Boruto Episode 156

Boruto Episode 156

I Can’t Stay in My Slim Form

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations episode 155 was a passable filler episode. Episode 156 was not. But I can’t say this is a surprise considering we already knew it was going to be a Chouchou-focused episode. And when has a Chouchou-focused episode ever been good?

There were a lot of other issues I had with this episode besides it focusing on Chouchou, though. For example, the entire premise of the episode is that Chouchou doesn’t know how to properly use her super butterfly mode. This is a problem considering she already had a mini-arc in which she used it just fine.

We’re now being told that her turning back into her big form shortly after using the jutsu is a sign that she isn’t using it correctly. But in the aforementioned arc, she was in her slim form a majority of the time, proving that she knows how to use it.

Chouchou eating azuki beans from the anime series Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Chouchou eating azuki beans

Another problem I had with the episode came when Anko was trapped behind the boulder. Rather than trying to push the boulder to the side, Chouchou attempts to push it onto Anko and crush her. Then when she finally does destroy the boulder, she punches it in Anko’s direction — which again, would have crushed her.

This episode is also an example of the other generic filler episode type in Boruto. Last week I explained how episode 155 used a generic formula, and this episode does as well — just a different generic formula.

There’s a character who is unable to do something, then they find themselves confronted with a minor inconvenience (in this case a lack of azuki beans for sweets), and finally, they overcome whatever was holding them back and “save the day.”

Anko Demoted to Genin

I think it’s safe to say that most people are disappointed in the direction Boruto took Anko Mitarashi’s character. In parts 1 and 2, Anko was one of the coolest female characters in a series that has some extremely weak female character writing.

She has an interesting background, a cool character design, and is actually one of the stronger Hidden Leaf jonin. Sure, she’s not on the level of Kakashi, Guy, or probably even Asuma. But aside from those three, she could probably hold her own against any others from her generation, including Kurenai and Ibiki.

Remember, Anko was personally trained by Orochimaru as his primary student just like Sasuke was. She’s able to use many of Orochimaru’s jutsu, including a few forbidden techniques. And she was such a threat that even after defecting from being Orochimaru’s pupil, she was kept under watch by Hiruzen, the Third Hokage.

Anko and Chouchou protecting the azuki beans from the anime series Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Anko and Chouchou protecting the azuki beans

Now, I know that the biggest problem with Anko in Boruto that many people have is her character design. And I have to admit, I hate her new design too. But what I think is the more egregious offense against her is how weak and nearly useless she’s become.

This mission to protect the azuki beans that she takes with Chouchou is a C-rank mission. C-rank missions are for experienced genin or new chūnin and involve potential combat against bandits or thieves, not enemy shinobi. And despite that, Anko gets taken out not once, but twice during this mission.

Anko should be able to handle even B- and A-rank missions on her own. But the fact that she’s unable to be useful during a C-rank mission shows that she now has skills on par with a genin fresh out of the academy.

Perfect Butterfly Mode

I’ve already mentioned how Chouchou has used the perfected butterfly mode in the past. But I think every episode she used this technique in has been “filler” from what I can remember. This episode is definitely filler, but the arc earlier on I referred to is a bit of a grey area as far as true filler goes.

So, my big question is: Will Chouchou actually use her butterfly mode more than Choji did in parts 1 and 2? I can only remember two or three times that Choji actually used that technique, and I’m pretty sure one of them was a “filler” arc.

Having Chouchou use this technique more frequently within canon content would be a great way to make her character stand out. Right now, she’s really just an all-around worse version of Choji — and Choji is already my least favorite of the part 1 genin. Or at least he would be, but I just remembered Tenten exists.

Chouchou using her super butterfly mode to protect the azuki beans from the anime series Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Chouchou using her super butterfly mode to protect the azuki beans

I know it’s never going to happen, but a well-animated fight between Chouchou and one of the Kara members could be pretty cool if she uses her butterfly mode. It basically just gives her a temporary boost to all her stats, so she can still use it alongside her other jutsu — as we briefly saw in this episode.

Choji got a few opportunities to shine, such as during the 4th Great Shinobi War, but Chouchou hasn’t gotten any yet. And while she isn’t one of the most popular characters (at least in the West, I hear she’s popular in Japan), I think giving her an opportunity to go all-in against a strong opponent would really boost her popularity.

This is a shounen battle series. The easiest way to increase the popularity of a character is to give them a good fight scene — and unlike Denki, Chouchou actually has the ability to pull that off.

Conclusion

Okay, so nobody probably cared about this filler episode, but I am interested in your thoughts on Anko’s decline. Does anyone not mind it? Is it good to push the older characters to the side so the newer ones can shine? Let me know in the comments.

And, I want to end this review by mentioning what was teased in the next episode preview. We’re going back to canon content(!) and the episode is going to feature Sasuke, Sai, and Team 25 infiltrating the Hidden Rain Village in search of the Kara. I don’t know about you, but I’m extremely excited for this episode.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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