Boruto has reached an inflection point. Last week, Naruto, Sasuke, Boruto, and Kawaki all combined forces, tactics, and sacrifice in order to take down Isshiki once and for all. Naruto, in an all-out gambit he thought would cost his life, instead lost Kurama’s life. Sasuke lost his eye in the aftermath. Kawaki lost his Karma seal and Boruto witnessed the disastrous risk his presents. Overall, every one of the series’ pivotal characters experienced some degree of major shift in their perspective around combat; this helped the series juxtapose shifts in power with the same effect. While some characters lost things and others gained, the change in circumstances is shared. Boruto episode 219 presents a reality where the risk of destruction is present but the safety is uncertain.
This week built from that narrative premise to add further characterization to each of the aforementioned characters and tie them back into the main world of the story. Since the beginning of the Kara arc, most characters outside of Team 7 and their periphery have only shown up on-screen for filler moments. Or worse, they appears solely to serve as jobber characters establishing a villain’s strength.
This, in my opinion, is a major problem for the series. It’s obviously not abnormal for shonen anime to prominently feature a smaller set characters. But, in Boruto’s case, two of that set are from a generation meant to be surpassed and left behind. Luckily though, Boruto episode 219 took care to make it clear that room is definitely there for others to make an appearance.
Spoilers ahead for Boruto episode 219 – Return.
Code and the new Kara
With Jigen and Isshiki gone, the main remaining adversary that Konoha knows of is an inner from Kara named Code. From the outset, it’s quite clear that Code is similar to Kawaki. Both were potential vessels, both in Kara, both heavily modified. Even more, both idolize a father figure in order to fill the gap in their development. For Kawaki, that obviously is Naruto. For Code, that idolization makes Jigen into a God. Personally, I appreciated that the anime, which its relatively impressive voice acting, helped that come through. Code’s response to Isshiki’s appearance was one of a man finding water in a dessert. While it’s quite similar in nature to Kawaki loving Naruto, it’s easy to see where both deviate.
What I don’t like, however, is what Code, as a character, spells for the series’ villains. Since the ending of Naruto Shippuden, one of my most consistent gripes with the series is powerful people appearing out of nowhere with unsatisfying origins. I appreciate Boruto episode 219 focusing on how overpowered ninja tech is. However, I dislike the fact that someone more powerful than Jigen conveniently exists and could get even more powerful soon. All of the Otsutsuki have this problem. Because they are literal aliens, they, quite literally, feel alien to the Naruto/Boruto world.
The anime was also careful in its progression down the manga’s storyline. It’s clear from this that anime-only content is coming. But, that isn’t a surprise.
The Next Chapter
Code complaints aside, the best part of Boruto episode 219 was, by far, the portrayal of Boruto. Since he first became Momoshiki, I’ve been very satisfied with the anime’s handling of his character. In this episode, his habit of covering up fear and stress with a jovial attitude comes through. That’s obviously something he gets from Naruto. From Hinata though, Boruto has a habit of being overly apologetic to people he feels he has inconvenienced, even when it isn’t his fault. This is what allows more perceptive characters like Sasuke and Sarada to get some more insight into his mental state.
This will be even more important in the arc to come. Team 7 is forbidden from missions. This means either a lot of the next arc will be in the village or Karma will magically not be a problem for a bit. My money is personally on the former. Random additions to the past few episodes make me guess the next arc either involves a chunin exam, the anbu, or both. As an aside, I’m also (begrudgingly) expecting that Sumire will get the Hinata treatment (even with her outfit) and just dote on Boruto despite being one of the strongest genin.
In either case, the anime, even more clearly than the manga, makes it clear that Sasuke and Naruto won’t be the powerhouses for a while. It’s still unclear exactly how much weaker they are. But, Boruto episode 219 makes it clear that the focus is going to be on the genin for quite some time. Arguably, it’s long overdue.
Boruto Episode 219 Images courtesy of VRV
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