(My apologies if the spacing is off again…for some reason this Imbalance 2 theme has been refusing to cooperate, and it’s driving me utterly insane right now. I’m going back and forth between desktop, laptop, mobile device, app, and browser just trying to get something as basic and essential as paragraph spacing to work properly. If anyone knows how to fix this, please do let me know. As much as I love the theme visually, I’m tempted to ditch it, as it makes me look as though I don’t even know how to space a flipping paragraph, and I spend far too much time writing each post to then have it sabotaged by lousy formatting like this. Alright, on to the episode now.)
To some degree, things did go as expected this episode. However, they also exceeded my expectations.
Let’s get into it.
After all the excitement of last week, this week we settled down with an episode of opening ceremonies, school meetings, and that most heart-pounding of all professions: Mail delivery.
Certainly no disrespect intended to those in the real-life profession—your job is to get the packages safely delivered, not to entertain audiences.
That said, for the purposes of a show…well, it isn’t quite the type of high-octane action I look forward to.
Before getting to our postal duties, we spent some time hanging out at the the top of a tower with our regular trio of Boruto, Mizuki, and Shikadai. No earth-shaking revelations here; about all we find out is:
A. Boruto has decided to start referring to the mysterious chakra creature as a ghost.
B. His friends are split on the name; Shikadai thinks that’s stupid, while faithful acolyte Mitsuki thinks it’s the bomb.
C. Despite having ditched the Kagemasa shades at the end of the last episode, Boruto is still beset with visions of grandeur.
Look, boy…WE might have seen that dream of yours with I’m Most Likely Toneri. However, your friends haven’t. The more you keep on this “star of hope stuff,” the more you sound like a tripping, self-aggrandizing blowhard.
But then again, I’m sure Naruto probably would’ve been just as unbearable if he’d received similar word at that age.
The real moral of the story is what happens when you’re not careful about pumping up a guy’s ego, heh.
In any case, I know the boy is already working hard, and that’s great. But I do wish he’d wait until he at least got more results before talking like that so much.
Moving on, we follow our heroes on their leisurely strolls back home after a fruitless day of searching, and Shikadai again chides Mitsuki for seeming overly cheerful about it all. Can you really blame him?
I’ve watched enough Naruto to know not to trust people who seem oddly or inappropriately cheerful—unless of course they’re wearing hideous green jumpsuit outfits. In that case you can rest easy.
[Photo credit: http://dmsexyred.deviantart.com/art/Rock-Lee-rocks-my-world-20355592 ]
But it just so happens that, despite the disses, they both trusted Mitsuki enough to have him write their excuse notes for school. Yup, that’s right—absent from school and nothing to show for it. Nevertheless, the boys agree to meet up again the next day so they can resume the search.
The good news is that they’re not easily discouraged.
The bad news is that they might not live to see the next day.
Now, when I heard Boruto say they had skipped school, I got seriously nervous. When I heard him confidently asset that they were covered, I got scared. When I heard Hinata’s voice upon his entering, I got ready to run for the hills.
And when I saw THIS…
…I got ready to make funeral arrangements.
Now, look. I definitely get the perspective that says it’s been for the best that we’ve only heard about how scary Hinata is when she’s mad; that mystery there lets us build it up in our heads and try to imagine things for ourselves. (And I was pleased when they did a happier version of that at the end of the previous anime; rather than showing us the actual wedding and perhaps not having it live up to our expectations, they left that one for us to picture.)
Also, Hinata’s unnerving smile here was just great. Somehow her cheerful expression actually makes it scarier to hear that this boy is really afraid of messing with her.
That said however, I am also darn glad we finally got to see just what it’s like when you tick this woman off. See, the thing for me was that yes, we can try to imagine what she’s like when she’s mad…except it’s kinda hard. This is Hinata, for God’s sake. Even when she’s been mad, I don’t know if I’ve ever really seen her be scary.
As a result, I think the balance they struck here was great; first they tell us things from Boruto’s perspective and get us wondering, and then they do the reveal. I think it was a risk on their parts, because it could’ve ended up being underwhelming, but it paid off because of the great job they did when we finally got to see it.
And I tell ya what—if you’re anything like me, you were already experiencing some major second-hand anxiety before that boy even walked in the door, because if you had ever tried to pull the kind of stunts that characters on tv do with your own parents…you would’ve found yourself taking a very unpleasant fast track to “next Tuesday.”
Alright, I know I’m spending a fair bit of time on this, but:
A. It was a GREAT moment.
B. The bulk of what happened in the rest of the episode isn’t of too much note.
Moving directly onwards, we end up at a school meeting with Hinata, Shino, and our little truant. Apparently, for all the tooth that Hinata had just shown, she’s still not scary enough for this kid, because he just doesn’t know when to quit.
