5 Point Discussions: Boruto Naruto Next Generations 52: “Sasuke’s Shadow”

by Sage Ashford

Boruto and the rest of Team 7 must deal with a relic of the Great Ninja War: White Zetsu!  Can this team of inexperienced ninja overcome this dangerous foe?  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. Last week’s episode ended with the reveal of the monster in the mines: the White Zetsu.  White Zetsu was a creature Naruto series end villain Kaguya Otsutsuki created to help her during the Last Great Ninja War. This is more important if you saw Naruto, but for those of us who haven’t or didn’t finish, they immediately establish Zetsu as a threat, as it fires off lightning, flame, and wind jutsu in rapid succession, forcing Team 7 into the defensive.
A Zetsu made up of three others fused together, it easily pushes Konohamaru back and injures him too, though it’s clear he’s holding back to keep an eye on the kiddies. It’s a pretty hardy monster, getting stabbed in the neck with a kunai by Boruto only to shrug it off. The only attack to do real damage is when Boruto remembers the device he got from Katasuke last episode and uses it to blind him. While Zetsu is distracted, Konohamaru slices its midsection and forces it to escape.

2. My favorite moment in this episode comes after Zetsu escapes. For whatever reason, Konohamaru decides to go after it instead of going for help instead, which leads to Boruto trying to follow along. Immediately, Konohamaru shuts him down, causing Boruto to ask if Konohamaru sees him as a burden in this situation. Boruto barely gets the question out before Konohamaru tells him the obvious: of course he is.
For as much as I’ve wanted to root for the boy genius for being Naruto if he’d grown up with a family, there’s no denying how coddled he’s been up to now. Pretty much everyone he’s faced missed the Great Ninja War and the era before it, where nearly any mission could’ve been life and death. He doesn’t understand the consequences of getting in over his head and he’s become more and more cocky. Naruto would frequently put himself at risk, but that was because there was often no choice–in this peaceful era, there’s no call for his son to be this reckless and recently it’s become annoying rather than endearing.

3. Still, eventually Sarada convinces Konohamaru to let them follow along with the very sound advice that Zetsu could easily attack them while their teacher is busy looking for it. He reluctantly agrees, but comes up with a plan to both take the monster out and keep them safe. Everything pretty much goes according to plan, until Boruto decides he has to go one step further to “prove himself”.
Despite being the centerpiece of the plan, as he uses multiple shadow clones to keep the Zetsu distracted and wear it down until Konohamaru can attack, that’s not good enough for him. Spotting a vulnerability, he attacks Zetsu’s back directly…and fails, winding up in Zetsu’s clutches and nearly getting the rest of the team hurt because of his actions. This is a Boruto who’s become full of himself based on past successes, and forgotten that his biggest achievements: defeating enemy ninja on his first mission, taking down the Byakuya Gang?  All happened while relying heavily on his teammates. Hopefully being defeated like this leads to a moment of reflection, but…we’ll see.

4. The funniest part of the episode is learning Sasuke is still trash. When the group explores the mine to discover exactly where this White Zetsu came from, they discover a dead relic of Kaguya’s meant to create Zetsu..then look deeper and find the bodies of dozens more Zetsu, only their bodies are covered in a mysterious black fire. The kind of flame that can only have come from Sasuke’s Amaterasu jutsu.
The one Zetsu they’ve defeated is just the leftover Sasuke missed. This off screen display of power is pretty cool, and not at all why I’m trashing him. No, the problem comes in when the rest of Team 7 wonders where Sasuke is and Konohamaru explains how using the Rinnegan Sasuke can basically hop across time and space however he pleases. Soooo….the reason he doesn’t go home every night to see his wife and kid is ’cause…? How busy can you be? At least Naruto tries to send a shadow clone…Sasuke comes home so infrequently his kid thought her parents didn’t love each other.

5. Next Episode: This is finally it! We’re at the start of the Chuunin Exams! How will Boruto and the rest of the genin prove themselves now that this key moment has finally arrived? But first, there’s something much more important: Himawari’s birthday! Will Naruto remember his own daughter’s party?
We’re knee-deep in Boruto: The Movie territory now. I’ve never seen the movie, which is a good thing because I’m bad at dealing with repetition, but I’m guessing the television version is going to deliver more details and flesh out the characters more. It’s taken a year, but we’re finally starting to catch up with the stuff that got Boruto its popularity in the first place.   That’s fine though, as doing it this way is much better than kicking the series off with the film adaptation like some shows do.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is available on Hulu and Crunchyroll.

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