5 Point Discussions – Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Episode 31:

by Sage Ashford

The end of Shizuma’s Rebellion is here.  Will Boruto be able to convince Kagura that he isn’t simply defined due to his bloodline? Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please make sure to share it. And if you have any questions or comments, hit me up @SageShinigami.
1. I really thought the end of the episode would change my opinion, but as someone who never got around to finishing Naruto and gets his opinion of most of the seven swords of the Mist Village from this arc, I really can’t see Kagura’s Hirameikarei as anything but a really stupid sword. Like, I’m all for gigantic, absurd anime weapons and I love Cloud’s Buster Sword like every other 90’s kid, but I just couldn’t take it seriously. It’s large and unwieldy and resembles a giant fish more than an actual device for causing harm.
I know we’re supposed to think that Kagura was just incredibly conflicted in this episode during his fight with Boruto, but even when he was holding a wooden katana, he was so much of a threat Boruto couldn’t even see through his defenses. Now suddenly in a “real” fight Boruto manages to avoid getting hit several times, and only gets sliced to show off how serious he is about the battle? It’s hard to shake the feeling that if Kagura was holding anything close to a real weapon Boruto would’ve died several times over this episode. The other weapons easily made their usefulness clear in the two or three episodes they were featured, but a giant metal fish sword that sucks up all your chakra still just seems dumb.
2. Amidst another combat-heavy episode, we discover that some of the higher-ups that had been interfering with the village leaders have in fact been committing murder/espionage in order to weaken the position of the Mizukage and former Mizukage, killing anyone who didn’t side with them. I feel torn here, because while I’ve been loving Boruto’s action turn lately, I can’t help being curious about what series of events got us this information. How’d they find out? What spies did they use? What does this mean for the Village of the Hidden Mist going forward? We’re skipping these questions in order to focus on The Boy Who Shouldn’t Be Mizukage, when honestly we could’ve avoided wasting so much time in the silly bits to actually develop the behind the scenes ninja stuff. Of course, more importantly…
3. If you’ll recall, all that stuff about secret assassinations is what Shizuma told Kagura to get him to swap sides. Because murder is okay as long as you’re honest about it, I guess. But once Shizuma’s lies come to life, we get a far more honest, if less interesting version of Shizuma. The truth is (and always has been) that he doesn’t care about what happens as long as he’s able to rampage and kill as freely as he likes. That’s probably the most realistic villain we’ve seen in awhile–he’s got a goal, and doesn’t care who he hurts or what happens to anyone if he’s able to satisfy his bloodlust.
Shout out to Boruto to say what I’m always thinking when a villain decides he wants to drag the entire world down to his level. Essentially, he wonders why Shizuma couldn’t just go off and rampage on his own; which has the obvious answer that doing so would probably get him killed far quicker than if he caused a war first.
4. From the beginning, I’ve seen Boruto as walking a tight rope between being simultaneously more and less relatable than Naruto. Inside the story, it should be harder for him to connect with those inside the universe, as his life is considerably easier, and more pampered than his dad. He’s grown up with a mother, a sister, and even a (admittedly often absentee) father–he’s got support that Naruto could have only wished he had. Despite that, he seems to reach the troubled people around him just as easily as his dad did.
It makes sense that Boruto would fight as hard as he does to prove that people can be more than just their bloodline like Kagura thinks–he’s spent his entire life living under the shadow of his father, and so Kagura’s categorical refusal to believe anything else isn’t just damaging to him, but damaging to Boruto’s own belief system as well. It’s the same as saying HE can’t escape who he is either.
At the same time In real life though, he lacks the same underdog factor that his dad did. People automatically rooted for him because the odds were so routinely against his succeeding. Despite that, for most of us it’s easier to understand Boruto’s life than Naruto’s. Few of us can really understand how lonely Naruto’s life was as a child, but Boruto is very much relatable–from his absentee dad, his friends that he runs around the city getting into trouble with–he’s the character Naruto would be if anime didn’t have to be so dramatic all the time.
5. Next Episode: Looks like next week we’re going right back to the usual slice of life stuff, as Boruto remembers that he was supposed to bring Himawari a present back, but forgot considering his life was endangered a couple dozen times while on the trip. For most series after a serious story arc like what they just told, I’d be all for a cool-down episode, but so much of Boruto IS cool-down that I really wish they’d ramp up even further! Oh well.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Hulu.

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