Essay/Opinion · Manga

Boruto: The Gallant Jiraiya Returns

Isshiki is ressurected in Boruto chapter 47.
Isshiki is ressurected in Boruto chapter 47

Boruto starts to set itself apart

I have had many issues with the Boruto manga series. The anime is another matter. However, over the last few months, I decided to give the series another chance. The Kawaki Arc (chapters 24 to current) focuses on the character and the Kara. I had issues with Boruto abandoning the core ninjutsu lore from the Naruto series, introducing Ninja Tools. However, the series seems to embraced modernity more directly. The explanation of the Ohtsutsuki Clan as “aliens” yes the out of space kind. At first, I rolled my eyes, but after reading the series further I started to enjoy this arc. If Boruto is going to stand on its own it must separate itself from Naruto. The character Amado explains the clan in such a way that it feels new and organic. Boruto has decided to move from a chakra focused fighting style to one that includes nature and technology. 

The Alien Ohtsutsuki Clan

If you don’t read the series, Amado is a scientist that was the head of Kara’s R&D division. Amado is responsible for the “cyborg” bodies of the Kara members. He along with Koji Kashin betray Kara and defect to Konohagakure. While being interrogated by Naruto and Shikamaru, he goes into detail on the origins of the Ohtsutsuki Clan. Ancient celestial beings, the Ohtsutsuki, travel through dimensions planting Ten-Tails. The Ten-Tails then becomes a God Tree attempting to absorb the chakra from the planet. Once accomplished the Ohtsutsuki abandon the planet. Kaguya and Isshiki were sent to Earth to harvest it. For reasons unknown, Kaguya attacked Isshiki, leaving him near death. Isshiki possessed the ability called Sukunahikona, which allowed him to reduce the size of the body. Using this technique, he invaded Jigen’s body, becoming a parasite.

Jiraiya returns

The return of Jiraiya 

I have been hearing rumors and speculation from Boruto fans that Jiraiya was going to return. This seemed to be largely based on the character Koji’s use of toads. I initially thought this was ridiculous and only based on small evidence. However, the rumors persisted particularly due to Naruto occasionally mentioning that he finds something familiar about Koji. Boruto teased out this reveal with Koji using jutsu like Toad Oil Bombs and Doton Dark Swamp. The visual of the fight between Koji and Isshiki cuts out after the toad sharing the feed is killed. However, we get confirmation from Isshiki that Koji is a clone of Jiraiya. I’m not sure how I feel about this reveal. Jiraiya was my favorite Naruto character but his cloning feels like a crutch or fanservice. Other than that I can’t see how this helps the story, especially considering it seems that Koji is expected to die. The outcome of the next chapter will explain my question of course. If Koji dies, then it was just fanservice, if he lives then it could be much more. Regardless, Boruto is more interesting than I thought. 

The Problems I have with Boruto

Essay/Opinion · Manga

The Problems I have with Boruto

From Boruto Chapter 31

I have to admit I’m not sure I even like Boruto. The manga series is certainly better than the anime, but I find that neither comes close to the Naruto series, even if Masashi Kishimoto is the editor of the manga. The monthly schedule doesn’t help, but I do like the art style. One of the main problems is the feeling of growth. What I mean by that is all the characters seem to have S Rank abilities already. I make the series feel rushed. Take the BIG three of the series. Boruto Uzumaki, Sarada Uchiha, and Mitsuki. Heirs of the vaunted, Legendary Three Ninja, Jiraiya, Orochimaru and Tsunade and Team 7, Sakura Haruno, Sasuke Uchiha, and Uzumaki Naruto. While it true that the 3 Sannin and Team 7 were exceptional, the most recent generation seems even better.

Unlike his father, Boruto is the child of two powerful bloodlines, Hyuga and Uzumaki. He’s also a prodigy. Sarada is an elite genin, having inherited the Sharingan and her mother’s chakra control and strength. Then there’s Mitsuki, the “son” of Orochimaru. He was created by Orochimaru to be genetically perfect and has the “potentially more powerful than the Sannin himself.” Boruto has a unique Dojutsu that grants him similar abilities to the Byakugan. He also mastered the Rasengan with wind nature transformation added to it before finishing the ninja academy. It took his father a great deal of training and effort to do the same. Sarada learned how to use collect chakra into her fist, giving her tremendous strength comparable to her mother or Tsunade. She has had no training in this regard. Did she just guess how to do it? Mitsuki has Senjutsu, something that Jiraiya failed to master and took (okay a few weeks) for Naruto to.

