Boruto Episode 180

Boruto Episode 180

Hiruzen Sarutobi

On the surface, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations episode 180 seems like it’s just a filler episode. However, it actually sets up episode 181, which should be a very important episode. Next week, I believe we’re finally going to see Kawaki, the person Boruto was fighting in episode 1, introduced into the series.

But before we can get to Kawaki’s entrance, we need to revisit Mugino’s plotline and add a bit more background to his character. Up until now, all we’ve really known about Mugino is that he’s Konohamaru’s friend and a very capable shinobi in his own right who’s sent out on long-term missions.

Now, we know that Mugino wasn’t originally from the Hidden Leaf Village. I don’t believe it was stated exactly where he grew up, but he was a war orphan living somewhere in the Land of Fire. He was then scooped up by a group opposed to the Third Hokage and trained to assassinate Hiruzen Sarutobi.

Mugino's picture of Hiruzen Sarutobi from the anime series Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Mugino’s picture of Hiruzen Sarutobi

While there were most likely multiple groups that wanted Hiruzen dead after the Third Great Shinobi War, there’s one group, in particular, that was probably controlling Mugino. This organization was known as Root.

Root was a subdivision of the Anbu that was controlled by Danzō Shimura rather than the Hokage, Hiruzen. They wore the same masks that the Anbu wear (as we see the assassins in this episode do) and they used curse marks to control people (as we see they do to Mugino in this episode).

Furthermore, Danzō had aspirations of becoming the Hokage. And in order to achieve this goal, he needed to eliminate Hiruzen — something he was known for attempting on multiple occasions.

The Assassin, Mugino

After watching this episode, you may have been left wondering what the point of building up Mugino’s character in this way at this particular time is. I’m fairly certain that the purpose of this episode was to set up Mugino’s death — very possibly at the hands of Kawaki.

Before the second fight against Deepa and Victor, we got a death flag scene for Mugino in which he was told by a fortune teller that someone close to him would die and that only he could stop it. After this, Mugino joins Konohamaru on his mission to investigate Victor.

At the time, I assumed Mugino would die during that mission. But as we know, that’s not what happened. However, it doesn’t seem like Mugino is out of the woods yet. Episode 180 doubled down on that original death flag and added in a few others just to make it even more clear that his time is coming.

Mugino attempting to assassinate the Third Hokage from the anime series Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Mugino attempting to assassinate the Third Hokage

First, Mugino tells Boruto about his encounter with the fortune teller, thus setting that flag once again. Second, he tells Boruto that he’s going away on a dangerous mission with Konohamaru. Third, we see that Mugino doesn’t really have any possessions tying him to this world. Those death flags are pretty big, but they’re not all.

Fourth, Mugino asks Boruto to look after his pet turtle, which is the only reason he would otherwise have to come back alive. Fifth, we now know that Mugino is indebted to Konohamaru’s grandfather, and so will probably give his life for Konohamaru to make it up. And sixth, Mugino states that he will always believe a child in need.

That sixth point is pretty major considering that I believe Kawaki is about to appear. Kawaki looks to be a teenager, so Mugino will probably try to help him. However, since we already know Kawaki is an antagonist, Mugino’s good nature will probably put Konohamaru at risk. And that’s when Mugino will give his life to protect him.

Katasuke and the Vessel

I’ve mentioned many times, including just last week, that I’m certain Katasuke is the source of the Hidden Leaf Village’s ongoing leaks. And, as if right on cue, Katasuke made an appearance in this week’s episode. But what you may have noticed is that Naruto and Shikamaru don’t appear to suspect him. Why is that?

The simple reason is that after the initial incident involving Katasuke, it was revealed that he was under the influence of genjutsu. The implication here is that someone else was controlling him and making him leak information against his will. This seemingly absolves Katasuke of any wrongdoing.

While I do recognize the possibility that everything is exactly as it seems, I still don’t believe that’s entirely the case. I was going to say that there’s nobody I can think of who would put a genjutsu on Katasuke, but then I remembered that Ao was just recently reintroduced into the series.

Mugino's final death flag from the anime series Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Mugino’s final death flag

I think it’s possible that Ao is involved in the genjutsu that was placed on Katasuke. Of course, that would mean that Ao is working with Kara, which seems unlikely. But at the same time, there hasn’t been anyone else introduced with access to the Leaf Village — and Ao already established that he knows Katasuke.

Whether or not Ao is involved, I think Katasuke is working for Kara as an outer. Either Katasuke placed the genjutsu on himself or he allowed another Kara member to do so. It feels like the series is trying a bit too hard to make us think that Katasuke is entirely innocent for that to really be the case.

In the end, we may learn that Katasuke is an outer who was using Ao as a test subject. In that scenario, Ao could help Boruto & co. catch Katasuke in the act.

Conclusion

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations episode 180 was a pretty good episode disguised as pure filler. It gave me a chance to write about Root, it set up a million (at least six) death flags for Mugino, and it brought Katasuke back to the forefront. Oh, and it set up what I assume will be Kawaki’s entrance into the series next week.

What do you think of this episode? Are there any details I missed regarding Mugino’s past that would disqualify Root as being the organization that used him? Do you think Mugino is going to die? What about Konohamaru? And do you think Katasuke is a traitor or a victim? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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