「ポルトとサラダ」 (Boruto to Sarada)
“Boruto and Sarada”
With Sarada Gaiden over, and the Uchiha Family arriving at a happy resolution, I fully expected a steady downhill until the Chuunin Exam Arc. Turns out that the anime production team went to Chapter 700 of Naruto, and decided to really shake things up with some creative liberties! Kage Summit, Ino-Shika-Cho training, Boruto’s pranks… did you really think that was all a coincidence?!? Many people, myself included, can criticise Studio Pierrot all they want. But it’s undeniable that the folks over there are doing a fine job of padding things out. A special mention, but I particularly enjoyed the strongest Kage debate between Iwabe and Metal, as it reminded me so much of the best character arguments one can expect from the anime fandom. We might be at each other’s throats fairly often, like squabbling siblings, but there are times where we’re all in unison.
I wanna be the Hokage
We get a glimpse of Sarada’s renewed determination. No longer content to dismiss the shinobi, or play along with Boruto’s childish pranks, she has set her sights on becoming Hokage. As we all know, being Hokage is no mean feat. Seeing a more serious person carry out the aspiration was quite a refreshing change from the usual pranksters attracted to the role (Sasuke wanting to be Hokage after all the crimes he committed had me in complete stitches). However, the girl has a long way to go before she can even get to Naruto’s level of enthusiasm and determination. Otherwise, I’ll be cheering for her to get there throughout the series!
Konohamaru calling Sarada his rival was a nice throwback to thee similar moment he had with Naruto a long time ago. But I do think his assumptions about Boruto are slightly off the mark. Though it’s true Boruto wants to be acknowledged as being more than just the Hokage’s son, he genuinely holds a resentment against Naruto for not having enough time for Hinata and Himawari. To top it off, I don’t think the boy has Hokage aspirations. He comes across being more like Konohamaru’s uncle, Asuma. Anyway, knowing Boruto for the rascal he is, I completely saw that fakeout on Sarada coming. Might have been underhanded, but he’s right. Any ninja could do with having a cheap trick or two up their sleeves. Only Boruto will have to deal with the repercussions. Why would anyone want to make Sarada mad?
This episode did a brilliant job of balancing out moments with the older and newer generations. Neither dominate the screentime, and it’s truly fascinating to see how they interact. Behind the tough love, there is an agenda, specifically a need for the baton to pass down into competent hands for fear of a future threat. To that end, the conference does raise a relevant issue. Metaphorically, are the blades of the shinobi becoming dull from lack of usage? I would disagree. Sure, apart from Sage of the Six Paths, Naruto and Sasuke might be the most powerful ninja in all of history. But history exists to be surpassed and overwritten, so I’m hoping that there will be a day where Boruto: Naruto Next Generations goes beyond that realm.