“Boruto,” Episode 14: “The Path That Boruto Can See”

The episode begins with Kakashi Sensei explaining the ins and outs of regular Summoning Jutsus, then contrasting them with that of this new creature.
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Meanwhile Naruto attempts to detect the creature’s presence using Sage abilities, but is unsuccessful.
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Sai adds to the heaping helping of good news, saying that while he’s sent out teams to search, there’s been no sign of the jutsu caster herself, either.

As the adults contemplate what an utter clustermuss Danzo has left them with, we get a very sci-fi shot of Boruto plunging through a tunnel of color and light. Not quite what I was expecting, for sure!
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When we return from the theme sequence, we find that Senju Park has been taped off at the entrance, and a large crowd has gathered behind the line. Amongst them are Inojin, Denki, and Shikadai, who reveal that they’ve been hunting for Boruto, and are aware that the Class Rep is missing as well. Shikadai notes how uncharacteristic it is of Boruto not to be around with all the chaos going on, and Inojin openly wonders if all of this is connected to the Ghost Incidents.
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As the other two head off again to resume their search, Shikadai notices a mysterious aurora-like entity glimmering in the night sky.
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We then cut back to Boruto, who reaches the apparent end of the star tunnel and plunges down into a dark, overgrown area, becoming entangled in vines.
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I don’t know about you guys, but I immediately thought of a similar scene from Lion King, where Simba follows Rafiki through a forbidding tangle of thorns and vines. On the bright side, the vines break what could’ve otherwise been a devastating fall.
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Undeterred by what looks like a sinister version of a mangrove swamp, Boruto wastes no time in charging off to find Sumire, quickly spotting another chakra current, carrying the same aura he’s been seeing throughout the Ghost Incidents.
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At the end of the current is a massive structure of roots, decorated with what appears to be fabric or rope.
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The apparent lair of the Nue.

Narrowly avoiding an ambush from it, Boruto angrily confronts the creature, demanding to know what it’s done with Sumire.
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Still not fully willing to accept that Sumire’s gone, Boruto strikes at the beast, triggering a quite enjoyable fight sequence between the two. The various camera angles and flow of the action—especially with the unique background and vibe—are great. What’s more, the scene quickly brought to mind Naruto’s words during Episode 8 or 9, about how Boruto hasn’t really been pushed enough yet.
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Boruto manages a rather impressive strike against the beast—it’s great how seamlessly he works with his Shadow Clones—but sustains a hard blow himself as well.
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Recovering from it, the boy catches me by surprise with his next statement: he vows to avenge Sumire.
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That in and of itself is not such a surprising sentiment to hear in the Naruto world, but for me it shows how intense this guy already is, and also indicates that he does think Sumire’s really dead at this point.

In any case, Boruto’s eye kicks in once more, showing him the flow of the creature’s chakra, as well as some sort of key point near the base of its tail.
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Before he can fully process the information or make use of it, however, the creature charges once more.
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It appears that Boruto is still somewhat staggered from the prior blow, because he fails to move out of the way in time, and is spared only due to Mitsuki’s timely intervention.
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Kid might be creepy, but he is darned useful to have around!

Mitsuki casually reveals that Sumire is in fact still alive, and Boruto reveals no little relief at that fact, apparently unfazed by the revelation that she’s the one currently trying to kill him by means of the Nue.
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Indeed, he’s still worried about that kill order Mitsuki had been bent on carrying out, but Mitsuki shuts him up with the universal “talk to the hand” gesture and reminds him that they still have Big & Beastly to take care of for the time being.
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Yeah. No kidding.
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Relying on Mitsuki to distract the Nue…

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(This dude always looks too darn happy, even in the face of danger. Then again, he did make that comment about not caring if he died….)

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….Boruto makes use of his Shadow Clones once more, strategically planting explosives in the massive ropes that crisscross above them.
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He then uses one of the Clones in a false attack as the Original strikes for real—right at that chakra point he’d perceived previously.
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The creature scarcely has time to react to that assault before Boruto detonates the explosives—narrowly escaping himself as the ropes fall down onto the creature, trapping it.
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An impressed Mitsuki praises Boruto’s performance, then prepares to execute the creature. However, his Snake Lightning is stopped by a wall of water, courtesy of Sumire.
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Well…kind of. As soon as she spoke here, I suspected that the one actually speaking her was either her mother or father, channeled through herself.
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It was possible that she was calling the animal “my child,” but really I felt like it was one of her parents referring to Sumire herself. [Note: By the end of the episode, I was clearer that Sumire wasn”t actually being possessed by a parent here, and was instead calling the Nue her “child.”]

