Boruto: Naruto Next Generations – 03
「暴走、メタル・リー!!」 (Bousou, Metaru Rii!!)
“Metal Lee Goes Wild!!”
I was surprised that Metal Lee didn’t place near the top in the physical training exercise. Could it be he was using the old-school trick of heavy weights to handicap himself? Apparently not, as the problem was related to Metal Lee having performance anxiety. A surprise for sure but a welcome one, because it manages to set him apart from Rock Lee. I like this kind of direction and hope the series decides to take a similar approach for all the other young shinobi too.
Shino’s claim of pulling pranks in his younger days was quite a stretch of the imagination. But kudos for him to trying to reach out to the kids. While he doesn’t have control of the class, it is a flaw that can be worked on. Not to mention he already possesses indispensable qualities for a teacher in his patience and empathy.
Metal presents an interesting dynamic to the continuing ethos of hard work overcoming talent, by possessing a fatal flaw, that is enough to potentially mitigate positive benefits being derived from his efforts. We see him continually messing up throughout the episode, and although this initially starts off as comedy, you quickly begin to feel bad for him. Even more so when Metal accidentally undid the crew’s painstaking renovation of the Hokage Rock. Boruto’s attempt at switching the topic to eating at a burger chain in order to deflect the blame and resentment from Metal was kind and thoughtful, though it could not stop the damage caused by Shikadai’s harsh words.
Seeing Temari berate Shikadai for getting into trouble before proceeding to rinse Shikamaru too was absolutely hilarious. She is truly a fearsome woman and while this fiery temperament contrasts with her chill from the old days, it makes for some pretty good comic relief. More importantly, Shikamaru teaches Shikadai a valuable lesson: nobody is perfect so accept and live with the human flaws that your friends have.
Shikadai’s attempt at apologising do not go according to plan. Instead, we are treated to seeing Metal’s potential, when the dark chakra causes him to indiscriminately attack people, looking like an evil Kung-Fu villain in the process. Shikadai had no qualms calling upon the Joestar Family’s Secret Technique, and improvises a coordinated strategy utilising the skillsets of Boruto and Inojin to restrain Metal. Props to their success but a lot of questions are left in the air. The mystery of the dark chakra and Boruto’s special eye deepens, and the appearance of a dark figure from the first few seconds possibly relates to these sequences of strange events.
Shikadai is more like his mother in terms of bluntly speaking their minds whereas Shikamaru would not both being so outspoken for fear of provoking trouble. But is this distinction notable enough to distinguish him from his father? So far, I would like to see the series go further but I’m satisfied that an attempt has been made.
Boruto’s resentment towards Naruto largely stems from feeling angry on behalf of Hinata and Himawari being neglected. This is a cute pout that must be protected! While I’m happy to see that Naruto is taking his job of Hokage incredibly seriously, it saddens me to see that he isn’t providing a very good home environment for his children. You’d think that considering what he went through, Naruto would work harder to provide a nicer home environment for his children. But you know, even our heroes are humans too.
People often criticise this series for the fact that its young characters possess similarities to their parents. However, it is a central theme to the series that cannot really be avoided. Might Guy sacrifices so much in the fight against Madara by losing the use of his leg and becoming permanently bound to a wheelchair. A cripple he may be but his legacy lives on through Rock who passes it down to Metal. This could be described as a way in which the Will of Fire manifests itself, and for me justifies why the franchise can be so great and beautiful. It can get repetitive but it is so bloody inspirational nonetheless, and the task will be for the anime staff to reinvent the ways in which the Will of Fire passes between generations.
We haven’t seen much of Metal so far but he has certainly distinguished himself from Rock Lee in my eyes. Although he hasn’t completely overcome his anxiety yet, Metal is making progress with the help of his new ninja pals.