What’s the real goal of the Byakuya Gang? And can Boruto and Shikadai stop them once they know? Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.
1. After a brief recap of last episode’s events, Team 10 drags Shikadai to Police HQ, where a bunch of ninja have gathered to deal with a new outpouring of protestors. Flyers have spread talking about how the city of Konoha will be reborn during the next protest in front of Kaminarimon HQ. The police have attempted to tighten security, but they can’t do much to rough them up since they’re ordinary citizens. The ninja have to convince them to disperse instead.
For all my complaints about this arc, this scene was handled well. Even in the image above Boruto looks pensive, even reluctant to deal with the citizens out of fear they might get hurt. Meanwhile the older ninja all promise not to use their ninjutsu. The cops and ninja alike seem to honestly want to keep as many people safe as possible, and hurting the civilians isn’t considered an option.
2. Each team gets assigned a different part of town to both defuse the situation and catch the Byakuya Gang at work. Team 10 gets assigned pretty close to the action because the higher-ups trust Shikadai’s cool-headed attitude. They trust him so much, they don’t even give the group any real instructions for the mission! ChoCho asks and they just kinda blow it off with a “Ah, well Shikadai’s here so everything will be fine!”
…Too bad he’s anything but cool-headed after the situation with Ryogi. Still, as Shikadai studies the map for the mission, he realizes something looks familiar about it. But it’s not until ChoCho points out how much the plan looks like a shogi board that Shikadai realizes that they’re guarding a decoy. From there, he guesses that the Byakuya Gang’s real target is the ninja lab, which Ryogi brought up two episodes ago.
This lines up with a lot of what’s happening in the Boruto manga. Katasuke’s scientific ninja tools are a source of conflict for a good portion there, including the current chapters; while he wants to see what he makes used for good, it doesn’t always mean everyone else does.
3. Back at Kaminarimon HQ, Denki realizes that the protestors seem to have something wrong with them. Pointing it out to Sarada, and later the police, they realize the entire group has had a genjutsu spell cast on them that’s messed with their memories.
From there, it’s a simple enough matter to dispel the jutsu. They start out doing it one by one, but after several members of the Byakuya Gang are captured, the Seventh Hokage himself shows up and talks to the crowd about the Kaminari Company, and exposes the Byakuya Gang for who they are. This is the most Naruto’s been allowed to do in a while, but it easily upstages most of Boruto’s best accomplishments: the sheer faith the villagers have in their Hokage alone dispels the genjutsu on the vast number of remaining victims. He just shows up and makes things better, because that’s what you’re expected to do when you’re the village elder.
4. In the recesses of the ninja lab, the researchers have all been knocked out. Boruto and the others arrive just in time to talk to Katasuke about what’s been stolen. He refers to it as his magnum opus, and we learn shortly after Boruto and Team 10 chase down the Gang that it actually contains the data of every ninjutsu in the world.
I take issue with this whole bit–it’s one thing if the scroll the Byakuya Gang stole only had the ninjutsu of Konoha, but the entire world? How much of that information was gained honestly? If it was all willingly submitted to Konoha, then the scroll should have no value because everyone knows about everyone else. On the other hand, if they stole it all then this is almost certainly going to drag Konoha into some kind of cold war for being caught with so many other countries’ secrets.
In any case, Team 10 + Boruto tracks them all down with the help of a bug Katasuke planted on Gekko. The majority of the gang try to act as a distraction while Gekko and Ryogi get away cleanly, but that doesn’t work because they’re a bunch of scrubs who’ve received no worthwhile screen time. Even though Team 10 are a bunch of genin, they’ve been trained by some of the ninja who survived the last great ninja war, and it shows in how easily they dispatch the gang. All except one, who’s vigorous usage of fire jutsu forces Ino and Cho off-guard until he gets frozen in place by Shikamaru’s Shadow Binding Jutsu.
Still, they’re forced to rely on Boruto and Shikadai to catch Gekko and Ryogi, with all four of them hopping onto a train as the last members of the Byakuya Gang try to get away.
5. Next Episode: Ryogi’s still trying his hardest to protect the man he believes saved his life. But it looks like Gekko doesn’t care at all about him, because it sure looks like he’s about to abandon his protege.
This story’s had a pretty predictable path thus far, and I’m guessing this is where the last vestiges of Gekko’s pretense fall away. He’ll admit that he’s been playing Ryogi the entire time, and presumably Ryogi’s chance of heart will be the only reason Boruto and Shikadai are able to overcome an experienced ninja like Gekko.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is available on Crunchyroll and Hulu.