Naruto Shippuden Set 26 includes episodes 323-335 of the series. I might potentially include spoilers in this piece, so if you haven’t gotten this far in the series yet, I would recommend stopping right here and not reading any further.
I recently checked out Naruto Shippuden Set 26 from my local library system, and was very happy to discover that there were no filler episodes included. Every episode had a direct connection to the Fourth Great Ninja War. But, having said that, there were a handful of episodes that relied heavily on using a lot of footage from earlier in the series, to the point where they almost felt like clip shows. I haven’t read this far in the manga, so I assume that some of this flashback material was included in the manga, but I suspect that not all of it was. The sheer amount of reused older footage in these episodes made me think that more was included to help stretch the story out in order to give Masashi Kishimoto a chance to get a little further ahead without relying on filler episodes and filler stories.
There’s a lot of exposition included in these episodes, with the biggest reveal being the introduction of all the tailed beasts and their Jinchuriki. We also learn that the Nine Tailed Fox demon actually has a name, and that the other tailed beasts have names as well. There’s a song that appears at the beginning of the episode following this revelation that’s all about the tailed beasts and their Jinchuriki. It was kind of annoying, yet kind of catchy, at the same time. But my most favorite part of the revelation of the tailed beasts and their Jinchuriki was a flashback that showed the tailed beasts when they were much, much younger. Can I say that the chibi Nine Tailed Fox looked absolutely adorable?
We also find out that the masked man claiming to be Madara Uchiha isn’t the real Madara, when a reanimated version of the real Madara appears on the battlefield. But his appearance leads to seeing all five of the Kage teaming up to fight and take him on. Some very nice backstory for Ohnoki is included during this portion of the story.
We finally see Sasuke again (gasp!). He seemed to have all but disappeared for a while, so it was surprising to actually see him again. But what was even more surprising was seeing him teaming up with this reanimated brother to take on Kabuto.
Speaking of Kabuto, this set ends just as his backstory is being revealed. It was a little disappointing that I won’t be able to see the rest of his backstory until I get a chance to watch Naruto Shippuden Set 27. But it’s nice to finally find out more about Kabuto, since so little has been known about his background for so long in the series. This backstory revelation makes me want to see the next box set after it comes out.