“The Byakuya Gang Surfaces”
Unlikely friendships always strike a warm chord in my heart. Also, the qualms of movie watchers may have been assuaged, where Boruto’s connection to Katasuke is finally clarified. From the perspective of someone who has seen the movie, it really makes sense that Katasuke has actually been close to the Uzumaki family for quite some time. This would explain why Boruto deeply trusts him as well, and I hope that others will be similarly satisfied as to how this might substantiate future events. Seeing Naruto being pestered repeatedly over the latest gadgets made me laugh, and as always, it was great to see how science and technology have come a long way in this world.
The other unlikely friendship formed between Shikadai and the bandit boy from the Byakuya Gang. Just like his father, Shikadai is shown to have old man smarts. However, it actually causes issues, where he feels frustrated at the lack of challenge from a peer that can intellectually match him. Consequently, we can see his disconnect from the current generation, where his maturity and intelligence somewhat alienates him from the crowd. In this episode, he meets his match. A boy who can keep toe to toe with him on the shogi board, despite having never played before. Does it seem fateful that later on in the arc, this unnamed boy will become a future antagonist?
It’s hard to say. He clearly has noble intentions, seeing how he described the Byakuya Gang to be a proverbial pawn that protects the villagers. This would suggest to me that he’s being manipulated by the mercenary with the mohawk. If we were to draw parallels to the situation between Kagura and Shizuma, then the probability of a turnaround is quite high. Speculation aside, I’m just looking forwards to seeing some sweet shinobi action, packed full of the ice kekkai genkai!
The Consequences of Capitalism
The stark wealth inequality we see in Konohagakure should be a familiar sight. It provides ample parallels with the effects of capitalism, that are also visible in most first world countries. However, the detriments run far deeper too compared to the norm. I don’t know what Naruto is doing as Hokage, but a lot of criticism should fall onto him. Perhaps in a post-war period, Konohagakure’s administration has been ill-equipped to deal with the unprecedented expansion experienced, following something of an industrial revolution. It’s understandable that not everyone can be as prosperous as the city folks. But things have gone too far. The fact that these fringe villages lack food supplies and clean water is quite disgraceful, especially the city centre easily possess all these basic necessities.
I understand why Boruto feels so crushed and disappointed, something that Konohamaru misunderstands. It’s not because our young protagonist failed his mission. Rather, he is the son of a man who people laud as great, yet holds a great responsibility in being unable to alleviate the intense suffering of these impoverished villagers. As the son of such a leader, I can see why Boruto feels so much guilt, especially considering how he had his prior convictions shattered. Stealing is stealing, but he seems to realise that he and his peers are allowed to live lives of luxury, while other people in Konohagakure are dying of starvation and thirst.
Something is fundamentally wrong with the economic system. Many people would argue that it is unfair to take away wealth, from the people who have earned it. Though I largely agree with the unfairness of the previous scenario, I have a single stance on this matter. There comes a point where people start struggling so badly, that increased taxes against corporations and wealthy individuals should be levied, to raise the necessary funds that can aid these fringe villages.
Boruto deserves recognition for its ongoing commitment to exploring socio-economic problems, despite being a kid’s show. It might lack depth, but more importantly, it conveys the topic through a simple message. Is it right to steal from the rich and give to the poor, a la Robin Hood? As a law student, I think that stealing is absolutely wrong and is difficult to justify on any ground. But if the government aren’t upholding their duty – that is to say their responsibility to run the country – then my emotions would make me very sympathetic towards these thieves. Funnily enough, I didn’t think a day would come, where I would suggest that Naruto’s leadership requires questioning. However, Konohagakure’s administration clearly suffers from deep flaws, and to that end, I sincerely hope that this intriguing matter will continue to be addressed throughout the run of this series.