Boruto: Chocho Is the New Sakura – and Not in a Good Way

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Episode 229, "Breach of Orders," now streaming on Crunchyroll.

One of the most disappointing aspects of the Naruto series was Sakura, whose character development was inconsistent as the manga and anime focused heavily on the would-be Hokage and his rivalry with Sasuke. She was given some big moments, especially in the Kaguya War, but Sakura was still used mostly as a pawn to make Naruto and Sasuke look good -- made even worse by shucking her into a marriage with the latter. Unfortunately, Episode 229 of the Boruto anime confirmed Chōchō is being fashioned similarly, and it's quite disrespectful.

Seeing as so many years have passed and Naruto's female fanbase was so vocal, it'd be logical for some course correction to take place by empowering the women in Boruto better. Sadly, that hasn't occurred with Ino and Sakura given more duties as housewives, and the majority of the mentors for the new generation being men. To compound the problem, another lovestruck girl is being used as a crutch for a main guy's development -- akin to Sakura back in the day.

This is emphasized in the mission to the Land of Calm Seas, where Chōchō is joined by Kawaki and Shikadai to escort Mozuku back home with a cure for a virus. Sadly, rather than focus on the mission, Chōchō spent most of the time being a fangirl to Kawaki, going on and on about his looks without any real nuanced reason for liking him.

It's superficial and reeks of the cosmetic arc Sakura had in Naruto, fawning over Sasuke only for him to hate and threaten her time and time again. Kawaki doesn't want to kill Chōchō, thankfully, but he isn't into her, so this felt like an unnecessary and repetitive Boruto arc that dredged up bad memories of old. Naruto did the same to Temari, Ino and Karin too, having them lust after Sasuke when crafting something more meaningful and based in love -- per Hinata's affections for Naruto -- would have resonated more.

Instead, this new attempt at unrequited love with a new Sasuke is cheap and done for laughs, which isn't good. Chōchō has already suffered from a lack of development as the plus-sized, food-loving shinobi whom the guys make fun of. It's such a bad creative decision because she's got so much potential, as seen when she pushed Sarada to the limit in the recent shinobi exams, and more recently in helping fight off assassins.

Sasuke attempts to kill Sakura

To make it worse, she underwent something else Sakura often experienced: being the victim and damsel in distress to be rescued. In this case, Chōchō had a mini-fridging of sorts as she was stabbed up in the fracas, requiring medical care to make Mozuku important and a surprising altruistic figure.

It's demeaning because she had done the heavy lifting to free the guys, which reeked of Sakura's past where she was a prop to create openings for her male counterparts to hog the glory. Hopefully this regression in Boruto is soon snuffed out -- Chōchō deserves better and should be an independent, critical thinker capable of seeking worthwhile love out in a more mature manner.

gohan and chi chi
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