Boruto: Naruto Next Generations 1×223 Review – “Inojin vs. Houki”

Inojin vs. Houki Boruto anime episode 223 review
Houki and Inojin get ready for their battle in ‘Inojin vs. Houki’ (Screengrab: Boruto anime episode 223)

Boruto anime episode 223, ‘Inojin vs. Houki’, gave viewers an exciting battle while also showing why Mitsuki and Boruto won’t likely be able to participate in the final round of the Chunin Exams.

‘Inojin vs. Houki’ was exciting on a number of levels. Not only was I interested to see how much the two characters had grown as ninjas, but Houki’s also the student of Inojin’s father Sai. So, the fight between the two ninjas was going to answer whether or not Sai’s son was stronger than his student.

Due to Sai’s three-person team being part of the ANBU, there’s a sense of mystery around them. I liked how the episode gave us a quick flashback to Sai telling his team that unlike their peers they won’t be getting a lot of recognition because of the secretive nature of their missions. So, the team should always focus on completing missions and not worry about gaining glory. Such a secretive nature did play a role in Houki’s victory against Inojin.

Houki, like the rest of the young ninjas in the Hidden Leaf Village, knew about Inojin’s abilities. In contrast, Inojin had no intel on what Houki’s capable of. While Inojin tried to justify his lack of knowledge regarding his opponent by stating how ninjas don’t always know what they’re up against when operating in the field, I think he should have still asked around (including reaching out to Sai) to see if anyone could give him a hint about Houki’s skills. It’s always better for a ninja to enter a battle fully prepared.

I think the entire fandom would agree that Houki came through during his battle with Inojin. His Earth-style jutsu to change the entire battleground into a confusing maze (made of tall pillars) was quite impressive. Such an attack really caught Inojin off guard. I also liked how the episode showed that Houki’s attack wasn’t perfect, but he was still able to make it work in his favor. Due to having a photographic memory, Houki quickly ran around the maze to create a mental map. Once done, Houki was ready to take Inojin down by using Inojin’s blindspots.

I do feel that with time, Houki should be able to create a specific maze instead of a random one, complete with deathtraps and other ways to confine his enemies. Houki’s maze-creating attack, called ‘Earth Style: Toujinbo’, is definitely a troublesome jutsu to face for ninjas who can’t make a quick escape by flying away.

While I was impressed by Houki, the fight did make me question Inojin’s sensory skills. The anime has given us a couple of episodes focusing on Inojin polishing his ability to track a person’s chakra even if there were other people around. So, why didn’t Inojin try and track Houki’s chakra while they were both in the maze? It’s not like he didn’t have time to do so as the battle progressed. I would have appreciated some kind of reasoning because the entire thing came across as a weak excuse to have Inojin be confused about Houki’s whereabouts.

Houki’s biggest obstacle was countering Inojin’s Mind Transfer Jutsu. I liked how Inojin tricked Houki into misreading the ink splatters from Injoin’s paintbrush and then lured him into a trap. However, even though Inojin’s Mind Transfer Jutsu worked, Houki had another card up his sleeve.

Turns out, Sai’s been training his team to effectively counter psychic attacks. At first, I thought Inojin wasted his jutsu on Houki’s Shadow Clone. But it was revealed that it was indeed Houki who got hit. However, the young ninja had an effective counter against the Mind Transfer Jutsu. Seeing Houki, in the astral plane, turn into a weird-looking monster made of ooze to kick Inojin out of his mind was handled quite well.

According to Houki, if Inojin had taken control of Houki’s body immediately, Houki would have lost. So, that’s something for Inojin to remember the next time he faced Houki or someone with a similar method to counter the Mind Transfer Jutsu.

With Houki winning his match against Inojin, I’m looking forward to the next battle that will have Iwabe fight Wasabi. I think Wasabi will win.

As for the rest of the episode, ‘Inojin vs. Houki’ showed Boruto and Mitsuki deciding to help Himawari and her friends. Turns out, Himawari and the two young ninjas-to-be she met during a trial session at the Ninja Academy (during episode 154) liked pretending to be actual ninjas and patrolling the village. The kids saw a suspicious group that led to Eho and Yuina following said group while Himawari went to ask Boruto for help.

The episode did show the group kidnapping Amado and taking him away on a train. Boruto and Mitsuki followed the train only to find the carriage, that Amado’s supposed to be in, being empty. I highly doubt someone as important as Amado got kidnapped without raising any alarms in the Hidden Leaf Village. I think the group tricked Mitsuki and Boruto into following a fake Amado away from the village for some reason.

Also, shouldn’t Boruto be under constant surveillance after the Boroshiki debacle? I get he’s been taking pills to suppress the Karma Mark. But still. The Kara organization is still active and that puts Boruto’s life in danger.

Salad’s understandably worried about her teammates not being present during the final round of the Chunin Exams. I think Boruto and Mitsuki won’t be able to make it back in time and will be disqualified. But let’s see what happens. The fandom had been wondering about how Boruto and Mitsuki would be able to participate without tapping into the immense powers of the Karma Mark and Sage Mode, respectively. I guess not having them compete at all takes care of that issue.

Some other thoughts and questions:

  • Sai’s very casual about sending his team to handle dangerous missions. Apparently, it’s a miracle the team’s still alive. Considering Houki’s impressive performance, I guess you can’t argue against Sai’s training methods even if they are harsh.
  • I liked seeing Konohamaru being complimented by Shikamaru for his role in organizing the current Chunin Exams and the rebuilding of the arena. Due to the fandom nicknaming him ‘Trashmaru’, I hope the anime writers spend a bit more time demonstrating how capable Konohamaru’s supposed to be as a ninja.
  • I want to see how Houki would fare against Genjutsu cast by a Sharingan user.
  • The way Naruto made Kawaki accompany him to the final round of the Chunin Exams made me laugh. Kawaki would be interested in seeing different types of jutsus.

What did you think of ‘Inojin vs. Houki’? Are you okay with Houki winning?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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