Alright, so my last post was full of gushing about Hulu. Well, unfortunately, compounding on my crappy day, the damn site won't run the goddamn Shippuden. I managed to watch one episode with minimal amounts of loading, but after that it completely crapped out on me. I tried reloading it to fiddle with it, and it only made the damn thing worse. I don't know what's wrong- my internet works fine for Youtube and the like, it's only Hulu that's not working (and it's not just Naruto. I tried pulling up an episode of Burn Notice and it's running just as quickly. As in, it's not).
Saying that, I did like the filler episode. Kabuto seems to have accquired a mysterious waif that has some tangental relevance to the three-tailed beast (that's the one that wasn't sealed) and Naruto is acting typically Naruto-ish, which is damn boring, but about half the episode was focused on Team 8! Yays! They got absolutely zero love in the manga compared to what Team 10 got, so it's really nice to see them again. The opening even changed to reflect that they're taking on a prominent role in this arc. Now, I'm a huge Shikamaru fanboy, so any love that Team 10 gets is more than OK by me, but it is good to spread the love around a little.
I like what Shippuden is doing with the filler, even if it comes with a change in pace to the manga storyline that's best described as "glacial". I heard this on the Anime Counterpoint Podcast- that they switched from covering 2-3 manga chapters per episode as they did in Naruto proper, thus causing them to catch up and the massive filler glut to going to 1-1.5. They've halved the pace at which the anime adapts the manga, and it's falling into Dragonball Z-esque padding. Which is odd, because you look at what they've got left to cover- Jiraya's arc (substantial), the Sasuke-fest (far, far more substantial than I'd like), Sasuke's fight with Itachi (boo!), the showdown with the eight-tailed beast (short but awesome), and Pain's attack on Konoha (ho-lee shit!). And they're still really worried about catching up. So the filler right now is covering something that I think sounds really cool- a far more in-depth look at the other tailed beasts. They missed their chance to give a bit more of a focus on the two-tails, but I'm glad they decided to focus on the three-tails, as well as give Team 8 some more screentime. This is the type of filler they need to be doing- stuff that could (and possibly should) have been in the manga proper.
Edit: The site's schiziophrenic as hell. I just managed to watch another episode. Mmm, mindless fillery goodness... on the downside, Sasuke. Boo, Sasuke! And I don't know what the hell kinds of drugs the makers of the last anime ending were on, but I'm damn sure it was something.