“Strength In Unity”
With last episode’s kidnapping, Neo Team 7 set off to rescue Kiri. Rather than rushing in, a dedicated strategy is formulated this time round, before they embark with renewed determination. Quite a rarity in the Narutoverse, eh? But lo and behold, the kidnapper meets a fitting end. The backstabber gets backstabbed, as the rogue ninjas choose to steal the deed for themselves. At first, they negotiate for a straight up trade, with Neo Team 7 and villagers valuing Kiri’s life over the economic value of the deed. However, by attempting to kill Konohamaru alongside Kiri after they acquired the deed, these ruffians bite off far more than they can chew. He might not be world renown like Konoha’s heroes from the Fourth Great Shinobi War, but we’re talking about the guy who took out one of Pain’s avatars as a kid. In short, Konohamaru is a force to be reckoned with, and I’m glad we got to catch a glimpse of his capabilities. It seems fairly amateur to underestimate your opponents and get caught up in their sealing jutsu. But although it’s no rasenshuriken, Konohamaru blows away everything with his wind transformation rasengan, leaving a gaping hole in the forest. I don’t blame the antagonist for fainting, because that kind of explosion could have killed him many times over.
As for the bad guy wielding a sword, Neo Team 7 choose an interesting yet realistic take on adopting unrefined teamwork, in order to overcome an enemy beyond them. After observing that he wasn’t dodging their attacks, they decide to take him out in a single strike. By mixing up Boruto Stream to incorporate Sarada, Mitsuki and Boruto propel her at jet speed towards their foe. Combine that with the sharingan she got from Sasuke and she can dodge the incoming blade. Add on the chakra control she got from Sakura, and you have a devastating punch that knocks the living daylight out of a rogue shinobi. A job well done, if I may say so myself, even if I’m concerned at how the increased difficulty became a cakewalk.
Though we didn’t get as much action as I wanted, with both skirmishes pretty much ending in one big attack, I can continue to be satisfied provided that Neo Team 7’s progression continually showcases these sorts of well thought-out adaptations.
While the ‘Team 7 Resting Area‘ doesn’t quite have the same ring as ‘The Great Naruto Bridge’, it’s still an acknowledgement of gratitude by the village. Admittedly, I didn’t expect this arc to conclude itself so quickly. That said, I’m glad that it didn’t overstay its welcome, and it successfully delivered its messages about cooperation and legacy.
The parallels between Kiri and Boruto are apparent. Both live in the shadow of their fathers’ legacies, and strive to surpass them within their own independent capacity. To that end, they’ll try to shoulder burdens far beyond what they can tolerate on their lonesome. These kids are jumping the gun a bit, but I don’t blame them. They’ve only seen the best of what their fathers could do for the sake of their respective villages, resulting in an unhealthy viewpoint that is not fully informed. Like Kiri’s right hand man says, her father also started off inexperienced, learning from his mistakes as he went along. Kiri will eventually become a great leader in her own respect, and the villagers have faith that she might surpass her father. On the other hand, we know that Naruto started off as a brat, and it took him a dozen years to earn the respect and admiration of Konohagakure. Not only do these things take time, they also require the help of others as well. While I’m not sure about Kiri’s father, Naruto certainly didn’t get to his current position by himself. As such, Kiri will benefit from relying on the villagers more often, and Boruto will benefit from placing some more trust in his teammates. Their journey is only just beginning.
Judging by the previews, we’ll be getting a new mission next week. But while I can handle a few to whet our appetite before the Chuunin Exam, my hope is that the production team don’t go overboard. Though they’ve done a fantastic job of coming up with original content so far, this could easily prove to be their biggest stumbling block if they’re not careful. A delicate balance will be needed. Too many difficult missions, and it might ruin the suspension of disbelief, potentially breaking continuity with predetermined future events. Too many inconsequential missions and the series will be bracing itself for some dark and boring times, reminiscent of some dreaded filler from Shippuden.