Boruto: Konohamaru Fails Naruto In a BIG Way Against Garo

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Episode 189, "Resonance," now streaming on Crunchyroll.

In Naruto, Konohamaru, as young as he was, always strove to emulate Naruto. He considered him a big brother and mentor, but also a rival, knowing that if he could surpass Naruto's level of greatness, he'd live up to the Sarutobi lineage and become the greatest shinobi ever.

He's actually done a pretty great job thus far, now acting as a senior instructor to Team 7. However, in Boruto Episode 189, even after so much time as the Hokage's protege, he fails to grasp Naruto's greatest lesson -- and at the worst time possible.

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As Garo and Kawaki battle, Kawaki starts to burn out, struggling to manage his chakra levels. This gives Garo an opening and the behemoth comes close to killing Kawaki. Boruto wants to intervene but, shockingly, Konohamaru stops him, physically blocking his way. He makes it clear that they cannot intervene, as they don't know anything about Kara's infighting.

Still, Boruto is adamant, just like how he sped off when they first found the Kawaki unconscious. However, Konohmaru puts his foot down this time and lays down the rules of the shinobi, forbidding them from taking a side. The problem is, this isn't what Naruto taught him and, more importantly, isn't the way of the modern ninja. This was the old-school doctrine that saw Kakashi's dad kill himself, the way that divided the ninja world. Thanks to teachers like Jiraiya, Naruto broke away from that code and brought the shinobi world with him into a new era of compassion.

Here, he likely would have wanted Konohamaru to do what Boruto tried to, jumping in to save Kawaki from death's door. More so, the fact Kawaki has a Karma mark like Boruto justifies helping him, even under the old way, as it'd allow them to study it further. Seeing Konohamaru behave this way disheartening because he didn't just train with Naruto, learning the Rasengan and Shadow Clone techniques; he vowed to perfect the Hokage's philosophy -- help anyone, anywhere, anytime. Even if it means risking his life.

We've seen Naruto break ranks, ignore rules and disobey commands to do this constantly, following his belief that shinobi must make judgment calls and adapt on the fly. It's the only way to move forward, yet Konohamaru, sadly, is either acting out of character or had the old way more firmly planted in him than we thought. The fact he puts Team 7 on a leash is disappointing, as he was taught that human life comes above all conflict.

Naruto would have gone to save Kawaki and probably even use his "talk no jutsu" to get him to join their side. But, by this inaction, Konohamaru leaves Kawaki cynical after he crushes Garo when all he had to do was follow Naruto's fundamental rule: even if an enemy is in trouble, help them could turn them into a future ally, one that could help chart a path towards lasting peace.

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