Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Episode 169

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 169 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?

As Team 7 continues to train, Team 10 gets a taste of the Leaf's newest enemy in an action-heavy Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. With Boruto and Sarada still honing their signature techniques, Konohamaru and Mugino continue their infiltration mission at Victor's headquarters. During their observations in the shadows, the duo discovers that a large number of test subjects are being brought to a secret underground laboratory from which they never reemerge. They also find that the as-yet-unnamed mad scientist (who's still addressed simply as “Doctor”) from the Fabrication is heavily involved with whatever's going down.

Meanwhile, Team 10 travels to the Land of Wind on a mission to retrieve the puppet Boruto and Shikadai fought during their skirmish with Urashiki. While en route to meet up with Shinki, Araya, and Yodo, the gang stumbles upon a secluded diner that served as Deepa's latest kill site. Surprisingly unfazed by this grisly sight, Shikadai and company proceed to the desert, where they quickly locate the puppet. However, it isn't long before Deepa, who's after the same target, shows up and engages the kids in battle. Despite holding their own slightly better than Team 7, the group is ultimately bested by their opponent. Unwilling to allow Deepa to accomplish his objective, a thoroughly drained Shinki uses his last ounce of strength to destroy the puppet while the villain is making his exit. Whether impressed by the kids' valiant efforts, irritated by Victor's condescension when barking orders, or simply running low on carbon, Deepa barely reacts to the puppet's destruction and departs without retaliation.

Placing Boruto and Sarada's training on the backburner—while still showing the audience that both genin are still giving it their all—is a clever way to break up the monotony of a shonen anime training arc. (However, judging by the preview, Team 10's encounter with Deepa will serve to make them active participants in Boruto's training.) Like Team 7's brawl with Deepa, Shikadai's run-in with the villain is rife with fast-paced action and illustrates how ill-equipped the current crop of young shinobi are to face an opponent of this caliber. Having now defeated so many of the series' brightest stars, Deepa has made it clear that he can't be taken down through anything resembling normal means.

Having been active players in the Fabrication arc, Team 10 has certainly seen its share of death and devastation, but the casualness with which they react to a restaurant full of dead bodies feels a bit off. Despite Deepa still being in the immediate vicinity, the group makes no effort to pursue him after witnessing his handiwork. Inojin wondering aloud whether the grisly murders were committed by the intimidating pierrot they just witnessed leave the restaurant may be the single stupidest query a Naruto-verse inhabitant has ever posited. In fact, the kids are so nonplussed by this incident that by the next day, they're engaging in comical arguments with Team Shinki over who should lead the joint operation as Cho-Cho crushes on Shinki and laments the fact that she wasn't able to sample the restaurant-turned-murder-site's signature dish.

This week's installment serves as a solid reintroduction to Team 10, whose members have been out of the spotlight since July. Furthermore, since their latest adventure ties directly into the current story arc, the episode doesn't feel like an inconsequential one-off despite the titular character being largely absent. Although the gang's reaction—or lack thereof—to the restaurant massacre feels awkward, episode 169 shines during its action-packed climax.

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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