If the goal of Naruto episode 49 was to make us buy in to Rock Lee, then it did it’s job. I really got the feeling that he’s more than just a side character. Rock Lee may be goofy, intense and have a fairly standard Shonen backstory, but he is likable. I hope he’s able to survive this fight with Gaara.
Where can I watch Naruto episode 49?
If you’ve been following this review series then you already know the answer to this question. If not, rest assured that there are multiple legitimate places where you can find Naruto. My personal favorite is Netflix. Netflix has the English dub as well as the all important “Skip Intro” button. Considering how much I dislike the current opening for this anime, that’s enough to make me stick with the streaming giant.
If you don’t want to go to Netflix, or your friend who’s been sharing their account with you has changed their password, you can always go over to Funimation. They, too, have the English dub to go along with the subbed version. The only drawback I can see is that they don’t have the “Skip Intro” button. That really is the only thing that’s keeping me from watching over at Funimation.
What if I don’t want to watch at either of those places?
If you don’t care about watching Naruto dubbed over in English, don’t worry! You can go over to Crunchyroll and avoid both Netflix and Funimation. Crunchyroll is typically my first choice when streaming anime. It’s been a while since I’ve had any technical issues with the site so I can confidently say that they’re a good place to go and watch.
Finally, you can also watch at Hulu. I list Hulu last because it’s my last choice when looking to find a place to watch anime. That’s because I only have the basic subscription service to Hulu that comes with the upgraded Disney+ subscription. That means that I have to watch commercials if I want to see anything over at Hulu. Why would I do that to myself if I don’t have to? It’s still an option, so it’s worth mentioning.
How was the story in Naruto episode 49?
If you’ve watched a Shonen anime before, then you’ve seen everything used in episode 49. The bad guy escaping a powerful technique? Seen it. How about a sad backstory that helps build up sympathy for the character in focus? See that too. Have you ever seen an episode go off the air right when the episode’s main character is about to use a powerful new technique? You bet I have! There really is nothing here that hasn’t been done a million times before.
That being said, at least Naruto episode 49 does it pretty well. I might’ve zoned out a little bit during one of the many flashbacks into Rock Lee’s past, but I still wanted the guy to come out victorious. At least I didn’t want to see Gaara kill him. That’s the one curiosity that kept me interested in what was going on. Can Rock Lee power up enough so he doesn’t end up dead?
That’s pretty morbid. Why do you think that way?
In everything that’s gone on, there’s been nothing to indicate that Gaara isn’t the one that’s in control of this fight. Yes, Rock Lee has been able to surprise everyone with his speed boost and now his power boost. He’s also been the one who’s taken the most damage and is hanging by a thread. Gaara’s been the one pressing Rock Lee, not the other way around.
It’s all part of the story too. We’ve only seen Gaara as someone who’s interested in killing his opponents. There have been not so subtle hints that he has an inner demon that’s motivating his actions. When you add that to the sob story of Rock Lee’s past, then you have the perfect good guy vs. bad guy story.
Just think about it for a moment. Rock Lee was the determined overachiever who’s shown himself to be noble and trustworthy. His backstory builds up sympathy while his present day actions show he’s no pushover. Gaara, on the other hand, has ruthlessly eliminated anyone who’s stood in his way. Even his squad members, who happen to be his siblings, are in danger should they take one step out of line. In other words, he’s the perfect bad guy.
Who doesn’t want to see a fight between a good guy you actually care about and a bad guy everyone wants to see defeated? Toss into that mix the fact that the bad guy appears to be stronger and you have a good, old-fashioned underdog story. Those are easy to buy into and that’s what Naruto episode 49 has given us.
What did Naruto episode 49 get right?
I think for this section I’m going to focus on two elements that wouldn’t really get attention elsewhere. I’ve already talked enough about Rock Lee’s determination after all. I’d rather spend some time talking about how I think episode 49 did a good job by showing us Rock Lee’s doubt. It’s not something that typically gets shown in a Shonen anime and I’m glad we saw it here. Normally, Shonen characters are so driven by their conviction that doubt never surfaces. Just look at Naruto.
