Boruto discovers the reasoning behind Ohnoki’s actions, but will it change anything? 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. Right on schedule, here’s our antagonist’s tragic backstory which motivated him into doing a Stupid Thing the protagonist has to stop. Escaping the Sanzu Plains, Ohnoki takes Boruto to the grave of his son, where we learn how Ohnoki decided the children of tomorrow need to be protected above all else.
Years back, Ohnoki had a grandson named Kozuchi. And like a certain knucklehead ninja of the Hidden Leaf, Kozuchi wanted to grow to lead Village of the Hidden Stone. A talented ninja, he was inspired by the words of his grandfather, who’d told him a real ninja never runs away from his problems. His belief in this advice led to him being slain by a rogue ninja looking to steal secrets from their village, and his death led to Ohnoki’s belief in the children of tomorrow being shattered. Instead, he decided protecting them was more important than nurturing them to take over, reasoning that in this time of peace they would never become the soldiers older generations were.
Accessing ancient, forbidden jutsu, Ohnoki created the first Akuta–artificial life forms meant to fight for their land in place of young ninja.
2. It’s doubtful Ohnoki expected his attempt to protect the village and it’s youth would have resulted in his precious village being conquered. With Ku seeing his shadowy control over the village starting to fall apart as the mind control over the officials in charge slips, he decides to bring the full force of his army of artificial life forms to bear. This results in Akuta marching through the streets while they search for Ohnoki. Presumably we are now safely at the point where someone might describe the situation as “out of hand”–it’s gone from undercover attacks against another village to conquering their home village in a coup de’tat. The end of this really shouldn’t be an “all’s well that ends well” situation.
3. If we needed any extra information proving Ohnoki’s entire plan is a bad idea, it comes when we finally learn how Ohnoki was able to get the Akuta to such an advanced state. After all, when he first showed them to Tsuchikage and the others they quickly went out of control and attacked their owners. What changed? Well, his mad scientist friend had access to a piece of the White Zetsu, the Army used by Madara and Obito during the Fourth Shinobi War. I’m not mad Boruto is basically reckoning with leftover sins of the past–it’s about as fertile a narrative ground as we’re going to get for a universe that’s been around as long as this has, but it’s impressive a character with such experience could fall for something so stupid. He even talked about the Hidden Leaf village having recently dealt with the Otsutsuki, yet apparently it never entered his mind how screwed they’d be if one of them attacked and took over his army.
4. After telling his story, Ohnoki is certain he’s convinced Boruto to back down, but there’s only one problem. His entire theory only works if you assume the Akuta and the so-called “Fabrications” that are Ku, Sekiei and the others, aren’t really alive. Having seen how the group cares for each other, and even how the baby Akuta acts around Inojin, that isn’t an argument Boruto’s actually comfortable agreeing with. He brings up how Mitsuki was built similarly, but even this doesn’t sway Ohnoki. Just as soon as he assures Boruto he’d never hurt Mitsuki, he throws the ninja’s humanity away, claiming that maybe he isn’t anything more than a doll meant for fighting. Ohnoki’s shifting behavior is only going to create more problems for him.
5. Of course, whether Ohnoki wants to accept the humanity of the artificial life he’s created or not, he’s got some tough decisions ahead of him. With the other “Fabrications” he made starting to deteriorate, they’re going to need what’s provided by the research into Mitsuki’s body, and that’s going to require five sacrificed human lives. Ku sends the others out to find Ohnoki with the intention of having him make the final choice over whether these new lives he’s created should be prioritized over others, if it means they could maybe protect more later.
In this instance, it might be easier for Ohnoki if he didn’t believe they were humans…but given the way Ku’s subordinates are acting now that they realize they’ll die if others don’t, the decision might actually be taken from him.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is available on Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Hulu.