“The Path Lit By The Full Moon”
Last week was Kickboxing Day. Yesterday was Boxing Day. Today was Kenjutsu Day. I’ll graciously accept these late gift, that keep on coming like no tomorrow. But let’s talk about how this episode was an origination story for Mitsuki, who is my favourite little snek.
Might I ask the same old question – is Orochimaru the father or the mother? Either way, I’d argue it doesn’t matter. He’s fulfilling the role of parent, possibly to a greater extent than both Naruto or Sasuke. Admittedly an unimpressive achievement anyway, not to mention he drugged Mitsuki five times to make him forget ever single failure. However, we’ve seen there’s a greater purpose behind such ‘child abuse’. Of course, Mitsuki achieving the Sage Transformation was certainly a priority. But contrary to his claims of wanting to sire powerful progeny, Orochimaru seems far more interested in seeing what his children can do with free will and self-determination. Though his methods are rather forceful, he essentially guides Mitsuki into making his own choice, giving him the precious gift of freedom.
[Insert politically incorrect joke about the USA here].
For most of this series, Mitsuki devoutly defers to Boruto on every matter. Sarada even criticises him at the start of the episode, potentially echoing the thoughts of many viewers. However, all along, Mitsuki’s actions have been entirely a result of his own volition. After five failures, where he chose to either side with Log or Orochimaru, he finally awakens the Sage Mode and rebels, forging a third pathway with his own two hands. If we exclude manga readers like myself, who could have known that these complicated circumstances, surrounded Mitsuki’s enrolment into Konohagakure’s Ninja Academy?
What a fantastic way to end 2017. I maintain that Sage Mode was the final power-up, before things went out of whack in Naruto Shippuden. Tailed Beast Chakra Shrouds, Ten-Tails, Moon Creatures blasting civilisation to bits, etc. As such, Sage Mode is one of my favourite abilities in the franchise, due to the well conceived strengths and limitations behind it. Plus, it always resulted in extended fights that don’t rely on one-shot super attacks, making it awesome from a viewer’s perspective! And dare I say, the practitioners always end up looking like complete badasses?
While we got a sneak peek at his true capabilities, I expect it will be a long time before Mitsuki starts busting through obstacles left, right and centre. Nonetheless, I would be content to see it slip out every so often, as it did against Shino in the academy graduation exam. With everyone’s Gaidens being done and dusted, now I can’t wait to get started on some genin adventures, starring revamped Team 7. And I must extend my sincerest gratitude to the anime staff, for exceeding my expectations, by making Boruto such an enjoyable ride.
Have a happy new year everybody, and hope to see you in 2018!