Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 85 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
The current arc's endgame continues to unfold as Boruto finds his way out of the Sanzu Plain in this week's relatively uneventful installment. While pondering his current situation, Boruto unexpectedly encounters Sekki, a member of the same Hidden Stone trio that quickly failed the recent chunin exams. Wishing to honor the memory of his late grandmother, the comically brash youth has vowed to find his Heart Stone and become a full-fledged shinobi. With some help from Boruto and Ohnoki, Sekki eventually realizes that it's not the stone itself—but rather one's individual “will of stone”—that truly matters. After obtaining his stone, Sekki is given a path to the exit, which Boruto and Ohnoki use to make their escape.
Meanwhile, with Kirara and Kakou in critical condition, Ku becomes increasingly desperate to replicate Mitsuki's heart. However, as the gang's resident physician/mad scientist reveals, a human heart is required for this process because of the Curse Mark Orochimaru placed on Mitsuki's heart. Although the Synthetics attempt to extract Shikadai's heart, the young strategist is quickly able to thwart this plan and make his escape. Making matters worse for the Synthetics, Konohamaru, who has recently arrived in the Hidden Stone, has broken the genjutsu Kirara held over Kontsuchi. With shinobi now gathering outside of the Tsuchikage's office, Ku decides to awaken his injured comrades and take control of the Hidden Stone before the full truth is discovered.
Having Boruto provide guidance to another genin—one less skilled than him—is an effective and narratively appropriate turn, even though this portion of the arc still feels like a detour. The situation is rife with comedy, with Sekki's bravado setting the stage for a number of amusing gags. More importantly, however, it allows us to see Boruto in a role he's never before occupied: a mentor. At first, he isn't up to the task and is easily frustrated by Sekki's constant bumbling, but he eventually summons the patience to help the boy apply his skills in the appropriate context, thus earning Sekki his Heart Stone and freeing himself and Ohnoki in the process.
It remains to be seen how long the Synthetics can keep Mitsuki on their side, especially now that they've resorted to stealing human hearts. They know enough about Mitsuki's affection for humans to hide the full extent of their misdeeds from him, but with the three strongest Synthetics beginning to crumble, it's unlikely they'll be able to deceive their savior much longer. Interestingly, upon being confronted with the reality of needing human hearts, Ku's only objection to selecting victims from the Hidden Stone is that Ohnoki wouldn't allow it. Instead of protecting humans, the Synthetics are now fully invested in preserving their own lives, making them both sympathetic and incredibly dangerous antagonists.
While this arc's final battle still seems a ways off, episode 85 offers up enough comedy, action, and intrigue to keep fans invested for the long haul. In assisting Sekki, Boruto shows off a new side to himself and displays some unexpected maturity. In adding Sekki to the mix, the show is able to inject some much-needed levity into what's become a fairly somber storyline.
Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.
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