Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 159 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
Meanwhile, Mitsuki mysteriously falls ill, prompting Mugino to rush him to Yubina, an eccentric medical ninja who's not affiliated with any specific country. Despite sadistically reveling in the suffering of her patients, Yubina is highly skilled at her job and manages to cure Mitsuki in a timely manner. After removing what appears to be a piece of wood from her patient's body, Yubina concludes that Mitsuki was under siege by the Hashirama Cell, which entered his body when one of his arm-snakes bit Anato. Since Mitsuki's body is considerably more resilient than that of a normal human's, his recovery won't take long, but the same can't be said for a similarly afflicted patient of Yubina's—a young woman who's been placed in stasis to slow the effects of the offending cell. As Mugino explains, the Hashirama Cell possesses special powers, and while a select few can adapt to it and obtain great strength, most people will die as a result of the Wood Style going out of control. Wishing to get to the bottom of things, Team 7 charts a course for the Land of Silence's black market, where the cells are rumored to have come from.
From a storytelling perspective, it's surprisingly refreshing to see Team 7 fail so spectacularly. While they're likely to triumph over their latest adversaries (whomever they turn out to be) by the end of this arc, all signs point to this being a hard-fought victory. The ever-resilient Mitsuki being unable to withstand the effects of the Hashirama Cell nicely underscores how dire a threat Boruto's crew is now up against. It also raises some new questions regarding Victor's research. While he's clearly meant to serve as an antagonist and may be a member of Kara, is his desire to help people regenerate lost limbs and damaged organs genuine, or is the breakthrough he's striving for purely for nefarious purposes? (Granted, his willingness to dispose of the now-useless Anato likely suggests the latter.)
Although the “sadistic doctor who's also a medical genius” archetype isn't exactly new, Yubina is an effectively amusing guest character. Despite being fairly one-note, her unnerving sadism makes for some solid punchlines throughout the episode. Unsurprisingly, Mitsuki doesn't provide her with the wailing and screaming she's come to expect, but she's still able to content herself with the mild discomfort he displays. Beneath her sadistic nature, it's clear she has skills and the desire to help others—she just enjoys herself a little too much along the way. The fact that this is the first acquaintance to whom the reticent Mugino introduces the team would suggest that the enigmatic shinobi has led quite a colorful life outside of the Hidden Leaf. (Side note: While Sarada referencing the one-day course in medical ninjutsu she recently took is a fun continuity nod, it's strange that the small bit of knowledge she came away with qualified her to assist a pro. Is medical ninjutsu not that specialized a discipline?)
Deftly combining action, comedy, and intrigue, episode 159 provides us with Boruto's most balanced episode in a good long while. With Victor's ultimate goal still a mystery, the Hashirama Cell more accessible than ever, and Mitsuki sitting out the next phase of the mission, Team 7's troubles aren't going to end any time soon.
Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.
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