Boruto: How Mitsuki Stepped Out of Orochimaru’s Shadow

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Episode 196, "A Binding Force," now streaming on Crunchyroll.

Mitsuki has had quite an interesting come-up in Boruto. While, at first, fans assumed he'd be a sinister presence like his parent, Orochimaru, he's quickly grown into a loyal ally and friend to Boruto and Sarada in Team 7.

Interestingly, he doesn't just look out for them in the field, but outside of it as well. And, come his latest philosophical debate with the gang in Episode 196 of the anime, it's now crystal clear how far he's stepped out of Orochimaru's sinister shadow and into his own place in Konoha and the lives of his friends.

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When Kawaki views the training session between Naruto and Boruto, he activates his Karma mark so Boruto's will activate too. He wants Boruto to use the mark more so they can understand its power together, with the help of Konoha's scientists. Surprisingly, Boruto is eager to use it, going on to boast about the mark's power after the sparring session.

He's excited to hone it more but Mitsuki advises him to be careful. Mitsuki has a similar talk with Sarada as they walk home, sensing she's jealous of Boruto's growing power. She hasn't evolved as quickly under Sasuke, but is determined to reach a higher level -- it's the Uchiha standard. She's adamant she's going to level up with her dad and learn a move no one else can use, but as she runs off, Mitsuki's concerned.

He laments that his teammates don't realize that power always has a risk and they need to be responsible about gaining it. It's not just themselves they could hurt, but others as well. The fact he's alone shows he's not playing games or manipulating anyone like Orochimaru did -- he's genuinely concerned and believes Konoha's shinobi must rely on their natural abilities.

It's a far cry from Orochimaru, who was pretty powerful naturally as a snake ninja but became obsessed with gaining power and godlike abilities. It's why he tried to use Sasuke and Itachi as vessels, even experimenting on himself and many more, culminating in twisted terrorist missions with Kabuto and the Akatsuki. He lost his way chasing power, wanting to ascend beyond his means, which is why he fell from grace as a legendary Sannin. But Mitsuki has learned from all that, being a lab experiment himself, and while he's got power too, he isn't trying to follow his predecessor.

He's already seeing how the Karma affects Boruto and, after the fight against Momoshiki, Mitsuki knows he has to monitor everything. He might be paranoid but this cautious, thoughtful approach is one that many Hokage would be proud of, especially Hiruzen, who saw the lust for power destroy Orochimaru, his former student. But Mitsuki's opposite approach paints him as someone with real leadership qualities and perhaps someday, even a candidate to lead the Hidden Leaf.

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