“Rivals, Gather!”

「ライバル、集結!!」 (Raibaru, shuuketsu!!)

McDonalds is where all the cool kids gather, am I right?

Gathering of the Examinees

Ignoring the silliness of a fracas breaking out in a fast food joint, I thought the idea itself was fantastic, even if the execution was lacklustre. Personally, I was reminded of the first meeting in Fate/Zero, where all the servants gathered at the dock. Of course, Boruto’s version is incredibly scaled down, but these kinds of scenes are absolutely vital in this kind of series. It helps build up characterisation across the board, since we get a feel for all the different personalities through dialogue and interactions, and simultaneously establishes certain expectations.

There’s also a special kind of tension in these scenes, where we start trying to estimate unknown power levels, mentally preparing us for the battles that are to come. I’m reminded of the good old days of shounen, where they’d introduce newer characters, and you’d speculate their power levels like crazy. It was a huge part of the fun, where you’d engage with online communities, discussing past deeds and hypothetical scenarios to figure out the strongest person. While we’re very familiar of Konoha’s genin and their respective capabilities, those hailing from other villages present a whole new mystery. Consequently, I’m feeling super hyped.

True or False

Let’s dive straight into the first stage of the exam, which helped us identify some insights regarding these newcomers. Although the Hidden Rock trio seemed like a huge threat, they met upon extreme misfortune and failed spectacularly. Mega yikes, because Kurotuschi is gonna do ’em in. But that was the only real letdown during the first exam. The Hidden Cloud punk who picked a fight with Boruto seems to be packing some hard-hitting bubblegum jutsu. And Shinki’s might simply goes without saying, wielding a jutsu similar to his adopted father, only it’s based upon iron sands. Already, we’ve got some lethal opponents. And these two aren’t only good at fighting, since that could only get you to a certain foothold. When the real test took place, they demonstrated an ability to quickly react in a crisis, using their unique jutsu to save their teams from certain doom. Conversely, Boruto offered nothing of real value at the moment of crisis and we can see how it’s negatively impacting his psyche.

A clear path is being marked out for the boy and between father and son, I’d say that their strengths and weaknesses turned out polar opposite. Boruto clearly has talent, which Naruto never had. But while the father was willing to compensate his shortcoming through extreme hard work, the son’s hesitancy and fear in the face of adversity starkly contrasts the father’s undying willpower. Worst still, Boruto hasn’t found a way of adequately mitigating this detrimental shortcoming. I think its telling, how I reckon that many people from the previous generation would have failed this ink test. What could the original Team 7 have done to prevent failing this kind of test? But those folks had buck loads of resolve and motivation, and even if the current generation are talented in terms of their intuition for jutsu, they honestly lack the definitive edge that a shinobi needs – possibly due to peacetime dulling away their senses.

Anyhow, the scriptwriters have really fleshed out Boruto’s feelings of inadequacy compared to his peers, which will certainly compel him to further depend on the Scientific Ninja Tool. So far, this has been an incredibly developed over the course of this arc, and I get this impending feeling that this fixation will prove to be Boruto’s undoing.

Concluding Thoughts

Last episode, I stated that Kagura vs Shinki would be cool. Unfortunately, I completely forgot that Kagura is already a Chuunin, so no chance for that to happen. However, that failed to put a damper on what was most certainly a promising glimpse of the future.

So far, I’ve been loving Shinki’s vibes. He doesn’t have the murderous intention caused by Shukaku and trauma, but seems every bit as serious as Gaara. And I was thoroughly fascinated by how he contrasts Boruto in being the son of a Kage. Whereas Boruto wants to grow out of Naruto’s shadow and establish a legacy in his own rights, it looks as if Shinki wants to live up to Gaara’s legacy and uphold it. Of course, I’m pulling these assumptions out of my ass, but that’s definitely the impression I’m getting with how he sternly breaks up the fight, reminding everyone that they’re there to represent their village. From my perspective, this would suggest that Shinki possesses a combination of pride and patriotism, when it comes to how he views citizenship in Hidden Villages. I’d say that’s some Kage type mentality right there.

Now, I’m not sure if we’ll get a Boruto v Shinki fight. In fact, I can’t even see a way that Boruto could feasibly prevail in such an encounter. However, the original Chuunin Exam was a carnival of upsets, so I won’t be counting my chickens before they’ve hatched. Excluding fodder characters, who will largely be eliminated by these preliminary rounds, any character has a fighting chance of winning in the knockout rounds. And you know what? Bring it on!

As always, thanks for reading my post. With things heating up this fast, I sure hope to see you guys next week!



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