We have finally reached the final 10 spots for the Top 20 Countdown and here at number 10, aftermath of concrete making turns bad with a lot of deaths, and I mean A LOT of deaths in this episode. Here’s Number 10, Naruto Shippuden, “The Ties That Bind”.
This episode covers the manga chapters of 613-615 and oh man, we got a lot of deaths in this episode with the first part with the destruction of HQ with Shikaku and Inoichi and the second part with Neji as the major part of this episode for a major character death. The Ten Tails shooting out nukes in this episode showing its Michael Bay side nuking a lake, a town, and of course, HQ with people inside.
Shikaku and Inoichi dies thanks to the explosion by the Ten Tails controlled by Madara and Obito which really hurt both Shikamaru and Ino. Ino was hurt bad but Shikamaru got angry over this. It seems the only time we see Shikamaru getting emotional was over Asuma’s death.
The Hyuga got their time to shine in this episode, finally seeing what they’re made of and not seeing them in action since Part II started which is highlighted at the Uchiha. Neji and Hinata’s Dad stopped the hand of the Ten Tails and pushed it right back. It looks like the Hyugas are taking charge in the front lines.
But…that was until things goes utterly bad for the Shinobi Alliance. The Ten Tails released giant toothpicks from the palm of the hand and attack the Shinobi Alliance. Thanks to Neji sending the picks away using Rotation, Naruto is back in the game, but for a few minutes by using Shadow Clones, Rasen Shuriken, and using Sage Mode, which is becoming a waste of chakra for him. But it did buy him time to recharge. Hinata’s dad pushed the hand away from heading towards both Hinata and Naruto but surprise, it was a pinpoint attack. Shooting the picks from the finger tips that was targeting both Naruto and Hinata. And when I saw this in the manga, I was like…”Really, again! This is like the Pain Invasion Arc all over again”. But that was until…
…Neji…fuck. Neji made a sacrifice for Naruto and Hinata. For a Naruto character to die, I never expect one of the Konoha 12 to be taken down. Neji said some final words like saying to Naruto that Hinata is willing to die for him and that Naruto called him a genius. And the bird, the bird shows some symbolism on Neji and when we see the bird got stabbed and fall to the ground, it shows that Neji has fallen.
Obito shows his inner villain in this episode by telling off Madara and telling off Naruto. Obito shouting out Naruto that he remembered what Naruto said to him that he won’t let his comrades die, and judging of that, seeing Neji dead and a third of the Shinobi Alliance slaughtered, it’s like Obito just pulled a Pulp Fiction on Naruto on saying that phrase again.
Naruto just lost it and about to give himself in to Obito and Madara, but thanks to a slap from a hand, Naruto is getting some sense into him. And by the judging of the hand, you know that it’s over…for the pairing debate. Yes people, Hinata slapped some sense into Naruto, saying the exact phrase that Naruto said and saying that Neji’s death is not in vain.
And it’s not just Hinata getting some sense into Naruto, but also Kurama as well, comparing Neji’s sacrifice to Kushina and Minato’s sacrifice 16-17 years ago. The hand holding was a nice touch to end the episode with Naruto in Bijuu mode as well as Hinata getting the Kyuubi cloak. It shows that not only Hinata is on Naruto’s side all this time, but it did made the NaruHina shippers go crazy.
So why did this episode got the Number 10 spot? This episode handles perfectly and the animation was well executed. The deaths of Inoichi, Shikaku, and Neji was handle good to catch the viewer’s eye with Neji as the major death of the episode. Hinata getting some sense into Naruto shows that after what happen with Neji’s death, he shouldn’t give himself in. And as a fellow NaruHina shipper…wow, what a episode. Anyway, 10 Down, 10 to go. Stay tuned for Number 9 as we head out from the Ninja War into “The Unknown”.