Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 77 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
Boruto and the gang complete their Ryuchi Cave adventure as Mitsuki's whereabouts finally come to light in this week's surprisingly eventful installment. After turning Cho-Cho to stone and injuring Aoda, Garaga retreats into his feeding grounds in an effort to give himself the home court advantage. Although the young shinobi are eventually able to gain the upper hand against their opponent, Boruto ultimately decides not to take Garaga's Reverse Scale, opting instead to form a summoning contract with him. After looking into the snake's memories, Boruto discovers that Garaga had been betrayed by the last ninja he made a contract with, causing him to distrust all shinobi. Impressed by the group's strength, the White Snake Sage reveals that Mitsuki is currently en route to the Land of Earth with a mysterious group of Earth ninja. What's more, Mitsuki actually saved the gatekeeper's life before departing the village. By temporarily stopping his heart, he created the illusion of death, which prevented the Earth ninja from finishing him themselves.
Back in the Hidden Leaf, Sakura and Moegi discover Yurito's true intentions, causing him to flee. When he stumbles upon Team Udon, it's revealed that the supposed traitor is actually being controlled by a genjutsu, courtesy of an Earth ninja. Unfortunately, no sooner is Yurito freed from the genjutsu than the perpetrator sends an insect-like exploding tag to finish him off before he can reveal anything else.
Now that Boruto has made a contract with Garaga, the Ryuchi Cave affair feels like less of a detour. Whether Garaga will remain with Boruto for the rest of the series and serve as his own recurring summon (like Naruto and his toads) remains to be seen, but it would present a number of fascinating narrative possibilities down the line. The parallels between Garaga's past and Boruto's current situation with Mitsuki feel a little forced, but they certainly help justify his presence in the story. Garaga was betrayed by the person he trusted most, the last shinobi to bond with him, and he spits in the face of Boruto's unwavering trust in his own “traitorous” friend, Mitsuki. As such, Boruto wants to prove to him that some friends are loyal to the end and that some relationships are worth fighting for. (This also mirrors his father's knack for charming one-time antagonists.) Garaga may be outwardly doubtful about Boruto's claims, but he did agree to the boy's terms, so at least part of him isn't sure. After viewing Mitsuki's snake's memories, the group is confident in Mitsuki's innocence, even if certain questions still need to be answered.
Moegi being observant enough to realize Yurito's true intentions was a fun turn in what seemed like a predictable series of events—as was Yurito simply being a genjutsu-controlled pawn instead of an actual traitor. If more surprises like this are in store, this arc's third act should prove more entertaining than its somewhat lagging second one. While nothing spectacular, we also get a couple of solid action sequences this week when Team Udon fights Yurito and Boruto's group goes up against Garaga. Despite the abundance of detective work and exposition this portion of the arc demands, it's nice that the screenwriters haven't forgotten to throw a bit of action our way each week.
With the White Snake Sage excursion behind them, our heroes are free to resume their original quest: locating Mitsuki and discovering his connection to the Earth ninja. At times, this side-adventure felt too drawn-out and detached from the main story, but episode 77 does a decent job of tying it into the bigger picture. As an added bonus, Boruto forming his first summoning contract is a significant level-up that potentially paves the way for big developments in the future.
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