I don’t like the direction that Naruto episode 51 is going. I get the feeling that we’re about to go back to the silly foolishness that was more prevalent at the beginning of the anime. How else would you characterize Ebisu’s return at the very end? It almost ruins a decent anime episode with a complete shift in tone. Let’s stick with the more serious atmosphere that we got with Orochimaru and Kabuto. I’ll gladly watch more of Naruto if it means we get more of that.
Where can I watch Naruto episode 51?
Netflix is your best choice in watching this anime. They have the all important “Skip Intro” button after all. Both the English dub as well as the sub are available at the streaming giant. That means there’s no excuse for those who prefer the English sub to go somewhere else. Personally, I like watching the dub just for convenience’s sake, but I’m typically in favor of watching subbed anime. As I said, both options are available here.
If you don’t want to go over to Netflix, you can always watch both the sub and dub at Funimation. They’re my second choice when it comes to watching Naruto. The only thing that they’re missing is the “Skip Intro” button. “Is that really a big deal?” you might ask. Yes, it is. Naruto’s opening theme song is an assault on the eardrums. I can’t stand it and the faster I can get past it the better.
I don’t want to go to either of those places. Is there anywhere else?
If Funimation isn’t for you, then you can also go over to Crunchyroll. As of now, the two sites are still separate. There’s no word as of the time of this review what’s going to happen to Crunchyroll now that Funimation has purchased it. We’ll just have to wait and see. Crunchyroll only carries the subbed version of Naruto, so just be aware of that if you choose to go over there.
Finally, if you’re scrapping the bottom of the barrel, you can watch this anime at Hulu. Hulu is my last choice considering they still require commercials to be played if you have the basic subscription service. Why would I do that to myself when I can go over to one of the other three options listed above and skip commercials? Hulu has both the sub and dub, if you want to watch there. It’s up to you.
How was the story in Naruto episode 51?
There are some interesting things going on in episode 51, but my memories are stained by Ebisu returning at the end. In my mind, he represents the bad part of the Naruto anime. Why? Because he was part of the stories in the first couple of episodes where our title protagonist was still an immature goofball. I’d rather not have to go back to those days if I don’t have to.
I’d much rather get more of what we saw with Orochimaru and Kabuto. Their interaction was tense and you could feel it. From the dialogue, background music and pacing it felt like the two ninjas could start fighting at any time. It didn’t even matter that Kabuto was working for Orochimaru! Thankfully, most of the episode was more like the scene between Orochimaru and Kabuto.
It was a little disappointing to learn that the final part of the Chunin exam is going to be held later. I know that means we’ll get some filler episodes to get in the way. The way Naruto episode 51 explains the delay makes sense, but I’d rather get into the action now. We even get teased that the final test of the Chunin exam is going to be a battle tournament. Those are always fun to watch!
What do you think of the overall story of the episode?
I think that episode 51 did a pretty good job of doing what it set out to do. It wanted to give us a little insight into Orochimaru’s plans, which it did. Episode 51 also was meant to explain the final test, which it did well. We even got a little bit of action with Kabuto’s attempted abduction of Sasuke. For an episode where not a lot happened, it sure felt like things were getting more tense. If only the ending didn’t ruin that mood.
What did Naruto episode 51 get right?
You might already guess what I’ve got in my notes for this section. It was the interaction between Orochimaru and Kabuto. Going into episode 51, I was under the assumption that the pair were working happy working together. Kabuto, to this point, has been following Orochimaru of his own free will. At least they didn’t have a contentious relationship.
Now I’m wondering if Kabuto is only in league with Orochimaru so he can learn all about Orochimaru’s plan. Once he accomplishes that, he can turn on Orochimaru and bring him down. What is Kabuto’s ultimate goal? Who is Kabuto actually working for? That’s the mystery and it makes my mind race with possibilities. I like it when an anime does that.
What did episode 51 get wrong?
One of the standard tropes in Shonen anime is having the main character train hard for a period of time so that they can achieve a new level of power. Sometimes this happens on camera, sometimes not. We all know what’s going on so it doesn’t need to be vocalized. Unfortunately for Naruto episode 51, they do just that.
After finding out that they’ll have a month to prepare for the final stage of the Chunin exam, Naruto says to himself “I’m going to have to train harder than ever!” Once those words left his mouth I groaned. We didn’t need to hear that! Training is an integral part of most action anime. I grew up watching Goku train time and time again. I know what the deal is. Naruto’s determination could’ve been handled with just a look. We would’ve caught on to what was coming next.
This moment felt the opposite of what we got with Orochimaru and Kabuto. It’s like Naruto episode 51 decided that, just for this moment, it was better to verbalize everything rather than leave it to the viewer’s imagination. I’d much rather use my imagination than get everything spoon-fed to me. That’s what gets me hooked on a show.
At this point I would typically bring up Ebisu as a negative as well. Since I’ve already mentioned it I won’t spend the time to repeat my thoughts. Just know that I felt like his presence was a regression for the Naruto anime.
How well has Naruto episode 51 aged?
I’d say that Naruto episode 51 has done a pretty good job of aging. While it does fall into all of the normal tropes of Shonen anime, the story is still pretty interesting. For someone who doesn’t know all of the details of Orochimaru’s plot, there’s enough excitement here to make me want to come back. It helps that the dialogue in the English dub is done very well. I never once got the feeling that I was listening to voice actors recite lines. That’s the big tell for me that an anime just isn’t good.
The animation is a little dated by today’s standards, but it’s not bad. It’s not like going back into the 1980s when you can tell that the animation standards were completely different. There’s no dramatic panning from one character to the next, only to go back to the first character. If you don’t know what I’m talking about go watch the 1985 anime movie Vampire Hunter D and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Naruto looks like it was done by a studio that knows what it’s doing so the visuals hold up well today.
Overall, I’m happy to say that the production quality of Naruto episode 51 makes the anime episode easy to watch today.
Is Naruto episode 51 worth watching?
Yes, it is. Even if you’ve never seen Naruto before, like myself, this is an anime episode that’s worth watching. You might not like it if you don’t like Shonen anime, but that’s a different conversation. There’s nothing here that says anything other than this was well done. There’s plenty of intrigue here with the story and we get introduced to the upcoming tournament. What’s not to like? Oh yeah, the way the episode ended. At least there’s just one more episode in this season so that sidebar shouldn’t last too long.
Now go watch some anime!