Boruto: Naruto Next Generations 1×184 Review – “Puppets”

puppets review boruto anime 184
Salad and Katasuke in ‘Puppets’ (Image: Screengrab)

‘Puppets’ had Team 7 and Katasuke come face to face with their current enemy while also delivering an emotional moment for our leads.

With Team 7 and Katasuke reaching the crash site to investigate what happened to Konohamaru and Mugino, ‘Puppets’ showed our young ninjas that the Kara organization is all about using scientific ninja tools. Even though Boruto, Salad, and Mitsuki used powerful jutsu to fight the mechanical puppets attacking them, it still wasn’t enough. They had to regroup and come up with a better plan.

The way seeing a bunch of puppets led Team 7 to deduce a Puppet Master was nearby made sense. It was the wrong conclusion, but as ninjas, of course, they thought the puppets were being controlled by someone. Running away from the continuous barrage of fireball jutsu being directed at them by the puppets (without said puppets weaving any hand signs) is what helped Salad realize Team 7 was fighting scientific ninjas tools and not ordinary ninja-controlled puppets.

Katasuke using his scientifically-upgraded battle suit to absorb the fireball jutsu was a nice little moment. Due to being under Genjutsu a while ago, he was forced to leak vital information about his research to the Kara organization. Playing his part to help Team 7 during the current battle was his way to start making amends.

The previous few episodes have been making it clear that even though ninjas’ tools are formidable, they aren’t without certain drawbacks. Continuously using the fireball jutsu overheated the puppets, allowing Team 7 to break them. Also, such tools won’t be doing much against insanely capable ninjas like Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura. There’s another drawback to using ninja tools, which I’ll get to in a bit.

Team 7 finding Konohamaru and Mugino (with Chamaru’s help) allowed our heroes to catch their breath for a while in a cave. However, it also made me roll my eyes. I have no idea why Jonin-level ninjas like Konohamaru and Mugino haven’t learned medical jutsu. Team 7 also needs a healer. Even though Salad is Sakura‘s daughter, I think Mitsuki is the better candidate to be Team 7’s healer. I know healing Mugino wouldn’t have saved him from his fate, but still, the importance of medical jutsu can’t be ignored. I thought it was mandatory for three-person teams to have a medical ninja in there.

Talking about Mugino’s fate, I appreciate the work the anime writers have put into making us care about him. In the manga, his sacrifice didn’t elicit an emotional response. And how could it? We didn’t know anything about him. However, the anime has fleshed him out over the past months. We have seen Mugino create a bond with Boruto and the rest of the characters.

I was sad when Mugino sacrificed himself to hurt Ao and allow Team 7 to run. Konohamaru lost a friend and Team 7 lost someone they respected. In a sense, it was important for Team 7 to see someone like Mugino die. I think this is the first time our young ninjas have experienced such a loss. It just goes to show how dangerous the world can be and that as ninjas they too have to make tough choices (including putting their lives on the line to protect the Hidden Leaf Village).

As for Ao, I still don’t understand why he decided to work for the Kara organization. It made no sense in the manga, and I have a feeling it still won’t make any sense in the anime. Heck, I will be quite impressed if the anime writers figure out a proper explanation behind Ao’s actions.

Remember I mentioned another drawback of using ninja tools? Well, said drawback involves how ninja tools have no allegiance. Similar to using other dangerous items, if your enemy grabs your weapon, it can be used to kill you. That’s exactly what goes down in this episode. Ao’s able to pull off a piece of Katasuke’s battle suit and proceeds to use the suit’s jutsu-absorbing ability to absorb Boruto’s Rasengan. So, yeah, ninja tools are fun until your own tools are being used against you. 

Even though Mugino died to try and take Ao with him, Ao’s still alive. So, Boruto and his team will need to think of a strategy and quick. I can’t wait to see what happens next week.

‘Puppets’ also gave us a scene focusing on the Kara organization. Code’s not happy about Jigen not allowing him to find out who the traitor is. I don’t want to spoil it for the anime-only fans, but Code has been given another important mission by Jigen which you will learn about soon enough.

I liked Delta teasing Code over how Jigen liked Kashin Koji more than him. Code likes to act cool and unbothered, but you can tell he has certain issues. I wonder if we will get to see some tension between Code and Kashin Koji in upcoming episodes.

puppets review boruto anime episode 184 review
Code and Jigen in ‘Puppets’ (Image: Screengrab)

And before I end my review, I have to talk about the scene that has caused certain fans to share a lot of opinions online. In the manga, the current arc featured a moment between Salad and Sumire where Sumire confessed about liking Boruto. From what I remember, manga chapter 19 had Sumire comment on how Akita being friendly toward Boruto and whether or not Salad’s felt weird when other people liked Boruto. After that, Sumire was bold enough to ask if there was something going on between Salad and Boruto.

Of course, Salad said there wasn’t anything like that between them and that led to Sumire stating how she liked Boruto.

Now, Sumire’s revelation about liking Boruto has been used as a strong instance of canon support by Sumire/Boruto shippers. Such fans have been waiting since December of 2017 for the particular scene to be animated and yet, the anime writers decided to change the entire scene.

The scene in the anime episode didn’t even last a minute. Sumire shared how quickly Akita ended up liking Boruto and Salad responded by stating Boruto’s personality made it easier for him to make friends and for others to like him. There was no confession on Sumire’s part. And you know what? I’m okay with the writers going such a route. 

Sumire’s confession was very unexpected in the manga. And seeing the anime version of Sumire, who is quite shy, telling Salad she liked Boruto (while Team 7’s getting ready for an important mission) would have felt weird.

I still think Sumire and Boruto are endgame (due to the nature of Shonen narratives). But having said that, I do appreciate the anime writers giving Sumire a lot more to work with than just being the potential love interest for the titular character. She has her own goals and ambitions. So, yes, to the anime focusing more on Sumire’s personal journey as a science-focused ninja. 

What did you think of ‘Puppets’?

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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