“Boruto,” Episode 13: “The Demon Beast Appears!”

Well, it’s time for me to eat some crow, folks…and rarely has it tasted so darn good!

This was one seriously high-octane episode, so let’s hit it!

The episode opens up with a dilapidated abandoned house, being investigated by Sai and a small team.
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We find out that the dwelling belongs to Tanuki Shigaraki, a previously unaccounted-for researcher from the Foundation. As it turns out, he was the brains behind the Hashirama Cell weaponization program we’ve been investigating, codenamed “Gozu Tennou.”
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It was known that he had continued his research after Danzo’s death, but he disappeared long before the Ghost Incidents started. And any further suspicion that he’s the culprit has been dispelled for the team by a grim discovery in the bedroom of the house.
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The team’s exasperated at the apparent fruitlessness of the hideout’s discovery, but Sai has a sudden eureka moment that breaks the case wide open. We the viewers aren’t quite made privy to it, although we are given a tantalizing glimpse.
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The scene then switches back to where we had left off the previous week: Mitsuki’s confession to Boruto. But far be it from Mitsuki to get straight to the point. Instead, he once again speaks of his “sun” analogy, noting that he’s been studying Boruto’s actions all this time.
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His digression here isn’t random, though—there’s a relevant point to it. Throughout the previous incidents, Boruto has been able to go charging in headlong and resolve things fairly quickly and aggressively. The question for Mitsuki now is whether or not Boruto will be able to continue that approach, given the nature of the latest development. Is it all going to be so simple and easy and neat for him this time? Will he be able to do what it takes, get business handled?

We’ll see the relevance even more so as the episode continues and we find out the real stakes and decisions involved, but for now we get our first indication of the moment’s gravity as we finally find out the identity of the culprit, just before cutting to theme sequence.

The individual behind the Ghost Incidents is….

…the Class Rep.
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Yup, time for me to take out my fork and eat that crow. I did indeed overthink the situation, and the reason Sumire seemed so apparent to others wasn’t that she was a red herring—it was that she WAS the culprit after all! As I promised last week, I now fully admit I was wrong.
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Once the title sequence ends, we get this fantastic montage of seeing an inked Sumire gear up and vanish into the night, then mirrored by seeing Naruto don his Hokage haori.
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It’s a short sequence, lasting only 15 seconds, but gave me chills in the best way. It perfectly conveyed that sense of “Stuff is about to go DOWN.”

Now in the office, we have a conference between Shikamaru and our Hokage, as they discuss the same revelation we were just granted—the culprit’s identity. We also get two new bits of info: Sumire’s (presumably maternal) surname, Kakei, and the revelation that the Foundation researcher we began the episode with is in fact her father.
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And while Sai is busy searching for the girl, it sounds like the news is already spreading, because there are now complaints from people who believe that the individuals involved in the incidents weren’t vetted as they should’ve been. The sentiment is that perhaps things could’ve been stopped earlier if they had.

As we puzzle over that dilemma, we find ourselves joined by a verrry welcome special guest whom I was dying to see: 6th Hokage and apparently ageless badazz, KAKASHI!
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We don’t get to hang with him just yet, though. Instead we cut scene back to an angry Boruto, who’s in disbelief over Mitsuki’s revelation. Boruto points out that Sumire herself was injured in one of the attacks, but Mitsuki labels it a clever tactic on her part to avoid suspicion.

He also offers to give his skeptical friend further evidence of Sumire’s involvement, but Boruto doesn’t want to hear anymore. Instead his focus is on the other big question we all have: WHY would she do all of this in the first place? What’s this girl’s motivation, her agenda?
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We have opportunity, but what about motive?

Mitsuki simply shrugs the question off and essentially says, “Look, you can take it or leave it…although I don’t think you’ll be able to stick your head in the sand for long.” He clarifies that second part by explaining that Sumire is by now feeling the heat and realizes that she must strike now, while she still can.

The Ghost rampages were just a means to an end, and now it’s time to see the endgame.

Just as Mitsuki is explaining that, the ground is shaken by tremors, which seem to be coming from the direction of Senju Park.
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Getting back to our dream team from the old guard, we delve into what the village dynamics were immediately following the Fourth Great War. With the village in shambles and citizens already reeling from the loss of so many friends and family members, Kakashi and Tsunda felt that directing scrutiny towards those with checkered pasts would simply further destabilize an already fragile situation. They felt that maintaining a sense of community and unity in the village took priority as they rebuilt. Plus, there were those like Sai who were fully reformed, and it wouldn’t have been fair to have them made pariahs.

