Title: Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Vol. 16
Author: Masahi Kishimoto (Creator), Mikio Ikemoto (Art), Ukyo Kodachi (Story)
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Shonen, Battle
Publication Date: February 7, 2023
Volume 16 of Boruto takes a deep dive into what Kawaki is thinking. Knowing that Code is looking on the horizon, Kawaki is questioning whether or not he truly belongs as a member of Konoha. Just when he is questioning his existence as part of the village, Naruto and his family throw him a belated welcoming party. Meanwhile, Amano has a secret project going on but he makes it clear that he has no intention of betraying Konoha. In fact, he said that he was producing a weapon that will benefit the village.
Even though Kawaki is told time and time again that he is welcome in the village, he knows that he can’t stick around. After learning a bit of information about the chakra barrier that monitors the village, he finds a way to suppress his chakra and escape the sensory ninja that was watching over him. He makes it far away from Konoha where Code senses his escape and goes to meet him. Despite a physical greeting between the two, Kawaki insists that he came to meet Code and to leave with him peacefully; however, in exchange, he wants Code to leave Konoha alone.
Code is hellbent on killing everyone who was involved with Isshiki/Jigen’s death and says that Kawaki coming along quietly won’t change that. Kawaki mentions that someone is in Code’s ear and he commends Kawaki for picking up on that so quickly. Kawaki strikes another deal to meet with that person (Eida) and negotiate with them instead. Right when Code is about to agree, Boruto shows up and a battle between the two ensues.
The focus continued to be placed on Kawaki in this volume. Here, we examine his inner conflict with staying within Konoha. He doesn’t really make his intentions known but Boruto figures out that this was his way of protecting Konoha and Naruto. He figured that if he went with Code peacefully, he would leave the village alone. Unfortunately, Code has no plans of making that deal and it looks as if Naruto and Sasuke are on a collision course with Code regardless. Still, it was noble of Kawaki to try even if his plan was completely reckless. Despite that, you can also sympathize with him since he is fully aware that everything was happening because he ran away from Kara. In his mind, he is just trying to make things right and not cause any problems for anyone.
Outside of Kawaki, there really wasn’t much in the way of character development. Boruto continues to think of Kawaki as a brother and he reaffirms that it’s his duty to protect him but outside of that, not much is really seen. I would comment on Amato but his intentions and goals are still really shrouded in mystery. At least he says he’s not trying to cause Konoha any harm. He’s still rather suspicious, though.
The calm before the next storm is over and it looks like we will be kicking off the 17th volume with Code vs Boruto which will eventually turn into Code vs Boruto, Naruto, Sasuke, and Kawaki. I’m sure Eida and Daemon will get involved and we’ll end up at a stalemate in a “to be continued” scenario. I just can’t see Code going down here and now as it seems that he truly is the “final boss” of the series.
One could argue that the honor would go to Momoshiki; however, I can foresee Boruto finding a way to fully gain control of Momoshiki and his powers, thus nullifying the whole rebirth aspect. I’m sure there will be a plot device in the future that will work all of that out. In fact, I would be willing to be a fully utilized Momoshiki-powered Boruto will be the one to end Code’s life… and possibly Eida and Daemon’s as well.
Still lots of possibilities but for now, let’s enjoy some action!
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This item was provided for review by VIZ Media.