Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Episode 165

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 165 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?

The Haze quadruplets' backstory comes to light as the fight for the Hashirama Cell approaches its endgame in this week's Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. With their numbers decreased by half, the remaining quadruplets hatch a plan to keep the Leaf shinobi distracted just long enough for them to get the coveted cell over the border. While Asaka takes the cell and heads for the border, Hiruga stays behind and unleashes the Forbidden Jutsu: Hellish Obliteration, which immobilizes his pursuers and causes them to gradually sink into the underworld. However, as is the case with the other forbidden jutsu, there's a catch. As the one who performed the technique, Hiruga will be the first one to sink, at which point the jutsu will be released. Even though he'll be the only one to die, he deems this a worthy sacrifice, as it will buy his brother the time he needs. Having been a starving orphan, he doesn't want the same fate to befall any other children in the Land of Haze and believes the Hashirama Cell will bring long-term prosperity to the village.

Unwilling to accept Boruto's sympathy and unmoved by his concern, Hiruga refuses to release the jutsu until an injured Omoi arrives on the scene and informs the group that Deepa (Victor's assassin) is hot on Asaka's trail. Wishing to protect his only remaining brother, Hiruga relents and sets off in pursuit of Deepa and Asaka.

Although the quadruplets' backstory is fairly cookie-cutter, it provides the requisite level of motivation for their dogged pursuit of the Hashirama Cell. It's also nice to finally get a full account of the sacrifice Yoruga made at Sakuya's castle, the details of which had been a mystery for weeks. However, while the idea of enemies who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to achieve their goals is interesting, it's a bit strange that this bunch won't hesitate to employ the use of suicidal techniques. Since one of them has released a forbidden jutsu at every leg of this journey, it raises the question of how the brothers were able to survive previous missions. This tendency for self-sacrifice is likely meant to illustrate the importance of this particular mission, but kamikaze attacks seemingly being the only tools at their disposal has almost become comical at this point.

With two quadruplets needlessly dead, it's fitting that Boruto is sympathetic to the brothers' plight and adamant about saving Hiruga's life, even at the cost of his own. Although the rest of the group is perfectly fine with running out the clock and letting Hiruga do himself in, Boruto recognizes how traumatic the Haze ninjas' childhood was and wants to end the chain of unnecessary sacrifice. The back-and-forth between Boruto and Hiruga also helps illustrate the disparity between the Land of Haze and prosperous nations like the Land of Fire, which has been one of the series' most common recurring themes.

For an episode in which the main cast is largely immobilized, this week's installment is briskly-paced and provides important (albeit predictable) context for the actions of this arc's most prominent guest characters. With a third-party villain for the Haze and the Leaf to unite against, Boruto may yet leave a lasting impression on Hiruga and Asaka before curtain call. Even if he doesn't manage to get through to them, the forthcoming showdown with Deepa should provide quite the action spectacle.

Rating:

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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