In any case, Boruto and Mitsuki confront Sumire—with the latter two still very much ready to fight each other.
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Attempting to prevent things from coming to blows once more, Boruto tries to reason with her, and we finally get to hear more of Sumire’s backstory, told from her perspective.
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It’s definitely a familiar one for the Naruto world.
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Her father served the Village during the War, but was treated as a pariah once he was no longer needed, and ultimately fled, along with his wife and young daughter.
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Time spent with her mother was Sumire’s only solace for much of her life, and when her mother died from the stress and anxiety of their situation, even that was gone.

Driven by the dual sources of Danzo’s philosophy plus his own personal grief and desire for revenge, Tanuki’s idea of single parenting was to make his now motherless daughter a tool for revenge…and Sumire has seemingly accepted that fate.
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Alright, ya know what me and X were saying last episode, about how short the fight between Sumire and Mitsuki was? Yeah…I think we both get it now!!

THIS…WAS…AMAZING. My heart was absolutely pounding through it, and I was laughing like a crazy person in incredulity.
And as if that were not enough, we got some more plot and character aspects in the middle of the flipping fight, getting more tantalizing hints about what Mitsuki is really up to. And hopefully Boruto was paying attention—Sumire isn’t the only one with secrets here, my hotheaded young hero!
Much to my delight, I was able to find a clip of the battle for you guys, because stills simply wouldn’t do it justice! The audio may be pitch-altered, but the badazz choreography is very much intact!
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Just as before, Boruto throws himself between the two to end the fight…only it’s NOT just as before.

This time around he’s injured, left with a kunai sticking out of his right arm.
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And once more we see one of those little hints from Sumire…whether as a friend or something more, she seems to view him as being special to her. Not that it keeps her from shooting water bullets at him, though. Pfft.
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Boruto tries to remind the two of their camaraderie as classmates, but Mitsuki rejects the idea initially, pegging Sumire as nothing more than a spy who’s been gathering intel on them.
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Pot, Kettle…I think you two will get along nicely, eh?
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Boruto is unconvinced, however. He doesn’t buy the idea that Sumire’s previous attempts and anxiety over protecting her classmates were all just an act.
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What I adore about this scene is that it shows us that Boruto doesn’t just have abilities surrounding physical sight; he also has the gift of spiritual sight as well. That’s a very powerful thing to see about him.

What’s more, he eventually uses the two in concert, figuring out that Sumire doesn’t simply posses the Ghost Chakra…she’s being possessed BY it herself.
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Boruto also understands as well why the chakra has targeted those who are suffering and burdened—because they are like Sumire herself.
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Though now at least partially freed by her classmate’s words of compassion and insight, a noticeably shakier Sumire isn’t ready to give up quite yet. Clinging to her father’s plans for her life, she calls the Nue forth, instructing it to harvest her chakra…and then detonate itself.
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What happens next? Well…cuddles. Lots of cuddles. If this isn’t a classic pet moment, I don’t know what is.
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But on a more serious note, Boruto observes the bond present there, and reminds Sumire of how much suffering has been in her own life, how her own parent raised and treated her as an expendable tool, something to be sacrificed at will. How can she do the same thing to this animal that she’s raised like a child herself?

Whew, this boy. For all his brash and knuckleheaded moments, he truly does have intelligence and depth of character when it counts.
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Now shaken to her core, Sumire is freed fully this time.
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In a stunning moment, the seal mark on her back shatters (also removing Mitsuki’s purpose for killing her, as I understand it…). But the realm begins to shatter along with it.
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Cut off by a chasm, a tearful Sumire reflects on how she had really felt being part of the class—the happiness she’d found there.
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She only has so much time for tears, though.

