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Boruto -Naruto Next Generations- – 37

「忍(しのび)の覚悟」 (Shinobu (shinobi) no kakugo)
“A Shinobi’s Resolve”

Boruto’s Weakness

I think the series has also finally outlined one of Boruto’s greatest weaknesses, which could potentially explain why he chose to behave a certain way during the future Chūnin Exams. He decisively lacks the spirit and willpower exhibited by Naruto at a similar age, and is prone to being mentally chipped down to a breaking point. Although Kakashi was extremely ruthless in asking a 10 year old kid to break his own arm as a test of resolve, the extent to which it bothered Boruto highlights how much of his strength comes from bearing the burden of other people’s expectations. When he feels like he’s letting them down, it tends to culminate in mental capitulation.

Conversely, it means his friends can fire him up from an emotional low, allowing him to lead them through adversity. Iwabe reinvigorates Boruto’s fighting spirit, and what he says contains a lot of truth: many people wouldn’t have gotten that far without Boruto’s encouragement. In that regard, though his self-doubt is a double edged sword, it is born from caring about his comrades, which also compels the dedication and loyalty of those that Boruto inspires. To that end, perhaps it could be said that current Boruto and his movie counterpart do not contradict each other, as we may have previously speculated.

Raid Boss Kakashi

Asides from stirring up nostalgia, there isn’t much going for this episode that should elevate it beyond other ones. While it may have done a few things differently, the stakes weren’t high compared to other times, but it felt like there was a special distinguishing factor. After some deliberation, I concluded that Kakashi was probably the first ‘antagonist’ I could take seriously. For the purposes of this arc, he definitely fulfils that role. Those who are familiar with the original series would know what exactly this man is capable of, and he can talk smack all he likes, because he has the record to back it up.

And boy did he take on the kids as they came by the numbers. From throwing out Purple Lightning not once, but twice, then clapping everybody in taijutsu, he certainly doesn’t know how to hold back. Then he gets blindsided by a multi-person sealing jutsu, which gives him more trouble than expected. If he never pushed the kids this far, we would never have had the chance to see something so awesome, so credit must be given to Kakashi’s ruthlessness. But he stirred the hornet’s nest, so he must accept the consequences that it brings.

Nakama Power

Whaddya know, these kids weren’t just a bunch of nobodies, who were being dragged across the finish line by their stronger classmates. We always knew that descendants of the previous generation were going to have the added benefit of genetics, as well as skills being passed down through training. That much is evident, when Mitsuki defeats Shino in single combat, while Boruto can keep up with the adults in terms of taijutsu sparring, etc. However, the rest of the class got to show their value in some way.

They even banded together to take down jounin level teachers, and successfully locked down Kakashi. If you told me a week ago that a bunch of 10 year old could prevent the 6th Hokage from moving, I probably would have scoffed in your face. And it wasn’t really an asspull either, because it’s been hinted at the whole time, how Denki had been working on a unique and original sealing jutsu. To see it implemented on a larger-scale and against Kakashi of all people really took the cake. Even after getting hit by a wave of Purple Lightning, these kids continued to stand their ground, determined to become shinobi. And a notion is reinforced, where a united front allows them to overcome the limitations of individual weakness.

For me, the standout moment came from the transformation jutsu into a sharingan genjutsu. That was a really nasty combination from Boruto and Sarada. If they were to be a part of the same team, as the previews might suggest, I would be crazy excited to see what else they can cook up over the next few years.

Preview

Concluding Thoughts

First things first, that graduation exam was god damn incredible! Plus I was stoked to see these kids earn a well-deserved pass, because they fought tooth and nail for it. Like Kakashi hinted, I think most of us knew there wasn’t a chance in hell that these kids could have obtained the bell. However, they sure as heck gave him a run for his money, and I’m curious as to what step he might have taken next, if the time hadn’t run out at such a convenient point.

Despite knowing the specifics of the bell test, I couldn’t help but wonder if Kakashi had touched up the requirements in some way, that would somehow make passing more difficult. Thankfully the value of teamwork remains the same as ever, and it’s great to see that Obito’s mantra has obviously had a powerful effect on Kakashi, even to this day. Doesn’t that make it 30 odd years since the time where they rescued Rin? The years sure do fly by fast.

