Father vs. Son – Episode 196 “A Binding Force”

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Note: This is the first in a series of episode summaries.

   Episode 196 of the sequel to the Naruto series, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, has been released as of Sunday, April 25th. The anime has recently begun adapting the Kawaki Arc storyline of the manga, this episode being one of the earlier ones in it. In this episode, we see the adaptation of chapter 29, which was released all the way back in December of 2018. The episode was given the title, “A Binding Force,” which was its driving theme. This is different from the corresponding chapter title, though, as chapter 29 was titled, “Shadow Doppelganger Jutsu.” However, both titles fit the tone of the episode. A few things differed in this episode compared to its source material, however. One being the spar between Boruto Uzumaki and his father, Naruto Uzumaki. Boruto’s squadmates, Sarada Uchiha and Mitsuki, joined in to watch the father-son duo square off and to investigate Kawaki further since he is now living under the roof of the Uzumaki family after he escaped from an evil organization who call themselves “Kara,” or “Husk.” Mitsuki is the son and clone of the legendary ninja Orochimaru, and Sarada Uchiha is the daughter of two of the most extraordinary ninjas to ever live; Sakura and Sasuke Uchiha. This contrasts with the manga, as in the manga, only Boruto’s little sister, Himawari Uzumaki, and Kawaki were spectators at the battle.

   Kara is in a desperate search for Kawaki; they refer to the boy as “vessel.” The faction’s leader, Jigen, sent Kashin Koji, another member, to search for Kawaki, and Kashin Koji is currently within The Hidden Leaf Village in pursuit of the boy. He was able to bypass The Leaf Village’s security system, a system that registers an individual’s chakra, and if anything foreign enters, it is immediately detected. Kashin Koji is able to slip into the village undetected, surprising even Delta, another member of the organization, who he forced to wait patiently outside the Leaf Village’s borders. Kashin Koji’s ability to easily sneak in and out of the village has raised many questions and theories surrounding the true identity of the masked Kara member. Many of those theories include some kind of connection to Naruto’s mentor, the late Jiraiya of the Legendary Sannin. With Koji’s toad summonings, his superb use of fire-style techniques, and amphibian-like jutsu such as his Frog Gulp sealing jutsu, it makes sense as to why many have speculated about Koji in this manner. In the sparring match, a few extra hand-to-hand combat scenes, also known as taijutsu, were implemented into the battle as well, but for the most part, the episode stayed true to the original. Boruto displayed his use of the Shadow Doppelganger Jutsu well and even showed a shocking level of strength with the assistance of his mysterious mark known as Karma, which Kawaki helped him use since he has one as well. He also showcased his recently acquired lightning-style jutsu: his Thunderclap Arrow technique that was so forceful that Naruto had to protect himself with a doppelganger. Directly following the bout, the two fighters performed the Seal of Reconciliation, or the Unison Sign, to show respect towards one another.

   In this episode, we also see a flashback of Kawaki and his torturous life living under Jigen.

 

“Kawaki. You have nothing. No family, no friends, no power, no talent. You don’t have a single thing. You are empty. You yourself should know that. You loathe your empty self. You deny your own worth. There is a hole in your heart. Nothing you gain will ever fill a broken vessel. It will just spill right out of that hole. But Kawaki, that’s precisely why I bestowed the Karma upon you. It is the one thing that can fill your punctured heart. Because it’s a special mark.” – Jigen to Kawaki

 

Furthermore, Naruto gives the young boy a lesson on how chakra connects every person in the world, not just ninjas, and the true essence of chakra. Kawaki even seems to take interest in the Shadow Doppelganger technique after seeing Naruto’s earlier spar.

 

“Chakra exists within each and every one of us. It’s not something exclusive to shinobi. Sure, we use chakra to power ninjutsu, but that’s not its true nature. The real essence of chakra is that it’s a binding force. Not just for Boruto and Sarada and the others. Even those who aren’t ninja, like Himawari. We’re all connected, in no small measure, through chakra. And the strength that we shinobi possess is all thanks to our bond with another person. Even you and I are connected.” – Naruto to Kawaki

 

   In addition, we see a glimpse of the home life of the Uchiha family, where Sarada asks her father, Sasuke, to teach her the Chidori, being motivated to become stronger after seeing how far Boruto has come in strength. Hesitant at first, Sasuke willingly accepts. The Chidori is a lightning-style jutsu created by Sasuke’s mentor, the famed Kakashi Hatake. However, after losing his Sharingan eye in the Fourth Great War, Kakashi can no longer safely perform the jutsu. In response, he created a new jutsu similar to the Chidori called Purple Lightning: a technique that can safely be used by individuals, even those who do not have a Sharingan. This is proven by the fact that both Mitsuki and Boruto have learned the jutsu as well. At the end of the episode, we see Kashin Koji successfully track down and locate the whereabouts of Kawaki using one of his toad summonings to link their eyesight.

More quotes from the episode:

“Sorry, Delta. This is a mission. I’ll do as I please.” – Kashin Koji

“Hey, Boruto! What are you doing? Forget the petty tricks. Just use the Karma already!” 

– Kawaki to Boruto 

“If you’re saying it’s because you’re still not used to it, I’ll help you.” – Kawaki to Boruto 

“A Resonance Phenomenon.” – Mitsuki

“But every power carries a risk. Do those two realize that?” – Mitsuki

“There you are, Kawaki. Found you.” – Kashin Koji

   Credits to Ukyo Kodachi, the writer, Mikio Ikemoto, the artist, and Misashi Kishimoto, the supervisor, and creator of the franchise for the original manga source material. Episode 197 airs Sunday, May 2nd titled, “Delta!”