Boruto Episode 71

Boruto Episode 71

Introduction

Episode 71 of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is titled “The Hardest Rock in the World.” While this still appears to be a filler episode, it’s much more interesting than the previous filler we’ve been having recently, although it may not look like it on the surface.

Mitsuki’s arc starts in this episode as he begins to doubt if his memories and even his will are his own. While this would already be troublesome for any of the characters, it’s even more so for Mitsuki due to his origin as a clone created by Orochimaru.

I’ve made it clear before that Mitsuki is my favorite character of the new generation, so I’m looking forward to his arc, but I still feel like it’s going to be somewhat predictable as I’ll explain throughout this post. The Boruto series just doesn’t seem to take risks in the same way the Naruto series did, at least so far.

Summary

The episode begins with Mitsuki having a dream of when Orochimaru and his older, clone brother were trying to win him over to their respective sides (something that happened in a previous episode). However, this time around Mitsuki appears to choose neither side and instead activates his sage mode.

We haven’t even gotten to the OP of the episode yet, and the end of Mitsuki’s arc is already being foreshadowed. No, I’m not saying that what happens in Mitsuki’s dream is going to be exactly what happens in the end of his arc, but it represents what’s going to happen.

In his dream, Mitsuki makes his own choice about what he wants to do with his life and how he wants to live it. Throughout today’s episode, free will is something Mitsuki thinks about a lot, hinting at his eventual choice to be his own person is how his arc will end. I’ll mention this more in my section on the next episode.

Apparently that was the first time Mitsuki had ever dreamed, and as we learned from the end of the previous episode, he only recently began to eat food, something he probably doesn’t need to do due to being a clone. In this episode he also orders food with his friends at Lightning Burger.

Both his dream and ordering of food are drastic changes to who he is and shows that he’s beginning to assimilate with the rest of the characters around him. However, in his mind, that’s not necessarily a good thing. What if he’s being forced to assimilate against his will?

Meanwhile, the first five-kage summit since the Ōtsutsuki clan’s invasion during the chunin exams is taking place in the Hidden Leaf Village. Not only are all of the current kage in attendance, but all of the living previous kage have been asked to join as well.

I’d like to mention here for all you youngin’s for whom Boruto is your first exposure to the Naruto franchise that the reason the Hidden Sand is the only village without a previous kage is because he’s dead. Gaara’s father was the previous Kazekage and was assassinated by Orochimaru leading up to the chunin exams in Naruto.

By the time Shippūden came around, Gaara was already the Kazekage and as such is the longest-serving of the current five kage. Despite this, Naruto is essentially the leader of the five-kage summit due to his actions during the fourth shinobi war, such as defeating Kaguya along with Sasuke and Sakura.

Third Tsuchikage Ohnoki from the anime Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Third Tsuchikage Ohnoki

Anyway, the third Tsuchikage, Ohnoki, has gone missing somewhere in the village, and so Team 7 are tasked with helping to find him and bring him to the Hokage’s office where the summit is taking place. While Sarada sees this as an important mission, Boruto and Mitsuki don’t.

Instead, Boruto sees this as a great opportunity to ask the third Tsuchikage the answer to a riddle which Naruto had previously asked him, “what’s the strongest rock in the world?” Since the Tsuchikage is the strongest ninja in the Land of Rock, he must know the answer.

Mitsuki, as expected, goes along with Boruto’s plan because that’s just what he always does.

After finding Ohnoki, Team 7 show him around the Hidden Leaf all day because he tells them that they have to do what he says since he’s an old man without much time left, but also because he’ll answer the riddle for them. At one point he even shows off his ability to fly and particle style in order to save a child.

While Boruto thinks the particle style is cool, nobody seems to question how exactly Ohnoki can fly like they did back in Shippūden, so I guess that’s not something the newer generation needs to understand. At the end of the day, Ohnoki finally reveals the answer to the riddle.

The strongest rock in the world isn’t actually any tangible rock, but is instead the “bedrock” inside each and every person. By this, he means that it’s their will to fight for what they believe in and never give up, basically their “ninja way.”

While Boruto isn’t amused by this “trick answer,” Mitsuki finds it quite helpful considering he’s been struggling with his own will. The Tsuchikage also tells Mitsuki that if he keeps clinging to something, maybe that is his own will and not someone else’s which was imprinted on him.

At the very end of the episode, Mitsuki finds a letter in his apartment which he proceeds to burn after reading. It’s implied that these are the instructions for a mission given to him by Orochimaru, although I can’t think of the significance of the dust/sand on the floor.

I also like how the one personal effect Mitsuki has in his apartment is a framed picture of Boruto next to his bed. He doesn’t even have a picture of his whole team together, just Boruto.

Next Episode

In the next episode it seems that Mitsuki is going to carry out his secret mission, which appears to be against the Leaf in some fashion. It also seems that either during or after his mission, he disappears and so the rest of his teammates and friends need to go searching for him.

Now, this is where some of the predictions I made towards the beginning of this post come into play. Mitsuki feels that he’s being manipulated by one, or both, of two opposing sides. Either Orochimaru is manipulating him, or the Leaf Village is.

By taking on the mission against the Leaf given to him by, presumably, Orochimaru, it appears that Mitsuki has made his choice. However, this likely isn’t the case. Instead, Mitsuki’s arc will likely end in the opposite way the Sasuke recovery arc ended in Naruto.

Mitsuki’s friends, specifically Boruto and Sarada, will come to confront him at some point after his disappearance. Then, through his interaction with them he’ll realize that he’s just doing as Orochimaru wants, and not what Mitsuki himself wants.

He’ll then likely have a moment of doubt, during which he’ll start to think that Boruto and Sarada are also trying to use him, but in the end he’ll be reminded of the Tsuchikage’s words to him about clinging to something. At this point, Mitsuki will choose his own path, which will likely be to rejoin Team 7.

Boruto Uzumaki, Sarada Uchiha, and Mitsuki from the anime Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Boruto, Sarada, and Mitsuki

Now, I don’t think all of this will be able to happen in the next episode alone, so this arc should include at least two more episodes after the one that aired today. I say “at least” because it has the potential to be much longer, considering this arc appears to be referenced in the ED.

You may have noticed that in the current ED, Mitsuki is often shown facing away from the viewer while Boruto and Sarada are facing towards the viewer. At one point, Boruto and Sarada also look down and away from the viewer.

We can take this to imply that at some point Mitsuki breaks away from his teammates, and it’s something they regret. However, by the end of the ED, all of the characters are facing away from the viewer along with Mitsuki, showing that they support him.

For further evidence, we can look back to when Sarada tells Boruto in this episode that he needs to listen to Mitsuki’s problems, otherwise Mitsuki will stop liking him. Boruto brushes this idea off, but he’ll likely think back to this conversation when Mitsuki goes rogue.

Conclusion

So what are your thoughts on this week’s Boruto episode? Do you think Mitsuki will end up betraying the Leaf for good and become another Sasuke (although Sasuke did eventually come back) or do you think he’ll stand by “his sun,” Boruto?

As I’ve hopefully made clear, I think Mitsuki is a vastly different character from Sasuke, and I’d be surprised if he actually followed in his footsteps.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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