Boruto: Naruto Next Generations 1×231 Review – “The Rusty Sword”

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Tsubaki displaying her resolve in ‘The Rusty Sword’ (Screengrab: Boruto anime episode 231)

Boruto anime episode 231, ‘The Rusty Sword’, focused on Tsubaki and the pang of particular guilt she’s been carrying alone for a while. As a fan of Tsubaki, I enjoyed watching this episode.

‘The Rusty Sword’ opened with a flashback featuring Tsubaki training with a very capable samurai named Sazanka. I liked seeing how Sazanka, even though he’s clearly the best in class, didn’t let his ego get in the way of being friendly toward a young student like Tsubaki. Sazanka’s looking forward to one day wielding Lord Mifune‘s legendary sword Kurosawa. But things changed drastically for Sazanka when facing Tsubaki during the Swordsmanship Tournament.

In the present, Tsubaki and her team got tasked with tracking down a group of bandits attacking and stealing from merchants. I liked how the team realized they are dealing with a samurai because an injured merchant got retraumatized after seeing Tsubaki in his hospital room. Not only that, but ‘The Rusty Sword’ also did a good job of showcasing Tsubaki’s conflicted emotions over the reveal that the samurai in question happened to be none other than Sazanka.

Due to winning the past battle by chance and her competitive nature, Tsubaki blamed herself for Sazanka deciding to stray from the path of the samurai and focusing on only acquiring power, even if it meant killing a lot of people along the way. Poor Tsubaki couldn’t even make herself draw her sword against him. The weight of the guilt and the fact that he was still stronger than her inhibited her movements and messed with her resolve.

The Boruto anime has been showing us how Tsubaki changed since her arrival in the Hidden Leaf Village and agreeing to work with ninjas. Being part of Namida and Wasabi’s team helped her understand the importance of friendship and trust. ‘The Rusty Sword’ showed that Tsubaki didn’t have to bear the burden of her guilt alone. She had friends she could rely on.

Even though a significant portion of the Boruto fandom didn’t like seeing Wasabi being promoted to Chunin, I think she handled her team quite well in this episode. She gave the right orders when dealing with a bunch of bandits. Wasabi also gave Tsubaki a much-needed pep talk to help her realize she shouldn’t blame herself for Sazanka’s horrendous actions. He decided to become power-hungry because he couldn’t keep his ego under control and accept losing to a young Tsubaki. His behavior and emotional issues had nothing to do with Tsubaki.

While Wasabi, with an assist from Namida, used Talk No-Jutsu to help Tsubaki find her confidence again, I appreciated how the episode didn’t make Tsubaki use Talk No-Jutsu against Sazanka. I enjoy seeing heroic characters making tough calls against opponents that can’t be reasoned with. Not every situation can be dealt with by sharing an emotional speech. Tsubaki had no choice but to cut Sazanka down even though there was a power gap between the two.

I will say that I wished Sazanka vs Tsubaki was a bit longer. Their final fight happened too quickly and came down to who had the skills to land a single strike. However, having said that, ‘The Rusty Sword’ was still an enjoyable episode that added another layer to Tsubaki’s character and strengthened the bonds within her team.

What did you think of ‘The Rusty Sword’?

Let us know. 

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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