Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 13 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
Episode 13 marks the beginning of the Ghost storyline's endgame. With all the victim-of-the-week story possibilities exhausted, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations sets to work revealing this arc's master villain and exploring her motivations. All in all, this feels like a satisfying payoff, and while many of the revelations are surprising, none of them come off as contrived or completely out of left field. If the remainder of the first arc's wrap-up episodes continue in this vein, we're in for a satisfying conclusion.
The episode opens with Boruto and his father learning that Sumire Kakkei, the class rep, is the mastermind behind the rash of possessions and chakra thefts. It's revealed that Tanuki Shigaraki, her late father, was a member of the Danzo-led Foundation and had been developing a weapon known as the Gozu Tennou with the Hashirama Cell. Shortly before his death, Shigaraki tasked his daughter with avenging the Foundation and entrusted her with the perfected Gozu Tennou, with which she's been collecting chakra. Before she can be apprehended, Sumire uses the fully-charged Gozu Tennou to summon Nue, who proceeds to go on a rampage on the outskirts of the village. Because Nue feeds off chakra and Nue's summoner can detonate the beast at any time, Shikamaru advises Naruto against going into Sage Mode. However, Naruto, Kakashi, Sai, and various other shinobi are able to contain the beast within a barrier as Sumire watches the carnage unfold from afar.
Mitsuki, who's now been ordered (presumably by Orochimaru) to kill Sumire, attempts to carry out his mission, only to be hindered by Boruto, who refuses to let one of his friends die. Although Sumire insists that her time at the Academy meant nothing, Boruto refuses to believe this is actually the case. While preventing Mitsuki and Sumire from killing one another, Boruto inadvertently activates his mysterious power, which teleports Nue out of the barrier and transports the entire group to a different dimension.
With the villain exposed and her master plan in effect, it's only fitting that this episode features some solid action. While none of this week's battle sequences eat up a great deal of time, they're fluidly animated, fun to watch, and contain some of the show's best visuals to date. Plus, the similarities between the Nue attack and the Nine Tails incident help ratchet up the stakes and serve as an astute continuity nod to the parent series.
Until a few episodes ago, there was little indication that Sumire was anything but an innocent and well-behaved young kunoichi-to-be, so it's shocking that she's been the master villain of this arc all along. However, if you were to revisit previous episodes, there might be some clues. For example, as Mitsuki points out, each of the victims had been in contact with her shortly before becoming possessed, though some of these meetings had to have taken place off-screen. There are a number of predictable ways things could play out in the coming weeks, but Sumire will likely be redeemed and return to school. Still, seeing how Boruto is able to bring her around should prove entertaining. Will actual combat be involved, or will Boruto channel his father and give his friend a good talking-to?
Even though the show's lighter side is pushed almost entirely aside—or perhaps because it's pushed aside—this week's Boruto is one of the strongest episodes yet. Sumire's motivations are boilerplate villainy, but her ability to elude Boruto and company (and viewers) for so long deserves props. Here's hoping the show is able to continue this momentum through the homestretch.
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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