Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 103 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
Team 7 wraps up its latest mission in an action-packed Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. With Jugo now fully transformed, Tosaka is finally able to put his newly-developed Curse Mark to the test. However, as the flighty mad scientist quickly discovers, he's no match for Jugo, who beats the snot out of him before absorbing his Curse Mark. Hoping to bring his new friend back to his senses, Boruto decides to take a page from Konohamaru's playbook and hits Jugo with a shadow clone-assisted Rasengan. Although this doesn't produce immediate results, Jugo is able to calm himself down after seeing a passing goose and remembering his mission. Shortly thereafter, the gang is able to cure the remaining Curse Mark-afflicted geese with a neutralizing agent obtained from the research team's base and some timely help from Suigetsu.
With the mission completed, Sumire informs Wasabi and Namida that she'll be accepting an invitation to join the newly-reformed Scientific Ninja Tools Department. (She's already a member of said department by the time she makes her first appearance in the companion manga.) Although Konohamaru had intended to take Tosaka back to the village for questioning, the Taka gang made off with him before the Leaf ninja could object. While making his way back to Orochimaru's base, Jugo reflects on Boruto's kindness and wonders aloud if he'll ever be able to fly.
Despite its brevity, fully-transformed Tosaka versus fully-transformed Jugo is arguably this arc's most impressive battle. The action is fast, the movement is fluid, and the visuals are consistently on-point. Like the Curse Mark twins before him, Tosaka's beast form is equal parts creepy and cool and reminiscent of something out of a child's nightmare. However, while he's able to pose a significant threat to Boruto in this form, he's barely a light warm-up for Jugo. In some respects, Sarada and Karin's struggle to neutralize the Curse Mark before the geese migrate creates more tension than the actual combat this week. Although they desperately try to hold out for as long as they can, they realize that killing all of the birds, infected or not, will be their only option if Jugo is unable to pull himself together.
Even in this arc's earliest installments, it seemed preordained that Boruto and Jugo would warm up to one another, but the fact that this story beat was so predictable didn't make the relationship any less meaningful in the end. Throughout the past month, we've watched both characters develop a solid rapport and build mutual respect, so when Boruto puts his own life at considerable risk to undo Jugo's transformation, it feels perfectly believable. Similarly, when Jugo fondly reminisces about Boruto in the episode's final moments, the sentimentality doesn't come off as contrived. By the same token, Karin's relationship with Sarada continues to be a fascinating one, and hopefully all the inroads the gang is making with the Taka crew will pay off down the line.
Despite a reliably solid performance from Takehito Koyasu, Tosaka ultimately turned out to be a fairly unimpressive villain. His motivations never rose above stereotypical mad science, and he lacked any sort of backstory or redeeming qualities. Assuming Orochimaru's crew doesn't kill him and he resurfaces in the future, it would be nice to see some depth added to the character. Luckily, a disappointing antagonist isn't enough to put a damper on an otherwise entertaining story. An eventful finale to a fun mini-arc, episode 103 wraps up Boruto's latest adventure with plenty of action, a steady dose of heart, and a sprinkling of laughter.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.
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