These episodes contribute little to nothing to the characters' relationships with each other nor to their development. In essence, filler episodes can basically be seen as tools to take up space and give its manga sources more time to progress since Japanese networks don't do season breaks or reruns. Did you know that the Naruto anime is filled with lots and lots of filler episodes? When a manga series grows in popularity, an anime adaptation is sure to follow suit. In order to appease both manga and television fans, adaptations will oftentimes stay true to its original source material.
Sasuke vowed for years to make the person who tore his family apart pay for what they did.
Given the chance, he used every power in his arsenal to take on his brother. In it, Naruto met his mother and heard her story. At least, he got to meet the chakra left from his mother present inside him that helped to seal the Nine-Tails.
Kushina spent the episode recounting just what happened after Naruto was born. Kushina wanted to sacrifice herself, sealing the beast inside her as her life ended, but her husband took another path.
He sealed only half the beast inside Naruto, and half in himself, using both their chakras to help do it. Both Kushina and Minato sacrificed themselves when Kurama attempted to kill the infant Naruto.
So angry, he allowed the spirit of the Nine-Tails to take over, and took on Pain alone. As the massive fight progressed, Naruto grew more and more tails until he gave over to the fox completely.
Little did he know that Hinata was still alive and in the midst of the battle itself. It was a great use of a cliffhanger to keep the audience coming back for more. This episode provided a massive download of information for fans - all while the Nine-Tails continued to battle Pain.
Naruto not only discovered that the Fourth Hokage was his father, but that the previous attack by the Nine-Tails on Konohagakure was manipulated by a member of the Akatsuki. The episode ended with Naruto understanding how to find the real Pain, bringing the battle closer to its end.
The spirits of all the Kage who helped them in battle were able to return to the afterlife, their jobs done. Before Minato left them, Naruto got the chance to give his father several messages for his mother. It features one of the most tragic endings to a beloved Naruto Shippuden character.
Throughout a tense fight where Jiraiya gained the upper hand, only to be thwarted by the enemy, the tension built until the very end. Obito, Episode 9.
So many characters were present in the action, but most eyes were on the titular characters of Kakashi and Obito. Given the chance to take on his old teammate, Kakashi had to do it. Instead, he was under the control of Madara Uchiha. By the end of the episode, however, Naruto noticed that Obito might not be completely in tune with Madara, resisting some of the control.
While unconscious, the two spoke with Hagoromo Otsutsuki. The ancient shinobi gave the former teammates-turned-enemies-turned-allies some context for the conflict they were embroiled in. Hagoromo revealed to the two that his own mother - Kaguya - used her shinobi abilities to rule.
Hagoromo wanted Naruto and Sasuke to stop him. It turned out, Naruto and Sasuke had the reincarnated chakra of his own two sons.
To help them reach the full potential of that inherited chakra and defeat Madara, Hagoromo shared his own power with them.
That power allowed Naruto to stop Madara from killing Might Guy at the end of the episode, changing the course of the battle. Here, the two finally got to see what they were made of as they engaged in a battle against one another instead of a common enemy. The highest rated episode of the series contains the bulk of their fight.
Every trick the two learned over the years since end up used here. Naruto even called back to his first major skill of shadow clones.
Here, however, he made shadow clones of Kurama, not himself. The audience also got to see the symbolism of all those who helped the two shinobi become who they are as hands help form different attacks for them. The episode ended with the two completely exhausted, leaving fans wondering just how this conflict would truly end.