Boruto: Kawaki Makes a Big Play for Team 7’s Leadership

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Chapter #58, “The Right Job for Idiots and Bastards,” of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations by Masashi Kishimoto, Mikio Ikemoto, Mari Morimoto and Snir Aharon, now available in English from Viz Media.

In the Boruto manga, Kawaki has been skeptical of Team 7 despite knowing their potential. He's fought with and against Boruto, Sarada and Mitsuki before and understands they're a well-oiled machine. Still, after Isshiki's death, he wants more ruthlessness and aggression, with Code soon coming for revenge.

As a result, in Chapter 58, Kawaki makes a play for leadership of the Konoha squad as he wants to refine their training and make them even deadlier -- but the way he goes about it brings him in conflict with Boruto and Sarada.

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Kawaki has officially joined Team 7 but isn't a fan of them meditating and perfecting chakra control. Granted, he's never been exposed to this before. Still, it's unsavory how rash and ignorant he comes off as he tries bossing the others around. Konohamaru notices this from afar, but Naruto doesn't mind as he wants them to have their own identities. Plus, the Hokage believes this is a sign of their maturity and a true test of character.

Kawaki suddenly uses his transforming hand during their debate to attack Mitsuki, but the snake-ninja blocks it, making it clear he doesn't mind Kawaki's direct methods. After all, the team is accustom to mixing sparring into their regimen. However, Kawaki wants them to only focus on fighting as he knows Code is unlike anyone they've ever faced before -- even Isshiki. He admits constant war is how Isshiki groomed his vessels, and he believes in that method.

Sarada completely disagrees with Kawaki's attitude and approach, and the two engage in a brief skirmish. However, she ultimately hands the reins off to Boruto, who notices that Kawaki failed to intercept Sarada's shuriken and determines he's in for an easy win against someone that needs to be taught a lesson. Therefore, they decide on an official rematch where the winner will dictate training.

The pair's clash is decidedly one-sided, as Boruto uses his clones and Karma mark to absorb Kawaki's blasts. Sadly, because Kawaki doesn't have his Karma mark anymore since Isshiki died, he can't absorb the Rasengan and lightning attacks the Karma-powered Boruto throws at him.

It ends with Boruto knocking Kawaki out and securing victory. But, more importantly, the deal was that the winner of the bout gets to dictate training -- meaning Kawaki has to follow Boruto and the Konoha way. While Kawaki falls in line, he's genuine in his desire to get stronger to protect Naruto, the father he never had.

Still, this shows a sinister side to Kawaki and indicates he might, like Sasuke of old, do anything to power up in the name of good. And ultimately, while Boruto urges him to have patience and believe in teamwork, this mini-insurrection proves Kawaki is still selfish and has an air of darkness in him passed down from Kara.

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