These episodes are taken directly from the manga, centered on Naruto's progression toward achieving his destiny alongside his colleagues from Konoha and the other hidden villages, as well as his longstanding alliance with his original teammates Sakura and Sasuke. This is the bildungsroman of Naruto as completed in "Naruto Shippuden." The original "Naruto" series began with him as a troublemaker and weak student shinobi. "Naruto Shippuden" ends with him as the most powerful shinobi on the planet, with various evolutionary forms he can turn on when the battle really heats up. At the beginning, Naruto is a hated troublemaker; by the end, he's the world's savior. If you want to watch the bare minimum of episodes, these are absolutely not to be missed.
These filler episodes add nothing to the story and, in general, aren't worth watching. In fact, as some of these drag, on you'll often find yourself just wanting to jump forward to watching the canon episodes.
These "Naruto Shippuden" episodes have good stories and introduce some cool new abilities. We see a Land of Fire monastery full of formidable fighters, and any ninja story with legendary fighting monks is always awesome. (Just watch the old Shaw Brothers kung fu movies.) Several Akatsuki members show their power in wiping out some extremely powerful monks to collect bounties on them, including one monk with a jutsu, the Welcoming Approach: Thousand-Armed Murder, that looks like later jutsu involving manifesting powerful larger beings. (Hashirama's Sage Art Wood Release: True Several Thousand Hands specifically comes to mind.)
Again, here's a run you can mostly skip, but there are a few episodes in this filler stretch you'd want to watch. Specifically, you should check out Episodes 303 through 305, 307, 308, and 317 before moving back into the canon episodes at 321.
For episodes 303 to 305, the Sound Village Four are reanimated for a rematch against the Hidden Leaf shinobi who had originally fought them in "Naruto." Not only is this worth watching for the rematch, with the Leaf shinobi now considerably stronger, but it also it explores the idea of how friends can be sealed off from each other and fight their way back. Episodes 307 and 308 are about another reanimation with deep emotional ties to the person he's fighting (a theme throughout this war being these painful reunions), as is Episode 317. Plus, both are centered on former Leaf Village Shinobi fighting current ones.
This is a short filler run of three pretty amusing episodes, so you might as well watch them. Episode 388 shows Gaara working with his former tailed beast, Shukaku, and rallying the other tailed beasts to join them in helping Naruto. Seeing a former jinchuriki pleading with his former tailed beast is extremely entertaining.
Again, these episodes don't necessarily add much to the canon story, though they are worth watching. And it's just a short handful of episodes, anyway, so in this case, just let the "Naruto Shippuden" binge ride.
Since we learn so much about the main characters of the series, from Naruto and Sasuke to even Hashirama and Madara, it's a good thing to get as much Otsutsuki beta as possible, especially since they not only founded the shinobi world but, at this point, are threatening to destroy it. These five filler episodes are definitely worth watching.
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The subbed episodes are viewable on Crunchyroll with a paid membership here and here. They will be free at that site one week from airing. You can view my comments and discuss this latest episode in our forums! Click here to view the discussion! Caution, there are spoilers present! If you are a new user and have yet to register to post on the forum, click here. 781b155fdc