In yet a surprising-yet-not moment, we see Boruto showing yet more of his father’s mettle…and dramatic posing abilities, haha!!
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Riding on the Nue’s back (that personality change!), the two make a mad dash to escape and are soon joined by a reflective Mitsuki.
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As they near the exit, the three part ways with Beasty, who seems to be trying to protect them.
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However, as they continue making a run for it, the portal disappears, leaving them seemingly trapped.
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Eye of Mystery to the rescue once more! (Geez, what all CAN this thing do?!)
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And as the group is reunited, let us pause here to note how gorgeous the background looks here—especially that amazing sky!
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And props to X-TheBoyWonder for spotting something here that cracked me up: while Boruto and Sumire land rather haphazardly, Mitsukui sticks a landing worthy of Mary Poppins herself. “Practically perfect in every way,” indeed!
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There’s little rest for the weary, though.
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As Boruto tries a rather jumbled and half-baked explanation—hard to blame him, given the magnitude of what all has taken place—the piper must be paid.
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Sai and a support team show up. Sai reaches out to Sumire once more, and this time things go a lot more smoothly. (And gotta love how Sai doesn’t even argue with Inojin about staying out all night to search. YET, anyway…)
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Also, nice sense of poetry here, Sai!
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Ahh, and speaking of consequences and Ghosts…after a last heartwarming and amusing moment with Boruto, Sumire, and Hello, Monkey (yeah, I’m full of names for this thing…)….
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…the gang realize how extremely late and extremely dead they are right about now.
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Whew, do we even wanna see what Hina and Temari’s reactions are gonna be?! Bury yourselves now, offspring!
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But, before we die, how about a little train-hopping as we ride off into the sunset…erm, make that sunrise!
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Alrighty, you know the drill: summary, scoring and preview!

As anticipated, the writers chose to go for a less dark path than I had been hoping for here; Sumire was both redeemed and rescued, making it home safely.

However…to be honest, I’m good with that! This episode was absolutely fantastic, so I really have no complaints here. I felt like the writers were able to give us a great sense of drama, intensity, and depth here. And heck, they briefly did have me thinking they were gonna kill Sumire, once that chasm situation happened!

And we also got the chance to continue watching the characters evolve—especially Boruto, who showed us both physical and mental/spiritual facets that we hadn’t seen from him before.

And two notes of interest here:

First, Sumire’s name. Someone explained in relation to a previous episode why Boruto and the others constantly call her “Class Rep” rather than by her name: it’s a matter of respect; they’re acknowledging her position.

With that in mind, it’s significant how Boruto finally did call her by name just before her seal shattered. He was basically skipping the formality and diving in there, heart-to-heart. Plus there was also that statement she had made before, about how “Sumire Kekei never existed,” that she was just a weapon. He used her name, reinforcing that she was an individual with a life and story of her own.

The other note is what X-TheBoyWonder was saying about Boruto’s being a tactician. I both agree and disagree with what he said on the subject. Without a doubt, Bor is very sharp and adept, and I’m duly impressed with how well and how quickly he strategizes—heck, that was something that impressed me about him early on, as I watched him in fights and everything.

However, I feel like X wasn’t giving Naruto quite enough credit here. As it happens, I’ve been watching some of the beginning episodes of Naruto, as a ‘Net friend’s younger sister is interested in the series and I want to give her some tips for easing into it.

When you think about moments like Naruto’s underwater clone double ambush during the training exercise, or the Demon Shuriken trick he and Sasuke executed, you see that Naruto—despite indeed being rather obtuse sometimes—also had these flashes of brilliance from early on, before he’d even had much training.

That said, I will acknowledge that Boruto does seem to find that kind of thing even easier than his father did, and hasn’t even graduated from the Academy yet. His father was a graduate (albeit bottom of the class…) back when he was coming up with those strategies.

So my point is that yes. Boruto probably is ahead of where his father was in some ways—indeed, that seems to be part of the point with this new generation as a whole—but that Naruto also deserves a bit more credit here than I feel X was giving him.

So…all that said, what’s my score for this episode? A stone-cold 9, people! While it may not have followed the path I wished, it made up for that in spades by doing such a great job in the one it did follow.

By the end of the episode, I didn’t feel like I was wanting for anything. I mean, we had development, insight, gorgeously choreographed action sequences, and some fun little touches of humor and cuteness.

They even managed to incorporate the Naruto staple of flashbacks without it feeling like they dragged on or took up an undue percentage of the episode.

