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1. One of the best parts about Boruto is how it lends itself to building on this massive lore that Naruto initially created. The InoShikaCho trio is a legend that’s lasted for seventeen generations—we got to see two of them last series, and Boruto continues it by showing the children of the newest group in their daily training. But it’s not just a continuation, it’s an evolution–Inojin doesn’t do (or even seem to know, initially) the Mind Transfer Jutsu, but instead sticks to the Super Beast Scrolls of his father, adding a new dimension to the way this team fights and making their techniques and formations vastly different than what their predecessors were used to. The “Ino” part of the group is no longer a body to protect, but someone with offensive capabilities all their own, making the trio deadlier than ever.
2. That said, Inojin is…exceptionally lazy. He starts out this episode using a printing press to create as many Super Beast Scrolls as possible, because doing so mid-battle is “too much work”. Eventually this leads to that particular technique being useless in the middle of training, and his father Sai sending him on a quest to discover what’s missing from his work.
Or at least, that’s his father’s intent. Instead, rather than trying to piece out what his father meant, Inojin just complains his way through most of the episode. He even eventually asks his mother to teach him the Mind Transfer Jutsu in an attempt to use it in combat training only hours later. When THAT doesn’t work, he complains that this technique isn’t useful either.
It’s a repeating pattern, painting the picture that Inojin is the kind of naturally talented kid that’s had his Jutsu come easy to him. When that stops happening, it’s easier for him to blame the techniques (despite their proven effectiveness in battle for both his parents) than it is for him to discover the aspect inside himself that is lacking. This is a story that can only be told with descendants of already talented ninja, kids who are always expected to succeed because that’s what their family line is known for.
3. The eventual explanation of why the Super Beast Scroll doesn’t work feels like bunk, though. Sai was an emotionless goof when he first hooked up with Team 7, so for Inojin’s scrolls to stop working just because he doesn’t care enough and isn’t doing it “for” anyone feels unnecessarily hokey. Still, everyone’s gotta overcome something, right?
Also, I want to take a moment to praise the overall designs of Boruto. Though they’re all a bit brick to the head obvious in terms of whose kid they are, it feels like that’s kind of the point. A former Naruto fan could be a newcomer to this franchise and pretty much instantly figure out exactly which kid belongs to which couple because the look of each character is so distinctive. Well, except in Inojin’s case–hair, eye color, fair skin–that’s all Ino’s blood line, which has to be one of the strongest in this universe because we’ve seen three generations look roughly identical. The only thing Inojin takes from his father is a blunt personality and his talent for art and the monster scrolls.
4. I’m always torn on ChoCho. They occasionally drift from what they’ve set up with her personality and that’s frustrating, but her base character is easily the coolest of the new school on the show. Her family line is one that has always been plus-size, but she’s never let that stop her confidence. Ino’s father Sai pops up for a day to teach their class a bit on life drawing, pointing out that ninja occasionally may only be able to identify a target by sight and how important it is for them to be capable of recreating the image of someone they’ve seen. So he picks a student in the class for a (clothed) life model for the rest to study, and rather than being shy ChoCho beams with pride, allowing them the right to capture her beauty.
They could’ve easily made her into someone self-conscious about her size, especially since it wouldn’t have been out of character for her family line at all–Choji would often fly into a rage when his weight was mentioned, but ChoCho shrugs off even Inojin’s callous name-calling, knowing it’s all due to his own insecurities. She’s not only confident, she generally seems like a great judge of character and is probably the most mature member of the new class of ninja. It’d be cool to see her take on a leadership role when this series inevitably time skips, but that’s only likely if they don’t make this the Boruto show.
5. Next Episode: Ninja Graduation is coming up, and Boruto’s too lazy to study! Will he even be able to MAKE Genin at this rate?
Boruto’s trauma regarding his dad is a bit hard to navigate. When they do it right, he becomes the most relatable character in a world full of ninja–he’s a pre-teen with a father who’s never home and it’s left him an emotional wreck, acting out because he wants attention from anyone who’ll give it to him, even if at heart he’s a great kid. When they ruin it though, he’s just a spoiled brat who can’t get over the fact that his father has important work to do and can’t be there every second. This next episode seems like it’s going to walk a tightrope between nailing that bit and screwing it up.