Naruto Shippuden got off to a slow padded start and Box Set 2 continues to keep it up. Drag the source material to breaking point. Rape it. Rape it good. Amidst this stalling the excitement of the source material still manages to crawl out form the wreckage, offering even a few moments of pure ecstasy which makes Naruto so addictive. The fights between Naruto’s team and Akatsuki go full throttle. Five miles per hour full throttling.
One whole episode to enter a cave, another whole which makes a three-minute battle tactic go on for twenty-four minutes. The pacing can be abysmal as they try to make the Rescue Gaara Arc into a lengthy epic and the uninteresting flashbacks of little importance and hilariously badly animated Team Gai clone fighting make for some miserable viewing. It seems the huge stretch of fillers in the original series did nothing. Everyone is thinking slow and acting slow. Explosive clay baddy Deidara seems like he is flying away from Naruto and Kakashi forever and all he does is throw a few explosions. Character intelligence is being numbed and it isn’t fun. It is no surprise Gaara loses his demon and snuffs it when the crew take so long to get from point A to B.
Medic Sakura and old lady Chiyo versus Sasori saves the set though and makes for some compelling watching. Puppet wielder Sasori is full of devious tricks as he goes from one set of puppets to another, and the countermeasures from Sakura and Chiyo are exciting to watch. The fight is rarely hampered by bad animation and pacing the rest of the material receives and it even has a super animation episode to wrap things up for the box set; an intense all out battle as the characters use their last resort abilities. The action in this episode is fluid, intense and brutal,it really gives you hope for a series suffering from bad direction and the hope things will improve. A display of puppetry will have you hooked on the drug once more, and while the rest may be a little slooooooowww it won’t belong before you’re hitting your arm in hope for more. The light can shine through even the worst problems.