What’s more, I’m pleased with what they’re doing in connection with the next episode here. (Preview time!)
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Based on what’s said and shown in the preview, we’re going to be dealing with the aftermath of the Ghost Incidents and Culmination now. Rather than simply being left to shrug or speculate about what the next steps are, we’re going to get at least a bit of additional news about what’s going to happen to Sumire, how the village and its leader are going to deal with cases like hers.

(To be honest, the mention of other academies brought to mind the idea of sending her to them as a spy—basically repeating what she had did in Konoha’s school to some extent—but that seems like a rather unlikely move on Lord Seventh’s part, especially with inter-village relationships having improved.)

It also seems like there will likely be tensions over it, quite possibly between father and son. I suspect that, especially after his work to get her back, Boruto would want to simply welcome Sumire back to class with open arms, everything forgiven. Of course, that kinda thing probably isn’t gonna be practical, and it looks like the writers intend to acknowledge that reality.

So while this looks like it’s gonna be a calmer episode and I still feel a bit unclear about what exactly the children are even doing on that metal frame, I definitely am looking forward to Episode 15, and I expect it’ll be a fairly interesting one.

Ooh, and before we sign off, gotta talk about the new ending for a sec!
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I’ve always felt that the first ending sequence & song were good ones, although I wasn’t madly in love with them. The song was fairly catchy, and it was pleasant enough to listen to. And the animation side of things was solid, especially since it revealed some little things to us—it gave us a chance to see some of the characters we haven’t seen in the actual show yet, like Tenten, and it also had elements like showing how Metal Lee is racing out ahead of the others.

But for me, what really made that ending was the part at the very end, where the final chord plays, we have the a cappella singing, and the visual of Boruto catching and holding up that headband. For me, that combo of music, vocals, and visuals was sheer perfection, and so evocative.

With this new ending theme, I feel like I like the overall song a bit better musically, plus I’m just enjoying the change from the older visuals to a new set of them. I don’t think I’m gonna be super attached to this ending—though neither am I to the first one—but I think I’ll enjoy it for its duration here in the series.

Ahh, but what about that moment of perfection? I think that’s one aspect where the first ending sequence actually wins out. This new one DOES have one, mind you—that transitional moment with Sumire. The visuals and the way they timed it with the music were just too darn slick!
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However, it’s a much briefer moment than what we got with the first ending. It’s like this new one lasts a literal moment, while the previous one lasted for several moments.

All in all, I do think that I like the new ending a little more than the old one, but it may just be due to a sense of fatigue with it by now. I think it’ll be telling to consider how I feel about the two later on, once we’ve had several more ending themes.

What I’m really worried about is the OPENING sequence and theme, though. I don’t know how the devil they are going to top that one. You know what I said before, about not being madly in love with Ending 1? Well I AM madly in love with Opening 1! I always watch it for my first viewing of a new episode, and often for subsequent viewings as well.

Oh, and X asked viewers recently if they preferred this song or “Diver” for the opening sequence. I initially thought he meant the song used for the 8th Shippuden opening, done by Nico Touches The Walls. Now, had he meant that song, it would definitely be a much harder choice.

But as it turned out, it seems he was talking about the Kana-Boon song by that name. In that case, it’s not even close. That one is alright and has some lovely guitar moments, although I don’t much care for the vocal aspect.

But it absolutely pales in comparison to “Baton Road” for me. Perhaps it would help a bit were I to see the associated visuals. My understanding is that the song was used for the Boruto Movie. However, I’m holding back from watching that because of the time-jump and spoiler issue. I’m trying to waiting until the anime is further along before I watch the movie.

But even taken without the visuals, I still just LOVE “Baton Road.” Heck, part of me would like to write at least a brief post explaining why I think it’s so great, especially in conjunction with the first scene from Episode 1. (Don’t think I’ll have the time or energy to do so, though, unfortunately.)

It could be that lightning will strike twice and that our next opening theme and animation will be equally as perfect and emotionally evocative as what we currently have, but I’m honestly nervous as heck, and will be more than glad to hang onto Baton Road for a while longer yet.

In any case, to send Ending Sequence 1 on its way, here’s a wonderful drum cover featuring the full version of the song (speaking of which, I can say that I do enjoy the full version of “Dreamy Journey” more than the abbreviated one). Enjoy, and I’ll see you guys next episode, God willing!

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