“The Figure I Want to Be”

「成りたい駒(すがた)」 (Naritai Sugata)

Cop Out Villain

Gekko is a piece of trash. It’s a shame that he turned out so nefarious, because as an individual who represented a movement against Konohagakure’s brand of capitalism, credibility was lost for legitimate concerns from the genuinely impoverished. Not only did he murder his accomplice, so that he could gain all the proceedings to live out a cushy life, but it is implied that he murdered both of Ryogi’s parents, then rewrote Ryogi’s memories so that the boy would end up serving him. How sick and twisted is that, where Ryogi is enslaved by the murderer of his parents? Few words can describe how disgusting these actions truly are. Despite the fact he managed to get away from Boruto and Shikadai, I’m actually quite glad that Naruto appeared in order to deliver a Deus Ex Machina – a plot device that I usually dislike. It also restores some degree of good opinion that I had lost, though more needs to be done by Naruto, before he can truly prove himself in his capacity as Hokage. His military credentials are indisputable, but in my opinion, his approach to administrative matters are in need of heavily overhauling.

Examining Boruto’s Anime Original Characterisation

One criticism I would have of Ryogi would be that as an anime original character, compared to Sumire and Kagura, he didn’t receive a similar level of attention. There’s no doubting he had a much rougher life than the other two, and I was deeply invested in the socio-economic narrative being put forwards through mass demonstrations and the Byakuya Gang. However, his characterisation felt more like a platform for Shikadai to mature, when he should have been an equally fleshed character in his own right. Shikadai’s development is not a bad thing, and served as a definitive highlight for this arc. That said, there could have been a better balance. For example, both Sumire and Kagura were able to play off Boruto, to an extent where you could really empathise with where they were coming from. You could tell that Ryogi really wanted to avenge his parents, and how deeply their deaths affected him, given how the anger exponentially enhanced his ice kekkei genkai. But it was a point that the series fell short in hammering home, mainly due to how they kept his backstory mysterious for so long. It doesn’t help that he seems so well adjusted, for someone who suffers from having such a tragic backstory.
Despite what I’ve said, there’s no denying that Ryogi brilliantly fulfils the role assigned to him, by enabling the plot to advance in a particular direction. As a sympathetic poster child for the opposing ideology, who had been wilfully misled, I was pleased that Ryogi was ultimately ‘saved’ by Shikadai. Accounting for his circumstances, where he lost everything while living a life that was essentially a lie, the boy of ice may have been given a reason to live by his friend. Their friendship through shogi was so simple, yet succeeded in being a beautiful and believable connection. Anyway, if Sumire could be granted some sort of exemption, I hope that Naruto will have the acumens to pardon Ryogi, and have him undergo a rehabilitation process so that he can be returned to ordinary life. The kid had his memory rewritten at a young age, which conditioned him to carry out the crimes he committed, and I really wouldn’t place much responsibility onto his shoulders. Considering his share of traumatic experiences, especially when he recalled how his foster father actually murdered both of his parents then used him as a tool, I’m amazed he hasn’t been mentally shattered.
Recently, anime-original characters have been canonised through the ongoing manga, such as Sumire and Kagura. Provided that Ryogi can make a recovery, I look forwards to seeing his eventual reintroduction through the manga, so that he can have his shot at redemption!

Concluding Thoughts

That’s the end of a less conventional arc. I can’t say I’m satisfied with the overall resolution, or how Gekko really manipulated the masses, but I believe it marks an essential and experimental step, which opens up many different possibilities as to how the series can choose to progress. Most importantly, meaningful ideas were incorporated into the story, that deserve to be revisited in the future. I don’t think anyone could have expected a case study on the socio-economic failings of capitalism, even if the trigger was never pulled on taking a deeper dive. When the production team started dancing around these themes, I thought the series was superficially posturing for superficial depth. But my expectations were utterly exceeded, where they went far and beyond in comprehensively exploring these ideas. As a bonus, the importance of technology in a modernising world is slowly being cemented, and Shikadai received some really good development as a character through his interactions with Ryogi. Though our Robin Hood was depicted as being ‘in the wrong’, I believe that Ryogi can reapply his convictions, by becoming the pawn who protects the villagers, meaning that he could potentially inherit the Will of Fire espoused by Hiruzen Sarutobi.
Judging by the previews, we will be getting the last of our anime original content, as the Chuunin Exam arc is being lined up. While I’ve enjoyed seeing what manners of original story that the anime production team could cook up, I’m excited that we’re returning to the adaptation of existing source material. Personally, I would love to see them touch up some of the events, by readjusting them to better fit in the context of what the anime has chosen to represent. Either ways, I can’t wait to see what the future holds.