Maybe, they have to give this generation a boost since they are competing with ninja tech now. Which basically makes my previous complaint moot, since you can buy ninja abilities. The ninja tech undermines the ninjas period. Normal people can use jutsu now. I don’t feel that anything jutsu has been earned in this series. Sure you should expect the main characters to be the best, but it feels unmerited.

So what do you think. I am off base here? Do you agree? Have you ever read or watched Boruto? What am I missing ?

Challenges · The Salty Anime Challenge

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 9: Least favorite anime trope(s)

Clothing Damage

If you’ve wanted anime long enough you notice that during the battle sometimes an anime characters clothing will get damaged. Often this is a pathetic attempt to justify fanservice. Clothing damage in anime can ridiculous. Bleach for example has this problem, while it seems that only the male characters are susceptible to clothing damage. The main protagonists, Ichigo even stated that “his outfit changes when he assumes bankai, his shirt takes damage in proportion to how much spirit power he loses. As he rests, the robes mend.”

The most famous example is of course the Dragon Ball series. Goku in particular displays this troupe. You can often comically determine the point in the fight based on Goku’s clothing. If he’s still has his shirt on the fight cannot be over. Strangely enough his pants are apparently made of stronger fabric than his shirt. His pants may get torn, but they never get blow off like his shirt does.

Defeat means Friendship

In popular manga and anime, Fairy Tail, both Gajeel and Juvia join the guild after they are defeated. In the Dragon Ball series almost all of the Z team at some point tried to beat or kill Goku at one point. Krillin even stated that “all of the Z-Fighters were enemies with Goku at some point.” More specifically:

  • Piccolo, was an enemy of Goku until mutual respect for Goku’s fighting ability.
  • Vegeta, prince of the Saiyan’s was nearly killed when he and Nappa tried to steal the dragon balls. Through the series Vegeta slowly becomes a permanent member of the Z team.
  • Majin Buu, has about ten different forms. Fat Buu and Ubuu become members of the Z team.
  • Android 17 & 18, both were created to kill Goku. 18 later marries Krillin, 17 actually doesn’t even meet Goku until Dragon Ball Super.

In Naruto, Neji and Gaara are transformed after Naruto defeats them and changes their lives. The problem with this troupe is that it’s unrealistic. For example, Piccolo, Vegeta, Buu, and Gaara kill many people and seemingly go unpunished for it, other than being defeated in combat.

Not Worth Killing

It is common in anime that a hero or villian will conclude that their opponent is too weak to be worthy of death. This is clearly design to keep the average skilled friends of the main character alive when the “main” bad guy decides that they don’t warrant being killed. It’s also a good way to display the power of a villian while not causing the lives of heroes. However, we all know that eventual the hero will surpass that villian.

  • DBZ, Goku is notorious for leaving villains alive, hoping that they have “learned their lesson,” or even hoping that they comeback stronger because he loves the competition. He does this too often with Frieza, who then goes on to destroy the planet TWICE. He manages to kill everyone on Earth in “Resurrection F ” on for Whis to reverse it.
  • One Piece, even though this series features much fighting, it is rare that they end up in death. Luffy fights brutally but I can’t think of any situation that resulted in anyone being killed by him. This doesn’t necessary mean that villains learn from their mistakes or go to prison, in fact some villains end up better off. For example, Wapol, become “an incredibly wealthy toymaker and tyrant of another kingdom, and Eneru went to the moon like he originally wanted.”
  • Bleach, many of the fights in the series ends with the loser remaining alive due to being unworthy of death. Kenpachi leaves Nnoitra after defeating him, he turns around to leave and Nnoitra attacks him forcing Kenpachi to finally kill him.

