Although it is already been confirmed that Naruto Shippuden will not be ending with this fight there is an unmistakable finality to it, at least for fans of the manga. Returning to the Valley at the End the site of the two rivals remarkable battle at the conclusion to (canon) Naruto. Naruto Shippuden comes home as it were and shows that no matter how much the show can drag on, when it wants to it can still be the most dynamic, emotional, and satisfying Shōnen anime around. Yes it’s that good; these are the best set of episodes Naruto ever produced easily.
Previously the first Battle at the Valley of the End was widely regarded as the most satisfying fight in the entire series. While other fights had there crowning moments of awesome there were issues that marred them in fans eyes. Famed animation fails in the Pains Invasion, the feeling Itachi was never trying every time he fought Sasuke, Madara vs well everyone just being too long and repeatedly interrupted by filler.
In short every time something seemed like it could reach the pinnacle set by the Battle at the Valley of the End one of Naruto’s annoying habits would pop up. Perhaps being destined to be the standard by which the series would be judged as it went into it’s twilight years.
However despite that and the nearly decade of false starts fans of the series finally have found the new standard to judge this remarkably long lived series. Surprisingly, it’s been so good so far fans of the entire Shōnen genre may need to take notice as it likely can stand the test of time as one of the best ever.
It has something for everyone; melodramatic discussions of ideals and reasons for fighting, over the top earth shaking energy blasts, and surprisingly one of the most bloody beat em up sequences in an anime aimed at young boys. For all the godly powers each of the two combatants has achieved over the course of the series it came down to test of wills and fists to fish their long conflict.
Furthermore what struck me was the level of animation in these episodes. It’s not hyperbole to state that this was EASILY the best animated piece of Naruto media ever produced including the various films. Likely only Naruto: The Last comes anywhere close to its quality. The lackluster animation during the Kaguya fight now makes perfect sense as this was always where the budget was going to be directed.
However what pushed it over the top was how pure it was. For forty minutes there was no filler, no extraneous dialogue, no pointless flashbacks to scenes we all know. There was only two characters we’ve now spent over a decade watching brawling with each other for everything left on the table. The series had been building up to this point since the beginning and the show runners knew this was no place to play games less they feel the wrath of livid fans.
In the end the level of quality and understanding of the importance of this conflict from the show surprised even me. After years of being continually underwhelmed with a few notable exceptions in the series; the fact the ultimate battle of the series would surpass the manga of which it was based would have seemed like lunacy. However that is what happened. The Second Battle at the Valley the End is the battle all Shōnen anime should aspire to replicate. This will be widely seen as the true end to Naruto Shippuden by its legions of fans and finally we have an ending to be proud of.