Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 88 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
Another one of the Fabrication generals falls as Ohnoki realizes the error of his ways in this week's Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. Upon returning to the Hidden Stone, Ohnoki is shocked to discover the village deserted, with all of its residents either captured or hiding from the Akuta. Since his intent had been to use the Fabrications and Akuta in emergency situations, the old man is noticeably troubled by the coup his creations have carried out in his absence. After his creator orders him to fall back, the quickly-crumbling Ku knocks Ohnoki unconscious and commands the other generals to continue the plan.
With some timely assistance from Shikadai, the captured Leaf shinobi are able to make their escape but are soon intercepted by Kokuyou and Kirara. While Boruto and Sarada take on Kirara, Ino-Shika-Cho busy themselves with Kokuyou. Through trial and error, teamwork, and a last-minute save from Akkun, the trio is able to finish off their opponent, but their victory comes at a cost. Before being taken out, Kokuyou is able to deal a finishing blow to the weakened Akkun, who dies in Inojin's arms. Meanwhile, Konohamaru, who's successfully infiltrated the Stone, comes face to face with Mitsuki while exploring the Fabrications' base.
Although this week's fight animation is solidly middle-of-the-road, episode 88 delivers what is arguably the current Ino-Shika-Cho's most exciting battle to date. As a carbon copy of his father, Shikadai's attempts at capturing Kokuyou's shadow and freezing him in place are predictable, but Inojin helps spice things up with his mother's Mind Transfer Jutsu, a technique he hasn't used much until this point. Unfortunately, his reluctance to swap minds with his opponents has made him something of a greenhorn, and his lack of practice results in the technique being broken at a crucial moment. Still, despite the trio's inexperience, they work every bit as well together as their parents did, with each member filling a vital role and making up for what the others lack. As Shikadai explains to the dying Kokuyou, being weaker than Fabrications means humans have to account for the difference with other types of strength—namely, placing their lives in the hands of people they trust implicitly.
Narratively speaking, it makes sense for Akkun to swoop in and rescue the group at a vulnerable moment. After all the time the show spent building up his relationship with Inojin, it's tragically appropriate that Inojin's failure in battle leads directly to Akkun entering the fray and incurring a mortal wound. This compounds the emotional impact of the little creature's loss, making Inojin—who often says cruel things to his friends with a stone face—break down. Inojin sobbing uncontrollably while insisting that he and Akkun weren't actually friends is a powerful moment for the character and one of the saddest sequences in the current arc.
With Kokuyou down for the count, this arc is one step closer to the endgame. Now that Ku and the remaining Fabrications have violated their prime directive and disobeyed Ohnoki, all the cards are truly on the table. Regardless of how the final battles play out, one thing is for certain: the Hidden Stone will never be the same.
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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