5 Point Discussions – Boruto: Naruto Next Generations 88: “Clash: Kokuyou!”
by Sage Ashford
Our heroes are dragged back to the Hidden Stone village, where Ohnoki’s plan is about to reach fruition. But is Ohnoki’s plan still within reach, or has it changed completely? 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 is easily the most satisfying moment of the arc. Ohnoki spent years on a plan literally everyone around him said was a bad idea–the higher ups of the village, the Tsuchikage (his granddaughter)…he found only one person willing to help him, and it’s someone who almost certainly had to deal with an angry village mob after creating a monster from sewn-together body parts in another lifetime. He didn’t tell his bodyguard, and he even ignored the warnings of Boruto after he pointed out how it was very likely this group had their own heart and will.
So when he gets back to the city thanks to the help of Kirara, the first thing he’s confronted with is the disturbing knowledge of his “Fabrications” having conquered the village, pulling the citizens from their homes and herding them together to “protect them”. Then Ku reveals to save the lives of the Fabrications, they’ll have to sacrifice humans, and are merely waiting for Ohnoki to agree to the plan. He turns them down, claiming they’ll “find another way”, and the above is the result. Because of course it is. Who would wait for a mythical “third option” when the first two options are “save yourself” or “die”? Never completely realizing the implications of his actions, Ohnoki has instead put more lives at risk rather than saving them.
2. All this time I’ve been calling Shikadai a clone of his father, it’s great to see him not quite have the same effortless brilliance of his dad just yet. Despite giving Boruto, Sarada, and the rest of Team 10 their chance to escape from Ku and his army, they manage to get chased down by Kokuyou. Deciding they’re still there on a rescue mission, he sends Boruto and Sarada to find Mitsuki while Ino-Shika-Cho gets to throw down with Kokuyou, the Fabrication that lost the ability to use jutsu to have freakish physical strength and speed. It’s a brutal battle, one that Shikadai and the others spend on the defense mostly, despite multiple clever strategems from Shikadai. It’s more Kokuyou being like his brother Kakou and wanting to experience a great battle that keeps them from dying, giving Shikadai the opportunity to eventually come up with ideas that actually work. More on that later.
3. This is the smile Mitsuki gives after Sekiei says the line, “Once I get a heart, I want you to teach me all sorts of things…because we’ll be able to stay together for a long time!” That’s a smile that says “No way you guys last another four episodes.” Hard to blame him–there were five of them to start and two are dead by the end of this episode. And how’s the science of this even work?! The show’s effectively treating this like a heart transplant…but if they die it’s because their body turns into dust and starts literally crumbling away. You could’ve given any other answer and would’ve come out better.
4. Hey look, it’s Konohamaru. We saw him two episodes ago. Is it time for him to be relevant to the storyline yet? It’s not? Oh. Well, at least he’s got his finger on the pulse of what’s important: wearing cool ninja masks.
5. This is an example of a story heading somewhere obvious but still managing to accomplish what it needs to in terms of emotional beats. This entire episode, you know Akkun is going to die. The little guy wakes up after being knocked out by Kirara last episode, and immediately sets out to find Inojin, who’s locked in combat with Kokuyou. The only way this ends is Akkun sacrificing his life to save the rest of the group, and that’s exactly what happens. Shikadai comes up with multiple plans–including getting Inojin to use his mother’s Mind Transfer Jutsu to freeze Kokuyou long enough for Cho Cho to get the finishing blow, but it’s only when Akkun appears at the last second to cover Kokuyou’s eyes they manage to end things. But before Cho Cho gets the last hit, Kokuyou destroys the last of Akkun’s clay mask, the weakness of all the Akuta.
What sells this moment is Inojin. A character that’s mostly comic relief, he’s relegated to occasionally saying something judgy about people for a quick laugh, so we never actually get any depth from him emotionally. But after several episodes of raising Akkun, watching a being he bonded with literally crumble into dust breaks him. This isn’t the first death in this arc, and isn’t even the first death this episode, since Kokuyou’s body gives out just moments before Akkun’s does, but its definitely one of the saddest. Y’know…so far. Mitsuki’s new friendship does not have a happy ending to it.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is available on Funimation, Crunchyroll, and Hulu.