The downside of that was that some problematic characters have indeed slipped through the cracks, with Sumire now proving to be one of them.

Shikamaru agrees that Kakashi and Tsunade’s approach was a wise one, but also acknowledges the price it’s come with.

Like my father often says, nothing comes without a cost.

Turning the focus to the situation at hand, Shikamaru brings up the question of what will be done with the girl once she’s apprehended. He says that their responsibility now is to maintain order in the village, and they can’t afford to be soft on offenders.
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Kakashi seems to be somewhere between amused and exasperated at Shikamaru’s statements, and Shika finally asks what many of us may already be wondering: exactly what is Kakashi doing here anyway…not that I mind, heh!
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I mean, with all the stuff he’s been through throughout his whole life, you’d think the man would be ready to actually enjoy retirement, ya know?

Apparently not, though. As it turns out, Kakashi’s been using his downtime to search for traces of the Foundation’s research. He claims that he DID plan on taking it easy, but felt a sense of being tied to Danzo and the Foundation because of his own history.

In any case, his hunting has turned up some crucial—and disturbing—info. He reveals to a shocked and infuriated Naruto the reason they haven’t been able to find the creature itself: in all likelihood, the being is stored within the very body of the girl herself, essentially making her something akin to a Jinchuriki.

Seems like what I said about the Nue possibly being the Foundation’s attempt at manufacturing its own Tailed Beast might be kinda accurate!

And as a special note here, it was actually touching for me to see the way Naruto reacted. As both a father and a Jinchuriki, he expressed a mix of horror and disbelief at the idea that the researcher would’ve used his own daughter like that.
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One might argue that Naruto’s own parents did something similar to him, but I would argue that their spirits in and reasons for doing so were far different.

And while I don’t know much of the girl’s backstory Naruto is aware of, it becomes increasingly evident throughout the episode that her father was simply using her as a tool for his own twisted revenge, callously disregarding her well-being, never mind that of the village itself.

The scene is interrupted and ended by Kakashi and then the other two picking up on a disturbance from across the city, just as with Mitsuki and Boruto previously.

We move on to Sai, who’s racing across the city in pursuit of Sumire. While in transit, Sai reflects on the work of Danzo Shimura. Danzo’s intentions may have been to protect the village, but his methods and overall approach were unilateral and thoroughly wrongheaded. What’s more, his dealings have now led to a situation that has the potential to alienate those trying to rebuild their lives since the disbandment of the Foundation.

However, Sai is determined to do his part to help and free those that remain, giving them the kind of chance that he’s now had.
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After that reflection-filled interlude, we finally reach the center of the disturbance—Senju Park. There we find Sumire, who’s quickly confronted by a pair of Leaf ninja. Agilely avoiding the weapons of one, she quickly readies herself for a fight and—
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Well. Dang.

Having downed the girl, Sai gets ready to make sure she’s thoroughly restrained for the time being, but also kindly assures Sumire that he will not allow anyone to harm her.

However, our culprit has just enough to screw things up—big time. And it only takes a single word.
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Yup. We’re screwed.

Seeing the now unleashed beast, Boruto immediately recognizes the gravity of the situation—partially so, at least—and races off to confront Sumire for himself. He doesn’t know where he’ll go from there, but that’s where he’s gonna start.

An intrigued Mitsuki watches him leave and is soon interrupted by another visit from the white snake…and throws a little unexpected attitude at the mysterious individual for whom it serves as an apparent intermediary.
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However, any feeling of lightheartedness provided by that little moment is quashed by a new turn of events. We discover that the initial plan was simply to observe the girl and keep tabs on her actions. However…there’s been a change of plans.
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Okay, since I was fully willing to admit I was wrong about Sumire, please excuse me while I fully enjoy doing a little victory dance here.

I WAS RIIIIGHT! I wasn’t just being paranoid getting all those fricking assassin vibes from the little fudger last episode!

Okay, dancing over…for now.

Returning to the larger crisis, we get a closer look at the beast as Sai and his two subordinates face off with it. They apologize to him for their inability to take concrete action, but he acknowledges that there’s no way they can take on the beast on their lonesome.

But…who says they’re on their lonesome?

In one of my favorite moments of the episode, a certain Sensei comes to the rescue, and in thoroughly spectacular fashion.
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Hasn’t missed a beat!

Okay, time for another side note. With the various beasties in Naruto, I’ve rarely felt repulsed by them, as far as I can recall. The main candidate for the gross-out awards tends to be Orochimaru, a human (ish…?) character. Heck, even Tsunade’s slug is rather charming.