Yeah, just keep talking, genius…
After Boruto rather unceremoniously poofs out of the meeting—strengthening my position that he clearly isn’t scared enough of his mom yet—Hinata and Shino have a brief talk over how to handle things, and we get some insight into the family dynamics: Hinata doesn’t like bringing her struggles with the children to Naruto, because she doesn’t want to add to his already heavy load of work and stress.
However, Shino makes a powerful and insightful point in response: Naruto may be the Hokage now, but he also has prior commitments, as they say.
In any case, when we return to our trio in the aftermath of the meeting, we get to see how the other two have fared. If Mitsuki has parents anywhere, we haven’t met them yet, and it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing them any time soon; he emerges unscathed, and makes no mention of parental consequences.
Shikadai, on the other hand? I believe YouTuber X-TheBoyWonder summed it up quite nicely. “Temari done slapped the TASTE out this boy’s mouth!
I’d never want to break up our current lovely families, but moments like this make me think that both Boruto and Shikadai could stand to spend some time with each other’s moms.
In any case, messages clearly received—at least on Shika’s part—it’s back to school for the boys.
The day’s subject is workplace experience. In order to gain some insight and more appreciation of the various people whose work keeps the city and society running, the children will be divided into small groups and tag along at different jobs.
Of course, instead of actually paying attention, Boruto’s busy plotting how to get out of school again. Lucky for him, not only is Shino patient about it, he actually decides to lend him a hand in a way. He reminds the boys that they are allowed to pick any job they like, giving them a little nudge in the right direction.
The way I see it, Shino’s 2 for 2 this episode! On the one hand, I will admit that I worry a little bit about his perhaps being too patient with the boys and encouraging them not to really respect consequences.
However, all things considered, I actually think Shino’s approach here was great. While he earlier taught Boruto and Co that you can’t simply blow off your responsibilities like that, here he’s teaching them that you can find ways of making things work sometimes when your responsibilities or plans conflict, as well as teaching them to think outside of the box. I was both surprised and impressed with his approach here. I also suspect it was a more fruitful tactic than simply expecting Boruto to buckle down nicely and get with the program.
Now, we’ll see soon enough that this flexible approach doesn’t exactly go off without a hitch. However, considering how disastrous the earlier episodes were for our harried teacher, I think this still shows progress—that he’s learning how to better deal with such a difficult group of students.
Anyway, after Shino’s nudging, the gang comes up with a pretty clever job choice that’ll let them cover the village as they work: Konoha’s postal service.
After being introduced to a meticulous and dedicated mail carrier—Tayori Kuroyagi—and the exacting postmaster, the boys get busy with the shadowing. Not much to report here; Shikadai complains, Mitsuki stays zen about everything, and Boruto spends his time mean-mugging random strangers as he searches for the “ghost.”
Nothing of note really happens until we have a chance encounter during the mail route—although I must give our mailman credit; it’s pretty impressive if his route is enough to wind a trio of ninjas-in-training.
In any case, that chance encounter is with none other than the Hokage himself, cutting the ribbon at an opening ceremony. When his part is done, he wastes no time in making his way over to a certain errant child of his and having a chat with the boy in hopes of motivating him.
This was also the second time in the episode I ended up with a bout of second-hand anxiety. I know techniques like the one Naruto employed—the Body Flicker technique, I believe—can be very handy in battle, but seldom have I appreciated just how terrifying that kind of movement speed can be in more mundane circumstances.
Luckily for us both, Naruto wasn’t actually in a bad mood, despite having (supposedly…) been informed of his son’s antics earlier.
After his dad’s pep talk, Boruto becomes more determined yet to find the Ghost before the adults get to it. He lights a fire under the group, instructs them to split up, and sets off on his own.
This is another good news/bad news moment. The good is that their ninja abilities enable them to get things done at considerable speed. The bad news is, they end up disregarding precision for the sake of speed. Yup, that’s gonna turn out well.
After they finish the round of deliveries, the mailman frees them to take a break, and they soon have occasion to make use of it: in the course of his route, Mitsuki has spoken to the Leaf Police Force, and has heard of another “Ghost Incident” at what appears to be the same park Naruto was at earlier. The location is on the other side of the city, so the boys waste no time in setting off for their destination.
While they’re in transit, however, we do a little ninja teleportation of our own, and get to the scene as our formerly possessed civilian is carted away in critical condition, chakra thoroughly depleted.
