AFA Singapore 2019: Living The Ninja Dream With The NARUTO X BORUTO: Ninja Selection Exam

A countdown timer resided at the top right-hand corner of the screen, as aspiring fans took their places at the tables in the dedicated space. Armed with a ninja scroll in hand, the healthy pool of costumed individuals and casual enthusiasts chattered one another up while waiting eagerly for the Naruto x Boruto: Ninja Selection Exam to commence.

Making its debut not only in C3 Anime Festival Asia (AFA) Singapore 2019 but also in the whole of Asia, the themed event puts six-member groups on a mission to gain the acknowledgment of Sixth Hokage Kakashi Hatake. The story goes as such: the people of Fantasy Village – a small village tucked away in the Hidden Leaf – have consistently been under invasion by thieves and marauders. To protect their safety, Kakashi is tasked to recruit potential candidates and train them into qualified ninjas, because well, we’re sure the Hokage has a lot of paperwork to clear.

And so the ninja test was thus born. Kicking off the first part would be the testing of participants’ knowledge of basic ninja hand seals and techniques, from the Shadow Clone Jutsu to the extremely high-level Dead Demon Consuming Seal technique. It’s as much of a trivia quiz as it’s a test of memory – while Kakashi will appear onscreen to break down the hand signs a maximum of two times, fans who have familiarised themselves with the jutsu from the anime are certainly at an advantage. Naturally, the difficulty level increases along the way, but this shouldn’t prove to be too big of a problem if the right cards are played (i.e. having each member memorise the signs in order *hint hint*).

Next up, origami. By referring to instructions in the scroll provided, fans are faced with the task of making a piece of ninja equipment under a certain time, so those who are defter or more experienced with folding instructions stand a higher chance of excelling here. The test, however, is not a one-man show, which means you’ll have to help your fellow teammates out – after all, teamwork is the ninja way here.

Rounding off the first half of the event, Kakashi will proceed to guide candidates in conjuring Ninjutsu spells. Unfortunately, everyone failed the chakra test, and smoke engulfed the room – a respectable attempt to replicate the smoke effect from the anime that also leads to the next part.

Locating ninja cutouts and standees scattered around the event hall, as well as clue-solving form most part of the trial. With a total of 60 minutes on the clock, groups have to get 10 stamps on their scrolls and answer a set of questions correctly, before they are bestowed with the power of the Rasengan at the Rasengan Room. Invigilators will stand (or sit, to put it more accurately) at the entrance to check their exam results, granting candidates either a giant ‘F’ or a coveted entry into the space.

As it stood, everyone in the batch failed the Ninja Selection Exam, but that’s actually the expected result: according to the invigilators themselves, the test is designed to be challenging. Those who successfully make it through will subsequently receive a certificate as well.

The Naruto x Boruto: Ninja Selection Exam proves to be an interesting and experience event, although some of the mini-activities, such as calling for the appearance of Kakashi on-screen, do seem a little eye-roll-inducing. It’s all in the name of fun, however, and there seems to be plenty of that to go around. The nostalgia of iconic scenes serves as a bonus, too.

Details of the event are as follows:

Date: 29 Nov 2019 to 1 Dec 2019
Venue: ODEX Booth (E123) in C3AFA Singapore (Suntec Convention Centre)
Price: SGD$15/pax (on the ODEX website or on-site).
(AFA entrance ticket is not included)

To all interested parties, good luck, all the best, and have fun living out the (pseudo) ninja dream!