Stock Shonen Hero

If your a fan of Shonen anime or you’re just aware of it, you should be able to easily identify which character is the main protagonist. Goku is the template for most of these hero types. They tend to share the same characteristics and are even created to emulate Goku as the creators were inspired by DBZ. The most famous characters that represent this troupe is Natsu from Fairy Tail, Monkey D. Luffy from One Piece and Naruto from Naruto. Some of the the characteristics are:

  • Simple mindedness that borders on stupidity
  • Massive appetites
  • Have orange hair or clothing
  • A tendency to show mercy to enemies that have commit horrible crimes
  • A mastery of difficult techniques in short time
  • A need to train excessively despite quickly learning these techniques
  • Often fights for the thriller of it, and if necessary will surpass all limits to always win

Interestingly, Ichigo from Bleach shares many of these characteristics particularly in battle, however, he’s a smart student.  Edward Elric shares personality traits of the typical Stock Hero but is highly educated due to his mastery of Alchemy. However, some characters subvert this troupe:

  • Boruto from Boruto is actually the opposite of his father, Naruto. While he looks just like him, he’s actually considered to be a “genius,” and wants to be like Sasuke, sharing more qualities with him than his father.
  • Saitama from One Punch Man also subverts this troupe, he does wear orange and trains a lot but because he became too powerful none of his fight thrill him and he’s now bald.
  • Shigeo Kageyama from Mob Psycho 100, is average in many ways, he’s emotionally limited, hates to fight, his usual hair style is a bowl cut and wears all black.
  • Izuku Midoriya from My Hero Academia, has a powerful quirk but his most important ability is his intelligence and ability to analyze and be strategic.

Alright, this post is already too long. I could go on and on. There are many other troupe that bug me, but these are some of the most obvious.

Manga

Boruto Chapter 16 Review: Vessel

New villains are introduced

We are introduced to a new threat in the form of a group called Kara. They mention contingency plans regarding the lost of their “vessel.” They bicker back and forth over what to do next and conclude that they need to “retrieve the vessel at all costs.” After they disperse, the eldest member of Kara is killed, by another, with the “true flames of samadhi.”

Compared to Naruto’s Akatsuki, the revealing of Kara was quick. Boruto seems to be avoiding the slower burn of that series. However, none of the genin in Boruto seem strong enough to defeat any of them. I predict that this is just an introduction of Kara and they will disappear for a while as the genin gain enough strength to face them.

Naruto vs Boruto

Naruto faces-off against Boruto in front of a crowd, Boruto starts of with several shadow clones, aimed to distract Naruto and get behind him. Boruto throws a rasengan at Naruto, it appears that he absorbs the rasengan. Boruto then uses, Water Style: Billowing Wave in combination with Thunderclap Arrow, Naruto responds by using Earth Style: Flowing earth wall, blocking his attack.

Naruto then punches his fist through the wall and absorbs Boruto’s attack. He then appears behind Boruto without the hand, attacking Boruto, knocking him to the ground ending the duel. At the offices of the Hokage, Boruto berates Naruto for using ninja tech. The tech is designed to emulate the ability of Ootsutsuki, absorbing attack, however, without the ability to release the jutsu. Sasuke states that it’s not cheating, and what matters is how you use the tech. Finally, Konohamaru investigates a wreckage and is in danger from an unknown assailant.

Manga

Boruto defeats Shojoji

This chapter was largely predictable, Boruto wins. However, what I predicted was someone would come to the aid of Boruto, I was wrong on that front. I have often decried the abandonment of strategy of the later Naruto chapters and early Boruto chapters, this chapter did add some nuance to battle.

However, none of the jutsu seem to need hand signs anymore. Boruto did surprise me with his use of “Uchiha-Ryuu Shuriken Jutsu,” with lightning infused chakra. The attack is ineffective against Shojoji’s, Wind release – wind count’s shield which counter’s any attack he’s aware of.

What if find disappointing about this series so far is that the character progression is too fast. When did he learn, Shuriken Jutsu, Chakra infusion, and Normal Rasengan. Considering that Naruto took several chapters to learn both the Rasengan and then the wind infusion his son miles ahead of him. I think this is probably due to the monthly schedule for the series that makes it impossible to go in-depth into their training.

While, the fight wasn’t the most impressive, it was entertaining. However, with the next chapter coming in August it is becoming frustrating to have to wait. Finally, with the Boruto anime series being weekly it seem plausible that it will fill in the blanks so to speak. That said some of the anime episodes do feel like they are filler episodes.