「ダブり:留年の危機」 (Daburi: Ryuunen no Kiki)
“Crisis: The Threat of Failing”
Evident in his phobia of failing tests, you can see that Denki is a high achiever. However, Denki’s notion of failure captures Iwabe’s predicament quite well. It already hurts being a warning to others not to be a failure like yourself, but hearing it from a dear friend must cut quite deep. With their ensuing differences, both go about trying to find solutions for their own respective problems of ninjutsu and academics.
Springtime of Youth
Wow, I honestly didn’t realise how much I actually missed Rock Lee. He adds the kind of cheesiness we’ve been needing for a show that is meant to revolve around kids. In addition to rescuing Denki from certain death, trying to sell his brand of ninja clothing was the cherry on the icing. That kind of shameless self plug is something only Rock Lee could pull unawares with a straight face. Speaking of which, given the high specifications of the clothes, ninja technology sure has come a long way.
It takes two to tango. Setting aside their differences, Iwabe and Denki team up to help each other pass the exam. It takes a special kind of genius to consider adopting a regimen of studying upside down. But somehow, such an unorthodox training method works out, as the flow of chakra boosts Iwabe’s learning retention. My eyes were quite moist from seeing two good friends who would never abandon each other, working together to cross the finishing line. How could you not root for them? However, their friendship and what they learn is put to the test, when a fire breaks out in some apartment blocks, coinciding with the timing of their Genin examination.
The new range of burger is too strong, and I suspect it may have instigated our outbreak of fire. I’m surprised there were no water jutsu users in the nearby vicinity of the incident. Naruto barely showed casual civilians, making it easy for an assumption to form that Konoha was purely populated by powerful ninja. Boruto does not shy away from the scale of urbanisation, presenting the plight of some ordinary civilians and demonstrating the existence of an emergency service beyond simply having military and police units flex their might.
I admire Iwabe’s selflessness. Not only would he go save kids, without a second thought for his own safety and the prospect of failing his exams, he also had the best interest of his friend in mind. But he should know that his friend would never abandon him! Rock Lee’s ninja suit even comes in handy, with its fire retardant properties allowing Denki to dash in and join Iwabe in rescuing the children.
My heart sunk when the two missed their exam. Chou Chou took the words right out of my mouth, because they had me worried. But count on Shino-sensei to take a purposive interpretation regarding the Ninja Exam. Though my eyebrows raise at how he went from nil to electrical engineer, Iwabe successfully fixing the water sprinkler circuitry himself is testimony to how far he came along in the span of a week. Scepticism aside, even with Iwabe singlehandedly doing most of the work, Denki’s presence was critical in rescuing all three children as Iwabe could only carry two. Deeming their rescue efforts to have gone beyond what was required to pass the exam, Shino permits a special exception by promoting the two to Genin.
The friendship between Iwabe and Denki is so eccentric, funny and heartfelt. I just can’t help but care a lot for this odd pair. While I was disappointed we weren’t getting the Sarada Gaiden straight away, I actually ended up being significantly emotionally invested this episode. Definitely far more than I could have expected. That said, I think it would have made for a really interesting and dark twist if they punished Iwabe and Denki for making the right choice. If Iwabe really turns out to be Kawaki from the first episode, his subsequent disillusionment at the shinobi system would have set up a fitting backstory to justify the decision to destroy Konoha.
Looking forwards, everyone has now graduated from Ninja Academy. We can expect some content fleshing out characters, between now and the Sarada Gaiden starting in Episode 19. After that, we’ll be getting down to Genin squad assignments, which is where the fun and missions finally begin!