Boruto: Naruto Next Generations latest manga has been nothing short of a game-changer. Chapter 45 sees Naruto and his trusted lieutenants sit down with Amado, the chief science engineer for the mysterious Kara group. Amado is attempting to defect to Konohagakure, and in exchange for safe haven, offers Naruto big revelations about Kara and its ties to the Otsutsuki Clan. Unfortunately, Kara's leader (and Otsutuski host body) Jigen is all-too aware of Amado's treachery. Jigen is also aware that Amado has a co-conspirator within Kara: the mysterious Koji Kashin. Jigen tries to ambush Koji, but the masked man is ready for the fight - once again sparking one of Boruto's biggest mysteries right now:
Just who is Koji Kashin, really?
Longtime Naruto fans have been flooding to one popular theory: that Koji Kashin is actually Naruto's mentor, Jiraiya, somehow returned from the dead. There's a lot of evidence to that theory, such as Koji Kashin's particular jutsu powers and summoning; his chakra being recognized by Hidden Leaf's defenses - even his weird voyeur tendencies. The question is: if Koji Kashin is Jiraiya (or some version of him), then how is he back from the dead, and in this particular form? The answer to that could be a major Naruto character who has yet to really put his stamp on Boruto: Orochimaru.
As Naruto and Naruto: Shippuden showed, Orochimaru was particularly focused on mastering the kinjutsu of Impure World Reincarnation summoning, which would allow him to ultimately reattach dead souls to reincarnated bodies, which have enhanced abilities and regeneration. Orochimaru managed to pioneer new advances with the technique, followed by his subordinate Kabuto, who not only improved the reincarnation process, but specifically wanted to bring back Jiraiya.
Based on the nature of his death while fighting Pain, Jiraiya's body was presumably lost at the bottom of the sea, and was unable to be recovered for reincarnation. However, in the age of Boruto, that wouldn't be so much of a problem, anymore. Based on what we've seen from Kara and its cyber-enhanced agents, having an operative pop down to retrieve Jiraiya's would've been something that could be easily pulled off. Which brings us to the next piece of the puzzle: Amado.
Kara's chief scientist is a pioneer in cybernetics, who seems to have as intimate a knowledge of Konohagakure as Koji Kashin does. Naruto fans have long been wondering how these Kara men know so much about Hidden Leaf, and once again, Orochimaru might be the key.
Here's the theory: Orochimaru (and/or Kabuto) wanted to reincarnate his best friend Jiraiya, but had two big problems:
- Retrieving his body from the bottom of the sea.
- Repairing Jiraiya's water-worn corpse, or finding a more powerful body to house his soul.
To accomplish both goals, Orochimaru would need help from a gifted scientific mind - such as Amado. Orochimaru surely would be keeping an eye on threats like Kara and their Otsutsuki connection, and would've been sharp about countering that threat, long before Naruto and Co. were aware of it. Gaining an ally like Amado would've been exactly the sort of move Orochimaru would make - especially if he wanted to gain knowledge of the Otsutsuki Clan's own reincarnation process, which Kara holds the secret to.
When you consider the idea that Orochimaru and Amado conspired together at some point, then Koji Kashin makes perfect sense. A reincarnated, cyber-enhanced Jiraiya would be the perfect agent to take on a threat like Jigen/ Isshiki Otsutsuki. Koji / Jiraiya has the necessary power to fight Jigen, and the smarts and skills to have gotten in with Kara and survived there. Given the nature of Reincarnation kinjutsu, Orochimaru and/or Amado would be able to keep tight control of Jiraiya's eccentric personality, resulting in the robotic, cold and calculating demeanour of Koji. It will be interesting to see what happens when Koji and Naruto meet, and/or when more of the villain's personality emerges.
The Boruto anime has actually laid much better groundwork for this sort of reveal about Koji Kashin's connection to both Jiraiya and Orochimaru to have big impact. First, the anime has checked in with Orochimaru in much more detail (thanks to his "son" Mitsuki's expanded storyline), and already foreshadowed how he could be developing new forms of reincarnation and/or artificial body creation. Secondly, Boruto and Sasuke got to revisit Young Naruto's past and meet Jiraiya, forming an actual bond with the Sannin legend. To find out Jiraiya has become Koji Kashin would be a big blow to Boruto in the anime, as it was devastating to Naruto in the manga.
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