Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 113 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
Having just been named the current generation's first chunin, Shikadai is tasked with leading his first official mission this week. With Moegi busy with a mission of her own and the other two-thirds of Team 10 preoccupied, Shikadai leads a team consisting of Boruto, Iwabe, and Wasabi to collect Gekkouran, a rare flower with strong medicinal purposes that blossoms once every four years. Assisting them is Tonsuke, a pig with a natural penchant for locating Gekkouran.
Although things get off to a decent enough start, Iwabe and Wasabi's constant bickering and the appearance of pig-stealing bandits plunge a seemingly simple mission into utter chaos. Angry and frustrated, Shikadai insists that he can complete the mission on his own and that his genin teammates will only serve to hold him back. However, it isn't long before Shikadai discovers that teamwork is central to the mission's success, and with the help of his crew, he's able to outsmart the bandits and collect the Gekkouran. Upon the gang's return to the village, Moegi reveals that while the mission was real, it was also meant to serve as test of Shikadai's leadership abilities. Although his teacher now seems comfortable with occasionally entrusting him with Team 10, Shikadai acknowledges that he has a long way to go as a captain.
Like his father, Shikadai is used to being in control of situations and staying several steps ahead of his opponents—which is why it's interesting to see him taken out of his element. Since he's so in sync with Cho-Cho and Inojin, being saddled with a seemingly random assortment of genin throws him off his game. Not only is he not accustomed to working with this particular group, their general unpredictability continuously hampers what should be a fairly easy mission. Even though the episode's main takeaway is the importance of teamwork, this lesson is somewhat downplayed by how uncooperative Wasabi and Iwabe are throughout the first two acts. Their bickering puts the mission in jeopardy on multiple occasions, and until being pushed to his breaking point, Shikadai responds to them in a fairly mature manner. While Shikadai may need to brush up on his leadership abilities, Iwabe and Wasabi could stand to learn deference to team captains.
After being swept under the rug for over a month, Boruto finally reemerges on his own show. However, since episode 113 is largely Shikadai's story, he's mostly just along for the ride. Interestingly, despite his general roguishness, Boruto actually holds it together much better than any of this adventure's other featured players. In addition to acquiescing to Shikadai, he offers his support whenever possible and does his best to account for his teammates' blunders. It isn't often that Boruto is a reactive character instead of an active one, but his supportive demeanor makes sense given his history with Shikadai.
As Shikadai's first mission as a newly-minted chunin, this episode is more than adequate. While not among the show's most memorable one-offs, it provides ample opportunities for Shikadai to step outside of his comfort zone and demonstrate more rounded leadership.
Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.
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