Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 12 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
After several consecutive weeks of plot advancement, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations slows things down in a reflective and action-free installment. This week, Mitsuki takes the spotlight by embarking on a quest to discover the secret of Boruto's appeal. Even though episode 12 only offers the tiniest bit of insight into his past, his stretching powers and affinity for snakes make it pretty obvious whose “child” he is. At times, it feels like the episode is rehashing themes the show has already explored with Mitsuki (working as part of a team, making friends, etc.), but he's such a fun character to watch that following him around for an entire episode makes for a pleasant enough excursion.
Intrigued by Boruto's ability to inspire his peers and attract friends, Mitsuki sets to work gathering information from his closest confidantes. Inojin posits that Boruto is popular because he doesn't care what others think but acknowledges that his attitude often makes bad situations worse, effectively creating problems for Sumire. This prompts Mitsuki to visit the hospitalized class rep, who reveals that her entire family is dead and her constant drive for success stems from a desire to catch up to her late father. Deciding to gather information straight from the source, Mitsuki accepts an invitation to have dinner at the Uzumaki household. Although things initially go smoothly, Boruto storms out of the house in a huff after Naruto is called back to work to deal with a mysterious chakra that's spreading across the village. As he reveals to Mitsuki, he resents his father for claiming the entire village is his family while neglecting his wife and children (an almost wearisome theme in this series.) Mitsuki then reveals that he knows who's behind the Ghost incident, but the audience (and Boruto) will be kept guessing until next week.
Though the segment is fairly short, it's nice to get a glimpse of the Uzumakis' home life. Since Naruto is always working, the family is seldom shown as a complete unit. Seeing Boruto enjoy a peaceful evening among loved ones also helps illustrate just how different his formative years are from his father's. Whereas Naruto grew up an orphan during a time of great instability, Boruto has led a fairly peaceful life by comparison, recent events notwithstanding. However, since he has nothing to compare it to, it's difficult for him to appreciate just how good he has it.
Mitsuki's detached observation of Boruto raises even more questions about his mysterious origins. The parent manga and preceding feature film go into a little more depth on the subject, but the sight of Orochimaru's silhouette during the flashback sequence only helps confirm the obvious. Chronologically, Boruto and Sarada won't learn the secret of Mitsuki's parentage until after the events of the movie, assuming the TV series' continuity sticks to the same timeline. In Sasuke's Story, it's stated that the village is keeping careful tabs on Orochimaru's whereabouts, so perhaps Naruto recognizes Mitsuki (or at least has a good idea of who he was) but chooses not to out him when he visits his home. If not, their security is clearly lacking.
Seeing Boruto, various classmates, and the Uzumaki family dynamic through Mitsuki's eyes makes for an interesting if uneventful episode. Mitsuki's detached reasoning and gradual development of feelings is likely to play an important role in resolving the Ghost storyline—especially now that he's admitted to knowing the perpetrator's identity. At present, it's difficult to guess how the impending battle will play out, but as usual, the storyline is promising.
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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