For the longest time, avid fans of Naruto Shippuden clamored for the anime to shift back to canon in order for the story to move towards its inevitable conclusion. Now, after the masterpiece that was the final battle between Naruto and Sasuke, the anime's end seems unavoidable.
Ironically, fans have been pretty vocal about the premise of extending Naruto Shippuden just a bit more. Ironic as it might sound, after the final battle, avid fans of the franchise, especially those who have stuck with the anime for years, have requested that the anime be extended.
As it turns out, it appears like that was the plan all along. In a recent report, Studio Pierrot has announced that Naruto Shippuden will officially be entering the Boyhood arc on the anime's 480th episode.
Previous speculations pointed to the premise of Episode 480 featuring the wedding of Naruto and Hinata. As it turned out, and as confirmed by the preview of Episode 480, it would be a flashback episode heralding a flashback arc.
In a very interesting development, most fans of the anime actually appreciated the extension to Naruto Shippuden. While some expressed reservations about the premise of revisiting Naruto's childhood yet again, many were optimistic about what the anime would show to the viewers.
The end of Naruto Shippuden features a notable time skip of about 10 to 15 years. During that time, numerous important events happened, from Kakashi's emergence as Hokage to Naruto and Hinata's wedding. Sasuke and Sakura's love story also bloomed during this time.
In the manga, these events were all compressed into the final two chapters, with most of these otherwise pivotal plot points only being mentioned subtly.
With the Boyhood arc, however, these otherwise important events in Naruto Shippuden would now have the chance to be fully explored. Considering that the final two chapters of the manga dealt with the end of Naruto's journey towards becoming Hokage, extending the anime to properly cover each event would actually do the fans justice.
With this, it would be highly plausible that Naruto Shippuden would end with its 500th episode. Doing so would allow the anime to end sometime early next year, which would be pretty satisfying for those who have stuck with the long-running anime for a very long time.