「最後の授業…!!」 (Saigo no Jugyou…!!)
“The Final Lesson”
Shino’s Unorthodox Lesson
Seeing Terminator Shino unleashed was pretty fun, albeit less exciting than I expected. Some people might have disliked the fact Shino lost his mental composure, perceiving it as a copout designed to give the kids a fighting chance. While it was unsatisfactory being unable to see him operate at full capacity, it remains fairly consistent with what we have seen so far in Boruto, since the dark chakra shroud has been noted to inhibit an individual’s rationale and ability to make calculations.
To give an analogy, it’s like fighting against a really powerful unit in a video game that is being managed by mediocre AI. In Fire Emblem: Heroes, you bait the enemy Hector into coming within your range, then BAM, spring your trap onto him. Even juggernauts are susceptible to a well coordinated strategy, and this is not limited to Hector or Shino-sensei.
As follows, the kids ran away while making observations on Shino’s behaviour and attack patterns during his pursuit. This allowed them to formulate a clever strategy upon safely regrouping. Boruto uses shadow clones to bait Shino into letting his guard down for an explosive kunai, and the threat of Shikadai’s shadow to reposition him on top of water, so that Mitsuki can launch a surprise ambush to submerge Shino. Finally, Mitsuki taking out Shino with a healthy dose of lightning release submerged in water. KO!!
Although the kids won the fight this time round, one note of criticism is how the bugs can consume away trees, but don’t so much as scratch Boruto. My only explanation for this is that fully draining the tree’s chakra causes it to disintegrate, whereas Boruto himself has not been fully drained.
Shino Redeems Himself
Even having prevailed over Shino, Boruto and Mitsuki have run out of chakra and are on the cusp of drowning. A fatigued Shino musters up the last of his energy to throw himself into the pool, and summon a giant flying insect in order to save his students. For all his flaws, he earnestly wishes the best for his students even if he has to put himself at extreme risk.
I suppose this isn’t much of a redemption, in the sense that Shino never meant malice in the first place. His attacks were an involuntary bout of automatism, controlling him to do evil. Nevertheless, he saves his student’s lives and proves himself wrong – from when he said he wasn’t suited to be a teacher earlier in the episode. Kurenai herself gives words of insight regarding her former student and the reasons why Shino will make a fantastic teacher in the long-run given more experience – he never stops reaching out to people in spite of his awkward social skills. This mini-arc really helped flesh out Shino’s character, and the successfully added depth makes me even more optimistic for the show’s ability to flesh out any of its other cast members later on.
Boruto and Co
Boruto saving Mitsuki from drowning explains why Mitsuki seems to exhibit a fierce sense of loyalty towards Boruto. Previously I had been pretty confused as to why such a standoffish Mitsuki eventually came around to holding Boruto on a pedestal. Finally, this aspect of their relationship has developments to back it up. Despite how he can be obnoxious and cocky, we can see Boruto is a truly good kid who has a heart of gold and means well.
I’m also enjoying the dynamic between Shikadai and Boruto, particularly when they horseplay around or throw casual digs at each other. Watching them get surprised by Shino, and give off similarly shocked facial expressions was quite hilarious. It feels like Shikadai is the older brother in their dynamic, as he frequently chides Boruto for his cheeky conduct but continually looks out for him.
The adults are finally onto something and are looking to take precautions regarding this dark chakra shroud. Presumably more is yet to come and I suspect the chakra shroud will be taking over a shinobi of a higher caliber than Shino. Judging from the next episode preview, this might not happen for a fair while, but I sense action will take place somewhere in the near future.
Though I have to say, I’m happy to see the new generation girls won’t be getting shafted. They will be receiving decent screentime, allowing for character development on their behalf, and that would already indicate a remarkable improvement from Naruto’s lack of similar kind of focus.
My exams are approaching soon, so either I’ll find one of the sempais on RandomC to help cover for me, or at worst coverage of Boruto will be on hold for about a week. More information on this will be available next week, so stay tuned!