That said, for every light side, darkness must also exist. And it is here that I want to raise the suffering Kakashi went through. Of course, he lost his dearest and closest friends, realising far too late just how much they meant to him. But in the Shippuden head canon, these occurrences even earned him the title of ‘Friend-Killer’. People genuinely believed that he had let Obito die, in order for the mission to succeed, and killed Rin to prevent the leakage of crucial information.

For a man crushed by loneliness and regret, that must have hurt so badly, and I’m not surprised that Kakashi ended up suffering from PTSD and depression. You may see me frequently showing disdain for the various fillers that Naruto Shippuden pulled out during its run, but I’m honestly grateful for the gaiden arcs, that truly fleshed out some of our beloved characters. If Boruto were to receive these kinds of fillers, I would more than happily welcome them, provided that they serve a greater purpose.

Looking ahead, it’s obvious that three person squads are just past the horizon. Before we say our farewells to the academy days, I’d just like to say that Boruto: Naruto Next Generations has exceeded by expectations so far. To be honest, I was morbidly curious to see how it would continue to milk the cash cow of an older franchise, and expected a desecration of Naruto’s enduring legacy. Not only has it avoided this pitfall – it has even managed to become its own wonderful thing, setting itself apart from Naruto in many respects. As such, I hope a precedent has been set regarding what the future holds, because it is definitely looking to be a promising one.

It has been my pleasure blogging this show, and it will be my pleasure to continue blogging this show for the foreseeable future. Thank you very much for sticking with me up till now, and I hope you (the reader) will stay with me until the very end!

December 19, 2017 at 7:33 pm
18 comments »
  • December 19, 2017 at 7:43 pmNyanlol

    I wonder what would happen if they were to just abandon the manga and make this its own thing? Theyve done such a phenomenal job so far i feel being forced to try to keep to a manga would be a waste

    • December 19, 2017 at 7:44 pmNyanlol

      Not to mention being free of making the movie make sense

    • December 20, 2017 at 8:47 amLord Nayrael

      I’m pretty sure that the Anime is the main story now. Kodachi is in charge of both Manga’s plot and all of Anime’s important elements, and recent Manga chapters referenced Anime’s plot points as well as added Sumire into the plot.

  • December 19, 2017 at 8:05 pmL002

    Wow, Kakashi passed everyone, that sure is nice of him. Anyway, it was good that he didn’t tell everyone to not eat Breakfast, otherwise the kids would have lost due to starvation.

  • December 19, 2017 at 9:42 pm5ofSpades

    Very happy to see your blog posts on this show every week!

    When you said Kakashi was the first ‘serious’ antagonist so far, it struck me that neither Sumire nor the 7 mist teenagers had any resolve. Sumire was torn between her father’s indoctrination and her new-found friendship, Kagura was an easily swayed mess who wasn’t sure who or what to follow, and the rest of the mist swords wanted ‘war’ without understanding its horrors.

    Kakashi really is the first major opponent who knew exactly who he was, what he believed in, and had drive a plenty. And against such an opponent, Boruto’s own conviction and confidence finally faltered.

    • December 20, 2017 at 4:23 pmZaiden

      Boruto’s a cocky guy, and has the talent too. But when he gets pushed very far past his comfort zone, he doesn’t seem to handle it well. Compare that with Naruto, who would go any mile for the sake of his friends. Perhaps we need some kind of catalyst for positively affecting Boruto, probably a rival who would be able to properly challenge him. As far as I can tell, Mitsuki is content to sit along and enable him, so he needs another kid of a similar age to kick his ass.

      • December 24, 2017 at 10:41 amJohnPeacekeeper

        Which is ironically exactly what he’ll get in Shikadai come Chuunin Exams. Not only is he Boruto’s oldest friend, they’re both naturally gifted and lazy, but Shikadai does actually have a sense of drive his father didn’t have (he’s probably more like Temari really)

  • December 19, 2017 at 9:44 pmChris hall

  • December 20, 2017 at 8:45 amLord Nayrael

    “…in asking a 10 year old kid…”

    I’m pretty sure they aren’t 10 years old anymore. Seeing as they are graduating, it is safe to assume that three or four years have probably passed since ep1 (where they were around 10).

    • December 20, 2017 at 4:24 pmZaiden

      I guess. Part 1 Naruto is 12-13, so I can see where I might have fudged up the Maths. I just seemed to recall Boruto being 8 when he defaced Hokage Rock, and the time went by so fast.

