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Boruto Episode 227: Straight to the Heartstrings

This week’s Boruto episode was a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the episode continues the anime exclusive content meant to supplement gaps in the manga. As a reminder, the current manga storyline is only slightly beyond the anime. If the anime were to continue adapting it, they would run out of content in about 7 episodes. Given that, and given how fast-paced the manga storyline is, adding extra content makes sense. Unlike the chunin exam arc, however, Boruto episode 227 and the episodes to follow are likely to contribute less on a per-episode basis. To be clear, this isn’t to say the content they add won’t be important. But, from the pacing and animation style of this episode, it seems like if there is anything pivotal added to the story it’ll be the sole contribution of the episode.

One of the first things I found myself noticing in Boruto episode 227 was the lack of movement. By this I don’t mean the lack of heavy-hitting hard action; I didn’t expect that from this episode. I mean literal movement whatsoever. Naruto frequently spoke with his hand over his mouth, meaning the shot stayed still. Scene composition was often entirely panning shots. It felt like the entire budget went into animating the final few moments of the episode.

Thematically, not taking that into account, I thought this episode was a bit nice. This was, in some ways, a good cap on the chunin exams. It also showed the audience Konohamaru after he’s been gone for quite some time. Even more, the episode introduced the new team 7 dynamic with Sarada in charge. Obviously, in talking about the episode I’ll have to discuss its plot. Read with that in mind!

A Disappointing Tease

First, the elephant in the room. Last week’s Boruto episode ended with Boruto and Mitsuki. After facing disqualification, the duo squared up in the ring to figure out who was stronger. As a fan, I really leaned into the mental image of Boruto using his nascent Karma against Mitsuki’s sage mode. I wanted to see the arena torn apart by a battle that no one else would ever end up seeing. But, realistically, I figured what did happen was what would happen. The show teased the fight and didn’t show a single moment of it. Boruto and Sarada had their time to shine in the last two arcs; Mitsuki really needed the same chance.

I understand the reason for creating teaser content like that. But, when the episode that follows pales so much in comparison to the episode prior, I can’t help but be irked. I imagine a lot of fans are too and I hope this sort of move doesn’t continue to happen in the future.

Team 7 Reunited!

The substance of Boruto episode 227, i.e. the mission, wasn’t too important. I have a bit of constant frustration with the Boruto anime touching on the ninja world’s extensive post-war underground but never diving into it. Multiple novels absolutely centered on this and it was an incredibly immersive aspect of the overall story. Even if the episode endeavored to focus on Team 7 growing, it didn’t show it. All of the impressive things Sarada, Boruto, and Mitsuki did were off-screen. Konohamaru hasn’t seen anyone but Sarada in action in quite some time; the “proud sensei” vibe felt unearned.

Despite that, I did like seeing Sarada struggle with abandoning her status as a subordinate and becoming more of a leader. As a manga reader, I think her character needed that foundational struggle long-term. Naruto and her parents are living proof of how challenges within a team don’t erode their bond. I appreciated seeing Boruto and Mitsuki neatly follow her orders and maintain the team. In contrast to a lot of the internal arguments in the original Team 7, I actually appreciate that Boruto era squads don’t squabble in the same ways.

Looking to next week and onward, I think a focus on Kawaki will be a welcome shift. I certainly want the other Leaf ninja to have a chance to shine, but Kawaki is by far the best-written character in Boruto. While Boruto episode 227 didn’t show him, next week will, and I’m very much looking forward to that.

Boruto episode 227 images courtesy of VRV

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