Team 7 and Team 10 are assigned to work on a joint mission together, watching over a pair of actors who’ve been sent death threats! …And what’s happening to ChoCho? 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. With the movie storyline done, we’re right back to the core of what made Boruto: contrasting the new generation of ninja with the old. Like most parents not named Naruto or Sasuke, Choji’s able to actually spend time with his daughter and teach her all the secret techniques of her family lineage, including a powerful “butterfly mode” that uses all of one’s chakra at once to cause the user to sprout wings and giving them super strength. You’d think that’d be pretty useful and worth paying attention to, but she’s too busy watching the latest ninja soap opera and munching on potato chips.
I just want to rewind for a second and focus on just how popular ninja seem to be in the world of Naruto. Despite people seeing them all the time, somehow all the most popular shows appear to be about ninja as well. Boruto’s favorite actor is a superhero ninja, ChoCho’s got a crush on a ninja in a soap opera, and they even had a case early on where they had to protect an actor who once played ninja roles–it’s like if in Watchmen instead of Tales of the Black Freighter all the interludes were just issues about Judomaster and Captain Atom.
2. If my exuberance in last week’s preview didn’t make it obvious, I’m a big fan ChoCho fan, and this scene with Sarada highlights all the reasons why. She’s one of the few characters in Boruto who manages to take from their parents without being hindered by them, and she’s one of the most supportive characters in this new cast, immediately trying to cheer Sarada up once she realizes how down her best friend is about her family.
But what’s most likable about her is how much confidence she has in herself. While the rest of these dorks are drowning in their own insecurities, ChoCho’s out here living her best life. A life apparently not bound by calories. That said, we are heading into an arc where ChoCho hides who she is because she’s afraid some hacky soap actor won’t like her if he figures out what she really looks like. But the good side of this is she’s still getting an entire arc to herself, and when it’s over presumably she’ll be even more confident than ever…hopefully.
In any case, deciding that her normal looks aren’t enough to pick up the Adonis-level boyfriend she deserves, she decides to use her father’s Butterfly jutsu, which burns away her excess chakra (which apparently presents itself as extra weight) to give her a slim, more conventionally attractive figure. Unfortunately, unlike her father she doesn’t get any excess strength and is in fact weaker in her version. That’ll come up later.
3. The (incredibly convenient) mission for this arc turns out to be a joint project between Team 7 and Team 10, where they watch over the star actors from ChoCho’s favorite soap opera. Someone’s sent them an old-fashioned, psychopathic, “I cut out letters from dozens of magazines to spell out this letter”-type death threat to the lead actor and actress on the show.
What I’m unsure on here is if they thought it was a hoax and thus placed genin on the job to make the producers of the show feel better, or if they just legitimately have that much faith in their genin. They’re children for sure, but Boruto just helped stop someone powerful enough to make four of the five Kage look like chumps, Sarada’s a particularly powerful Sharingan user, and Mitsuki’s the genetically engineered son of Orochimaru–so they’re not lacking in the firepower department. It’s entirely possible they took a reasonable measure of who in the ninja world could even be bothered with something so stupid as threatening some actors on a soap and just decided “Fuck it, you kids should be able to handle it.
Granted, I’m also not sure who could be bothered to kill them in the first place. Particularly quick eyes this episode would catch the script explaining this was actually the last episode of the show. Why ask them to stop filming if the show’s about to end anyway? I guess it could be because the main actress is a total diva, demanding menial labor of her bodyguards…or it could be because the male lead is a total creep. He hasn’t proven it yet, but his flirting with ChoCho isn’t going to lead anywhere positive.
4. Eventually the threat proves real, and in the back end of this episode we end up with an actual ninja popping up to attack! Since it’s a lone villain, it’s all he can do to keep up with two teams of ninja, even if two of their best spend time helping everyone evacuate the set. They actually even gain the upper hand briefly, after a distraction causes the mystery assailant to get caught up by Shikadai’s shadow bind jutsu. They count on ChoCho for the finish, but…when she notices the actor she has a crush on looking at her, she can’t bring herself to revert to her normal size and her attack is too weak for a knock out, instead only breaking Shikadai’s binding and allowing the guy to get away. Welp.
To the credit of Naruto and Shikamaru, despite this guy being a ninja he’s barely capable enough to keep up with these two genin teams when a third of them is away and one’s going through confidence issues. Guess they were right that this wasn’t out of the realm of things their kids could handle.
5. Next Episode: With the lead actor’s love interest now injured, Chocho’s been placed in the main role! Will she be able to remain herself, or will she throw it all away for the chance of love? And what’s the secret behind the person attempting to shut down the production?
From my understanding we’re in for nearly a month of ChoCho focus–with the next two weeks of stories centering around this arc. Presumably she snaps out of it at the end of this upcoming week and the last episode is something of an epilogue to wrap things up.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Hulu.