The anime adaptation of the Sasuke Retsuden novel concluded with Boruto anime episode 285, titled ‘The Sky that Fell to the Earth’, and episode 286 ‘The Ring’. I have to say, I’m disappointed in how the creative team decided to adapt the highly enjoyable novel in such a rushed manner.
I remember how excited I was when it was announced that the Sasuke Retsuden novel was going to get an anime version. However, with how things progressed in the anime, I wish we never got it in the first place. The incredibly rushed pacing has done no favors to the well-written story featured in the novel. Fortunately, at least, the manga seems to be faring better.
‘The Sky that Fell to the Earth’ dealt with Sakura and Sasuke making major strides in their investigation to find the Ultra Particles to save Naruto’s life. While waiting for Sasuke so she could give him the update she had recieved from Kakashi (via messenger hawk) about the Prime Minister basically getting ready for war, Sakura figured out the clue hidden inside the Star Lines card game. She’s able to decipher that the zodiac signs present in the pictures inside the Map of the Heavens book were linked to the hand signs used by ninjas when performing Ninjutsu.
As for Sasuke, while separating apricots with Jiji on the roof, Sasuke noticed a nearby lake. Jiji explained that the lake was formed when a meteor fell from the sky a long time ago. So, yeah, both husband and wife were able to do their part in pinpointing the location of the Ultra Particles and how to access them. I always love seeing Sakura and Sasuke working together.
With the story also being about Sakura and Sasuke’s relationship, the first scene involved Sakura getting to talk to Ganno while waiting for Sasuke in the prison cafeteria. Ganno had overheard Jiji and Sasuke talking about Sakura being Sasuke’s wife. Not only that, but he had also noticed how Sasuke used to gaze out the cafeteria window to look at a particular tree but stopped doing so once Sakura arrived. Curious, Sakura looked outside and saw an almond tree with flowers that resembled cherry blossoms. My heart! Sasuke had been looking at those flowers because they reminded him of his wife!
As for the sweet moment that the two shared while standing in front of the beautiful meteor-made lake at night, Sasuke asked Sakura if she wanted a real ring from him. Even though the scene was rushed, I think the writers still did a good enough job of allowing the co-leads to be vulnerable before heading into the final battle. According to Sakura, while she used to think she wanted a ring, wearing one wasn’t going to suit her life as a medical ninja.
Also, the scene where Sasuke was forthcoming about how he missed spending time with his family did a lot to make him feel more human. Yes, he’s a cool character. But I think that certain fans tend to forget that Sasuke is also emotional AF. He’s quick to opt for extreme emotional responses. He’s mellowed out a bit with age, but feeling bad about not getting to see Sakura and Salad grow older in front of him did get to him. He’s human after all.
While both loved each other very much and wanted to spend more time together, they had a responsibility to protect Konoha. And those responsibilities included Sasuke being away (sometimes for years at a time) and Sakura staying in the village as the head medical ninja and basically being a Hokage candidate.
With Sakura performing the hand signs required to release the Ultra Particles hidden by the Sage of Six Paths inside the lake, the story stopped her and Sasuke from heading back to Konoha due to the arrival of a bunch of dinosaurs!
I mentioned in my review of the recent Sasuke Retsuden manga chapter that the anime is spoiling stuff from the manga because it’s ahead. Due to Sasuke running after a flock of Pteranodons and Sakura going back to the Tatar Observatory to confront Zanzul, the anime spoiled another major reveal. That particular reveal has yet to occur in the manga. And I’ll get to it in a bit.
First, let’s talk about the Sasuke and Zanzul stuff. We got some information about the type of Reanimation Jutsu being used to revive dinosaurs. Turns out, that the apricots Sasuke was sorting earlier were required for the process because they grew in the area where the Ultra Particles were hidden. So, while they were infused with some energy from the Ultra Particles, they weren’t potent enough. That’s why Zanzul wanted to retrieve the Ultra Particles so he could go ahead and resurrect even bigger more dangerous dinosaurs to aid the Prime Minister in taking over other lands.
As for Sakura, she got to spend some time rescuing the prisoners being chased down by vicious dinosaurs as she looked around for Zanzul (she didn’t know he was heading toward Sasuke). She also broke a part of the tall wall surrounding the Tatar Observatory to give the prisoners an escape route. I mean, I get that there were highly wanted criminals inside the facility, too. But hey! Sakura didn’t have time to sort through every inmate. If highly wanted criminals also made it out during the chaos, I guess, it was a sacrifice Sakura was willing to make if it meant numerous not-so-dangerous inmates would get to safety as well.
And yes, I finally got to see Sakura punch a dinosaur in the anime version! The scene where she sent a Pachycephalosaurus flying! Yes! Let’s see how the manga handles Sakura’s return to the Tatar Observatory during the dinosaur attack.
One of the biggest twists in the Sasuke Retsuden novel was the fact Jiji had been working with Zanzul all along. Due to Zanzul not having enough chakra to perform a Reanimation Jutsu, Jiji had been the one reviving the dinosaurs. However, the anime kind of ruined the surprise by showing scenes where a mysterious person eavesdropped on Sakura and Sasuke’s conversations and who was also standing alongside Zanzul when reviving a velociraptor. I don’t understand why the anime writers decided to drop such hints in the first place. The audience already knew that Zanzul wasn’t working alone. And having his accomplice be revealed to be Jiji didn’t pack a strong enough punch, in my opinion.
