5 Point Discussions – Boruto: Naruto Next Generations 58: “The Tournament Begins”

by Sage Ashford

The first round of the Chuunin Tournament begins! But which Genin will survive, and which will be forced to retake the test? 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. From the very beginning, I assumed Yurui was a starter opponent for Boruto, and as it turns out? I was right. After weeding out the majority of the teams entering the Chuunin Exam, we finally get to the tournament. Hosted by Rock Lee, the remaining teams are set in three blocks, specifically engineered so they won’t have to face anyone on their team in the opening round.
Boruto matches up against Yurui, and unsurprisingly there isn’t much to him. He’s got bubblegum he loads with chakra, and it explodes upon contact with someone. What is surprising is how Boruto is unable to keep up with him. He’s defeated loads more talented opponents than this, and it almost feels like he’s been downgraded to the level of ability he had back during the start of the series. He doesn’t make any clones, doesn’t think tactically, just kind of hops around hoping to think of something. He wastes a bunch of shuriken on it, but eventually decides he can’t figure a way past Yurui and just goes directly for using the Ninja Tool again, creating a special shuriken which curves past all the bubblegum bombs on the field to hit Yurui before he can create another, exploding the nascent bomb and knocking him out.
A real downside to having to fit this arc in after they’ve had so many adventures is having to dial back not just characterization, but Boruto’s abilities. It’s only a countdown until Boruto gets caught, but this is kind of a bummer to watch. He’s done so much more than this, but this exam is making him look incompetent without his ninja tool.

2. The second match up is Shikadai, and he’s up against Yodo of the Hidden Sand. There’s a brief and direct callback to Shikamaru’s mother Temari first meeting the group at their Chuunin Exams, and it gets hilarious when Ino and Sakura wonder if it’ll be hard for her to know who to cheer for…only for Temari to immediately start cheering her son on. Though she may not be a member of the Leaf Village, she’s a proud mother and wife before her ties to the Sand.
As for Shikadai, he briefly looks to be in trouble against Yodo, who’s abilities mostly include super-hearing and the ability to create powerful soundwaves from doing her best Willow Smith impression and whipping her hair (back and forth). But since this tournament’s on a more compressed schedule than an arc of Dragon Ball Kai, they didn’t actually clean the arena from the last match, so Shikadai figures out her super-hearing trick and comes up with a way around it.   He makes her activate several of his paper bombs before he can throw them at her, and in the explosion uses his shadow capture technique to freeze her in place. Though it’s not an easy victory, it’s absolutely a quick one.

3. …Someone get Chojuro out of here. I wasn’t especially impressed with his performance during the School trip arc, but here he sounds like such a scrub. After two back to back victories from Konoha Village, Chojuro remarks how the Leaf simply wanted to show off how good their prodigies are and get free promotions into Chuunin. And I mean…it does kinda look like that, but you’d think since he’s the leader of a completely different village he wouldn’t take things so lightly. If he were a more jokey character I probably would’ve loved this as sort of poking fun at the series. But because it’s Chojuro, I can’t help thinking he simply lacks the killer instinct to want his people to succeed more than anything else. Granted, given the Hidden Mist Village’s past one can understand why he might get the promotion over someone more hungry for the job.

4. Immediately after the first two opponents we enter garbage hour for the rest of the tournament. Sarada faces off against Tarui of the Hidden Rock Village and literally wins in three seconds with a single punch, thanks to the freakish strength she acquired from her mother. She claims it’s because she’s so strong rather than her opponent being weak, but it’s hard to take her serious; we didn’t even see her opponent react. It’s not like we saw anything Tarui had to offer and know she’s powerful, for all we know her abilities suck.
Meanwhile, Inojin tries his best to win against Araya of the Hidden Sand and manages to be the first member of the Hidden Leaf not to finish off their opponent. This isn’t the worst loss to take, and really only reminds you of how important it is for the Ino-Shika-Cho group to work together; all their abilities are rather one dimensional, and working solo there’s really only so much any of them can do.
Lastly, we get a match between Mitsuki and Toroi of the Hidden Cloud Village. This is extra garbage hour, because if the daughter of the Uchiha Clan and Sakura is OP, then the genetically-engineered son of Orochimaru is mega busted. Toroi has some goofy technique to increase his speed, but much like when Sasuke first tried his Sharingan on Rock Lee only to learn his reaction wasn’t fast enough to keep up, Toroi has no fine control over his additional speed, and gets choked out by Mitsuki’s snakes. Even without the cheating, the Hidden Leaf Village is just that damn tough.

5. The second half of garbage hour continues when ChoCho goes out to face off against Shinki of the Hidden Sand. A child prodigy trained by Gaara, this fight is such a foregone conclusion they don’t even talk about it in the preview–instead focusing on the second round.  Nonetheless, there’s a hint present that ChoCho just might be the Hinata of this exam, showing the kind of determination and never-give-up spirit that makes you want to see her win, even if she doesn’t have a chance.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is available on Crunchyroll and Hulu.

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