「新しい道」 (Atarashii Michi)
“A New Path”
Ninja Duo > Ninja Trio
Shino setting up combat training, with the intention of figuring out who would make good teams, can only mean one thing. As the preparations are made for our current generation’s transition into the genin class, we’re nearing the end of our time in the Ninja Academy. It feels like Kishimoto really tied down potential plot variations by pigeon-holing the Ina-Shika-Cho trio. As I said before, just the glimpses we see of Shikadai’s synergy with Boruto and Mitsuki make it a huge shame that his team was decided at birth. Regardless, this newer iteration still exhibited some really strong teamwork, echoing back to the previous generation. Shikadai’s cunning trick of unnerving Metal really reminded me of Shikamaru’s intelligent fighting style, turning the fight into a 3v2 situation. Cho Cho promptly bodying Metal with a partial Multi-Size fist really gave me some throwbacks to Choji loyally following up on Shikamaru’s commands. I don’t think Inojin used the mind possession once, instead relying on Sai’s ink based jutsu. But I don’t mind, because I never really cared much for Ino anyway, not to mention it seems ink has greater synergy with shadow binding compared to mind possession. Sorry Ino fans, if you even exist out there.
At the end of the day, none of this is enough to overcome Boruto and Mitsuki, who demonstrate that their perfect partnership is more than a match for any trio. Though they resort to some pretty cheap tricks to snatch victory away from the jaws of defeat, I’d say not much else could have gotten them the win, and some nifty coordination was still required for it to succeed.
The wisdom that Naruto has gained with age and responsibilities never ceases to amaze me. Seriously, saying stuff like:
‘Children don’t get to choose their parents, but they can choose their friends’
When did this obnoxious but endearing try-hard become such a cool badass? I mean, Naruto is the god damn Hokage, but even then I can never stop finding his growth to be absolutely remarkable. Note that he also kept his word, specifically the promise to Boruto that he wouldn’t let down Sumire. The kid should really learn to trust his father, and realise this is a man whose ninja way is to never go back on his words.
When Shino stood near the entrance to the academy, all by himself, I feared the worst had come about. Thank goodness that was not the case! Shino never stops being awkward, but well-meaning all the same. His outburst in Iruka’s office where he offered to take charge Sumire was so sweet, and he even went to visit her solitary confinement unit to provide reassurance and advice. If she ends up accepting his offer, I sure hope she won’t mind the bugs too much! Personally, I can’t tell if what we’re seeing is a Shino who has grown as a result of his tribulations, or a side of Shino that was there all along. Whatever it is, he can only improve by leaps and bounds as a teacher, once he straightens out his rough edges of inexperience.
Sumire made a brave choice facing up to her crimes, and I’m pretty happy to see that she won’t have to move away. But a lot of explaining will have to be done to justify the limited appearances she, Denki and Iwabe have later on in the series, owing to their nature as anime original characters. With the cameo of Naruto and Sasuke meeting at the remains of the God Tree, as well as the Otsutsuki and the new ED theme, it’s pretty much confirmed that we will be getting a rehash of the movie. I’m excited to see if they will retcon some stuff and add on new things, possibly including more appearances for anime original characters like Sumire, Denki and Iwabe. And of course, I simply can’t wait for the heaping of extra Salad we’re going to get.
ED2: 「サヨナラムーンタウン」 (Sayonara Moon Town) by Scenarioart