WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Chapter #52, “Baryon Mode,” by Masashi Kishimoto, Mikio Ikemoto, Mari Morimoto and Snir Aharon, now available from Viz Media.
Chapter #52 of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations reveals a new form in Naruto’s arsenal: Baryon Mode. Naruto and Kurama’s desperate attempt to defeat Isshiki has driven them to the point of no return. Naruto’s form has Sasuke filled with astonishment as he realizes what is actually going on, and the danger it has on his life. Naruto and Kurama may have gotten the upper hand against Isshiki, but their battle will end with the inevitable death of Naruto or Kurama. Isshiki discovers the flaw of the new form but is surprised by the hidden abilities of Baryon Mode. With all the commotion, Isshiki exploits Naruto’s connection to Kawaki to devise his own ace up his sleeve.
Baryon Mode is compared to nuclear fusion, in which Naruto and Kurama’s chakra is now being consumed to create a new form of power, as opposed to absorbing it from the environment around them. This enhances their abilities immensely, it depletes their lifespan and the form will end when one or both of them dies. Kurama urges Naruto to not waste any time, and avoid any unnecessary fighting tactics. Baryon Mode is an extreme act of desperation, even for Naruto, but their combined efforts are able to stop Isshiki in his tracks. Baryon Mode is a double-edged sword, and Naruto doesn’t have a plan for how to deal with its devastating flaws.
Isshiki is caught off-guard by Baryon Mode but quickly discovers its negative effects. Without hesitation, Isshiki starts his counterattack against Naruto as he suffers from exhaustion, but Kurama has another trick up his sleeve. Baryon Mode is able to affect the chakra of those it comes in contact with, therefore, Isshiki also begins to lose his own life span. Isshiki’s scarce life span of 20 hours shortens to 30 minutes and continues to drop as the battle continues. His destiny seems to be decided at this point, and Naruto is just trying to outlive him. Unfortunately for Naruto, Isshiki is able to trace Kawaki via the prosthetic arm given to him that functions by receiving a constant flow of Naruto’s chakra.
The tide of the battle completely shifts, and Naruto’s demeanor goes from confidence to utter despair. Isshiki needs Kawaki so that he can transfer to a new vessel, and with no one currently able to stop him, Isshiki will succeed with his ultimate goal. Sasuke is only able to watch from the sidelines, and protect Boruto, who's knocked out, from the collateral damage of the battle. As Sasuke realizes Naruto’s fate, his engagement in the battle starts to lessen. At this point, Sasuke must realize that if Naruto dies, there is no chance to defeat Isshiki, and he is the only one able to save Boruto if they need to escape.
The horizon seems bleak for the Hidden Leaf shinobi, but the chapter doesn’t end without leaving the reader on a tantalizing cliffhanger. The panels close in on Boruto, and his right eye opens up revealing his Jougan. That can only mean that Momoshiki is taking over Boruto’s body, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the day is saved. Momoshiki is aware that Isshiki is now weakened, and could possibly take advantage of the moment to use Isshiki as a sacrifice for the Ten Tails to acquire new power. There are many possible outcomes, but the battle is clearly not over. Naruto is slowly dying, Boruto is being controlled by Momoshiki, Sasuke is in no condition to continue battling and Kawaki is Isshiki’s ticket to freedom.