The Chuunin Tournament continues with the second round! But before that, how does Chocho match against the prodigy child of the Hidden Sand? Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.
1. I predicted the ChoCho vs. Shinki fight would basically be the Hinata Hyuuga vs. Neji Hyuuga of this series’ Chuunin Exams: A battle where a fan-favorite character found herself in an impossible battle against a cocky opponent who needs to learn respect for his peers.
And, that’s certainly what they aimed for, but the execution was lacking. Despite being in a serial medium where they had more time to expound compared to the films, this match still felt rushed. It felt like Chocho wasn’t taking things seriously, even though she claimed she was. She uses her family’s partial expansion to try to attack, only to be easily deflected by Shinki’s iron sand. After that fails, she resorts to the full expansion technique and goes full Sonic the Hedgehog on Shinki…only to stop after getting dizzy, passing out while everyone laughs, relieved she didn’t get hurt.
Now Chocho as a character has become one of my favorite characters on the show due to her easygoing attitude, often being wise beyond her years, her existence as a statement towards body positivity, and Ryoko Shiraishi’s great voice acting just ties it altogether. But this moment could have been defining for her as a ninja, and instead they blew it off as a joke. She was much cooler back in Love and Potato Chips, where she managed to talk a young boy out of life as an stalker/incel-type. (This show is way more topical than it has any right to be, sometimes.)
Now I always hate seeing a favorite character of mine get beat to sleep…but in this case it felt necessary. The show being scared to display this new school’s grit and determination to win is what makes this series feel like a poor echo of the original show.
2. Why is Shinki such a jerk? He’s battling Chocho and mocking her ability while he’s winning, telling her outright she isn’t fit to be a ninja, and it’s so weird. Like, Gaara learned emotions a long time ago and turned into a decent guy thanks to Naruto, right?
We get to see Shinki’s past, where Gaara finds him in the middle of a city being ravaged by Shinki’s iron sand technique until Gaara calms him down with a hug. From there, it’s implied Gaara took him in and has been raising him ever since. So is this a recent thing? As in, the last couple months? There’s no reason he shouldn’t be less of a jerk than this–though one supposes at least he’s not a murderer like Gaara was during the Chuunin Exams.
3. Boruto faces off against Shikadai in a match that deserved much more than the second half of an episode. These two have been friends for years and they’ve never had to directly compete like this. It starts out even enough, with the two of them battling using kunai, but eventually things move into them using their jutsu on each other. Boruto attempts to confuse Shikadai with multiple shadow clones, but Shikadai’s developed a new technique: expanding his shadow in a circle. This captures all of Boruto’s clones at one time, and nearly leads to a Shikadai victory.
Unfortunately…Boruto has a secret weapon up his sleeve. Creating one more shadow clone, it attacks and breaks Shikadai’s concentration, leaving all of Boruto’s clones free to attack. And just like that, Boruto advances to the finals. I do feel like Shikadai’s come a long way with his abilities, but it sucks Boruto’s basically been downgraded to Naruto level and just relies on his clones now.
4. So Katasuke might be an idiot. I get he made this tool in the first place and it’s probably the most broken weapon ever introduced in Naruto canon since it allows scrubs to fight on the level of high tier ninja, but still. In literally any other situation this tool would be a life saver–giving ninja on a mission that last bit of extra assistance to finish off their opponent? Great.
So what’s the first place he thinks to test it? In a tournament about testing your natural abilities and the effectiveness of your training. He literally picked the ONLY situation in which this tool shouldn’t be used. It’s like inventing the cell phone and suggesting people should use it to talk to people inside the same room.
5. There’s two really great moments at the end of this episode. First, with InoShikaCho group sitting on the stairs, lamenting their loss–for the first time, this team of exceptionally gifted members got crushed, without reservation. Watching them bond through their loss, even if they botched Chocho’s part, is a cute moment that endears you to the whole crew.
At the same time, afterwards as they’re leaving to trick a consolation dinner out of their teacher, we get a great scene where the group are ascending the stairs to leave while Boruto’s about to go back to prepare for the next round. They’re awash in light because even in defeat, all three of them will grow stronger–learn their own limitations and push beyond them. Because of that, they’re able to recover and smile, even if the loss hurts, even if they’re embarrassed. Meanwhile Boruto’s tossed aside his pride in order to win, because he wants his father’s approval more than anything else. Down this path only lies tragedy…
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Hulu.