Rock Lee has many of the same characteristics as the title character. They’re both goofy in their own ways while also being driven by their goals. They’ve been looked down on and made fun of. While Rock Lee might not have a demon sealed inside of him, he still has to face a tough road because of his inability to master multiple forms of jutsu. It’s only natural that at some point his confidence would be shaken.
Naruto episode 49 showed us that moment. In doing so, Rock Lee became much more relatable. Even the most well respected high achievers in this world have moments when they doubt themselves. It’s part of being human. What’s uplifting is the fact that with a little encouragement from Guy, Rock Lee is able to shake off those doubts and continue on his path.
What else do you have for this section?
This one won’t be as deep as my previous point. It was more of a stylistic highlight than anything else. It also made me think of an iconic Peanuts character. That’s pretty funny considering the character in Naruto episode 49 that I’m going to make that comparison to is the complete opposite.
I really enjoyed seeing Gaara with sand hovering around his body. It showed that the animators of Naruto paid a lot of attention to detail because the sand was not moving in a unified fashion. It was like a cloud of dust was surrounding Gaara the entire time. It’s what you’d expect from a sand user.
My first thought when I saw it was that Gaara and Pigpen must be related. Pigpen always had a cloud of dust surrounding him whenever he showed up. I know they’re nothing alike, but I couldn’t help making the comparison. It was just a little moment of levity I had during the episode.
What did Naruto episode 49 get wrong?
The first thing that came to my mind is more of a critique of Shonen anime overall. It just so happens to be present in episode 49, but it could go across most of the anime that I watch. Hasn’t anyone ever hear of over training? It is something that exists. Your body can’t take constant training. At some point you’ll just be doing more harm than good.
In Rock Lee’s backstory, we saw him training from dusk till dawn. He wore himself out and I can only assume that this wasn’t the first time that this happened. If Rock Lee were to do something like this for real, then his body would suffer the consequences. You’d think there would be a better appreciation for a more complete training regimen considering how much we see of it.
I realize that this is anime and the standard rules go out the window. We’re dealing with jutsu, transformations, demons sealed inside infants, etc. after all. It’s just a thought I had that was triggered by Rock Lee’s flashback. I know this is something that’s not going to be fixed anytime soon. I’ll just have to be happy with Saitama’s training routine.
Was anything else bad?
While I did just praise Rock Lee’s backstory, or one particular moment, it was fairly standard. That was a little discouraging because I think any seasoned anime fan will get bored watching it. I know I did at times. You could play a Shonen backstory bingo game and check all of the boxes with the one shown here. Naruto episode 49 did everything it could to make sure you knew Rock Lee overcame the odds to become a ninja.
I’ve seen that. It’s a common theme is just about every single Shonen anime. There’s only so many times it can be used and still have an effect. With Rock Lee being a peripheral character, I’m not so sure we should’ve seen so much. I suspect that he won’t be a big focus of Naruto once we get past this current story arc. Why use this story element here when we still need to learn all about Sasuke? I know there’s also more to learn about Naruto as well. Save the big flashbacks for the main cast.
Is Naruto episode 49 worth watching?
I think so. Naruto episode 49 is an entertaining, if somewhat standard, Shonen anime episode. I like Rock Lee and I’m glad he’s been able to figure out a way to survive against Gaara. I’ll be interested to see how their fight ends and most of that interest comes because of what happens here in episode 49.
So far, Naruto has done a pretty good job of aging. For being 20 years old it still holds up well. The animation is a little bit dated but I can see improvements. I’m sure that’ll become more noticeable as time goes on. The older stuff isn’t that bad to watch. It’s not like it was made back in the 1980’s when the animation that was used is just rough to watch today. Naruto has done a pretty good job of aging and has so far been entertaining to go through.
Now go watch some anime!