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Naruto Shippuden’s New Chunin Exam Arc – A Justified Filler Or Just Another Stall Tactic?

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It all started in chapter thirty four of the original “Naruto” Manga series. Before “Shippuden” was even close to being a reality, fans of the series followed the young Shinobi, Naruto, and his journey to becoming something more than a simple “nincompoop” with a bad attitude and an air of utter restlessness. It was during this stage of the little Ninja’s life that audiences were graced with an arc that, I believe, truly defines exactly what early chapters of “Naruto” were truly about.

It showed each of the Konohagakure Ninjas – alongside some others from Sunagakure and the smaller Otogakure – in situations that tested them both physically and mentally while at the same time expressing to those reading their true personalities. Most fans of the series from this time, I’m sure, would have developed their loves for certain characters during this time whether or not they actually participated in the exams. It was during this arc that we were introduced to us the idea of brains over braun, it was where we got to see the crippling defeat of Rock-Lee at the hands of Gaara, and it was where Naruto truly made a name for himself by using everything he had to defeat Neji.

The original Chunin Exam arc taught the series’ readership that, no matter who you are or what you do, you can be great so long as you not only believe in yourself but work to better yourself. It also wonderfully transitions into the next arc which takes the intensity of the series to all new heights audiences never thought were possible from such a series directed at young adults. The fact of the matter is; the Chunin Exam arc will always be seen not only as one of the greatest arcs of the series but one of the greatest Shonen arcs of that time as a whole.

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Now, in 2015, despite the “Naruto” Manga finally coming to an end, the world is still graced with the weekly delivery of brand-new episodes. The latest arc, which happens to detail a story never shown in the Manga’s run, follows not Naruto himself but the friends of his that stayed and trained in the village while he went off to train with the legendary Sannin Jiraiya. By the time Naruto returns to the village at the beginning of “Shippuden”, two years have passed and his childhood “friends” have become Chunin. This must mean that, in that time, the Villages friendly with each other would have held a secondary set of Chunin Exams. This makes sense especially because Shikimaru was the only individual of the main bunch to reach the rank of Chunin before the start of “Shippuden”.

This new filler arc, also titled the “Chunin Exam Arc”, tells that exact story. This time around it is Shikimaru who is in charge of the exams and Naruto, well, he’s nowhere to be seen. That’s because he’s off learning the ways of the Sannin with Jiraiya. I, as such a huge fan of any exam arc and especially that of the Chunin Exam arc, have indeed been watching the new filler episodes in the hope that they make me feel, somewhat, the same way as the original chapters of the Chunin Exam arc did. To say the very least; for the first time in many years I’m actually enjoying the “Naruto” Anime series.

Even in saying that…I constantly find myself thinking this filler is one that isn’t entirely justified, despite how much I’m actually enjoying. Expectations developed thanks to the original arc have lead me to be a little harder on this one. That, alongside an unnecessary B-Plot and lacklustre animation quality, is making me think so much less of this filler but I can’t help but continue watching. In my eyes, it is thanks to Naruto’s lack of presence that the other characters are finally getting a chance to do something of substance but the inclusion of a whole slew of new, less-interesting Ninja are constantly keeping me on my toes, jumping back and forth between love and hate.

Having your own website and being privy to the search terms readers are using to lead to said site makes gauging the reaction of an audience all the more easier. Over the past months some of the top searches leading to SnapThirty have been regarding the new “Naruto” filler arc. Most of those searches are actually questions specifically asking when this new filler is going to end. For me, this means that many people out there don’t necessarily want to see a new Chunin Exam arc. In fact, all they want to know is when it will end so they can avoid it entirely and make sure they don’t miss any episodes of the main story.

