Boruto Episode 137

Boruto Episode 137

The Samurai Exchange Student

If you aren’t aware, it’s been a very long time since the Boruto: Naruto Next Generations anime wasn’t in a filler episode. But there’s filler, and then there’s filler. Filler arcs can be pretty good, like the whole Stone Village arc. Filler episodes, on the other hand, generally are not because they can’t tell a real story.

Today’s episode is the latter kind of filler. But, it actually does serve a purpose in the main story. You see, Team 15 is actually a filler team. Yeah, the Sumire-Wasabi-Namida trio doesn’t actually exist in the manga, but Sumire alone does exist as a member of the Scientific Ninja Tools Research Team.

So this episode actually serves to finalize Sumire’s break from Team 15 in the anime since she’s not actually supposed to be there. And yes, the fact that Team 15 is a filler team is also why they have such bad character designs — specifically their secondary color theme of purple, green, and orange.

But with this in mind, I do want to point out that the Boruto manga isn’t necessarily the canon version of events. Everything in the manga is canon, but the anime is actually considered canon as well, which isn’t how series normally work.

Usually you have the manga which is canon, and then any filler in the anime isn’t considered canon. With Boruto, however, the creator has specifically stated that both the manga and anime are canon — the anime just fills in a lot of the gaps which he didn’t have time to go into in the manga.

So I guess technically speaking, Sumire really was a member of Team 15. It’s just that Team 15, including both Wasabi and Namida, have never been mentioned in the manga.

Team 15

I’ve discussed Team 15 before, but let’s do it again anyway now that they have a new member. We have Hanabi Hyūga as the leader, then Wasabi Izuno, Namida Suzumeno, Sumire Kakei (formerly), and now Tsubaki Kurogane (temporarily).

I’m interested to see if Tsubaki is really going to be a temporary member of the team or not. She could be there for just this episode, she could be there forever, or Team 15 as a whole could just be forgotten after this episode since they don’t actually matter (unlikely).

But now that Sumire is out, and Tsubaki is in (for now) I have to say that Team 15 has been upgraded. Hanabi was already a good addition to this team, so there’s not much to say about her, but the other three left something to be desired.

Wasabi Izuno, Namida Suzumeno, and Tsubaki Kurogane from the anime series Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Wasabi, Namida, and Tsubaki

Wasabi and Namida are pretty bad characters. They’re one-dimensional and not very interesting. However, they do have pretty interesting signature jutsu with Wasabi’s Cat Cloak and Namida’s sound-based jutsu. Sumire, on the other hand, didn’t really have anything special. She has Nue, but Nue is pretty boring if you ask me.

Now that we have Tsubaki, we have another seemingly good character along with Hanabi. And the fact that she’s a samurai rather than a shinobi adds some interest to their team. I mean, really, before Tsubaki was around, was there any reason to pay attention to this team?

The one issue I see with this is that I don’t think Tsubaki really fits into Team 15. Team 15 is the dedicated tracking team, and Tsubaki doesn’t appear to really add anything to that. At least Sumire could use Nue to chase down those who were being tracked.

The Land of Iron

In this episode, Boruto takes on the role of the viewers who are newer to this franchise. This is something we’ve seen before, and while I personally think it’s a bit annoying, I understand why this is done. If Boruto doesn’t ask questions about the samurai of the Land of Iron, then many younger viewers won’t know the significance.

Unfortunately, Sarada’s explanation isn’t all that in depth. She basically explains that the Land of Iron is the only land which uses samurai rather than shinobi and that it’s cut off from the surrounding lands by mountains. Great, but that doesn’t explain why we should care.

So for any of you who haven’t watched Naruto: Shippūden, allow me to give a better explanation of the importance of the samurai.

Basically, the Land of Iron is like the Switzerland of the Naruto world. They typically stay out of the wars between the various nations which surround them and instead consider themselves neutral. This is also the land in which the five-kage summits are traditionally held — though now they’re also held in the various other allied lands.

In the prelude to the Fourth Shinobi World War, this is where the five-kage summit was being held. And once the five major nations decided to ally against “Madara,” the samurai of the Land of Iron joined the alliance as well.

So while the Land of Iron is a fairly secluded region of the world, it’s not as if they’re completely cut off from their neighbors. They have been a major player in the politics of the world thanks to their role as a neutral zone, and even fought alongside the five major nations to protect the world.

Oh, and Mifune, Tsubaki’s master, is the leader of the Land of Iron samurai.

Tsubaki Kurogane

So let’s talk about Tsubaki Kurogane herself. Her first name is a type of flower, which is probably supposed to be the type flowers she has in her hair. Her last name means “black iron,” or simply “iron” which is obviously a reference to the Land of Iron from which she hails.

Tsubaki’s personality isn’t exactly the most interesting. She’s basically the trope of the new girl who comes in and thinks she’s better than everyone else, but it’s then revealed that her stand-offish attitude is just her way of compensating for something else.

And what Tsubaki is compensating for is the fact that the samurai of the Land of Iron have been on the decline. We don’t know why the samurai have been on the decline, but we’re told that they are, and it’s for that reason that Tsubaki is sent to learn things from the shinobi of the Land of Fire.

Tsubaki Kurogane from the anime series Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Tsubaki Kurogane

Also, I want to point out that there may be some sort of inconsistency here. Tsubaki is said to be the last pupil of Mifune, but is Mifune supposed to be the man we saw sending her to the Land of Fire? He was already old back in Shippūden, so the man we saw in this episode appeared way too young to be him.

If that’s not Mifune, which would make more sense, then that must be the new leader of the Land of Iron. And this might be the reason the samurai are considered to be on the decline. Perhaps Mifune has since died and Tsubaki wants to prove that her late master was just as strong as any shinobi (which he was).

I also liked that Tsubaki retains Mifune’s fighting style which creates a whirlwind with the swing of her blade.

Conclusion

What did you think about Boruto episode 137? Do you like Team 15? What about Tsubaki? Do you want her to stick around? Do you think she will? And, I know we’ll probably never get an answer to this question, but what do you think her sword is named? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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