Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 78 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
This week's Boruto: Naruto Next Generations answers some big questions as the latest arc heads into its third act. Now awakened, the injured gatekeeper informs Naruto that Mitsuki is headed to the Land of Earth with a group of Hidden Stone shinobi, prompting the latter to make a call to Kurotsuchi and brief her on the situation. Meanwhile, the gothic lolita-clad Kirara and an as-yet-unnamed member of the Stone group return to their hideout and inform a heavily veiled figure known as Ku that they've taken care of the Leaf's trackers. As Mitsuki and the other two members of the team prepare to cross the border into the Land of Earth, the childlike Sekiei reveals that he and his cohorts are artificial beings with very limited lifespans—and that Mitsuki holds the key to making them more human. After sending Cho-Cho and Inojin back to the Leaf, Shikadai and the remaining two thirds of Team 7 nearly manage to catch up to Mitsuki at the edge of the border. However, before they're able to make contact, the gang is intercepted by the no-nonsense Kokuyou, who's able to control Akuta (creepy canine-like creatures who appear to have a similar genetic makeup to the Leaf's newest enemies).
Compared to the past few installments, quite a bit of progress is made on the story front this week. Although we still don't exactly why Mitsuki chose to accompany Kokuyou and company, we're finally given some insight into why they've taken an interest in him. Now that we've finally gotten an extended look at this arc's antagonists, it's safe to say that, character-wise, none of them appear to be anything special. While their mysterious origins and combat techniques are mildly interesting, we've seen these same character archetypes assigned to countless small-scale Naruto villains, particularly the ones found in the feature films and filler arcs. That said, seeing how the gang fares against their respective techniques (not to mention the Akuto) may make for some entertaining action sequences in the coming weeks. While it's pretty clear that Mitsuki isn't a traitor, it'll be interesting to see the exact nature of his interest in this band of baddies.
Although this was touched on several episodes back, it's good that the show didn't simply gloss over Konohamaru's reaction to the revelation of Mitsuki's parentage. The fact that one of his students is the child of his grandfather's killer continues to weigh on him, but as he reiterates to Mirai, it doesn't change the way he feels about Mitsuki. Since Mirai wasn't born until after Sarutobi's death, she serves as the perfect audience for Konohamaru's musings on why the Third was such an influential figure. Also interesting is the conversation between Naruto and Kurotsuchi. Given the nature of the accusations against citizens of her village (and her country), it makes sense for the Tsuchikage to be skeptical of Naruto's claims and demand hard proof, although the gatekeeper's word ultimately suffices. Even though this series is set in a time of relative peace and cooperation amongst the Hidden Villages, exchanges like this help illustrate that tensions still exist.
This week's episode resumes the search for Mitsuki in earnest, with the gang's adventure in Ryuchi Cave hardly given a mention. Now that the villains have made a proper appearance and revealed their intentions, the stage is set for big revelations and exciting battles in the weeks to come. Although this arc's second act had some pacing issues and felt somewhat disconnected from the main story, episode 78 shows signs that Boruto will ultimately stick the landing.
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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