「卒業試験、開始!!」 (Sotsugyou shiken kaishi…!!!)
“The Graduation Exam Begins!”
What It Takes
When Kakashi brought out the silver bell, I knew we were in for a treat. As we know, the task of stealing one is pretty much impossible, and it’s amusing to see how badly the kids seem to underestimate their teachers. The test is simply meant to gauge how students choose to react under challenging situations, in order to determine their suitability for becoming shinobi.
Becoming a ninja is no joke, and I fully agree with Kakashi’s criticisms of the new generation. This man did through losing his closest comrades, and for most of his life, the burden of killing Rin and being unable to save Obito. When people are trying to become ninja, because that’s what their friends are doing, it feels like such a far cry from an age where lives depended on it. Not that it’s their fault, but these kids know nothing about the pain, suffering and loss incurred by their parent’s generation, to bring them an era of peace.
When intervening to mediate the situation between Namida and Wasabi, Sarada might have held noble intentions. But could it be said that she was very naïve in pushing forwards someone who evidently lacked resolve, and severely underestimates what it takes to become a ninja?
Boruto vs Kakashi
Power levels from the previous generation significantly distort my perceptions of strength. When you consider what the likes of Sasuke, Neji, Kakashi and Minato could pull off as kids, it’s sometimes difficult to perceive Boruto as a genius. But this episode reminded me that Boruto is actually quite an extraordinary talent. In terms of taijutsu, he can keep up with Konohamaru. What’s more, he even landed a kick on Kakashi. If you recall Team 7’s first test in the original series, neither Naruto or Sasuke could manage this feat, let alone a punch. Although his nature element manipulation is fairly basic, I’m also impressed by the way he can meld aspects of lightning and wind into an original technique, using it to augment strength and speed.
He obviously still has a long way to go, seeing how he has failed to grasp the true meaning behind such an examination. Forging ahead with that kind of reckless abandon is an attitude unbefitting for someone who aspires to be a ninja, because it may compromise the life of a teammate on dangerous missions. But Boruto is a kid who deeply cares for his friends, so he should have it in him to make such a realisation, and eventually pass the exam.
I have no doubt that our new generation will become genin. That said, these adaptations to Kakashi’s bell test keep me guessing on how they might manage it. In my mind, everyone has demonstrated flashes of the criteria needed to pass the exam. Rather than getting caught up with the limited number of bells, students have finally recognised that they need to team up, in order to take down their teachers. As such, I would say that the group tackling Anko have the right idea. Meanwhile, Sarada and Sumire possess some pretty remarkable chemistry, and are putting up a good fight against Konohamaru.
Though I’m disappointed that Mitsuki defeated Shino off-screen, I’m still glad that we’re headed straight to the crux of the matter. A distinct shortcoming in Naruto was how concurrent and ongoing fights seemed to drag on for too many episodes. However, this issue has been completely avoided, which was an improvement I didn’t expect. That way, Mitsuki can hurry along and assist in finding the answer, since this is not something I think Boruto can do by himself.