  1. I also relived that Naruto appeared to catch this Guy. I was afraid that these Kids has also to do it.. Lucky, there are times that Parents should do the dirty work and not their Kids

  2. https://randomc.net/image/Boruto%20Naruto%20Next%20Generations/Boruto%20Naruto%20Next%20Generations%20-%2047%20-%20Large%2035.jpg
    I am not surprised that Naruto can show up, since he is really fast. Can Naruto use the Flying Thunder God?

    Wonder if Ibiki Morino took part in the interrogation, can’t imagine what sort of torture he used.

    IT doesn’t shock me that this dude was the real killer. Though I feel this arc had a lot of holes.

  3. How sick and twisted is that, where Ryogi is enslaved by the murderer of his parents? Few words can describe how disgusting these actions truly are.

    That awkward moment when you realize that’s exactly what fan-beloved Itachi had in mind for Sasuke with his magical crow…

    In any case, I agree with your conclusions. A surprising arc to explore the social aspects of Konoha’s new reality (which goes beyond what Naruto ever did), a very good chance to provide Shikadai with more development and characterization, but Ryogi ended up being more like the means to an end, and Gekko was just a crook.

    I’d dare to say that Boruto has interesting ideas for villain characters, but they could do better with the final resolution:

    Gekko: As I said, a crook who most likely won’t be seen or heard of again. Had he been revealed to honestly believe in his revolutionary ideas, or at least had his true nature been left ambiguous and up for the viewer to decide, he could have become a recurring destabilizing presence. A villain that can’t even dream to beat Naruto or Naruto’s friends in a fight, but whose evil version of Talk No Jutsu can shake Konoha to its core.

    Shizuma: This one was really honest in his desires for revolution and an example of Kirigakure’s problems with transition to peaceful times, had grand ambitions and a badass design. A pity he was all talk and no action; in the end, his Seven Ninja Swordsmen never represented a serious threat. That he was going to be taken down wasn’t even in doubt in-universe; the only real danger was not to do it quickly enough to avoid an upheaval in the village.

    Sumire: Is it weird that she remains my favourite Boruto villain so far? From the sympathetic backstory to the consistent escalation from minor “crisis of the week” annoyance to “person of mass destruction capable of pulling a Pain 2.0 on Konoha”, she had everything. My only disappointment is that she reverted exactly to her old persona. Seriously, every time I see her acting nervously or timidly again, I can’t help but remember she was the same person who kept a fake identity for years, attacked people in cold blood and fought Mitsuki to the death without hesitation. Also, her villainous ninja costume was the best.

  4. I feel SP writers do stories better when they are mostly slice of life. When they try to get more serious and touch more serious topics, something always falls short. But I too hope for Ryogi to make a return. He could be an interesting character, given the correct spot lights.

  5. Feels like I need to wait couple more episodes to properly get into the Chuunin exams arc. So far, all this doesn’t feel intense and irreverant like Naruto’s lead up to the Chuunin exams. Fighting Zabusa and Haku made Team7 really focused and serious about their stated dreams to Kakashi @ the academy.

    All this friendship is magic stuff … meh … feels like “My Little Pony”-ish I wanna see friendship makes the village stronger … or friendship saves time … or lives … or friendship combines blood limits or something something … 😀

    Don’t judge me but I haven’t watched most of the episodes since the visit to Mist Village … saving up the binge watching for the Chuunin arc 😉


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