It’s been a few years, but we finally get to watch Naruto beat someone’s ass like it’s a video game. Boruto episode 217, like almost every episode featuring a major antagonist battle, was visually spectacular. Notably, it was not quite the same quality as fights like those against Momoshiki. However, this episode was quite satisfying. While dialogue and the series of major events matched the manga, portions were extended and enhanced. Those modifications did great at deepening character. For Kawaki, the scenes dove into his trauma and thought process. For Naruto, it provided an excellent opportunity to showcase his new form’s power. Finally, for Isshiki, it reminded the audience that Tsuda Kenjirō is one of the best voice actors of all time. I will hear zero arguments on this; it is a fact.
Obviously, this episode wasn’t the completion of the battle, and that’s a good thing. This is a very important thematic moment for the series. Moreover, as I’ve said in the past, this gave the anime a chance to correct some of the shortcomings of the manga. The series is often paced to prioritize action and not character. Because of that, these sorts of corrections, alongside the satisfying action scenes, do the overall series justice. Kawaki, in my opinion, has always been the best character of this portion of the franchise. Boruto episode 217 proved that in spades.
Obviously this discussion of the episode contains spoilers. Read with that in mind. Any comparisons made to the manga will be portions of the story that already have happened in the anime.
Breaking Down Naruto’s Power
Interestingly, Boruto episode 217 gave less time to the nuts-and-bolts explanation of Naruto’s new form. This form, called Baryon Mode (I don’t consider that a spoiler, it’s a name) treats chakra like inputs in a chemical reaction. As Kurama explained, life force is consumed to create a new form of energy. Contact with that energy causes anything hit to deplete just like its source. In this case, while Naruto is hitting much harder, the force of blows isn’t what is killing Isshiki. Rather, it’s getting hit at all that reduces his dwindling life force.
Aesthetically, I’m a fan of the form as well. The radiant crimson of Naruto’s cloak is reminiscent of Guy’s 8th Gate form. Not only does this line up thematically, but it connects this form to the callback Guy was performing as well. That color is the color of autumn leaves as they die and become nutrients for the next generation of plant life. This is an important theme throughout Naruto and Boruto, so I’m glad to see it in full force.
On top of that, there were plenty of additional action sequences that showed off Naruto’s power. While this could be dismissed as a way to boost the episode’s popularity, I think it did more than that. Isshiki’s ego and self-assurance is a key part of his on-screen presence. He needed to feel genuine fear and confusion to give the scene the context it really needed.
Kawaki, as usual, is the shining star of Boruto-era character development. Boruto episode 217 gave extra time to his flashbacks. In those, we see familiar motifs such as a shattered vessel held precariously together by tape and glue. Like the vase in the Uzumaki household, this vessel is a representation of Kawaki. And, like that vessel, Kawaki makes sure to keep things together. What’s interesting though is that while the repaired Himawari vase was never fully complete, the young Kawaki was able to repair a tank to the point of supporting additional life. I thought this was an excellent way to describe the progression of his desire to stay whole. While his preserving behavior remains, he is unable to completely stay intact now that he is affected by Karma.
Finally on this, I think the dialogue and presentation of these memories comes through stronger than in the manga. Naruto’s constant speeches about chakra and connectivity to Kawaki are important. It reminds us that chakra in Naruto was spread as a way of life and that Naruto is a bit more mature as an adult than the series gives him credit for.
Ultimately, the next episode will show us how Kawaki finally confronts Isshiki and, by extension, his past. When that happens, we’ll see the continuation of his incredibly satisfying arc. The anime is pacing itself to spotlight this scene; don’t gloss over it in anticipation of more action!
Check out last week’s review here!
Boruto Episode 217 Images courtesy of VRV
BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATIONS © 2002 MASASHI KISHIMOTO / 2017 BORUTO. All Rights Reserved.