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It seems as though the team behind the filler arc are grasping at what “Naruto” used to be. They’re working to reach a point that the series hit years and years ago in a possible attempt to keep the attention of those who’ve stuck with the series and/or to reinvigorate a love for the series, once again, in the hearts and minds of those who have long forgotten it. At least, that’s generally how I’m seeing it. I’m liking what I’m seeing but I can’t help but think that I’ve seen it done better before and, well…that’s because I have. We all have.

The honest truth is that I could write about this until the Genin come home but, in the end, I wouldn’t have produced an article for you all to enjoy. Instead of continuing indefinitely I would like to pose you the question I placed in the article’s title: “Naruto Shippuden’s New Chunin Exam Arc – A Justified Filler Or Just Another Stall Tactic?”. Site statistics, while telling, are not all it takes to see just how well an audience is receiving something.

It’s definitely not enough for me to be able to confidently say that this filler arc is a total bomb. That means I need your help. You, the fan of the series that has been there the whole time, and you, the new fan of “Naruto” that has found a fresh love in a series that has spanned over a decade. It’s you I want to hear from and I beg that you use any comment section you can find to express your thoughts on this topic.

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28 comments on “Naruto Shippuden’s New Chunin Exam Arc – A Justified Filler Or Just Another Stall Tactic?

  1. It’s absolutely HORRIBLE. I’m not too big of a fan of the series overall unlike others like One Piece, but I have been reading the manga everytime it gets updated along the other Jump manga, but this filler? I watched ONE episode and it was the dumbest, most annoying thing I’ve ever seen in anime.

    I saw a big fat obese, quad-moobed dude who would shake his oversized belly and bloody KUNAI flew out. He beat the Leaf ninja ‘kids’ of Lee and Neji and the other less-important, forgettable characters by using some kind of hideously idiotic jitsu that involved Digestional-track acid-gas or Burping fumes which apparently was so overpowering of an attack that he wiped the floor with them. Don’t get me started on the cliched character development of the characters who do not exist and will never continue to exist after the filler ….

    Watching 10 minutes of one random episode of this filler, scarred me for life.

    • Frank Inglese

      What do you think about them introducing another character with the same backstory as Rock-Lee?

      • Well, that I didn’t mind as much parse. Since I do find it peculiar that there aren’t really any canon-characters who’re similar to Lee, when his ‘condition’ really should be uncommon if anything rather than him being the 0.001% in the Naruto-universe who just can’t use jitsu so they go to tai-jitsu instead. It sounds like a tangible enough of a reason where it’d effect more people.

      • Frank Inglese

        Interesting take on that :)

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  4. At first, the fillers were annoying for me because they just suddenly popped out in the middle of a great fight! But after weeks of ignoring those updates, I finally tried watching one. It was actually fun except that some episodes were boring. (Rock Lee’s episode) :|

    • Frank Inglese

      Yeah Anime does such an odd thing with their fillers. I’m not sure how they justify sliding an arc in while another arc is already in progress but it’s just downright silly.

  5. It’s just not that good to be honest. The first Chunin exams were exciting and followed characters we didnt know yet and gave characters like Rock Lee and Neji a great emotional backstory so we were feeling the emotions during the fight. Now we don’t have that and they don’t have the time to introduce new characters with episode long backstories. So we won’t feel the emotions we felt at the first Chunin exams. Plus we all know that they will make it so it’s not thrilling in any way. And they can’t introduce new attacks, because its the past. The only feels I have are for Gaara; but his role has been very minor.

    It’s just very very very very very frustrating to interrupt the arc with a filler. Especially after promising that there wouldn’t be anymore fillers. It just hurts me as a Naruto-fan who was smack down in the middle of the end battle, from which the last few episodes could have been better. They should have taken more time with Sasuke, Orochimaru and other characters. And what happened to Bee? And where the hell is Yamato? Did they forget about him? They seem like rushing through the last chapters and thats a really big mistake. Now they are giving attention to a filler arc and it really frustrates me.

    Ugh. At least the animators should give the fans an estimate of when the New Chunin exams arc will be over (I’m guessing the start of june) so we will have something to look forward to. Sorry to be such a downer haha.

