Boruto Episode 91: Ohnoki’s Will

A long-awaited final battle and a sad goodbye transpire on an exciting and heartfelt Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. His power-up complete, Ku engages Team 7 in battle and is able to give all three genin a run for their money. Even Mitsuki going all-out fails to make a dent in Ku’s defenses.

Just as things are heating up, Ohnoki, who had been carried to the scene of the fight by an exhausted Sekki, enters the fray. After a masterfully-executed team attack by the main trio fails to bring Ku down, Ohnoki pits his Particle Style: Atomic Dismantling Jutsu against Ku’s and utterly destroys his clone. However, this massive attack proves too strenuous for the old man’s body, and he passes away after imparting the importance of staying true to one’s will to the gang. Shortly thereafter, Naruto and an envoy from the Hidden Leaf arrive in the Hidden Stone as Kurotsuchi, Akatsuchi, and Sekki solemnly process the enormity of Ohnoki’s sacrifice. As Mitsuki ponders his future in the Hidden Leaf, he and his teammates are greeted by their friends from Teams 5 and 15, who had insisted on accompanying Naruto.

As usual, Boruto does a reliably solid job of nailing its big action sequences. From beginning to end, nearly every phase of the fight against Ku features fluid animation and on-point visuals. Mitsuki’s transformation, Team 7’s tag-team attack, and the dueling Atomic Dismantling Jutsus are particularly eye-catching and well-choreographed. The episode also takes a number of well-timed breaks from the action, most notably a flashback to Ohnoki’s childhood in which the then-Tsuchikage teaches him that an individual’s will is more important than any particular “heart stone” the Hidden Stone venerates. This effectively drives home one of the arc’s core themes and provides the old man with a valuable lesson to pass on in his dying moments.

Despite being well-intentioned, Ohnoki is ultimately responsible for the Fabrication disaster, so it seemed inevitable that he’d have to suffer some kind of consequence for his actions. There were points at which redemption was possible, but once mass murder factored into the equation, the old man making it out of the ordeal unscathed didn’t seem quite right. (However, to be fair, this franchise has redeemed far more villainous figures, so by the series’ internal logic, his sins may not have been that grievous.) This development is also a testament to how much freedom the show has from its companion manga. Killing off an important secondary character is a fairly ballsy move, and it’ll be interesting to see if this development carries over to the printed page, where Ohnoki has yet to have his ultimate fate addressed one way or the other.

As Boruto’s longest story arc to date winds down, there are some real consequences Team 7 will have to deal with going forward. Not only did this incident culminate in the death of one of their world’s most influential figures, it may also impact Mitsuki’s ability to remain in the Hidden Leaf. (Granted, the team probably isn’t splitting up, and like Sumire, Mitsuki is likely to be forgiven by the village’s leadership.) Still, while Mitsuki and Boruto’s friendship may once again by on solid footing, there are more obstacles in their way than ever before.