 contains Episodes 416 to 430. About half of these are actual adaptation of the original manga storyline, with a ton of flashback stories thrown in in-between. In fact the first episode of the set focuses on Obito and Kakashi’s past as the former is having a change of heart in the middle of the battlefield against the all-powerful Six Paths Madara Uchiha. While this is happening, both Naruto and Sasuke lie on the floor on the verge of death, and although it probably won’t surprise you that they both make it, they are both saved by unlikely allies.
Focus soon shifts to Might Guy, the large-eyebrowed mentor of Rock Lee and best friend of Kakashi. While everyone else is busy trying to revive allies or resist Madara, Guy takes him on, knowing that his hand-to-hand skills will give him an edge against the powerful jutsu wielder… well, a little bit anyway. This is where we get something teased way back in the second arc of the original series as Guy unleashes all Eight Gates of the Eight Gates formation, during which we get an episode and a half of flashback filler focusing on a young Might Guy and his father “Might Duy”. Naruto and Sasuke are soon revived with brand new powers as you’d imagine and just as they’re about to attack Madara we get two episodes of flashback filler showing us Konohamaru learning the Rasengan from Naruto and eventually using it against Pain from many arcs ago. Why? No idea. Just to fill time, literally.
We then get two more episodes of canon material before we switch to a brand new set of filler. I can’t really say what it’s about without giving away one of the few key plot points of the set, but to be frank, it’s not very interesting. In fact it was so uninteresting that when it first aired I stopped watching and waited for the canon episodes to return… I believe my idea was “I’ll have to watch this for the reviews down the line, I’m not watching this twice!” Though to be fair the worst offenders are in the next box set, so… look forward to that!
“Kaze” (or “Wind”, which is probably one of the first Japanese words you learn, but just in case you were wondering!) by Yamazaru manages to hold on to the opening spot for the whole set. “Kotoba no Iranai Yakusoku” (or “A Promise That Needs No Words”) by sana is the ending theme for the first two episodes of the set, then from 418 until the end “Niji no Sora” (“Rainbow’s Sky”) by FLOW takes over. Do I have to mention that the only extras are clean opening, endings and trailers? Well, I guess I just did, so that sorts that out.
As I mentioned in the opening blurb, this set of episodes really feels like someone annoyingly playing with your remote control, just as you’re getting into the actual manga adaptation and the well animated, fluid fight scenes, everything just stops dead to tell an often unnecessary bit of backstory. Then it gets topped off by starting an excruciatingly long new stretch of filler episodes at the end of the set. I do recommend these discs to followers of the series, they have some pivotal moments and begin sowing the seeds for this final arc’s final moments, but you’ll be hitting the “next chapter” button a lot, so on balance I can’t really give it too high a score either…