5 Point Discussions – Boruto: Next Generations Episode 28: “A Declaration Of War”

by Sage Ashford

Welcome back to 5 Point Discussions for Boruto: Next Generations! This week, Boruto and the would-be Mizukage Kagura come face to face with a member of Kagura’s past!  What does this mean for Boruto, and the ninja world as a whole? Remember, if you like this article please share it on Facebook and Twitter, and if you have any comments or questions hit me up @SageShinigami.
1. I’m not sure I like how they’re trying to play off Boruto’s two minute speech while playing cards as this life-affirming thing for Kagura. The episode opens up with Kagura narrating how he’s felt like his life has been set because his bloodline is that of the Hidden Mist village’s most bloodthirsty leader, and he didn’t consider himself worthy of being placed in any positions of power because he knew he would one day tread down a similar path. Then he continues by saying that he feels completely different because of Boruto, which…again. If that speech lasted longer than four minutes I would be amazed–words are powerful, but that speech was in no way powerful enough to undo the life-changing event Kagura went through.
At least in the original Naruto, he would influence enemies and turn them into friends after brutal conflicts where he just happened to convince them their way was wrong.  That’s how he reached Neji and Gaara in some of the strongest moments of the original series–Boruto’s changing people too easily.
2. We finally get a look into Kagura’s past and learn exactly what happened to make him so reluctant to hold a sword. They’ve hinted at it, but the flashbacks have all been shadowed out, so the exact chain of events have been muddied until Kagura’s old teacher Shizuma arrives, attempting to convince Kagura to join him in an attempt to return the Hidden Mist village to its old ways, starting with murdering Boruto.
As it turns out, in the middle of a training exercise Kagura seemed to lose himself and went completely mindless, attempting to kill his sparring partner until Shizuma stopped him…with his chest for some reason, because that’s clearly the most efficient way to stop a sword in a world where people are capable of literally stopping weapons with their bare hands?
3. Most of this episode is Shizuma convincing Kagura to come to his side, first starting by mentioning how the current Mizukage Chojuro has been using assassins to kill off any insurgents resisting the Hidden Mist Village’s change in culture from a more bloodthirsty way of life to one more about peace. Kagura looked shocked by this but honestly…I can’t help wondering if that’s such a bad idea? The Blood Mist Village era was, by all accounts, absolutely terrible.  Even Zabuza seemed like he regretted having to murder his entire class of fellow genin when he was dying. What argument is there to be made for wanting to keep that way of life around? There’s a strong possibility that Shizuma is making things up, but even if he isn’t…sometimes leaders are forced to make harsh decisions.
4. Recently I was having a discussion with some friends about this series, and their biggest problem was that unlike Naruto he just lacked the underdog factor because he was too talented. That’s arguably true–he’s clearly leaps and bounds better than his father was at this age–the only problem is, the show doesn’t want to go all the way with it. After Shizuma encourages Kagura to kill Boruto to kick-start a new shinobi war, he also summons five other warriors, proclaiming them as the new Seven Swordsmen of the Mist. Boruto attempts to fight them all, but can’t even get past Shizuma without immediately being laid out. There’s some value in being OP–Sword Art Online, Code Geass, One Punch Man and more have proved that to be true–but you have to commit to it.  That or you’re going to be the underdog, but this weird middle-ground they’re going for just hamstrings the show and keeps it from being everything it should be.
Eventually Kagura just talks Shizuma into letting him spare Boruto’s life before they leave…presumably to find a different way to cause large-scale war to break out.
5. Next Episode: The new Seven Swordsmen of the Mist are on the move, but Boruto is hot on their heels, with the help of Sarada and his friends–as well as the current (and previous!) Mizukage.  Can they save Kagura before he makes a mistake he’ll be forced to regret forever?
One thing that’s becoming clear from this arc is that Kagura probably doesn’t even deserve to be the leader of the Hidden Mist village. If this whole thing isn’t an elaborate plot to save Shizuma and the rest from making themselves criminals and enemies of the entire ninja world, he’s much too unbalanced for his own good.  That’s not someone that should be leading an entire village of ninja.
Boruto: Next Generations is available for streaming on Hulu and Crunchyroll.

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