This was without question one of the most thematically interesting episodes of Boruto so far. On the one hand, Boruto episode 226 gave the audience a chance to see scientific ninja tools in a simpler form. By that, I mean that we’ve usually only those tools in two ways throughout Boruto. The first way was via the ninja gauntlet technology Boruto used in the first chunin exams. In this case, the tools weren’t too jaw-dropping. Boruto used that gauntlet to perform ninjutsu he was in theory capable of doing. It wasn’t until the very last minute that it became clear he was augmenting his natural ability. The second way was the variety of tools we saw from Kara. Those tools are incredibly complex. Kawaki and others’ bodies have modifications that barely seem possible and put them leagues above normal ninja even with no formal ninja training.
In contrast, Denki is a character with very low combat potential. He constantly struggled to keep up with his peers in almost every way. When he excelled, it typically was via analytical prowess. But, unlike other series geniuses like Shikamaru, he didn’t have the bare minimum skills as a ninja to make proper use of his mind. Putting him against Tsubaki, a samurai who doesn’t use much ninjutsu and just relies on sword techniques makes for a strong comparison.
Overall? I have mixed feelings about the episode. I think it makes sense, was enjoyable, but perhaps felt dragged out at times. In commenting further on that I’ll be going over the plot of the episode. Read with that in mind.
On Boruto and Mitsuki
The very first scenes of Boruto episode 226 were likely a surprise to some but not many. Based on some events of the manga, it’s clear that Sarada is the de facto leader of Team 7. The manga doesn’t go out of its way to indicate each ninja’s rank. But, the hierarchy at the very least is clear. In any case, Boruto seems to really want each team to have a single chunin and no more. This makes sense for the show and also could have led viewers to assume neither Boruto nor Mitsuki would pass the exam.
Given the teaser at the end, I truly truly hope the two of them fight. We haven’t had too much of a chance to see Mitsuki fight without the burden of rescuing others. In Boruto’s case, I’d like to see his potential either with a repressed Karma or without it.
Denki the Dark Horse
Denki’s tools are incredibly cool, a bit surprising, and make great points for the arc of the series. Boruto episode 226 showcased Denki using a pseudo lightning style. With it, he amped his speed in a way similar to the Raikage and used a machine with the predictive capacity of a Sharingan. The confusing part for me is how the machinery is powered. Earlier on in Boruto, Denki was well known for having both low chakra reserves and poor skill using chakra. He was exhausted after just attempting to climb trees and after performing ninjutsu alongside all of his classmates. For him to be able to maintain his pseudo lightning style, he either needs to have invented a machine more chakra efficient than any ninja, increased his chakra pool tremendously, or both.
Personally, I’m entirely willing to suspend disbelief. However, that minor detail stuck out to me quite a bit. I was quite happy to see that, despite that, Tsubaki cleanly exposed the flaws in his machinery. If he relies on external tools and those tools are destroyed, he is nearly defenseless. In a real battle, enemies could steal and copy that weaponry for their own already strong ninja. Boruto episode 226 exposed the flaw in overreliance, yes. What I disliked was the optimism Denki’s victory contained. I felt like that triumphant flair cast a shadow over the implications of a village full of non-ninja seeing the potential of people like Denki.
The weapons were quite cool and provoked thoughts for me too. I’ve often seen debates online about which characters “earned” their power. For ocular powers and biju the answer usually is ambiguous. In Denki’s case, given he built his tools himself, it feels a lot clear that he earned that power even if they’re fleeting.
While Denki got plenty of shine this week, Tsubaki felt sort of cast aside. I expected this to happen. But, I expected it to happen because she was being written out of the series. Given she plans to stick with her team, she should have more screen time. In Boruto episode 226, Tsubaki uses a Mifune-Style technique. Mifune, the samurai from Naruto Shippuden, is one of my favorite characters. He’s one of the few samurai in the franchise, incredibly powerful and renowned for his speed. It was said that weaving seals against him was useless because of his ability to close a gap and attack by the time seals were prepared.
Tsubaki, as Shinki noted, has an incredibly fast attack speed. I wanted to see some incredible sword techniques and really show off a unique character; the episode lacked that. Going forward, I truly hope to see a lot more of Tsubaki and a lot more respect for Samurai in the series.
The next arc looks to be an anime-original one focusing again on Team 7. That does make it seem like the rest of the current chunin and genin are shelved for the time being. But for Konohamaru, who has not been much of a presence lately, I really would love to see him in proper form. Finally, I appreciate that Gaara is uneasy about Kawaki. I’d like that woven more into every arc going forward.
Boruto episode 226 images courtesy of VRV
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