And guess what? It’s time for another special guest from the old guard—this time a character we haven’t seen yet in the series…Sai!
(And I appreciate the changes made to his outfit—it’s very much like the old one, but also suited to his current age and status.)
After a brief chat with the initial responders, Sai begins to examine the scene itself.
After that brief first cameo, we cut to our gang arriving at the scene as well. Except very, very late. By the time they arrive, the crime scene tape is already being taken down.
As it turns out, however, Sai is having far better luck. At a meeting with Shikamaru and our Hokage, Sai provides a progress report. So far, there’s been no really clear pattern or connection between the different possession incidents—other than the fact that they started at and near the academy but have now become distributed throughout the city. However, there is one new update, and a highly significant one at that.
In his investigation of the latest scene, Sai has found traces of Wood Style usage, leading him to believe that the Hashirama Cell may be involved. What’s more, he reveals that during his time in the ANBU & Foundation, he heard rumors of a secret Foundation branch researching applications of the Hashirama Cell for military technology. It appears that the purpose of the chakra creature is to steal energy for use by the weapon.
If that is in indeed the case, it indicates that while the Foundation was officiallydisbanded following Danzo’s death, at least some elements of it may well remain active—especially as there are only a few ninja in the land who are even capable of using Wood Style to begin with.
With the urgency of the situation becoming increasingly clear, Naruto sets the investigation as a clear priority, and Shikamaru warns his compatriots to be cautious in their investigations.
While his two subordinates head off to collaborate on analyzing the current information they have on the Foundation, our dutiful and already overworked Hokage gets ready to settle in for yet another all-nighter.
The scene that resulted ended up being a great one. If I’m going to be honest here, although the early scenes involving our old guard—Hinata, Shino, Temari (or a souvenir of hers, anyway…)—were great, most of the episode overall really hadn’t resonated with me much. The scene with Naruto and Hinata at home, however, was a very touching and emotional one for me, and brought a tear to my eye.
Naruto arrives home late in order in order to pack a few clothes for his overnight stay at the office. Ever the long-suffering wife, Hina serenely helps him out and the two take a bit of time to discuss familial matters.
One thing I always appreciate is when characters show that they are not oblivious to the things that are obvious to us as observers, so I was both happy and amused to see Naruto noting Boruto’s perpetually irritable attitude when the two interact.
More insightful still was Naruto’s admission that, not having grown up with a father himself, he honestly has no idea how to really BE as a father. I had never really thought about it that way myself, but it make so much sense. And for a moment I couldn’t help wondering why he still hasn’t really learned by this point—I don’t know Boruto’s exact age, but I assume it’s about in the 10–12 range—but then I reminded myself that even for people who’ve been raised by their mother and father and may even have had multiple children of their own, parenting is an incredible and notoriously difficult undertaking, and it’s not necessarily something that you can just “figure out” like a recipe. Things are forever changing and developing, and each child is different from the other, plus changes themselves as the years progress. So without even having the foundation of having grown up in a nuclear family himself, Naruto is at a major disadvantage in dealing with what can already be an extremely taxing, demanding, and complex undertaking.
It’s actually really heartbreaking in a way…Naruto grew up without a father himself, and now Boruto has a father who isn’t really there the way he needs to be. Both scenarios are painful in their own ways—not having a father at all, vs having a father who’s present yet unreachable, almost like a display behind a glass case at the museum. But at least in both cases, the parents really have made efforts, and aren’t simply absent by preference or indifference.
In any case, come morning its back to Boruto & crew, and back to the same grind as before. Well…almost.
In a completely unbelievable twist—insert sarcastic snort here—the gang’s half-tailed performance on the job yesterday has resulted in a flood of complaints from angry citizens…although I think a certain someone might have enough anger for the whole village. This girl looks like she’s about two seconds away from true demonic possession.
In a both wise and understandable move on the postmaster’s part, our three failed mail temps are demoted to inventory, locked away for the protection of the general, mail-needing populace. Or quite possibly to protect the boys from being beset upon by a mob of Cho-Cho Lites. (Ahh, and as a side note, I thought the moral here would be that you have to do the job right and not takes shortcuts. While Boruto & Company may have learned that the hard way now, I wonder if they’ve really internalized it or not at this point, and the episode didn’t employ the expected resolution of having them do the job over properly.)
Not surprisingly, Boruto is more than a little upset at the prospect of spending the day inside. However, before the team can indulge in too much arguing over who’s to blame, their squabbling is interrupted by an urgent news broadcast on tv.
There’s been another Ghost Incident—this time on the largest scale yet. The possessed individual has initiated a standoff at the village’s water purification plant, trapping multiple hostages inside…including a group of students from the Academy.