But the Nue was off-putting from its first appearance in this episode, and continued to be so throughout.
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And perhaps that was deliberate on the writers’ part; they don’t want us to connect with this creature the way we might with the other fauna of this world, like the Ninja Dogs or Kurama & Co. The Nue instead feels truly grotesque and repulsive.

And the voice we heard in a previous episode, ostensibly coming from the creature itself, definitely gives us a sinister impression of it as well. On its own that’s not necessarily a determinant factor—think of how Kurama used to be before Naruto got through to him!—but in concert with the creature’s vibe and appearance overall, I suspect it’s meant to truly be considered a permanent enemy.

Alright, enough theorizing for right now. Let’s get back to the fight, people!

The gift that keeps on giving, our injured Nue simply divides its damaged tail into numerous smaller tendrils, which it uses to suck chakra from those it latches on to.
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Fortunately it’s confined to the park for the time being, surrounded by a massive mud wall created by Kakashi and the other Earth-Style wielders.
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In the meantime, Boruto is edging closer to the creature’s location, but is stopped short by Mitsuki’s warning about just how dangerous the Nue is. Mitsuki also reveals the key to stopping it: if the jutsu user dies, the creature will stop. And since Sumire doesn’t look like she’s dying of old age anytime soon…you can fill in the blanks.

Mitsuki confronts his friend with the difficult choice that must be made.
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Of course, with his being Naruto’s son, do we even have to wonder? Nope!
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Once again, Mitsuki expresses his susprise and amusement at Boruto’s viewpoints, as well as a desire to further observe how the boy differs from himself. However, things are different this time around. With the urgency of the situation plus the new orders he’s received, Mitsuki has decided to reject Boruto’s approach and handle the situation himself. Lethally.

He rather creepily produces a Clone…
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(Those sound effects!)
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…and uses it to keep Boruto from pursuing.
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With the original Mitsuki gone, the Clone attempts to knock our young hero out, but is caught by surprise—much like I was—by a slightly kamikaze/IDF-like tactic from the young Uzumaki.
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I’ve been trying to figure out why he used that exact approach, and about my only guess is that either the Original or the Clone figured that the only way to dislodge both Mitsuki and the snake before they could strike was to hit them from that position, and either the Clone didn’t have time to get a better angle, or he needed to deliberately and forcefully hit the Original in order to shake off that snake in time.

Whatever their reasons, the two Clones shrug off the Original Boruto’s objections and leave him to get things done. (And once more I find myself loving the dynamic between Boruto and his Clones. They really are such characters and give a certain sense of having their own distinct personalities apart from him.)

Alone once more, Boruto shakes off that rather hard hit and turns his focus back to finding Sumire—hopefully sometime before Mitsuki offs her butt. Luckily for him, his eye kicks in once more, revealing a chakra current leading from the beast and into parts unknown. Our protagonist takes the hint.

Meanwhile, we cut back to Senju Park just in time to watch the Nue smashing through the massive earth walls erected to contain it. And in more good news, we find out that the already huge beast has actually been growing further due to the chakra it’s been siphoning.
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It was at this very moment that I wondered where the devil Naruto was.

With the physical walls reaching their limits, Sai call for the Barrier Team to do their thing and put in place an energy wall to back up the physical one.
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Kakashi, Sai, and the support team continue doing their best to keep the creature under control, but it’s pretty clear how uneven the odds are. Their attempts to tie it down give me some serious Lilliput vibes.

Luckily for them….
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ENTER THE SEVENTH HOKAGE.

Having turned relief operations over to the rest of the gang—wait, that thing is trapped in the park and STILL effing civilians up?—Naruto’s ready to kick some backside.
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However…not so fast. We find out that confronting the monster head-on is probably the worst possible thing he can do, because in another installation of just FANTASTIC news, we find out…
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Yeah.

Apparently, Big, Hairy, & Scary is also a humongous explosive device, ultimately designed to be detonated by and along with the jutsu caster, as the ultimate coup de grace.

So….Danzo & Daddy Dearest didn’t just turn this girl into a living weapon…they turned her into a suicide bomber. No two ways about it—that’s exactly what she is.

This schist just gets darker and darker, no?
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While Naruto and the others are stuck playing defense, we pan out to a wider shot, getting a closer look at a Sumire who looks and feels very unlike the shy, nervous girl who was always panicking over her classmates’ issues and antics.

As it turns out, she’s not ready to die just yet…
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…although she might not have a choice!!!

I’m with X on this one—I really wish the fight sequences between these two could’ve lasted longer, because they were just SICK (in the positive sense,

of course.) And the way we were ambushed with those first strikes—IN-SANE! I love the writers so much for this.