      • December 21, 2017 at 8:44 amLord Nayrael

        There was a bit of a retcon: the Light Novel revealed the official timeline, and it confirmed that the events of ch700 happened a few years before ep1. They seem to have changed it so that the Shinobi Academy Education now starts later, probably at age of 10. Change makes sense, seeing as these are times of peace, but ’tis still a soft retcon.

  • December 20, 2017 at 8:48 amLord Nayrael

    That “Concluding Thoughts” scared me. I’m glad to see you will continue blogging it, like you I also expected a soulless cashcow but was pleasantly surprised by how good this ended up being.

    • December 20, 2017 at 4:20 pmZaiden

      Looked at my post shortly after publishing, seemed way too long, so I split it by putting the concluding thoughts after the preview. Sorry if I scared you!

  • December 20, 2017 at 10:44 amWorldwidedepp

    Yes, Boruto is doing good.. They did not forget the “old cast”, but also know that the main actors are the Kids and their problems to grown up

  • December 20, 2017 at 10:55 amMistic

    Glad to hear you’re continuing blogging this show! I’m sure it will never be a masterpiece, but I can always count on the Boruto series to provide consistent writing, likeable characters and new outlooks at Naruto’s world, without forgetting the basics.

    The academy has been the best addition, I think, the key that makes Boruto a different series. Heck, this version of Shino is my favourite in the whole setting! Their final resolve against Kakashi was logical conclusion of this arc. In fact, I find it more believable that Boruto’s wole class passed Kakashi’s test (because we saw them grow tighter and more confident with each episode) than Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura passing theirs. You could feel the nakama spirit here long before the exam came up.

    I think the series has also finally outlined one of Boruto’s greatest weaknesses, which could potentially explain why he chose to behave a certain way during the future Chūnin Exams. He decisively lacks the spirit and willpower exhibited by Naruto at a similar age, and is prone to being mentally chipped down to a breaking point. Although Kakashi was extremely ruthless in asking a 10 year old kid to break his own arm as a test of resolve, the extent to which it bothered Boruto highlights how much of his strength comes from bearing the burden of other people’s expectations. When he feels like he’s letting them down, it tends to culminate in mental capitulation.

    You may be up to something, this could be a good way to slowly but surely introduce that weakness in his character (and make it more developed than mere “daddy issues”). One of the reasons I didn’t like (initially) the idea of a Boruto anime was the movie; now the anime is making me look forward to how they’ll adapt its plot.

    • December 20, 2017 at 4:32 pmZaiden

      I maintain that Boruto can still potentially be a masterpiece, even if it’s not likely. The approach to problem solving seems far more technical, and less reliant on shadow clone spam/nine tail’s mode to power through issues. If the series explores political, social and economic issues in a meaningful way, that would be a bonus. We’re currently witnessing a change from militarisation into industrialisation, so the potential is completely there.

      While the world building is limited in some ways by Naruto, it’s by no means a terrible place to set a story. Plus extensions can always be made where necessary, and I like the new generation more, compared to the previous one at a similar point. If they can get us to love these characters, then slaughter half of them in a meaningful way, we could have a classic on our hands. The flash forwards certainly does not exclude such a possibility.

      Speaking about the academy, is has a remarkably different setup compared to the original Naruto. If I had to find a contemporary example to compare, I would actually point towards BNHA, which has a sizeable class of all sorts, where most people fulfil an important role.

      • December 21, 2017 at 6:17 pmMistic

        Speaking about the academy, is has a remarkably different setup compared to the original Naruto. If I had to find a contemporary example to compare, I would actually point towards BNHA, which has a sizeable class of all sorts, where most people fulfil an important role.

        I’d dare to say that Boruto surpasses Boku No Hero Academia in that regard. Don’t get me wrong, I like BNHA a lot, but I’ve always felt that the introduction of the academy and the classmates was “too much, too fast”. Sometimes, they were just there.

        Boruto was smarter, I think. The series introduced circles and then expanded them. Some characters were already friends beforehand (Boruto and Shikadai, Sarada and Chocho), others we met through Boruto’s eyes (Denki, Iwabe). Sometimes some characters had the spotlight in an episode (like Inojin) or a whole arc devoted to them (Sarada). They also had or made connections beyond Boruto (Iwabe, Denki and Rock Lee; the Ino-Shika-Cho). And the more adventures they shared, the more different connections we saw. But the series never overdid it; Boruto is not equally close to everyone, and while his group of friends is huge, it doesn’t include all of his classmates. It feels natural.

  • January 4, 2018 at 6:51 amK

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