It feels a bit late and a bit rushed for Chouji to be having his coming of age character struggle here and now after several hundred chapters since his first “inner” battle, but the war arc in general seems to be having a lot of these lately, and it feels like a convenient apology to viewers for leaving a large amount of supporting characters in the dust since the timeskip began. However, a fan of the series should be quite happy with Naruto as of late, and while I haven’t considered myself a huge fan for a long time now, I admire the new direction.
That said, “Butterfly Chouji” wasn’t anything special against Azuma. He was simply the brute strength required to take him down, since neither Ino nor Shikamaru can provide it. Azuma’s farewell was rather typical, though I guess that’s really all he could say, which pretty much wraps up the story of “Team Ino-Shika-Chou.” Although the team or any of its members can still be developed, I don’t really expect anything more from Kishimoto’s way of storytelling. Chouji suddenly taking the lead feels a little cocky, but at least he’ll lose some more weight.
It’s a little weird that Bee suddenly lets Naruto escape so easily after this long, though having to distract Naruto like a child wasn’t really a good plan in the first place. I chuckled at Iruka-sensei’s appearance, since it seems like that’s really his only purpose for the entire series, to calm down Naruto and reason with him. The funny thing is that now other people know it works, so he’s used like a trump card. Honestly, I think a good ol’ argument of “you’re not strong enough to participate in the war with your large amount of untapped potential Naruto” would do some good, but let’s see what Iruka’s gonna pull.
Note: Taking over for Divine until this season ends, or his break ends, whichever comes first, because doing Naruto would destroy the illusion of a “true break.” As a bro, I couldn’t let that slide.