The following contains spoilers for Chapter 15 of Naruto: Konoha’s Story — The Steam Ninja Scrolls: The Manga, “Mirai’s King,” by Masashi Kishimoto, Natsuo Sai, Sho Hinata, Nathan A. Collins and Brandon Bovia, now available in English from Viz Media.
As Naruto: Konoha’s Story — The Steam Ninja Scrolls rolled on, it became clear Mirai’s trials were more than just mere physical tasks. Sure, Kakashi has gone rogue with his teachings, pushing her to adapt in the field; however, the ex-Hokage also hopes to strengthen his protégé mentally.
Kakashi knew Mirai had potential to be a Hidden Leaf Hokage someday and, through his new leadership style, he would redefine Konoha’s missions in nearby lands, allowing shinobi to integrate more into various cultures. It’s a smart, nuanced approach, and thankfully, Chapter 15 allows Mirai to seek answers to a question that has plagued her for ages.
Naruto: Steam Ninja Scrolls Solves the King Riddle
One of the big pastimes in the Hidden Leaf is a chess-like game called shogi. Mirai’s dad Asuma played it with Shikamaru to teach him about strategy in the Naruto era. Sadly, while Asuma died fighting Hidan of the Akatsuki before Mirai was born, Shikamaru took it upon himself to carry on the tradition. He left Mirai with the same riddle he was offered: what is the king that all shinobi fight to protect?
Mirai finally learns the truth in the Land of Steam as Chapter 15 ends the spinoff. It occurs when she reconciles what Kakashi did as a mentor to Mirai, and what she learned from her experiences meeting people like Tatsumi. She understands now the king is the children, and therefore, the future. However, it’s not just for her village; she’s fighting for those all across the nation. Her friendship with Tatsumi affirms this, as Mirai realizes how important ninja soldiers are when it comes to keeping peace, uniting and ensuring all regions live in harmony.
Naruto: Steam Ninja Scrolls Brings Shikamaru’s Journey Full-Circle
Ironically, Shikamaru took quite a bit of time as a teen to answer this. But as warriors like Asuma, Neji and many others dies, he knew it was all about the next generation. It’s why Asuma and Kurenai named their girl “Mirai,” which means “future” in Japanese. That was the biggest hint, but Mirai doesn’t have an ego, nor does she look inside much. So, she never saw this hidden truth or grasped what they really fought for.
However, she’s glad she decoded the real meaning, as she’s now inspired even more to take up the mantle of Hokage, and the baton her family has passed down as guardians. Make no mistake: she’s ready. Mirai has improved her genjutsu, plus she’s taken down the Jashin cult and a Ryuki using a scary blood technique. Thus, she’s made her ancestors proud, the same way Shikamaru did when he helped Naruto end the Kaguya war. Shikamaru also lost his dad in that battle, so this riddle brings the agony and pain full-circle as his defeats there unlocked the answers.
Now, he’s meant to help the wounded heal and, similarly, Mirai is buoyed to do the same for youngsters like Sarada, Boruto and Mitsuki. Ultimately, her revelation is steeped in success, and shows her growth and maturity. In the process, this riddle leaves Mirai embracing responsibility, with Asuma’s spirit, legacy, and ambitions living on in her, the same way it was passed to Shikamaru’s generation.