5 Point Discussions – Boruto: Naruto Next Generation 43: “The Byakuya Gang Surfaces”

by Sage Ashford

Boruto and Team 7 discover that the bank robbery they stopped only helped a gang of bandits get away with an even greater crime!  What will they do next? 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. This episode we learn the bank robber mission from “A Ninja’s Job” turned out to be a ruse in order to distract the cops and ninja while a real crime was committed elsewhere.  An anonymous group known as the Byakuya Gang cracked into a safe and stole some diamonds, getting away without a trace of evidence.  After being informed, Boruto and Team 7 discuss the idea behind the Byakuya Gang, known as “noble thieves”: the group supposedly has a Robin Hood complex, where they rob from the rich and give their earnings to the poor.
Boruto comes down with a hardline opinion that “stealing is always stealing”, but Shikadai wisely points out that there’s so much more to the world than just what they know of.  As principled as Boruto is, it’s obvious that living with Naruto and Hinata has left him quite sheltered, so he’s constantly presented with situations that force him to re-evaluate his worldview.  Meanwhile, I love that Shikadai is literally just a clone of his father–the best character from the original series shouldn’t need any big tweaks, honestly.

2. While Boruto complains about how their first mission turns out, a bit of research on Sarada’s part leads to the discovery of just how the Byakuya Gang got into a safe that was kept at a constant minus twenty degrees without setting off the safe’s security system.  She points out that whoever did the work could have the powers of Ice Jutsu, a Kekkai Genkai (or bloodline trait unique to specific families) that could have made stealing the diamonds easier.  Afterwards, the group realizes they need help to track down who might have done it, and visit someone Boruto knows by way of being the Hokage’s son.
Boruto refers to him as a guy who does “weird research” and is constantly bothering Naruto, but Katasuke Touno is actually the head of Konoha’s “Scientific Ninja Weapons Team”, which is altogether terrifying. Scientific experimentation and research is nothing new in the Naruto universe, but characters like Touno feel like the first step towards making the abilities ninja possess mass-produced. Instead of having to train for dozens of years, you could just use a weapon that gives you similar abilities. It’d be surprising if a villain didn’t come from exactly this kind of tech advancement.

3. Y’know how sometimes a series will bring up the existence of a character or an idea, and it’ll be so good that the idea warrants an entire series unto itself? Yeah, this episode of Boruto does exactly that.
Touno guides Team 7 to a secret section of Konoha village that’s meant to be a black market to sell items that shouldn’t ever be made public. He even guides them to a wall that serves as a literal message board for sellers and buyers to converse with one another. The group decides to take advantage of the Byakuya Gang’s need to fence the diamonds by pretending to be clients and meeting them somewhere to take them down, but really my mind’s still reeling at this black market bit. It’s hard not to picture an entirely different series that focuses on older, more experienced characters and an increased focus on espionage. Maybe a series using the secret ANBU forces to stop the sale of particularly dangerous items? Boruto’s slice of life-y approach to this universe is cool, but something more action-oriented to balance things out would probably silence a lot of critics.

4. Team 7 manage to bring a member of the Byakuya Gang out of hiding in order to bring them into justice, but it winds up being a trap.  The person they “captured” is an innocent covered in explosive talismans. A real Byakuya member surfaces, and leads Boruto and the others to a small village outside of town. The village is poor, and worse yet, they’re unable to even get water after the irrigation wheel they used broke down and they couldn’t afford to fix it. The Byakuya Gang member points out that they sold the diamonds in order to pay for it to be repaired, and leaves Boruto speechless for the first time ever.
I’m legitimately impressed at these last two episodes of Boruto. Episode 42 showed how corporations take advantage of overworked young workers, while this week’s episode displays the harsh reality of how income inequality. The Byakuya Gang member escaped without incident, as Boruto finds himself unwilling to chase after him once he sees what robbing from the rich and giving to the poor truly means. Worse still, when he meets up with Konohamaru later, he learns that the insurance on the diamonds completely covered the losses of them being stolen.
They’re going to go backwards on this and reveal the gang as being motivated for selfish reasons eventually, but I wish they wouldn’t. This is the sort of thing Boruto should learn if he’s going to grow as a ninja. And Sarada could stand to learn a bit about those outside of Konoha village as well if she’s going to become its leader.

5. Next Episode: Boruto and Team 7 go after the Byakuya Gang. But they’re going to need help, so they’re dragging their friends along with them! But will even they be enough?
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is available for streaming on Hulu and Crunchyroll.

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