「忍（しのび）の覚悟」 (Shinobu (shinobi) no kakugo)
“A Shinobi’s Resolve”
I think the series has also finally outlined one of Boruto’s greatest weaknesses, which could potentially explain why he chose to behave a certain way during the future Chūnin Exams. He decisively lacks the spirit and willpower exhibited by Naruto at a similar age, and is prone to being mentally chipped down to a breaking point. Although Kakashi was extremely ruthless in asking a 10 year old kid to break his own arm as a test of resolve, the extent to which it bothered Boruto highlights how much of his strength comes from bearing the burden of other people’s expectations. When he feels like he’s letting them down, it tends to culminate in mental capitulation.
Conversely, it means his friends can fire him up from an emotional low, allowing him to lead them through adversity. Iwabe reinvigorates Boruto’s fighting spirit, and what he says contains a lot of truth: many people wouldn’t have gotten that far without Boruto’s encouragement. In that regard, though his self-doubt is a double edged sword, it is born from caring about his comrades, which also compels the dedication and loyalty of those that Boruto inspires. To that end, perhaps it could be said that current Boruto and his movie counterpart do not contradict each other, as we may have previously speculated.
Raid Boss Kakashi
Asides from stirring up nostalgia, there isn’t much going for this episode that should elevate it beyond other ones. While it may have done a few things differently, the stakes weren’t high compared to other times, but it felt like there was a special distinguishing factor. After some deliberation, I concluded that Kakashi was probably the first ‘antagonist’ I could take seriously. For the purposes of this arc, he definitely fulfils that role. Those who are familiar with the original series would know what exactly this man is capable of, and he can talk smack all he likes, because he has the record to back it up.
And boy did he take on the kids as they came by the numbers. From throwing out Purple Lightning not once, but twice, then clapping everybody in taijutsu, he certainly doesn’t know how to hold back. Then he gets blindsided by a multi-person sealing jutsu, which gives him more trouble than expected. If he never pushed the kids this far, we would never have had the chance to see something so awesome, so credit must be given to Kakashi’s ruthlessness. But he stirred the hornet’s nest, so he must accept the consequences that it brings.
Whaddya know, these kids weren’t just a bunch of nobodies, who were being dragged across the finish line by their stronger classmates. We always knew that descendants of the previous generation were going to have the added benefit of genetics, as well as skills being passed down through training. That much is evident, when Mitsuki defeats Shino in single combat, while Boruto can keep up with the adults in terms of taijutsu sparring, etc. However, the rest of the class got to show their value in some way.
They even banded together to take down jounin level teachers, and successfully locked down Kakashi. If you told me a week ago that a bunch of 10 year old could prevent the 6th Hokage from moving, I probably would have scoffed in your face. And it wasn’t really an asspull either, because it’s been hinted at the whole time, how Denki had been working on a unique and original sealing jutsu. To see it implemented on a larger-scale and against Kakashi of all people really took the cake. Even after getting hit by a wave of Purple Lightning, these kids continued to stand their ground, determined to become shinobi. And a notion is reinforced, where a united front allows them to overcome the limitations of individual weakness.
For me, the standout moment came from the transformation jutsu into a sharingan genjutsu. That was a really nasty combination from Boruto and Sarada. If they were to be a part of the same team, as the previews might suggest, I would be crazy excited to see what else they can cook up over the next few years.
First things first, that graduation exam was god damn incredible! Plus I was stoked to see these kids earn a well-deserved pass, because they fought tooth and nail for it. Like Kakashi hinted, I think most of us knew there wasn’t a chance in hell that these kids could have obtained the bell. However, they sure as heck gave him a run for his money, and I’m curious as to what step he might have taken next, if the time hadn’t run out at such a convenient point.
Despite knowing the specifics of the bell test, I couldn’t help but wonder if Kakashi had touched up the requirements in some way, that would somehow make passing more difficult. Thankfully the value of teamwork remains the same as ever, and it’s great to see that Obito’s mantra has obviously had a powerful effect on Kakashi, even to this day. Doesn’t that make it 30 odd years since the time where they rescued Rin? The years sure do fly by fast.
That said, for every light side, darkness must also exist. And it is here that I want to raise the suffering Kakashi went through. Of course, he lost his dearest and closest friends, realising far too late just how much they meant to him. But in the Shippuden head canon, these occurrences even earned him the title of ‘Friend-Killer’. People genuinely believed that he had let Obito die, in order for the mission to succeed, and killed Rin to prevent the leakage of crucial information.
For a man crushed by loneliness and regret, that must have hurt so badly, and I’m not surprised that Kakashi ended up suffering from PTSD and depression. You may see me frequently showing disdain for the various fillers that Naruto Shippuden pulled out during its run, but I’m honestly grateful for the gaiden arcs, that truly fleshed out some of our beloved characters. If Boruto were to receive these kinds of fillers, I would more than happily welcome them, provided that they serve a greater purpose.
Looking ahead, it’s obvious that three person squads are just past the horizon. Before we say our farewells to the academy days, I’d just like to say that Boruto: Naruto Next Generations has exceeded by expectations so far. To be honest, I was morbidly curious to see how it would continue to milk the cash cow of an older franchise, and expected a desecration of Naruto’s enduring legacy. Not only has it avoided this pitfall – it has even managed to become its own wonderful thing, setting itself apart from Naruto in many respects. As such, I hope a precedent has been set regarding what the future holds, because it is definitely looking to be a promising one.
It has been my pleasure blogging this show, and it will be my pleasure to continue blogging this show for the foreseeable future. Thank you very much for sticking with me up till now, and I hope you (the reader) will stay with me until the very end!