After the first half of their skirmish, Sumire asks what I consider to be a classic Naruto question, especially coming from villainous characters:
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Which of course Mitsuki answers quite calmly and matter-of-factly.
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(Well, what were ya expecting him to say?)
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Ah, and we also find yet another layer to Mitsuki’s creepiness.
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Okay, how the heck did he manage to put that on her without her noticing it? Shino’s bugs? Yeah, that’s fairly believable. But how do you plant a freaking snake on someone and not have them notice it at any point?

In any case, with Sumire’s two inquiries settled, the two resume fighting, and Mitsuki gains the upper hand in a matter of mere seconds. Luckily for our rocker girl….
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…Boruto steps in before Oro Jr. can shish-kebab her.

Boruto finally gets the confirmation he’s been dreading from Sumire, who seems briefly remorseful before replacing that with an attitude of mocking defiance as she essentially challenges Boruto to kill her. That definitely stood out to me as being the one moment where Sumire seemed most unlike the character she’d presented to us in previous episodes.

Ahh, and can we just take a moment her to appreciate her “ink”?
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Even though it’s a seal/summoning mark, and also carries with it a dark story, it’s still visually beautiful. And even though I don’t believe in actual tattoos, both for religious and practical reasons, I can still appreciate them artistically.

Actually, come to think of it, the color makes it look rather like a henna tattoo, which is something I’ve been wanting to get done anyway. (Henna is temporary, and doesn’t violate the rules as far as I’m aware.)

I might have to use this for inspiration when I get around to it!

Returning to our current situation, the focus turns to Mitsuki once more. Having allowed Boruto time to hear things straight from the horse’s mouth, he’s now had enough and gets ready to settle this for good, over his friend’s objections. (And I honestly loved that whole mildly exasperated thing he had going on, haha.)
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Out for blood, Sumire and Mitsuki charge towards each other once more.
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I gotta say, I got pretty nervous here, because I was afraid our boy was gonna do some self-sacrificing business that would result in his getting skewered. Think “kunais through hands.” Instead, though, we get…
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…THIS.

I swear, being indomitably badazz is just in the genes for this boy, isn’t it? His dad would be crazy proud right about now!

And before Boruto can even talk these two down, we’re met with a very unexpected twist as his lightning-laced eye reveals a startling new power, opening up a teleportation portal in the sky.
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In a moment I most definitely didn’t see coming, he involuntarily pulls the gigantic Nue out of the barrier and into the portal.

Kakashi says it best here:
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With the chakra of one last person still needed, Sumire surrenders herself to the beast for that purpose in what appears to be a suicidal move. Refusing to give up on the situation, Boruto recklessly charges after her, and Mitsuki…well, I’m not clear exactly what happened with him. Did he actually get pulled in himself, or did a Clone get through instead, via snake?

Of course, if it’s a Clone, that would mean it could easily get one-shotted and be out of the game.

Also, if the Original Mitsuki has actually been left behind…not sure I wanna be there if/when Naruto finds his butt. Naruto’s protective of other people’s children, let alone his own!

If he thinks Mitsuki has something to do with his son’s disappearance…”ticked” ain’t even the word for it!

Whatever the case, our episode ends here, our trio and Sumire’s pet from Hades gone, a single memento left behind.
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Alright, time for the episode summary & preview!

I’m in a bit of a funny spot with this episode, but I can say this with confidence: it was amazing. I was quite exhausted when I watched the episode, and have been feeling ill for part of the time I’ve been writing this, so I don’t feel like my reactions or writing have been where they would normally be.

Yet even with those two factors subduing me, this episode had multiple moments where I absolutely lost it in exhilaration, and I think that says it all. Tired as heck and I’m still going crazy with excitement and happiness? Job well done!

Even the quieter moments in this episode served a valuable purpose; we found out about the state of society in the village following the War, and the kinds of decisions that had to be made. That for me shows the thought that the writers are putting into all of this, and how they’re making sure to explain things and create a backstory and reasons for them.

We’re also seeing how even some of the less dramatic moments a Hokage has come with their own difficulties and struggles. Naruto now has to determine the wiser and most just course of action in dealing with a culprit who on one hand has hurt, victimized, and endangered numerous individuals (nevermind the property damage!), yet on the other hand is also a victim herself and underage.

So in this episode we got to see fighting, executive matters, relationship & character development, and dramatic revelations, including new abilities being displayed by Boruto’s eye. It was a really well-rounded episode, and went by in a flash.

