Gekko and Ryogi observe the growing protests against the Kaminarimon company, led by people under a genjutsu to spread lies about unjust working conditions. The Leaf Shinobi gather to keep the peace and defend against a likely attack from the Byakuya Gang, though Shikadai is still shaken by Ryogi calling him on his lack of action. However, he does remember Ryogi’s usual decoy strategy in Shogi, leading him to believe the gang’s real target is Katasuke’s research lab. He and his squad runoff, though Boruto spots him and follows behind. Shikadai’s guess turns out to be correct, as Gekko and the gang show up at the lab to take a storage device of ninjutsu data. Katasuke put a tracker on him, which Boruto uses to find them in the forest. Shikamaru also arrives to help fight and unmask the gang in front of the protestors.
At the protest, Denki tells Sarada and his father about how the protestors are acting strangely, which tips them off that they’re being controlled by a genjutsu that Mirai then dispels. The protest breaks up soon after, put to bed by a speech Naruto gives about how the village is still learning and growing. All that’s left to do is for Boruto and Shikadai to take care of Gekko and Ryogi, who have jumped on a train to getaway.
I’ve already made my main ranting points about the mishandling of the Byakuya Gang as sympathetic villains last week…but I guess I’ll expand on that here. I get that Gekko is just an unrepentant asshole who couldn’t care less about worker’s rights or how poor villages are being left to rot, but I feel like this sets up a ton of bad implications for the Leaf Village going forward. First off, they used what is essentially a mind-control spell to get people to protest a company about treating workers unfairly when those things are easily disproven. And even if they’re making a comment on our current “post-truth” world, the story basically says that can all be undone by a nice hopeful speech about the future, which is WAY too simple a solution.
It also means that, once this whole debacle is resolved, any future protests about this matter (even against companies that DO have these problems, which we KNOW exist from just a few episodes ago!) can simply be discredited with the excuse that everyone who has a problem is actually being controlled by a genjutsu. So say goodbye to any current and future Unions that might exist in this universe, because they just lost ALL their leverage, and every billionaire in the Leaf Village now has free reign to turn their workers into basically slaves! Gekko just set into motion the fake scenario he used as a cover for his crimes! Everyone is fucked regardless of how this arc ends!
At least, this is what would happen if this show was even remotely interested in exploring the realistic consequences of things that happen in their stories, which I’m pretty sure they’re not. Because that would involve saying Naruto is a less than stellar Hokage, which would require introspection and development on his part, and this is Boruto’s show which means he should be getting that development, except…he isn’t. SO what do we do here? And how does Shikadai continue to be an interesting character after his filler friend effectively disappears once this arc is over? I have no idea because the next major arc after this one is just the Boruto movie from 2015 stretched over way too many episodes, much like the first two arcs of Dragon Ball Super did similarly. Ah well, maybe after that, but for now, let’s see how this whole stupid arc wraps up next week!