One of the main staples of the Naruto franchise is that it's always been chock-full of epic villains. Sasuke, Orochimaru and the Akatsuki are just a few examples, and they've certainly staked their claim as some of the most vile killers ever to grace Japan's anime and manga scene.
In the next generation of Naruto stories from Boruto, we're also getting some equally sinister fiends who rank among the best tyrants the lore has to offer, even though the show is still in its formative years. One of the show's most notewothy bad guys is is none other than the masked operative known as Koji Kashin, so with that in mind, CBR has a primer on everything you need to know about him.
WHO IS KOJI KASHIN?
Koji Kashin is one of Boruto's main antagonists, sporting a Green Hornet-esque mask, a cloak, long-grey hair and a trimmed beard that gives him a seasoned, veteran look. He's dead-set on weaponizing Naruto's son, and his rival, Kawaki, as well. Koji first debuted in Episode 53 in the anime series and in Chapter 15 in the manga, to set a terrorist plot into motion from the group known as Kara. There, he'd corrupt the scientist, Katasuke Tōno, to garner intel for Kara on Konoha's ninjas, cultivating the first step in their secret attack on the Great Ninja Alliance.
When Kawaki escaped Kara's clutches, Koji's then deployed as the main agent to recover him, running afoul of Konohamaru (Naruto's protege) and Team Boruto along the way. But before Koji engages them, he goads a fellow assassin, Ao, into the mission, only to kill him when he fails to take the Konoha ninjas out. This was the first example of how cutthroat Koji could be, and while he may have escaped that fight, Koji still came out on top and left Konoha's soldiers licking their wounds.
Kara leader, Jigen, keeps faith with Koji, because he knows that despite old age, Koji's experience counts for a lot. Plus, it's obvious Koji's holding back of his ninja techniques. Most of all, he can infiltrate and in the face of danger, he remains composed, which is why Jigen uses him for all stealth missions. Koji doesn't play well either with Kara members who are hot-headed, as seen with him chastising Delta for hastily invading Konoha, as he knows the true key to conquering is through deception.
WHAT ARE KOJI'S POWERS?
In the fight with Konohamaru and Boruto's squad, Koji shows he's more than just a ninja with a sword. He stamps his authority first by killing Ao for disappointing him by summoning a Giant Toad of his own. Only powerful shinobi can perform such jutsus, and Koji then takes things to another level by using the True Fire of Samadhi to burn Konohamaru up. This is a mark of legendary ninjas, with fire-spouting techniques found in greats such as Itachi, Sasuke and Kakashi.
The most shocking ability, though, comes when Koji's able to counter Boruto with a Rasengan of his own. It leaves Konohamaru stunned, because apart from himself, only select ninjas such as Naruto, Naruto's dad Minato, and Boruto himself have been able to throw it. It's not a technique that's taught or practiced outside of Konoha, and it truly shows how expert Koji is in battle.
That's not all, because Koji can also conjure up Earth-based techniques that cause pillars to rise from the ground, proving his versatility knows no bounds. With so many weapons in his arsenal, it's no wonder Boruto and company thought twice about giving chase when he returned to Kara, because clearly, taking Koji down is a job for Naruto.
WHAT IS KOJI KASHIN'S REAL IDENTITY?
Right now, it looks like Koji is probably the Sannin called Jiraiya, the former sensei of Naruto and Minato. In fact, Jiraiya is Naruto's godfather and also, one of the masters of the Rasengan, so the fact Koji could throw one of his own is a red flag. Also, seeing as Koji has grey hair and looks like a slim Jiraiya, suspicions have increased.
If this is the case, it's worth noting a personality change or memory alteration could be because Jiraiya may have been resurrected by Jigen after the Akatsuki killed him in the Naruto series. Kara believes in warping science so Jiraiya could have been recovered from his aquatic tomb, revived and engineered to be its lead hitman. He has an affinity for Boruto he doesn't understand too, so that may be Koji's inner shinobi being drawn to part of his old legacy.
The exclamation mark on that idea that Koji could really be Jiraiya comes when he and his fellow assassin, Delta, try to sneak into Konoha. There's a special barrier around the village that only allows someone of Konoha blood to enter and leave, which means Delta cannot penetrate the force field. Shockingly, Koji does so with ease, confirming he's from the village, which only adds to the evidence that indicates that he really is the Ero Sennin reanimated.