Boruto Episode 99

Boruto Episode 99

Jūgo and The Curse Mark

The filler arc about Jūgo, birds, and science continues in this week’s episode of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, and yet I was actually looking forward to it this time around. Why did I want to watch a filler episode? Because of that sweet, sweet sakuga during the Konohamaru vs. Jūgo fight.

But, while that was certainly the highlight of the episode, most of the episode was boring and I couldn’t have cared less about it. That said, this arc does appear to be leading into the next major arc, which is something I’ll get to towards the end of this review.

It’s also worth noting that while I had hoped episode 100 would be the last in this arc, and that the next arc would start with episode 101, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Based on the next episode preview, nothing is going to be wrapped up in episode 100, so we may have to wait another week (or two depending on if there’s a gap).

Sakuga

A fight scene like the one in today’s episode only comes around roughly once every 20 episodes, so it’s always a welcome sight. Previously we’ve had Sakura vs. Shin, Orochimaru vs. Mitsuki (adult), Naruto and Sasuke vs. Momoshiki, and the fight against that red-haired homunculus from the Hidden Stone arc.

And, finally, Konohamaru Sarutobi is getting his chance to shine. I’ve been waiting for this moment since the start of the series, and although I’m not sure if Konohamaru can ever pass Kakashi, he’s still a pretty awesome team leader.

But, while I loved this fight, brief as it was, there are still some things it made me think about when it comes to both sakuga in Boruto, and the fights which may lie in the future.

Konohamaru Sarutobi vs. Jūgo from the anime series Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Konohamaru vs. Jūgo

As for the sakuga, I appreciate when fight scenes receive a higher quality of animation, as I’m sure everyone does, but I do wish that we saw more jutsu used during them. Typically, the fights which get the best animation in this series also tend to be ones which focus on taijutsu, not ninjutsu.

For some of you, this might seem like a no-brainer because taijutsu lends itself more readily to choreography that works will better animation. But, I’d like to see more ninjutsu mixed into the fights. Yes, Konohamaru uses a Rasengan, but that’s just to finish the fight.

What I mean is that I’d like to see him use a Rasengan, and maybe the Mud Wall, or other various jutsu while also fighting using taijutsu. Just sprinkle some ninjutsu in the fight, but in ways that don’t disrupt the choreography of the taijutsu.

As for fights which may take place in the future, the fact that we already know Konohamaru’s backstory worries me slightly. The Kakashi vs. Obito fight was arguably the best one in all of Shippūden, and it wasn’t just because of the animation and choreography, but also because of the story it told.

Now, I’m using Konohamaru as an example here, but this really applies to all of the adult characters in Boruto. Their backgrounds aren’t mysteries like Kakashi’s was, and so I’m not sure if we’ll ever get a fight like the Kakashi vs. Obito fight from any of them.

Since we already know everything about the current adult characters, it seems like the range of stories which can be told for them is limited. So, why is this an issue? Because that just means that either the children have to carry the series, or the series has to be carried by fan service which panders to older fans of Naruto.

The Land of Rivers

The Land of Rivers is a neighboring country to the Land of Fire, and is home to the Village Hidden in Valleys. This is also where the very first Akatsuki hideout was located, in which Sakura defeated Sasori. That second part is just a fun fact, I don’t actually think anything I’m going to discuss next has to do with the Akatsuki.

But, just because the Land of Rivers isn’t connected to the Akatsuki like the Hidden Rain village was, doesn’t mean they aren’t up to something. While Team 7 was investigating the curse marks found on the birds, they happened to wander across the border into the Land of Rivers and were stopped by some scientists there.

These scientists claimed to also be investigating the birds, though it quickly becomes apparent that they aren’t investigating them in the same way. Rather than trying to help the birds, these scientists may have actually been the ones who infected the birds with the curse mark in the first place.

Further, they’re interested in Jūgo, likely because his clan’s curse mark is the progenitor of all other curse marks. Basically, it works in the same way that sage mode does, in that through his curse mark Jūgo is able to absorb the surrounding nature energy.

This is why people such as Orochimaru were interested in Jūgo and his curse mark. It’s an easy way to gain power quickly, especially for those who aren’t compatible with senjutsu (like Sasuke).

So, now that we know the Land of Rivers seems to be interested in studying curse marks, what does that really have to do with anything? This is where the two new antagonists come in.

The Dawn of a New Age

We don’t yet know their names, or where their from, but we do know that these two enemy ninja are siblings. My assumption is that they’re from the Land of Rivers, and that they’re working with the scientists to study curse marks in some capacity.

My reasoning for this is that they’re both wearing devices around their necks which, when turned on, activate curse marks on their bodies. These devices are likely the product of the Land of Rivers’ scientists.

Mysterious enemy shinobi from the anime series Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Mysterious enemy shinobi

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations has always been about the struggle between the traditional and the modern. We’ve seen this dynamic multiple times, especially during the chunin exam arc when Boruto is disqualified for using a scientific ninja tool, and I’ve previously discussed it in my post about the series transitioning from fantasy to sci-fi.

Again, this dynamic seems to be coming to the forefront, which is partially why I suspect this arc is setting up the next major arc. Clearly these two mystery shinobi are enemies, and the fact that they’re using technology to induce a condition that harnesses nature energy is a big deal.

Could this upcoming arc finally solve the mystery surrounding the mark on Boruto’s hand? My guess is that his mark is a curse mark of some sort based on what we saw of it way back in episode one, so will it finally begin to play a role?

And, if Boruto’s curse mark does begin to actually matter, does this mean we’re going to finally be formally introduced to Kawaki, Boruto’s enemy in that opening scene? Either way, this next arc is sure to shake things up in the world of shinobi as curse marks begin to spread beyond Orochimaru’s experiments.

Conclusion

So, what are your thoughts on this week’s episode of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations? Did you enjoy the Konohamaru vs. Jūgo fight? Do you think the Land of Rivers is connected to the curse marks? And, what do you think of the new curse mark inducing technology? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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