“Boruto: Naruto Next Generations” Manga Issue 74 Review: Baptism By Fire

Baptism by Fire Boruto manga issue 74 review
Mitsuki on the cover of ‘Baptism by Fire’ (Image: Boruto Manga Chapter 74)

Boruto manga Issue 74, titled ‘Baptism by Fire’, was… well, it was a manga chapter. Sigh!

I don’t know if the current arc is boring or if the Boruto manga needs to switch to biweekly releases instead of monthly in order for the current pacing to make sense. Waiting an entire month to get a chapter that pushes the story forward at a snail’s pace and features a whole lot of talking is disappointing. From what I know, apparently, the sales of the Boruto manga aren’t great. And you know what? I don’t see said sales increasing any time soon if the pacing and narrative issues aren’t resolved.

The current threat to Konoha happens to be a female cyborg named Eida that can make other people fall in love with her. To handle such a situation, Kawaki and Boruto (who are immune to Eida’s abilities) have been tasked to live with Eida in an expensive house and to prevent her from turning against Konoha. Like what the heck even is all of this?

When the fandom hype for the upcoming manga adaptation of the Sasuke Retsuden spin-off novel is higher than the main Boruto manga series, you know something is wrong.

‘Baptism by Fire’ opened with Eida, Daemon, and Amado arriving at Konoha’s train station. Immediately a bunch of people fell in love with Eida. Even Sai, who came to the station with Shikamaru to greet the new “guests”, found her to be beautiful. I’m kind of interested in seeing how Naruto and Sasuke would react around Eida. Shikamaru’s able to remain calm under her influence, even though he’s unable to actually attack her. Would Naruto and Sasuke have a similar reaction? Hmmm. I would like to learn the answer. 

The scene at the station did show that Eida’s capable of flight. She did mention to Code that she had abilities she didn’t want to disclose. Also, with Amado having created the cyborgs to battle the Otsutsuki, it made sense for a bunch of Amado’s creations to be able to fly. With Kawaki and Boruto having Otsutsuki DNA, those two should tap into their flying ability soon enough.

As for the house that Eida will be staying at, I wasn’t expecting it to be at such a distance from the rest of the houses inside Konoha. I was expecting Shikamaru to keep Eida inside the village because having her secluded (in such a way) from the rest of society might offend her. But oh well, I guess she’s only interested in having Kawaki fall in love with her at the moment. (Again, what the heck is this story?!)

If the creative team is so adamant about having dialogue-heavy chapters, I would like said conversations to be actually interesting. Where’s the conversation between Naruto and Hinata about letting Boruto, their child, stay with someone like Eida? I get that Boruto and Kawaki would be under constant surveillance, but still, such a mission would make Naruto and Hinata uncomfortable, right? I would have liked to see those two talk about it.

Kawaki is clearly not a fan of the current situation. And I don’t blame him. Not only did he have to be cordial toward Eida (who has a crush on him), but he also had his guard up because he sensed Momoshiki’s spirit latching onto Boruto. The fact that Daemon was able to one-hit KO both Boruto and Kawaki also didn’t help warm Kawaki up to staying with Eida.

Daemon’s supposed to be stronger than Jigen but weaker than Isshiki. So, understandably he’s stronger than the current versions of Kawaki and Boruto (who still need time to dive into their true Otsutsuki potential). Daemon being able to react to and also stop the black rods Kawaki threw at him was impressive. Due to his cocky nature, I’m kind of looking forward to seeing how Daemon will continue to interact with Kawaki and Boruto. As for Eida, she can’t even string a coherent sentence together whenever Kawaki’s around.

‘Baptism by Fire’ also had scenes showcasing Eida’s powers impacting a bunch of other young ninjas and Konohamaru. Chocho and Inojin got hit hard. It was funny seeing them lose control due to their admiration for Eida. However, having said that, seeing Mitsuki also fall under Eida’s spell was disappointing. 

When it comes to Mitsuki and his overall role in the main narrative, the fan theory of him possibly being related to the Otsutsuki had been doing a lot of work to keep his character interesting. But the current manga chapter destroyed that theory. As of right now, Mitsuki’s got nothing of significance going on for him in the manga. And as a fan of Mitsuki, that’s sad to see.

At least Salad was able to fare a bit better. She and Shikadai didn’t seem to be impacted by Eida’s ability. According to Salad, it could be due to her and Shikadai not being able to get a good look at Eida… or it could be that both were hit by her powers, but their reactions were different (similar to how Shikamaru was able to remain calm?).

Perhaps Salad and Shikadai would react differently if they came closer to Eida and thought about attacking her? The fans are already coming up with new fan theories to explain why Salad and Shikadai weren’t crushing over Eida, in contrast to Chocho, Inojin, and Mitsuki.

Amado’s supposed to tell everything he knew to Naruto and Shikamaru. So, hopefully, we will get an explanation about Eida’s powers in the upcoming issue. I really want the Boruto manga series to become interesting again.

If I were to give my two cents, I wouldn’t be surprised if Eida’s ability to make people fall in love with her was connected to eye contact. I think that as long as you don’t make eye contact with Eida, you will be okay. If true, that could mean that things like smoke bombs or creating complete darkness could give you a better chance of fighting her.

As for Konohamaru’s reaction upon seeing Eida, I think all of us expected his reaction to be the most comedic one. The manga chapter delivered just that.

What did you think of ‘Baptism by Fire’? What are your thoughts about Boruto, Kawaki, Eida, and Daemon living together?

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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