Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Episode 83

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 83 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?

This week's Boruto: Naruto Next Generations answers a number of questions that have been lingering since the beginning of the current arc and shines a sympathetic light on the show's latest set of villains. With the cat now out of the bag, Ohnoki reveals that the artificial beings are being created as stand-ins for Stone shinobi in combat situations. Five years ago, the Hidden Stone was attacked by a group of rogue ninja, resulting in considerable loss of young life. This incident prompted Ohnoki to sanction the creation of Akuta, which he intended to use as a private army for the village. However, as the current Tsuchikage, Kurotsuchi forbade him from continuing the project any further. When Ohnoki refuses to allow the kids to see Mitsuki, a skirmish with Ku ensues, during which Shikadai is captured and imprisoned alongside Kurotsuchi. Amidst the chaos, Boruto saves Ohnoki from being crushed by a falling pillar and takes off with the old man as his friends and Ku give chase. Meanwhile, Sekiei gives Mitsuki the grand tour of the gang's base of operation, concluding with the resident scientist discovering that a curse mark resides in the center of his body.

While there are a few small action sequences scattered throughout the episode, the latest installment is primarily concerned with explaining the why of the current storyline. Although the end of the previous episode revealed that Ohnoki had a hand in Ku's scheme, there was always the possibility that this was a trick on the old man's part or an example of end-of-episode misdirection, so learning that the former Tsuchikage is fully complicit comes as something of a surprise. Of course, the franchise overseers would never allow Ohnoki to become a full-blown antagonist, and the reasons for his actions are believable, if somewhat contrived. The Stone's hitherto-unmentioned plight also highlights one of the series' recurring themes: uneasy peace. Kurotsuchi opts out of the Akuta project because she feels it violates the alliance formed by the Hidden Villages, but Ohnoki realizes that not every village is equally equipped to handle unexpected high-level threats. (He even cites the Otsutsukis as an example.) There's a good chance Ohnoki will come around to Kurotsuchi's way of thinking and see the error of his ways by story's end, but this doesn't invalidate the issues he brought up, and seeing how the various village leaders deal with post-wartime threats continues to be one of the most fascinating aspects of this sequel series.

The Mitsuki/Sekiei friendship is once again front and center this week. While their interactions this episode don't exactly tread any new ground, they help make Sekiei more sympathetic and add depth to what was originally a fairly one-note character. The most poignant moment comes when Sekiei shows Mitsuki his childlike drawings of his friends and emphasizes that his purpose is to protect the people his master cares about. Whether Sekiei will make it through this arc remains to be seen (although given the relatively short lifespans of artificial beings, smart money's on ‘no’), but he's shaping up to be one of the franchise's most three-dimensional guest characters.

As a decidedly busier affair than last week's installment, episode 83 immediately gets down to business and outlines exactly what's at stake. With Ohnoki's health in decline and the artificial beings constantly on the verge of death, the theme of mortality is inescapable, and it's hard to believe we won't be bidding farewell to at least one familiar face after all is said and done.

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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