Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 111 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
Mirai's turn in the spotlight comes to a close this week as Ryuki's true intentions—and the real purpose of this “mission”—are revealed. After being tripped up by Mirai, Ryuki (who now purports to be the second coming of Hidan) reveals that the women he's abducted are meant to serve as sacrifices in an immortality ritual he intends to perform on himself. With some timely help from Guy and Kakashi, Mirai is able to quickly bring down Ryuki's entire operation—as well as the man himself. After the group parts ways with Tatsumi, Guy and Kakashi reveal that the hot springs tour had simply been a cover for investigating the recent string of abductions and that Kiba, Tenten, and Choji had been tasked with gathering intel. Mirai's recent experiences taught her that while memories of loved ones should be cherished, people must always look toward the future instead of becoming mired in the past. This realization helps her realize that the “King” refers to the shinobi who protects the future.
The manner in which Mirai tricks Ryuki into revealing himself is reasonably clever and reminiscent of the tactics displayed by both her father and Shikamaru. However, in fairness, Ryuki's lies were so obvious that it's a wonder none of the other women seemed the least bit suspicious of his claims. Even though Ryuki billed himself as Hidan's second coming, he's ultimately revealed to have no formal connection to Asuma's killer, and despite aspiring to become as powerful as his idol, he goes down fairly easily, albeit after attempting to possess Mirai with a powerful jutsu. The fact that Mirai is able to outsmart her opponent twice—first by trapping him in a lie, then by using a genjutsu—illustrates that Asuma's knack for strategy lives on in his daughter. The story's main takeaway—i.e., “People shouldn't become obsessed with the past to the point of neglecting the future”—isn't exactly an original message for this franchise, but it works very well in relation to Mirai's struggles and doesn't come off as forced or contrived.
While the episode's overall tone is mostly serious, it contains a number of comedic moments that harken back to this arc's earlier installments. For example, the revelation that Mirai was the only Leaf shinobi who was unaware of the mission's true objective was both amusing and satisfying from a narrative standpoint. After all, while such coincidences are generally forgivable in fiction, the fact that a prominent character from the Leaf would pop up in every new locale the gang visited felt contrived. This is particularly true in the case of Tenten, whose cover story was that she was delivering additional luggage to Mirai. Granted, there were several points at which Mirai was in actual danger, and knowing the full details about who and what she was up against may have proved helpful to her.
At the end of the day, Mirai's arc made for an entertaining diversion from the usual proceedings. Mirai is an interesting character to follow, and it's always nice to see one of the women take center stage. If every Boruto-less arc were this much fun, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for him to bow out more often.
Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.
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