Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Episode 80

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 80 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?

After last week's battle-heavy action extravaganza, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations slows things down in one of its most reflective episodes yet. Having overexerted himself in his fight against Boruto, Sekiei is growing weaker by the second as his body deteriorates. While Kokuyou returns to base for help, Mitsuki sits with Sekiei and shares everything he's learned about being human. Shortly before passing out, Sekiei forces Mitsuki to tell him the truth about what happened on the night the group departed the Leaf. Despite learning that Mitsuki intentionally saved the guard's life and left a message for Boruto, he agrees to keep his friend's secret and vouches for him when Kokuyou returns with Kirara and Kako in tow. Meanwhile in the Hidden Stone, Kurotsuchi is attacked and subsequently captured by Ku, who claims that he needs her to step down as Tsuchikage.

In the first distinctly Mitsuki-centric episode in a while, we're given a bit of additional insight into what went down at the main gate on the night Mitsuki left with the Stone shinobi. As his actions at the end of the previous episode indicated, Mitsuki willingly chose to accompany Sekiei and company, although their plans had apparently been to capture him had he refused. This arc continues to do a good job of not revealing too much information at once, and despite everything we learned this week, there are quite a few questions that have yet to be answered. For a while, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Mitsuki was playing these guys, but now it seems entirely possible that he went with them out of genuine curiosity about the nature of his existence instead of going undercover on behalf of the Leaf. We're also left in the dark as to the exact nature of Ku's grand scheme, but so far, the mystery surrounding his plans helps lend an air of menace to the character, setting him apart from many of the franchise's anime-original villains.

Mitsuki's blossoming friendship with Sekiei continues to be one of the most interesting facets of this storyline. As Mitsuki shares his observations of humanity with Sekiei, both boys regard his findings as strange and alien. As naïve as Sekiei seems, Mitsuki's comments reveal that he isn't much smarter when it comes to everyday customs and interactions. Even after Sekiei reveals that he knows about the messenger snake, the two are quickly able to get past this as Sekiei takes Mitsuki's definition of friendship (i.e., two people sharing secrets) to heart. Though Mitsuki never betrays emotion of any kind, he certainly appears to have inherited his parent's ability to bring people around to his way of thinking.

Featuring virtually no action to speak of, this week's Boruto is an intriguing character study of one of the series' most fascinating personas. Even with the titular character gone for all but the final few seconds, episode 80 is no weaker for his absence. Despite finding friendship and acceptance in the Leaf, Mitsuki often stands out from his contemporaries, but in Sekiei, he's finally found a kindred spirit of sorts.

Rating: B

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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