Continuing from the previous episode, it becomes apparent that Boruto’s classmates did not like his entrance of crashing the train into the Hokage mountain. In fact, he initially is scorned and rejected because from the perspective of every other kid there, Boruto seemingly got away with it because he is the Hokage’s son. This becomes a theme throughout this episode where Boruto is accused by many of his classmates for simply riding on Naruto’s coattails.
The most outspoken opposition to Boruto comes from Iwabe, a character who like Denki, is exclusive to the anime and is the other character that some associate with Kawaki… never mind the fact that a younger Kawaki was already seen in the manga, meaning that when Kawaki appears in the anime, it will not be a character we have already met. Then again, after the whole Obito is Tobi identity plot from the original series, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if the writers pulled the Tobi-Obito thing again by having a seemingly impossible character (i.e. Denki or Iwabe) turn out to be Kawaki. On a side note: I think we can all agree that Tobi was far better as Tobi than he was when he was revealed to be Obito.
Anyway, Boruto and Iwabe eventually have a fight which serves as the main highlight of the episode. We were all quick to notice Boruto attacking Iwabe in a similar manner to when Sasuke attacked Kakashi during the Bell Test, even though chronologically, Boruto hasn’t been taught by Sasuke and if Naruto Gaiden is any indication, Sasuke has never even met Boruto by this point since in Naruto Gaiden, it was stated that until Sasuke met her again, he hadn’t seen her since she was born.
Ultimately, the fight is ended once Inojin interrupts Iwabe from using a weapon that he initially stated he wouldn’t use in the fight, resulting in Iwabe lightening up from this point forward.
Main Factor 1 – Iwabe
For some reason, Iwabe reminds me of Kiba. Probably due to how dim-witted Kiba was, yet unlike Kiba, Iwabe can hold his own and seems more relevant in this series than Kiba was in the original series. The notable thing about Iwabe is that was held back, meaning that he is actually older than Boruto and the rest of the next generation and it is made apparent by the height difference between Iwabe and the rest of the kids.
Yet Iwabe wasn’t held back due to his lack of talent. On the contrary, he had proven to be a skilled Shinobi and was good with Ninjutsu and most especially Taijutsu. His reason for being held back was due to him failing regular academic subjects which have little to do with being a Shinobi.
Like with Denki, he seems like a good character and I look forward to see what direction the anime takes with their characters, however I doubt either will be super relevant given the importance of other characters such as Mitsuki, who seems to be debuting in episode 5 (finally), and I hope Mitsuki’s debut drops some exposition on what is going on with Orochimaru. I still think he is villain potential and he’s certainly a powerful Shinobi loved by the fans.
Main Factor 2 – Inojin
At first I thought that Inojin would just be a mini-me of his father, but it seems that his personality is closer to Ino’s than anything. What I initially assumed to be apathy was just Inojin knowingly being a sarcastic, blunt character whereas Sai was emotionless for a large amount of the time and took a long time to learn how to interact with others. Inojin, by contrast, fixed his attitude much faster than Sai did at an older age.
I like that Inojin’s jutsu are coloured rather than just being black-and-white like Sai’s were. It sets him apart from Sai even though both use the same type of Ninjutsu. Given that he is on the same team as Chouchou and Shikadai, it makes sense that Inojin can also use the Mind Transfer Jutsu like others from the Yamanaka Clan.
So far, I’m liking the side characters of Boruto more than I liked the side characters of the original Naruto series. Characters like Kiba, Shino, Tenten, Ino, and Chouji simply weren’t that interesting to watch IMO. The way that the next generation are written is done well because most of them are very different from their parents, even if it doesn’t seem that way at first (except Shikadai who is basically Shikamaru-lite).
I’m especially looking forward to seeing what the anime does with the anime-only characters such as Denki and Iwabe, as well as how relevant the side characters (any of the kids who aren’t Boruto, Sarada, or Mitsuki) hold up over time.