I do understand that there’s some disagreement about one of the plot devices—the chakra siphoning preventing Naruto from stepping in too directly. Personally, I’m happy with it. The explanation felt believable enough, and it was important that Naruto not just be able to one-shot this thing. This is Boruto’s story, and having Dad just show up and mop the floor with the Nue in two seconds—especially so early on in the conflict—would be incongruous with that.

I do however have a complaint about that whole snake tracking situation. That really stretches the bounds of believability for me. How do you not notice a freaking snake crawling around in your clothes? Just how many layers is Sumire wearing?!

That aside, though, I do still think this episode deserves a 9. My physical state kept me from feeling things as viscerally as I would want sometimes, but some moments—like how Boruto stepped between his friends at the last second—got to me deeply even so. Between that and my objective sense of this episode, I’d have to put it at least as 8.5, and given my condition, I think it would be fairer on my part to go ahead and say 9.

So, what of next episode? Alright, here is my hope for the next episode or 2–3 episodes—however many it takes to wrap this up.

This is probably gonna sound awful to you at first blush, but I kinda hope Sumire doesn’t make it.

Wait, what? Did I just say that Im hoping a little girl dies?! Well…yes. But hear me out before you throw your phone.

Honestly, it’s probably not gonna happen. But if it does, I actually think that would be a great thing for the series and character development as a whole here.

The simple fact of the matter is that we’ve already seen a similar dynamic played out in Naruto many times before. You have the stubborn, determined villain—sometimes having previously posed as a good guy. They attack, and you have the whole battle where Naruto is busy talking them down, trying to convince them to let go of their determination to kill or destroy x, y, or z. The amount of time it takes varies, but eventually Naruto and his insane strength of will get through them and he’s able to talk them down.

Sometimes the reformed villain lives, other times they nobly sacrifice themselves to make things right.

In any case, we know the drill by now. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not making fun of or complaining about this. I adore the two original series, and they’re a HUGE part of why this new series means so darn much to me.

However…with this new series, I would like for us to continue to see things that distinguish it from the old series and keep things from being too predictable.

If Boruto simply talks her down and she makes it out and we go happily ever after…well, I’d prefer that not take place. (Although I did love one suggestion given—perhaps Ino and Sai could actually adopt her, and Inojin would gain a sister!)

I think, for the sake of the story, it will be a lot more impactful if she dies—especially if she stays defiant through the end. If that happens, it’ll show us that we can’t just rest easy. It’ll show that the stakes really are high and that when there’s a life-or-death situation with a character, death is a real threat here.

And I think the experience will have a much more profound effect on Boruto. I was thinking about something his father said, and also the hints we’ve picked up here and there.

Back in “Shadow of the Mastermind,” we had that chilling statement from Naruto about his son not yet knowing the horrors of war. Now, a single life lost wouldn’t fix that, no. However, it would be a start for Boruto. It would be a taste of the brutal realities that he’ll be living with as a ninja.

It may also further Boruto’s sense of needing to step out from under his father’s shadow and chart his own path. There seem to be possible hints that he eventually goes rogue or abandons being a ninja at some point, and this could be one of those moments that plants the seed for it—seeing Sumire destroyed by her connection to her parents and their desires for her life.

If Sumire dies after being redeemed by Boruto, I do think it’ll have some of the impact I’m looking for here. However, if she dies unrepentant, I think it’ll have an even deeper impact on Boruto and his perspective. It’s not that I want the boy to fail. But if she dies, especially if he actually has to kill her himself, which I consider the best possible course here…that would be absolutely amazing. I think it’ll give a whole new gravity to the series and could give us a really profound character arc from there for Boruto. (Plus it would explain Sumire’s absence from the movie.)

Now…all that said, I realize that it’s harsh. And I agree with X as well, in his opinion that it’s unlikely to actually happen. However, if it does happen and is executed well, I think it’ll be an absolutely standout moment not just for the season, but also for the series as a whole.

Actual predictions, though? Boruto talks her down eventually, Mitsuki is encouraged and inspired, and perhaps even realizes from this that he needn’t be beholden to that parent of his who’s been handing out kill orders.

And frankly, even though I’m hoping for a darker outcome, I’ll probably still end up really enjoying whatever the writers come up with—especially if they save the current form of Sumire. If they have her live through this but keep that new attitude, skill, and coolness, she could be a lot of fun to watch, actually.

So it’s not like I’ll be all devastated if things don’t go the way I’m gunning for. And who knows—given the creativity they’ve shown thus far, the writing team could well find another way to surprise us.

For sure, I’m looking forward to watching how things play out! Onward and upward, y’all!

Ahh, and as a final note, I’m very happy I haven’t had to chew them out over Kakashi. Yet.

Still keeping tabs on them, though…

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