Episode 231 of the Boruto anime managed to deliver on its promise with an intense thriller centered around the highly untested Team 15. As the blades fly, the former students of Hanabi Hyuga, under the guidance of Wasabi Izuno, battle a band of murderous bandits. Team 15 narrowly succeeds in their mission, with Tsubaki being forced to kill the bandits’ samurai leader, rather than the team leader, Wasabi, bringing to light a pitfall in the Hokage Naruto’s new Chūnin selection process.
The rank of Chūnin is believed to represent a ninja who has attained mental acumen and physical prowess sufficient to lead a team of other ninjas. Team 15’s performance and reliance on Tsubaki illustrates a key criticism that many fans have leveled at Lord Seventh. That is to say, the Hokage Naruto let detrimental changes happen in the most recent Chūnin Exams.
Tsubaki proves the exam was a sham
As Tsubaki struggled with her emotional arc throughout the episode, she reflected on Sazanka, her former classmate who had turned rebellious. Tsubaki directly told his teammates that, in the past, Sazanka was known as “The Second Rise of Mifune”, drawing direct comparisons to the legendary samurai.
If one takes this statement at face value, it would place Sazanka among the least experienced Mifune, Hanzo the Salamander, and Sannin. Tsubaki’s ability to defeat Sazanka in battle should in turn represent a feat beyond Chūnin level, and far superior to Wasabi.
Considering that Tsubaki casually used his secret sword: Snowstorm Slash to devastating effect during his fight against Sazanka, the results of the Chūnin Exams become more questionable. The Snowstorm Slash is a move that Tsubaki never used in her fight against Denki, and as this episode suggests, she basically threw the match against him. While this may have been due to her desire to stay in Konoha as long as possible, there’s no doubt that she could have easily defeated Denki in battle.
At the end of Boruto Episode 231, the audience gets a brief glimpse of the aftermath of Tsubaki’s clash with the rebel samurai. As Tsubaki limps alongside her teammates, Wasabi admits that she doesn’t think she would have been able to handle the mission as well as Tsubaki. The young Chūnin’s honesty is endearing, and it confirms once again that the Last Chūnin Exam, portrayed in Episodes 222-226, was not as effective in its selection as its predecessors.
Naruto went back on his word
The Boruto franchise made a separate effort to demonstrate that the Hokage Naruto held the Chūnin Exams in high regard in the film, manga, and anime adaptations of the “Versus Momoshiki” arc. This arc, which featured Boruto’s first Chūnin Exam, used the exams as the focal point of the philosophical battle between Naruto’s ‘hard work’ and Momoshiki’s ‘chakra harvesting’. This is why it is particularly disappointing to see that Lord Seventh has given way on his firm convictions.
The Chūnin ceremony was abnormally less strict than it had been in the past. In the anime’s two previous Chūnin Exams, only one contestant out of dozens became a Chūnin. Although not mandated, it reflects the strict guidelines by which these ninjas were judged. Looking at the most recent exam, a total of four contestants were able to achieve the rank of Chūnin, suggesting that Naruto allowed the bar to be lowered during these supposedly peaceful times.
With the inclusion of ninja technology, Naruto allowed physically incapable ninjas, like Denki, a chance to pass the exams. While this may be a positive step in terms of common accessibility, the rule change insults the sacrifices made by Naruto himself, as well as all five Kage, to defeat Momoshiki, who represented the quick and easy nature of technology. ninja.
That Naruto allows such changes in an unusual way makes sense considering the politics of the Boruto-era world. At a time when peace reigns, at least between the five nations, requests for missions have dropped sharply, and many modern families do not consider the ninja path a viable career path. With Naruto, even as Hokage, still forced to take orders from the feudal lord of the Land of Fire, there will definitely be pressure to add more Chūnin to Konoha’s ranks, at all costs.
Despite this, it ultimately falls to Naruto, as Konoha’s Seventh Hokage, to prepare his young ninjas for the threat to come. In the face of Otsutski danger, only capable ninjas will be able to fight alongside Lord Seventh and the next generation of powerful shinjas, like Sarada Uchiha and Boruto Uzumaki.