Shikadai urges caution, but in classic style Boruto pays no mind and charges ahead, desperately hoping to get there in time to help Sumire and the others.
The episode ends rather ominously, with a substantially damaged water plant, and Sumire lying on the ground, appearing to be unconscious or worse.
However, in a rather odd and frankly annoying move, the preview for Episode 11 appears to spoil the news of Sumire’s fate. Of course, it could be some sort of misdirection, and I’m honestly hoping it is, because otherwise that makes the preview an actual spoiler, which is just plain irritating and self-sabotaging.
However, that complaint aside, the preview for this week’s episode has left me very excited.
From what’s shown in the preview, we get to see Naruto showing his son a level of steeliness that we haven’t before seen in their interactions in the series, and I say it’s about freaking time.
You’ll recall my earlier statements about how nervous I got after Boruto’s behavior. The fact of the matter is—and I often find myself noting this when watching familial interactions in various shows—if I were to EV-AH show my parents that much attitude and disregard as either a child OR an adult…that’s not even a hypothetical you want to finish.
And while I definitely have felt at various times that my own have put too much emphasis on things like that, I can certainly say that Boruto’s parents have been operating too much on the other extreme.
Even though he does have his own flaws to address as a parent, Naruto also must keep in mind that he’s not doing his son a favor if he simply allows the boy to run roughshod over him, especially since this kind of thing no doubt affects how he deals with others in authority over him, like his teacher and Konohamaru (and whomever becomes the team leader that Boruto will train under).
And believe me, I do sympathize with Boruto, and am of the belief that if you’re going to demand the respect associated with a role, you should do your part in fulfilling the obligations of a role. Boruto feels that his dad has been needlessly neglecting the family and also showing a lack of consideration towards Mom. So I can see him having a hard time finding much affection or respect for his father.
However, neither does he seem to be making an effort on his own side of things, and even when his dad tries reaching out to him, he refuses to move an inch or actually try to get along.
And frankly, while it may not gain him any popularity points with Junior, I think Naruto’s seriousness and intensity here will at least enable the boy to take him a little more seriously rather than just thinking of him as a goofy, awkward, and frankly unimportant dad.
The fact of the matter is that Naruto is Hokage, and takes his job and its high stakes darned seriously. I think Boruto’s now gonna get at least a glimpse of a side he hasn’t yet seen when it comes to his father.
A little less peer, a little more DAD.
Now, is Boruto actually gonna listen so easily? PFFT! Not in the cards nor in the genes. However, I figure it’s at least a good start.
In fact, since I still expect revelations regarding the Ghost Incident itself will still be a bit slow in coming at this point, the parent-child dynamic is actually what I’m most looking forward to in this upcoming episode, even more so than further news about the chakra weapon or our chance to see how a certain pink-haired master healer is doing these days.
In fact, I’ll admit I didn’t even notice her until someone pointed it out in a comment under the preview on YouTube.
I think I’m pretty decent about noticing details—like that hawk early on in the episode or the plant growth—but that one escaped my notice entirely, as I was more focused on other interaction.
Well, I think that’s about all I have to say abut Episode 10 and my expectations for Episode 11. If I’m going to be perfectly honest here, I think I’ve actually ended up overcompensating a bit in how much space I’ve dedicated to it overall. Even though it had multiple moments that were highly entertaining, and even emotional, this episode might be my least favorite thus far. It didn’t connect with me the way I’d hoped, and I think the best way I could describe it some great moments set against the backdrop of a lackluster episode. The good moments were really good, but somehow the overall picture just carried a dull feeling for me and didn’t quite work. It’s odd, really—it felt like it should work yet didn’t.
And I’m caught in this awkward place of feeling like the episode was less than the sum of its parts rather than more. That said, the good parts were certainly enough to objectively make it a solid and actually noteworthy episode, especially for the insights it provides into the different characters.
So, I think I’ll chalk my ambivalence with this episode more to a matter of that X factor of personal connection rather than it being an objectively poor episode on the part of the writers and other staff.
So if I were to give it a score out of 10, my feelings towards it were probably on the 6.5–7.0 range, but the score it objectively deserves would likely be in the 7.0–7.5 range instead.
Having said that, the episode preview has me stoked (minus the apparent spoiler…), and I’ve heard rumors that the upcoming arc as a whole will be fantastic, so I suspect that the next several episodes will consistently rate both personally and objectively as 7s at the very least.
Whether or not I’ll actually score each one I don’t yet know, but I think my assessments will be positive ones if I do.