Boruto: Naruto Next Generations 1×169 Review – “A Joint Mission with the Sand”

A Joint Mission With the Sand Boruto anime 169 reviwe
Shikadai asking about Boruto’s training in ‘A Joint Mission With the Sand’ (Image: Screengrab)

‘A Joint Mission with the Sand’ showed Shikadai, Chocho, Inojin, Shinki, Yoda, and Araya, get into a lot of trouble during an assignment to retrieve a lost puppet.

As far as my opinion goes, I enjoy seeing the anime taking time to focus on the supporting cast. The main show is about Boruto; I understand that. But a good narrative always tries to flesh out supporting and minor characters, too. It’s all about building a more immersive world. 

Also, according to some in the Boruto fandom, the manga hasn’t been selling well. And we all know that the Boruto manga has been focusing a lot on the titular young ninja. It’s as if his classmates (except Salad and Mitsuki) don’t matter. On the other hand, the anime (which features stories with characters other than Boruto) has been quite successful. So, you can see what the fandom wants more of.

Coming to ‘A Joint Mission With the Sand,’ it opened with Boruto still undergoing training. It’s revealed that his new Wind-style Rasengan isn’t as powerful as he would like it to be. Kakashi shared that due to Boruto’s lower Chakra reserves (compared to Naruto), he might not be able to level-up his Rasengan. Of course, Boruto didn’t want to admit defeat. It will be interesting to see how he will try to strengthen his jutsu down the line. 

Salad’s not faring well either. Even Sasuke sounded worried when Salad got hit by the bullets she was supposed to dodge with her Sharingan. Salad’s clearly overworking her body. She needs to take a breather and reanalyze how to go about her training sessions. At this point, it should be about working smarter, not harder. I have a feeling Sakura will need to step in and talk about such things with her young daughter.

While Salad and Boruto trained, the episode focused on Shikadai, Chocho, and Inojin being sent to the Land of Wind to find the puppet Shikadai fought back in episode 123 when (the poorly-written) Urashiki was around. 

I liked the conversation Shikadai had with his team as the train took them to the Land of Wind. Shikadai’s a close friend of Boruto, and Chocho’s basically Salad’s best friend. Of course, the two were worried about what Salad and Boruto were going through.

To cheer everybody up, Chocho suggested checking out a small restaurant and that’s where things began to turn bad for the trio. Deepa had already killed everyone in the restaurant before the trio could enter. I liked how Deepa simply walked away without paying any attention to the young ninjas. 

Shikadai and his team’s mission with Shinki, Yodo, and Araya put them through more misfortune. Deepa was also looking for the same puppet, and he was ready to take down the kids. The beating he gave them all was quite amazing to see. It was clear none of them, not even Shinki, had the power to face Deepa. However, kudos to Shikadai for coming up with a plan even though it didn’t work against such a powerful foe.

‘A Joint Mission with the Sand’ did show us a couple of abilities we hadn’t seen Deepa use before. He’s able to increase the size of his carbon-based bullets. He can also supercharge a bullet for a devastating attack.

Now, some fans have theorized that Deepa’s unable to place armor on his body when he’s shooting bullets. I do think this particular theory might be true. I don’t think we have seen Deepa be all armored-up while attacking others with his projectiles. So, maybe his weakness can be exploited if everyone attacked him together? That’s kind of what Shikadai did while working together with Shinki, Chocho, and Inojin.

Also, the episode showed a lot of steam coming out of Deepa’s fist after using a supercharged bullet. Did Deepa’s scientifically-enhanced body overheat and that’s why he decided to let the kids live after defeating them? I don’t know.

When Deepa was introduced, he talked big about how he killed people who had seen him. While I can understand Boruto, Salad, and Mitsuki being alive because Deepa was stopped (by Victor) from going after them as they retreated, why didn’t he kill Shikadai and the rest?

Is he not interested in killing children? Does Deepa want to cause drama and showcase to the world he’s connected to the Kara organization? I hope the anime gives us some answers. I would also like an explanation about why Deepa visits restaurants, eats the food, doesn’t like it, and then kills those sitting in said establishment.

There are fan theories about how eating makes Deepa feel human even though his body doesn’t need food to function and that’s why it tastes bad to him. Again, I would like some answers from the anime.

Anyway, with Shikadai also having faced defeat from Deepa, I’m looking forward to seeing him help Boruto level-up his Rasengan.

I have to share I enjoyed Shikadai’s interactions with Shinki. The two are cousins (Shikadai’s mother is the sister of Shinki’s father) even though they belong to different ninja villages. Even though Shinki’s team thought he would be leading the mission, Shinki saw sense and understood that Shikadai (as the only Chunin in the group) was the better choice.

Also, I laughed when Shikadai complained about Shinki’s Metal-Sand shield breaking from Deepa’s bullets because it was supposed to be the ultimate defense, and Shinki retorted by saying Shikadai better come up with a good plan because he’s supposed to be a master tactician.

And kudos to Shinki for breaking the puppet. He thought like a real ninja during that moment. Even though the kids failed to take the puppet back to the village, Shinki knew he couldn’t just allow Deepa to walk away with it. 

As far as Konohamaru and Mugino are concerned, they’re still snooping around Victor’s lab. There’s a secret facility they have to break into. So, let’s see how that goes for them. Also, the reveal that the doctor (an Outer member) working for Victor is the same person we saw during the Mitsuki Retrieval arc that aired back in September of 2018. Look at the Boruto anime making a lot of these stories link together.

I like how the anime’s been making it obvious that the evil Kara organization’s been planning things for a very long time.

What did you think of ‘A Joint Mission with the Sand’?

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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