    • Frank Inglese

      No need to be sorry! You made a lot of very good points. It is indeed frustrating for fans to be taken out of the arc they’re watching and thrown into something as random as this.

      It seems as though, much like me, people are watching with the hopes that it’ll be as good as the first Chunin exams and it just isn’t

    • I honestly like this filler arc anything to do with rock lee or gaara is awesome but i just hate the filler arc placement it feels like this filler arc should have been put in alot earlier than now. This filler arc is completely uncalled for they should have gave us relevant fillers like something to do with one of the kage or Madara it would have been alot better

  6. True; they are trying to trap Naruto-fans lol. The creators usually said that they were doing the fillers because they wanted to remind fans how much fun Naruto is. But to really please fans it should be more about emotions and that takes episode long backstories. They just don’t have the balls for that. Although they might as well if they’re spending more than 20 episodes on fillers. If you do something like this: do it well.

  7. Steven Choza

    Personally, this arc is pretty much unneeded. This isn’t a justified arc because this is a story that didn’t really have to be told. It doesn’t even have the justification of being a stalling tactic because the manga HAS ALREADY ENDED! What do they need to stall for?

    The only thing I find of interest in this arc is that Fu, Chomei’s jinchuriki, is in it and plays a prominent role in the arc. Since she basically got the boot in the canon story it’s nice to see what she was really like, which is definitely not anything like the person Deidara claimed her to be (I take it he lied about that so he could mess with Naruto’s head).

    That said, the animators should think about wrapping this arc up in May.

  8. terrence

    in may? how about now im sick and tired of this filler, the first naruto filler was needed to be told, but this is a waste of time, i was behind ona few episodes than i try to watch the next episode of the battle and i see asuma! it was confusing at first, but i really hope these fillers and in the next week or so

  9. Jamal Abdi

    This could be until late June (10-episodes) becsue there is still the third part of the exam and all the BS that theyre gonna add.

  10. LazerLim

    To be honest this filler should have been produced way earlier in the context of shipuuden. Into the build up of the last bit of the story of this phenominal series i feel like the creators are just creating useless filler that should be laid to rest and just finish the story. Not going off of context by introducing new characters and redeveloping those who have alrady passed in a setting that is stated over a year before the 4th Great Ninja War.

  11. modaser

    when is the arc going to end any idea someone
    the arc gives me a headache.

  12. Brandon Owens

    This obviously contributes to the battle in progress. Don’t you remember Karuma tells Gara to do something while being extracted? Well this is Gara’s flashback to when he was being extracted

    • Naruto fan

      Oh that makes sense. Given me purpose in fully watching the fillers now.

  13. Naruto fan

    I started watching Naruto constantly 10 episodes or even more a day trying to catch up in the series. I finally caught up and in the middle of a HUGE battle they decide to put a useless filler. This filler is useless bc we already know what’s going to happen (past to future). The filler makes you lose interest in Naruto, bc ur waiting weeks for the anime to get back on track. BTW did they forget about Yamato???

  14. I am huge fan of naruto but last new episode I lost my interest in naruto it frustrated .when naruto episode comes to end of the 4 ninja war so I am waiting for next episode .sorry for that but complite the arch series and start the story of end of 4 ninja war quick soon

  15. Thomas The Anime Fan

    First off my opinion, just because a manga comes to an end doesn’t mean a anime has to. There are still things that people, me included, want to see where this goes. IE does he become hokage or does he die. So when there is a filler or filler arc it is just a little upsetting. Sure they are great, but I want to know what happens next damn it.

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  17. This is a review of the first season of the original run of Naruto from episodes 1-25, English dubbed. Now personally, as a critic, it would be unfair to write a review of Naruto for other users due to the fact that I am totally biased. I love Naruto. It has great, developed, memorable characters, awesome animation, incredible action sequences, and an enveloping, incredible world

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