Boruto Episode 169

Boruto Episode 169

A Joint Mission With the Sand

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations episode 169 wasn’t what I expected, but it was still pretty good. I did expect that Teams 10 and Shinki were going to be defeated by Deepa. But that much should have been obvious to everyone. What I didn’t expect was how their battle ended.

However, I do still think that this loss against Deepa is going to be the catalyst for both of these teams to start getting stronger. Just as Team 7 experienced, this defeat shows them that there are enemies out there who are far stronger than they are.

But before I get into that, let’s just go over the original mission Teams 10 and Shinki were assigned to.

Araya, Shinki, and Yodo from the anime series Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Araya, Shinki, and Yodo

One of the jutsu used by Urashiki Ōtsutsuki was a type of puppetmaster jutsu. After his defeat, the Hidden Sand Village sent out scouts to recover the broken puppets Urashiki used. There are three primary reasons for the Hidden Sand to have done this.

First, the puppets were located within the Land of Wind, so it’s their jurisdiction. Second, these puppets were used by a member of the Ōtsutsuki clan, so they’re probably pretty dangerous and shouldn’t be left to get into the wrong hands. And third, the Hidden Sand is known for its puppetmaster shinobi, so they’re best equipped to unlock the secrets these puppets hold.

But why were Teams 10 and Shinki sent on this mission? Isn’t it too important to leave to some five genin and a chunin?

As was explained, Shikamaru knows the rough location of the puppet while Team Shinki knows how to get there and has the means to retrieve it. Additionally, since this was supposed to be a simple search and retrieval mission, there was no need for a jonin to be involved.

Team 10 vs. Deepa

There are a couple of weird quirks regarding Deepa’s fighting style that have become more apparent the more we see him in action. When we were first introduced to him, he didn’t use jutsu at all because he was strong enough to defeat most opponents without it.

Once he transitioned to fighting active shinobi, however, he began to use his jutsu when necessary. But even so, he’s only been shown to use two jutsu — and he uses them repetitively. He can harden his skin by altering the carbon structure within it and he can create cubes of hardened carbon to use as projectiles.

Aside from those two jutsu, I don’t believe we’ve seen Deepa use another. The reliance on a limited jutsu repertoire isn’t all that uncommon, but what’s strange is that he always uses these jutsu in the same ways. Sure, he might alter the size of the carbon cubes, but that’s as far as the variation goes.

Shinki from the anime series Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Shinki

Going along with his repetitive use of his jutsu, we also saw that he doesn’t actually have all that much battle sense. Against Team 7, this wasn’t very apparent because Team 7 relies on loose teamwork in which each member holds their own.

But Team 10 is a different story. The Ino-Shika-Cho trio is purpose-built for highly coordinated teamwork — and Deepa wasn’t prepared for that. He fell for their distractions and was caught by Shikadai’s Shadow Paralysis jutsu. This isn’t what you would expect from a highly-skilled shinobi.

Yes, the Ino-Shika-Cho trio is strong, but Inojin, Shikadai, and Chouchou are still novices. This leads me to believe that Deepa hasn’t actually had all that much experience fighting against active shinobi. Up until recently, he probably mainly fought washed-up, rogue shinobi.

Deepa’s Limit

What does the fact that Deepa doesn’t have much battle sense mean, though? Why does it matter that he isn’t used to fighting against coordinated teams of shinobi? I think this is all hinting towards Deepa having acquired his jutsu fairly recently.

Why is he so proficient at hand to hand combat (taijutsu) without relying on jutsu? Probably because that’s all he’s had to use until recently. It’s just like how Rock Lee is extremely proficient at taijutsu because he has no ninjutsu. And, if Deepa only recently acquired his jutsu, it would explain why he’s dependent on the same two jutsu — those are basically all he can use.

But then, there’s the question of why and how he recently came to be able to use jutsu. I’m fairly certain that Deepa is either a homunculus or has had the ability to use jutsu implanted into his body. Perhaps he could already use low-level jutsu, but this carbon-altering jutsu seems new to him.

Shinki (without his iron sand cloak) from the anime series Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Shinki (without his iron sand cloak)

One of the main scientists involved with the Stone Village homunculi was shown to be working with Kara in some fashion. So this ties Kara to homunculi and artificial jutsu production.

And, one of the biggest clues, to me at least, is when Deepa is shown to reach his limit at the end of the fight against Teams 10 and Shinki. He retreats from the battlefield without killing them, even after Shinki hits him with one last attack.

This retreat, along with the focus on his hands after he uses his final attack, seems to imply that he either ran out of usable chakra or otherwise “overheated” his jutsu. He could have attempted to kill them with Taijutsu, but even in a weakened state, these are active shinobi with tricks up their sleeves.

Without his jutsu, he could have easily fallen prey to some sort of sneak attack, and so he retreated instead.

Conclusion

I wasn’t all that impressed with Deepa when he was first introduced into the series. But now that he’s been around for a bit and we’ve seen him fight against a variety of opponents, he’s definitely become a much more interesting figure. Are all the numbered members of Kara like him?

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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