Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 84 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
Our heroes once again find themselves split apart in this week's reflective Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. While fleeing the scene of last week's battle with Ohnoki in tow, Boruto inadvertently winds up in the Sanzu Plain, an old Hidden Stone training ground that's no longer in use. As Ohnoki reveals, the area is protected by a series of powerful areas, and in order for a person to leave, they need to locate their individual “heart stone,” which is no easy feat. Hungry, thirsty, and worn out, Boruto and Ohnoki decide to call a truce and focus on their immediate survival. Back at the Synthetics' base, Ku informs Mitsuki that although it will take time, they'll eventually find their way around the Curse Mark on his heart and extract the data they require to make more robust artificial humans. With both Kakou and Kirara beginning to wither and crack, time is of the essence. Meanwhile, Cho-Cho and Sarada rendezvous with Inojin and Akkun back at the cave.
While there isn't a lot of progress made on the plot front this week, the portion of the episode focused on Boruto and Ohnoki helps outline the old man's motives in greater detail and sheds some additional light on why the Synthetics were created. Ohnoki's insistence that the current generation of shinobi has grown weak serves as another testament to one of the show's core themes: now vs. then. Many of Boruto's most notable antagonists have been unhappy with the current state of the ninja world and/or the perceived weakness of younger shinobi, and as the Naruto-verse's resident crotchety geezer, Ohnoki is a natural vessel for such viewpoints. Although he's not about to overlook the role Ohnoki played in the recent deaths of Leaf shinobi, Boruto is able to see some truth in the old man's opinions while the two are foraging together. Since the plan he set in motion is responsible for a number of innocent deaths, it feels like this be Ohnoki's last hurrah, and if this in indeed the case, episode 84 is a decent place-setter for his potential send-off.
The latest episode also attempts to inject some personality into Kirara and Kakou, with the former desperately trying to keep up the latest human fashions and the latter amusing himself with a psychology book. Even with these quirks, neither is a particularly well-rounded character, but they're a cut above the usual side-baddies. It's also beginning to seem increasingly likely that each Synthetic's personality flourishes are meant to point to an inherent flaw in Ohnoki's grand plan. Although they're created to act as stand-ins for non-synthetic beings, every Akuta we've met so far displays clear emotions and is highly cognizant of their fleeting mortality. As such, expecting them to die in place of human shinobi is exceptionally cruel—a lesson Ohnoki may soon learn.
This arc has experienced a number of starts and stops, and we currently look to be in another of its “stop” phases. There's still a lot to like, but the story's insistence on slowing down every time it feels like the fireworks are about to begin is getting a little frustrating. As entertaining as it is to watch Boruto and Ohnoki trade barbs while roughing it in the wild, we're now 13 episodes deep into this arc and many of us are ready for the endgame.
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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