Anyway, both villains had different motives behind their actions. Zanzul wanted to aid the Prime Minister so he could be rewarded with a political position. Jiji, on the other hand, was doing it for a loved one. He told Sakura that he needed the Ultra Particles to revive his dead girlfriend. He also kind of had a crush on Sakura because she reminded him of her.
However, having a kind of crush on Sakura didn’t stop Jiji from stabbing her in the back with a poisoned kunai to paralyze her. The scene where Jiji pulled Sakura close and gave her a hug was awkward as heck. I felt really uncomfortable watching it. Even though she’s one of the most powerful ninjas around, I think Jiji’s move really did take Sakura by surprise, especially because she didn’t know whether to push him away or wait and see if he explained why he decided to hug her in such a manner. We knew it was to stab her. But she didn’t. As far as she knew, Jiji was Sasuke’s friend who was a bit too flirty.
With the Ultra Particles in his possession, Jiji went ahead to revive a giant Brachiosaurus that caused the Tatar Observatory to come crashing down.
Sasuke rushing back! A paralyzed Sakura being crushed under the weight of rubble! And we have a freaking Brachiosaurus and a whole bunch of other dinos causing chaos! Episode 286, ‘The Ring’, tried what it could to conclude the storyline as neatly as possible.
A major moment in the novel was Sasuke losing it because he couldn’t sense Sakura’s chakra. The possibility of her being crushed to death under debris did a number on the OP Uchiha. Compared to the anime version, Sasuke’s devastation wasn’t explored deeply enough. There was pain and fear in his voice as he called out his wife’s name, but again, the rushed nature of the finale didn’t do the moment justice.
The ring Sasuke made for Sakura by using his own Chakra is what helped him pinpoint her location and he was able to save her before she suffocated to death. We even got to see Sasuke use Medical Jutsu to help heal her wound. As for the poison’s effectiveness on Sakura. It’s revealed that she was able to use a serum (when she was treating Sasuke being poisoned by Meno). So, she would be okay.
‘The Ring’ gave us a cool-looking finale featuring Sakura and Sasuke vs a dinosaur army. Sasuke used a bunch of Ninjutsu and sword moves to take the dinosaurs down. And none of the reanimated dinos were a match against Sakura’s brute strength. Sakura was knocking them away as if they were nothing!
Even Meno got into the action, teaming up with Sasuke and even helping the remaining prisoners to escape.
Realizing that dinosaurs weren’t enough to take Sakura down, Jiji went after her while Sasuke chased Zanzul because he needed to retrieve the stolen Ultra Particles.
While Zanzul’s motivation was more or less ‘meh!’ and he fell to his own death due to his ego and fear of Sasuke, I think the anime writers did what they could in the limited time to flesh out Jiji’s motivations.
One of the questions asked in Sasuke Retsuden was whether or not ninjas could be compromised because of someone they loved. Even though Sasuke and Sakura made a good team, one can’t deny that the fear of losing each other during a mission was different for them compared to seeing the death of a team member they weren’t really that close to. As I said, Sasuke really lost it when he thought Sakura had died under the rubble.
Similarly, Jiji’s love for his girlfriend, Margo, had been used by Zanzul and the Prime Minister to force him to use the Reanimation Jutsu. He had been lied to about Margo dying and his motivation involved using the Reanimation Jutsu to bring her back to life.
In a sense, Jiji presented a good question to Sasuke. Wouldn’t Sasuke also think about using the Reanimation Jutsu if someone he loved died? From what I remember, the novel had Sasuke give an answer. However, the anime decided to make Sakura do the talking instead. According to her, yes, she would consider using the Reanimation Jutsu to bring a loved one back to life. However, unlike, Jiji, Sakura was surrounded by friends who would stop her from doing such a thing. Also, she realized that her loved one wouldn’t really want to be forced back into the world of the living. Being alive meant being at peace with death.
Jiji’s redemption was done well, considering the pacing. He got to learn about Margo still being alive and he undid the Reanimation Jutsu. He also got himself injured while protecting Sakura from an incoming dinosaur bite. Jiji had learned his lesson and was going to spend the rest of his life atoning for his crimes by devoting himself to being an aide to King Nanara alongside Margo. Good for him!
Having said that, what I didn’t like was the anime writers jumping over Naruto’s cure via the Ultra Particles and the awesomeness of Kakashi fighting hundreds of trained ninjas on his own. Sigh!
Again, if I had known that this was the kind of adaptation we were going to get of the Retsuden novels, I would have wished against it ever happening.
But what is done is done. And we have to move on. At least the fandom got some sweet SakuSaku moments that will help fuel fans for a very long time. I really liked ‘The Ring’ ending with a scene in the present where both Sakura (in the village) and Sasuke (out hunting Code) looked toward the moon and were satisfied with the trust they had in each other as a married couple.
What did you think of Boruto anime episode 285 ‘The Sky that Fell to the Earth’ and episode 286 ‘The Ring’? Are you excited about the upcoming Code-centric arc?
Let us know.
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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